Have you ever wondered why it's so hard to lose weight after you turn 40?
If you have, you're not alone. In fact, it's a question that many women ask themselves as they approach middle age.
The good news is that there is an answer. And, even better, it turns out that there is a simple way to turn on your cell's "fat switch" and lose weight, no matter your age.
That's what Dr. Betty Murray is here to talk about in this episode.
Dr. Murray is a nutrition expert, certified functional medicine practitioner, and speaker. She helps women 40+ harness their hormones to lose weight, optimize sleep, restore energy, and thrive in life.
During her research for her PhD, Dr. Murray made 4 key discoveries that lead to hormone imbalances that plague women over 40. Restoring balance to these key metabolic pathways is the basis of her Hormone Reset Program which has helped her, and her clients lose weight with ease, restore sleep, and turn up their energy.
She is the host of This Functional Life Podcast and the founder and CEO of Living Well Dallas Functional Medicine Center. Dr. Murray is a frequently featured nutrition expert on Fox News Broadcasting, CW33, NBC, and CBS.
So, if you're ready to learn how to turn on your cell's fat switch and lose weight after 40, then this episode is for you.
In this episode, we discuss:
The 4 key discoveries that lead to hormone imbalances in women over 40
How to turn on your cell's "fat switch"
How your genetics that controls estrogen detoxification may lead to weight gain and risk for diabetes, obesity, and cancer
Body positivity and how to love your body at any age
The role estrogen plays in weight loss
The role of the nervous system in your hormonal function and your fat retention
Foods to avoid that screw up your hormones
And much more!
If you're struggling with your weight, or if you're just curious about how to lose weight after 40, then this episode is a must-listen.
So, grab a cup of coffee, put your feet up, and enjoy!
(00:00): Erica Jong said, "If you don't risk anything, you risk even more." And if you're struggling with your weight and excess fact, then you might not even be aware of why or what you're risking. And my guess today is gonna tell you all about how to unlock this situation. So the big question is how do women over 40, like us keep weight off, have great energy balance. Our hormones in our moods feel sexy and confident and master midlife. If you're like most of us, you are not getting the answers you need and remain confused and pretty hopeless to ever feel like yourself. Again. As an OB GYN, I had to discover for myself the truth of about what creates a rock, solid metabolism, lasting weight loss, and supercharged energy. After 40 in order to lose a hundred pounds and fix my fatigue. Now I'm on a mission. This podcast is designed to share the natural tools you need for impactful results. And to give you clarity on the answers to your midlife metabolism challenges, join me for tangible natural strategies to crush the hormone imbalances you are facing and help you get unstuck from the sidelines of life. My name is Dr. Kyrin Dunston welcome to The Hormone Prescription Podcast.
(01:14): Hi, everybody. Welcome back to the hormone prescription with Dr. Kyrin. I'm so grateful that you chose to join us today. Welcome today. My guest, Dr. Betty Murray is going to help shed some light on why your cells’ fat switch is stuck, and you can't seem to lose any weight after four eight after 40. This is true for women, but also for men losing weight no longer is a math problem where it's calories and minus calories out. It becomes way more complex. And maybe you have really tried everything, you're at your wits end, and you just can't figure out what's wrong. No worries, Dr. Betty is gonna help you figure it out. She's the host of this functional life podcast and has a very dynamic practice. Her graduate work has focused on the difference inside the cell mitochondrial function and carbohydrate metabolism. Don't worry if you're like, what are you talking about?
(02:12): Betty is gonna explain it to you and she's gonna help you understand why if you don't risk anything, you risk even more. That's a quote from Erica young, which is prolific and really applies to us at midlife. So I'll tell you a little bit about Dr. Betty and we will get started. She's a nutrition expert, certified functional medicine practitioner and speaker Dr. Betty Murray. She's a PhD candidate. MSCN if F M C P all those initials after her name, she helps women over 40 harness their hormones to lose weight, optimize, sleep, restore, energy, and thrive in life. And who doesn't want that during her research for her PhD, she made four key discoveries that led to hormone imbalances that plague women over 40 restoring balance to these key metabolic pathways is the basis of her hormone reset program. She's the host of this functional life podcast and the founder and CEO of living well Dallas functional medicine center. And she's a frequently featured nutrition expert on Fox news, podcasting, CW 33, NBC and CBS. Welcome Betty Murray.
