Women Are Fat Because of Estrogen ?
Why women need their period to keep lean and how breastfeeding impacts fat loss.
While oestrogen dominance gets a bad rreputation for making us fat, the truth is we need enough oestrogen to keep a lean and tight body (think less body fat, more lean muscle).
Without it we have a less forgiving metabolism largely due to lack of temperance of insulin and cortisol.
When women have low oestrogen levels, as found during breastfeeding, pregnancy or if, for any reason we aren’t ovulating, we also (commonly seen in oestrogen low states and certainly during breastfeeding) aren’t making much progesterone.
Progesterone plays a role in hindering belly fat storage by moderating cortisol’s effect in these fat cells. Take this low estrogen/low progesterone state and we see much more sensitivity to carbohydrates and a much harder time dropping belly fat – and fat in general.
This is more often than not coupled with a lack of sleep (when just given birth/new baby or when stressed) and the mummy tummy can be very tough to lose.
When we’re running on empty from the middle of the night feedings or mental traumas/stress, and often highly stressful time of having a newborn, or whatever your stressor may be, we’re typically in a high cortisol state – ingredient number one for belly fat!
And when we’re exhausted from being up all night, our cravings for carbs and sweets are usually in the clouds. If we indulge them, then we’ve added ingredient two for fat gain: surplus of easily absorbed calories!
This scenario is the perfect storm for difficult fat loss and easy fat gain, just what a new mum needs huh?
And those cravings aren’t just from the lack of sleep. Estrogen normally helps us have more serotonin and dopamine, and progesterone keeps GABA up.
Healthy levels of all these brain chemicals keep our cravings at bay. And making matters worse, oestrogen normally aids the hormone leptin in regulating appetite.
4 Advice For Women Avoid Fat
- If you’re not having your period and you don’t know why, get it checked out! You should be…
- Consider a lower carb, higher fat diet. The lower carb aspect will keep your insulin more managed while the higher fat intake will keep your calories up and keep you satiated. Overall you’ll likely feel more satisfied and won’t risk dropping calories to low your milk supply drops. (If breastfeeding) Remember, low carb is all relative too so what’s low carb for you might not be for someone else.
- At times of stress, skip the guilt. feel wracked with guilt that they are complaining about feeling chubby all of the time simply re-inforces negativity in your mind. Keep perspective and use the gratitude for the abilities and pleasures your body gives you right now, as it is.
- Trust that it will likely get easier with time. As your hormones rebalance, fat loss will become easier.