According to Naturopath Max Tomlinson, author of Target Your Fat Spots (Quadrille, £7.95) when your hormones are out of balance it causes you to store fat in specific areas. Find out what your bulges say reveal about your hormones.
The Problem: Love Handles
The Cause: Insulin Resistance.
If you’re menopausal, you’re more at risk of insulin resistance, due to low oestrogen.
To improve the way your body handles insulin, cut out sugar and white carbs, eat regularly to keep blood sugar levels stable. Exercise is also one of the best ways to help balance insulin.
The Problem: Flabby Upper Arms
The Cause: Low Testosterone.
We need testosterone to build lean muscle. But, testosterone levels naturally drop as we age. So, doing resistance exercises regularly is especially important to strengthen muscle tone. When you exercise, your body also produces more testosterone. Eating more healthy fats (eg: oily fish, avocado, flaxseed, nuts and seeds) and proteins will also help.
The Problem: Thick Waist and Flabby Stomach
The Cause: Too Much Cortisol.
If you’re menopausal, low oestrogen means that fat already shifts to the stomach. But, if you’re stressed and producing too much of the hormone cortisol, this will make the problem even worse. Steady, regular exercise is one of the best ways to discharge excess cortisol. Also, take up more activities that help you to relax more e.g. yoga, meditation, laughter, spending time with friends.
The Problem: Fat back
The Cause: Sluggish Thyroid
The hormonal changes that occur in menopause can often have a knock on effect on the thyroid hormones. So, if you’ve got stubborn back fat, and also feel depressed, slow and sluggish, are constipated, have thinning hair, dry skin and poor concentration, it might not all be down to menopausal symptoms. You may also have an underactive thyroid. So, consider asking for your GP for a blood test to check your thyroxine levels.