(03:20): Thank you for having me. I'm so excited to be here.
(03:23): Me too. I'm so excited to have you. I loved your interview and the stop, the menopause madness summit. And I said, Betty, you gotta come on the podcast and talk to all of us women over 40 about really what's going on inside ourselves. Why are we gaining weight? Um, we're gonna dive into that in a second, but I gotta share with everyone, or have you share why you're so passionate about this topic of weight gain in women over 40?
(03:53): I came to functional medicine and functional nutrition originally because I was diagnosed with colitis and I kind of went on my own journey to try and figure out how I could do things with my diet and lifestyle to keep from taking harsh drugs. And, you know, through that process was able to really, you know, kind of heal that. And honestly, I've been, you know, knock on wood flare free for more than a decade. And, but when I hit my forties, so I've never been a naturally thin person, but in my teens and twenties and thirties, I was able to maintain body composition by doing what everybody hears, you know, in high intensity intervals and doing some weight training and eating really, really lean right, low, low carb. And I could have the occasional cheat and it would all work when I hit my forties. It was like some major switch turned off.
(04:40): My hormones got worse. Like everybody talks about heavier periods, more moodiness and sleep problems that were already a problem. And that, you know, became almost unyielding, you know, two or three hours a night awake. And I went back to my functional medicine peers, cuz I was already in the industry and tried hormones, tried all these different things and no matter what I did, I might get my sleep slightly better, or I might, my periods might be a little bit better, but I could not lose weight to save my life. I'm a nutritionist. So, you know, it's one of those things like you don't wanna be sitting in the room with somebody talking about weight loss and those kind of things, when you yourself are struggling. And I, and I, and all the women I was seeing, I could just feel it for them cuz I was in it with them. And so when I went back to school for my PhD, cuz I just, I love to learn. That really was where I centered a ton of my research is what is different between men and women? Because I think any woman can tell you if they go on a dietary change with a male, it's like two different worlds, a guy gives up beer and pizza and they drop 20 pounds.
(05:44): Lettuce and...
(05:47): Let guys do the beer and pizza, no beer and pizza diet, which does not work for any woman.
(05:53): And most of the women I see are the ones that are like, I'm doing all the right things. They're working out, you know, every morning, and they're eating low, low-carb and they're drinking just water, and they can't figure out why it's not working. And so that's really where I went on this journey because I myself was in it. And I just I saw all these women struggling with it. And the other thing that just broke my heart, and it was true for me and true for most of my clients is at some point in our conversation, they would say, you know, Betty, I want my life to be about this, this next season. Right? Cause when you get to your forties and fifties, we're looking at this next season of life. Maybe it's I want to do this with it. I wanna have a bigger impact.
(06:30): I wanna have a better relationship. And then they would almost always say Betty, if my body was different, I could, if I felt at home in my body, if the vehicle that I'm driving every day was where I felt comfortable. My life would be better. Then I would do X mm-hmm <affirmative>. And that for me broke my heart because I think women in this time period of life, we are in such a great opportunity to leave our impact. However, we wanna do that, whether it's with our family and kids or reaching out into the world or change the world. But a lot of times we're holding ourselves back because we don't feel at home in our body anymore. That just drives me at this point. That's why I do my podcast. It's why it's, you know, I, I go to the clinic every day. It's why I really reach out and try and help women because I, I truly believe we are the ones that are gonna change the world.
(07:19): You're speaking my language. I got the chill, bums going all up and down because that's why I do what I do. And you know, it really gets to this quote you shared with me before we started from Erica J if you don't risk anything, you risk even more. And I see so many women just giving up because they can't do what they wanna do in life because of their health, they can't get their health where they want it to be. And I consider my mission to help women get physically in shape so that they can give, deliver the gifts that they have to give to the world that are gonna save the world. What are your thoughts on that?
