As we enter perimenopause — a slow process that, for most women, starts some time in their 40s — we have a dip or change in several hormones. For some, it’s gradual. And for others, it can be literally overnight.
What (Major) Hormones Change During Perimenopause?
This reduction can cause us to feel much more hungry and, generally, less satisfied after meals. The reason for that is ghrelin and leptin — more hormones! — are also impacted (by the dip in estrogen levels) by perimenopause.
Side note on testosterone:
Yes, we ladies very much need this hormone, too, to create muscle for:
But, arguably, estrogen is the most profound hormone change we ladies experience.
Decline in our estrogen can reduce our body’s efficiency of using brown fat. Now, brown fat is the good fat; that’s most metabolically active.
This means that, as we age, if we’re not doing any hormone replacements, we’re going to:
- have less energy
- store more fat
- have a lower metabolic requirement
- be hungrier
Meaning — we don’t burn as many calories, whether we’re resting or exercising.
So, when estrogen and the other hormones (mentioned) dip — along with our human growth factors — your body goes into protection mode.
Hence, you can be eating and exercising better than you ever have and thinking,
“What in the world is going on? Why is my body thicker? I’m literally being so careful about what I eat, and I’m just putting on body fat.”
If you’ve been reading my blogs or listening to my podcasts, you know I’m not a fan of the calories in versus calories out mentality.
While that theory may be partially true, it doesn’t tell the whole story.
Basically, due to the changes in our hormone fluctuations, we have a lower energy or calorie expenditure. Without hormone replacements, most women are going to have a much tougher time putting on muscle.
This can then turn into a downward spiral, right?
Less muscle means your body slowly starts to burn fewer calories — which means you’re putting on more weight.
And that can cause depression.
For much more related to this topic, like:
- How to get your hormone levels tested
- What you need to do if your extra weight gain is a mystery
- All things deficit re: perimenopause and menopause
Then you must check out this episode of The Chalene Show: