Getting Rid Of Menopot
Menopot is that awful stubborn lower belly fat that we women over a certain age often get. The word was first coined by Dr. Pamela Peeke in her book “Fight Fat After Forty.”
How to get rid of Menopot is being asked by millions of women today. Yes we may go through menopause, but we can do something about the physical changes that come along with it? It is possible to get a handle on Menopot.
To find out how to get rid of Menopot we must understand how and why it happens.
As we approach menopause out body begins to go through some changes inside and outside.
Hormones regulate our body processes. They travel through our bloodstream affecting all body processes. When we reach menopause our ovaries begin to slow down in hormone production. The ovaries contain eggs. As women we are born with all the eggs we will ever have. The eggs are in follicles within the ovaries. Around menopause the follicles begin to shrink and the ovaries are less sensitive to the reproductive hormones LH and FSH (Lutenizing hormone and follicle stimulating hormone).
As the ovaries shrink, they are unable to produce and secrete estrogen and progesterone. Estrogen is the main hormone that is responsible for fat distribution in our hips, legs and breast. At menopause the ovaries stop producing as much estrogen and fat storage is then shifted from the hips, legs and breast to our mid-section.
In the Seattle Women’s health study it was observed that the stress hormone Cortisol increases in men and women starting in the third decade of life.
Cortisol is produced in the two adrenal glands that sit on top of the kidneys. It is secreted in response to stressors and is helpful in everyday activities. However, too much can wreck havoc in our bodies.
Cortisol directly effects fat storage and weight gain. Tissue cortisol concentrations are controlled by an enzyme that converts cortizone to cortisol. Studies with human visceral fat (the fat surrounding the stomach and intestines) showed that this type of fat has more of these enzymes than sub cutaneous fat. Thereby producing more cortisol. Visceral fat was also found to have many times more cortisol receptors than sub cutaneous fat. This can also increase cortisol’s fat accumulating and fat cell size.
Cortisol also increases appetite. If you have ever had a steroid injection you may have noticed in increased your appetite. Cortisol is a steroid and studies have shown it can stimulate an increase in appetite for fat and sugar. Cortisol also has an effect on other chemicals that are released when we are stressed. Specifically, increasing Corticotrophin Releasing Hormone (CRH) and Neuropeptide Y (NPY) and decreasing Leptin. Leptin is the saiety hormone, if it is reduced we don’t know when we are satisfied so we eat more.
High cortisol levels also cause sugar stores (glucose) to be released from cells. Cortisol reduces the ability of insulin to carry glucose into the cells.
Insulin and Glucagon
Insulin is a hormone made in the pancreas behind the stomach. The pancreas has alpha and beta cells. Its the beta cells that secrete insulin in response to high levels of glucose in the blood and the alpha cells secrete glucagon in response to low levels of blood glucose. Insulin and Glucagon are part of a feedback loop keeping the blood sugar or glucose in the bloodstream balanced and stable.
Menopause can cause Insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is when insulin is secreted but is unable to move glucose into the cells as effective as someone who is not insulin resistant.
New research has shown a correlation to the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is a organ in the brain that controls appetite, fat distribution and energy expenditure. It secretes and has estrogen receptors. In menopause the estrogen receptors are disabled causing a craving for more food and also be less activity thereby increasing weight (in all the wrong places). The researchers also found that when estrogen levels dipped in the brain then metabolic rate and energy also plummeted causing an impaired tolerance to glucose (Insulin resistance).
When cells are unable to receive glucose for energy due to insulin resistance, energy levels drop. This causes stress and more hormones are released that trigger appetite and fat is stored.
The fat stored deep in the abdomen (visceral fat) secrete hormones called Adipokines. These Adipokines cause insulin resistance that causes more storage of abdominal fat causing more insulin resistance. A vicious cycle!
The physical changes in a woman’s body just before and after menopause can be seen as muscle mass is loss and fat is stored even though the same amount of calories are taken in. As muscle is lost, arms, thighs, buttock muscles are smaller and of course the abdomen is larger. We may gain weight all over if we are eating too much and not moving around. Sometimes we need a little help controlling our appetite.
What we can do
Now that you know how it happens, what to do about it is the next question. To begin to get our shape back or at least close to what our shape was, we need to make some changes in our diet and our physical activity.
As women age we must change our eating habits a bit. Since we have less muscle mass, a high carbohydrate diet can be detrimental if we plan to conquer the menopot. A diet with controlled carbohydrates will do wonders. Also lean protein can help promote muscle gain if we are working out. A balanced diet of controlled carbohydrates, higher in lean protein and low fat will certainly help us begin the journey of getting rid of our menopot.
Also, it’s important to think nutrition with everything we eat. If it is low in nutrition, it certainly will not be beneficial to our bodies. Eating several small meals a day instead of three large ones is important also. Portion control is key. You can use a saucer for a plate if this is difficult.
Once we begin down this path we can gain momentum and it becomes easier and easier. Increasing our activity can come in small increments to start off with. Start off with a walk every day and increase the time and pace slowly. This will help with stress which can lower cortisol. Little by little, add activities. If you can, join a gym. There are classes at most gyms that incorporate strength training and cardio training.
I hope I have helped you understand how to get rid of menopot. If you have had experience getting rid of Menopot let me know.
If you have any questions or comments please leave it below.