(08:00): Absolutely. You know, I, and sometimes that risk, you know, is really uncomfortable. So when I work with women in my hormone reset group, part of what we do is we start acting on those dreams, desires and goals, even though we don't feel as if we should could or would, right? So I'll give a really good personal example and you know, people might be uncomfortable with this. So for obviously more than a decade of my life, I was not comfortable in my own body. It affected my relationship with my husband. Cause I'm like, please don't look at me. You know, please don't look at me. So one of the things that I started doing is I started taking pictures of myself, slightly provocative, nothing, nothing nasty, but you know, for my husband and I, you know, I would set up my phone on a little, you know, a little stand I'd take a bunch of pictures, I'd take 50 in one of 'em I'd be like, that's not too bad. Right. Cause that's where you brain
(08:49): It. Right.
(08:51): And then I would show them to 'em and he would be like, you look beautiful. It wasn't for that response. It was for me to look through all those photos and go, this one looks good. Cause it started out. This one looks okay. And then it started out going and then it started changing to, I look, look pretty in this one, I look hot in this one. I send this to me. And so like weird things like that, that it seems so foreign to people help you start to own that beauty. Like the younger women and today are embracing body positivity. And as healthcare workers, we, we have this fine line between, we want body positivity, but we need to be healthy, but you don't see anybody our age doing it, Paulina, PVA. She does it. But none of us are really standing in it and going, yes, you know, I have some scars, I have some, you know, I have some jiggly bits, but I'm still beautiful.
(09:39): You know, you know, it's so true. Let's have a little divergence. We're gonna get into the hard science. Y'all, don't worry. It is the hormone prescription podcast after all, but let's go down this little detour because I was actually thinking the same thing the other day, when I saw the cover of the new sports illustrated with the woman, who's very curvy. And I actually interviewed a woman on the podcast when I first started it several years ago, who is a younger woman. I believe she weighs 350 pounds who actually has a huge following about it. And I saw some of the comments about the sports illustrated cover. And they're saying, are we now, uh, condoning obesity and core health in service of not shaming anyone and being body positive. And I'm just wondering what other people's thoughts are. So since you brought it up, can you talk a little bit about that?
(10:33): Yeah. You know, it's, it is hard because I do think cuz I think it's a circular thought. I know my body opinion changed by the time I was at like at the end of elementary school. Right. As, as soon as you hit that tween years, I think a lot of times our eating habits and other things that may lead to weight gain. And then cuz it starts as a little bit of weight gain. Then you get a lot of metabolic changes that adds to that weight loss. It's not as easy as calories and calories out. But I think the shame that we feel about our body that often develops when we're teenagers that we carry into our adulthood, mm-hmm, <affirmative> perpetuates behaviors that also make us more likely to use food as comfort and emotional and those kinds of things. So I think there is an important part of body positivity, but I also think that we have to look at, if somebody is significantly overweight, they do have all kinds of additional risks for chronic disease like diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, even cancer. But I think if we keep coming at it from the shame game and making people feel less than, but whether it's through media or other things for not being, you know, the ideal 1% person, then we're gonna perpetuate a bigger problem, you know, mm-hmm <affirmative> so I think it is a timeline dance. And it's one that I struggle with all the time, how to, how to handle it in an emotional way. And then also in a professional way. Cause I have a pro professional responsibility, right. To be real of what the risk factors are.
(11:58): Yeah. I agree with you. Well I think when we look at a lot of health problems, there is shame attached to them. I think there's a lot of shame associated with type two diabetes for instance, or sometimes for hypertension or high cholesterol people think in their minds, oh, well you must be eating too much salt. You must be eating too much animal fat. You must be eating too much sugar, but we don't have that around things like autoimmune conditions. If someone has lupus or multiple sclerosis, we really don't have shame around that. So I don't know that weight issues are unique in that respect. I do think that our generation, well, at least I might be a little older than you, my generation. I mean, I was steeped in like a Dell Davis and Jack Lane and oh my gosh, thin and Twiggy and you got to be so thin.
