Hormones and Weight Control, How to Stay Trim After 40

It’s not your imagination: staying trim gets harder with every passing year. We take a closer look at the hormones affecting your waistline – and how you can maintain harmony, naturally


The word “leptin” comes from the Greek word leptós which means “thin.” It is the hormone that signals your brain to tell your body you are no longer hungry because your energy needs have been met. An efficiently working leptin system will lead to better brain function, memory, and mental sharpness, and can even affect

strike a balance

the regulation of mood and emotion. And since it also controls energy expenditure over the long term, a poorly functioning leptin system can also lead to obesity. Your diet plays a huge role in leptin regulation.

Many fad diets prescribe fewer calories and less fat, but over time this reduction can grind your metabolism to a halt by lowering leptin levels. If it continues, you can create what is known as leptin resistance. It’s a vicious cycle: eating more than your body needs numbs the receptors in your brain that tell you to stop eating. This creates a negative feedback loop wherein you continue to overeat as your system becomes more leptin resistant. Leptin resistance is also a precursor to insulin resistance. This can mean that leptin plays a role in controlling insulin sensitivity, a warning sign of diabetes that can also trigger weight gain. To improve leptin sensitivity, actively adjust your diet by reducing your sugar intake. Increase your protein consumption, and keep your lifestyle active. Over time, these changes can aid your leptin resistance, and consequently, regulate your body fat levels.


Women over the age of 40 often take on multiple roles in their careers and families, creating additional stress that can affect hormone levels (specifically cortisol) and body weight. At this age, many mothers are not only dealing with changes in their bodies, but they are also dealing with their children becoming adults. For some, these facts, combined with other life events, can make the physical transition harder to handle. The good news is that stress-reducing, cortisol-controlling habits are allies against these events. Tools like meditation, breathing techniques, and yoga are some ways to reduce cortisol caused by stress. To offset the damaging effects of aging, particularly those related to weight, this can be helpful


In your pursuit of weight control, lower estrogen levels (which begin dropping around the age of 30) and increased insulin sensitivity need to be counteracted. The good news is that you can do both pretty effectively in the gym. You just have to choose your approach wisely.

Jogging, running, and other endurance exercises are often the go-to gym option for many people. As you age and your schedule becomes more jam-packed, the key is to exercise effectively as opposed to often, or for very long. Replace lengthy, easier cardio sessions with short high-intensity interval training sessions (HIIT). This type of training alternates between brief, strenuous exercise and active rest. HIIT works by intensely stressing your body’s systems and then allowing for recovery.

strike a balance

Eating more than your body needs numbs the receptors in your brain that tell you to stop eating.


Stringing exercises together with active rest keeps your heart and breathing rates high. This means you will still experience some aerobic benefits as well. A solid HIIT workout can be accomplished with only a few simple exercises. Exercises such as squat jumps, jumping jacks, sprints, burpees, and vigorous weightlifting.

strike a balanceWhile you may initially balk at the idea that lifting weights can actually help in your weight-loss quest, there is science behind it. Resistance training is typically brief and intense, driving muscles to generate force from ATP. Which is energy created from creatine phosphate in the muscles – instead of relying on oxygen. This has been shown to increase metabolism and aid fat burning. Plus, the more muscle, a metabolically active tissue, you have on your body the higher your resting metabolic rate will be. You’ll burn more calories even at rest than if that tissue was fat. HIITstyle strength training has been shown to cause a 200- to 700-percent increase in human growth hormone. This promotes muscle growth and fat loss in women and increases bone density. Which all legitimate concerns at this stage of life.

Studies have also suggested that this form of fitness boosts memory and cognition, reduces fatigue, increases happiness, and decreases anxiety. These are all issues that can be aggravated by lowered estrogen. This is why HIIT is such a powerful tool for women over 40.


Related Posts


Welcome Back!

Login to your account below

Retrieve your password

Please enter your username or email address to reset your password.

Coming Soon
Coming Soon
You are about to leave the website

You will be redirected to our digital edition subscription page.