(12:50): And I look back, I had to pull out some photos of myself when I was younger for my Ted talk, that's coming up and I look how skinny I was and I thought I was fat. I know <laugh> so that's, I think that's really insane making people who are healthy, feel like they're overweight, but I do think it's a very fine line cuz it's my understanding from the data that even a 10%, if you're 10% over your ideal body weight, there are consequences to be had from that. And that's not much if you're, if you're ideal body, weight's 150 pounds and your 15 pounds overweight, my understanding of the data is you are going to have consequences. And so I struggle with that. I still think we should embrace everyone. Scars, bulges, you know, skin blotches, all the things that we all naturally have and love that. But I don't think, you know, I personally don't think that the like the sports illustrated cover is condoning poor health. I think they're just celebrating beauty in all of its various forms.
(13:57): Absolutely. Well, the definition of beauty has been different over millennia, right? So if we look back into the Renaissance being curvy meant that you were fertile. Right? Right. So no, just depends what time period. So beauty is defined by time period and paradigm and the zeitgeist of the time I'm slightly younger than you, but I definitely hit the, you know, the supermodel era of the eighties. And then right after that, my early twenties was heroin chic, cuz nothing's better looking than somebody that looks like they do heroin. Right. <laugh> you know, and so you, you, those mixed messages and those messages that we get, I think are damning and damaging and metabolic damage that results in obesity, which is a hundred percent metabolic changes in the cells that cause that, but we take it and still as a medical community treated as a morality problem, which makes me crazy. Yeah. Because it's not a morality and a, and a behavioral problem. It is a metabolic problem that happens. And the problem is you can't give up eating. Right.
(14:57): Can't you cannot stop
(14:58): That. Yeah. It's like, oh, I'm just not ever gonna eat again. That doesn't work. So yeah. So I think it is all those things. So my goal going forward is to help people understand what's happening inside their cells, what's happening with their hormones, how we might be able to manipulate that both therapeutically in a short term to fix some of the problems and then how to live ongoing, where I can maintain a healthy weight. That means my body feels healthy. Cuz a lot of times the other thing is we, we have a number on the scale and it's often a number we've had like 18 to 22 and that's the number we feel like we need to be when we weren't at hormonal peak yet it might not really be the most ideal weight for us. And I like for people to focus on what does healthy feel like? What does it mean? Can I run around and play with my grandkids? Can I go hiking? Can I bike 60 miles in a weekend? Like those things to me are more meaningful because those are real gauges of, can you live your life? It's not a number on a scale.
(15:53): Yes. I love that. It isn't a number on a scale and light with that. Let's dive more into the science. So I know that you focus on four main areas that lead to hormonal balances that plague women over 40 and contribute to the weight game. I love how you talk about this cellular fat switch. And basically that this fat switch gets turned on by these factors. And we have to learn about them to turn that switch off. So let's start, start there and talk about what these factors are.
(16:28): Right? So some of these people may have heard these stats. So statistically a woman's metabolism will slow about 5% for every decade, right? And most women experience about a 10 to 15% increase in body weight around the belly, just from entering menopause. Right? So the thing to remember is that estrogen, when it's balanced with the other hormones and everything's working in, in, in synchrony is actually sliming. But when it's out of balance too high or too low, we have a problem. We have, we play that sort of exorbitant price for that. So part of what we see is we have inside the cell, we have mechanisms that help our cell either burn your carbohydrate forms like glucose or fat and really what's happening is that stuff has to be happening inside the cell in a very, very orchestrated way. And a lot of times we focus on you gotta lower your insulin, which then, you know, makes your body able to burn fat.
(17:26): Well, my question always was is if women's metabolism changes at a rate that's different than men, what role must estrogen play? Cuz it does. So there's a fat switch inside the cell and it's controlled by a cellular metabolite called uric acid. So uric acid gets produced inside the cell and it's produced when there's damage inside the cell when there's damage to the DNA in RNA. And so when your at acid rise rises inside the cell, it acts as a switch and lowers the cellular mechanic. So think of it as the powerhouse inside the cell, it makes that powerhouse slow down. So, you know, for anybody that's in our age group, instead of having a brand new rock and Tesla, you have a 1984, you go, so everything slows down and, and this, this came about, this is not my research. This is another gentleman. Uh, Rick Johnson, I believe he's found a university of Colorado, I believe that's right.
(18:18): But they found that this change, this mechanism is something that happened millions of years ago when we went from being ape two man. And it was what allowed us to make it through an ice age. So the apes that actually had this switch turned on where uric acid would come up and slow. The powerhouse survived, you know, a, basically a disaster, which was an ice age where food was not available. So this uric acid response is to some degree, a starvation response. It's also the response of hibernation. So that's how they found it. They started looking at bears and squirrels and things that hibernate. And as the bears go into the spring and summer, where they start eating more high fructose, I, environmental things like fruits and things like that, honey, we would see this increase in uric acid. They would start gaining body fat.
(19:06): And then when they got to the wintertime and they'd go to hibernate, they'd be able to use that body fat over the winter to survive. So the rise in uric acid slows the powerhouse and slows down your ability to burn fat. And it's doing it through a bunch of mechanisms, which we won't really go into. So the interesting thing is women. When they go through menopause, have an automatic increase in uric acid, to the extent of at least about a 0.2, a point and a two at a minimum. And part of this is there is interplay between estrogen and the cellular mechanics in the mitochondria that affect uric acid levels. So if uric acid rising inside the cell is the switch that tells the slow to slow down. And now we can't burn fat or carbohydrates very efficiently. It is intimately tied to the actions at perimenopause and menopause when we lose estrogen. So that's super huge because a lot of women are like, wait, I'm eating low carb, I'm burning 400 calories a day in my exercise and I'm eating 1200 calories. How can I possibly not lose weight? And it's cuz the hormones and the interest cellular the stuff going on inside the cell directly control whether you burn those calories or not.
(20:13): Cause your fat switch is off. Right? <laugh> it
(20:18): Right? It's on. It's on. Yeah. Well and then depending on what you eat, you may be turning it on all the time. Right? Cause food uric acid.
(20:27): Talk a little bit about that. Cuz everybody's wanting to know Betty, what foods are gonna be turning my switch on and which ones turn 'em off.
(20:34): Anything with fructose in it, high fructose corn syrup is the devil never eat it, never touch it. Don't do it. Anything with high fructose amounts now fruit like strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, apples do have some fructose resident in it, but it's got fiber and water and all this other stuff and it's not gonna raise that fructose level in your body. So fructose is the primary driver of uric acid in the body period, alcohol, sugar, processed flour. So anything that's baked, any kind of processed things that we've manufactured, cookies, crackers, breads, all of those things. If we eat them too much, they're gonna raise uric acid and then the other most insidious thing. And I think this is where this may be hiding for a lot of women. I know it is for a lot of women in my group is that a lot of the food additives raise uric acid, things like MSG, idolized, yeast extract, ye extract, flavor enhancements are all things that we've added to foods that make them taste more flavorful that actually raise uric acid.
(21:36): You know, you and I both grew up in the same age in the seventies. We had definitely a small percentage of the population that was overweight, but the obesity epidemic ballooned in the eighties and then it accelerated. So if we look at what happened to our food supply, high fructose corn syrup was introduced in the eighties, the use of crappy seed oils, which is a whole other conversation like soy corn, all of those things. And then the massive explosion of food additives and flu flavor enhancements has exploded. The other thing that raises uric acid and this is gonna upset. A lot of women I think are of these foods. So things like Parmesan, cheese, your charco trees. So all the women that are like, I just want a glass of wine and some cheese and crackers and, and some, you know, salami and I'd be happy, guess what? That food's gonna raise it. And I'm one of those people, like if I'm on my deathbed, I'm probably gonna have that. <laugh> <laugh>
(22:30): Okay. We'll get it ready for you, but maybe not so much right now. Right?