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Can Going Through Menopause Cause Weight Gain

Shrink Belly Fat With Tai Chi Or Quigong

Menopause Weight Gain: What Causes it & How to Prevent it

Maybe youve never tried it or perhaps youve seen a group of people practicing tai chi together in a public park but a recent research study from Hong Kong showed that this Chinese discipline of low-impact meditative movements could help trim waistlines in middle aged and older adults. This study, published in the June 2021 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine, found that people age 50 and older with central obesity who practiced tai chi for 12 weeks shrunk their bellies as successfully as those who participated in aerobic exercise and strength training for the same amount of time. The study authors wrote that tai chi health benefits similar to those of conventional exercise and thus provides an alternative and more amenable exercise modality for middle-aged and older adults to manage central obesity.

Other Exercise Tips To Help Ensure Success

Before you begin exercising:

  • Talk to your doctor about a new exercise program. Choose activities you enjoy so you’ll stick with your workouts.
  • Find an exercise partner to help you stay motivated.
  • Buy supportive shoes — the right ones for your activity.
  • Pick a start date and start.

After you begin exercising:

  • Allow at least 10 minutes to warm up before starting to exercise rigorously. To do this, choose an activity that gently works major muscles.
  • Before you work out, stretch the muscles that will absorb most of the shock of your exercise routine.
  • If you have any new pain while exercising, stop and let your doctor know.
  • Gradually boost the distance, length, or intensity of your workout.
  • Mix it up. Do different exercises to keep from getting bored and to keep your body challenged.

For the best fitness results, combine your exercise efforts with good nutrition. Here are just a few tips:

  • Choose whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and lean protein.
  • Stay away from processed foods.
  • Keep a food diary, or explore programs for your computer or apps for your cell phone, to help you watch how many calories you eat.
  • Don’t eat too late in the evening.
  • When you eat out, take half the serving home.
  • Eat smaller amounts but more often.

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Effect Of Hormones On Menopausal Weight Gain

Menopausal weight gain averages about five pounds for many women, with about 20% of women gaining 10 pounds or more. This can begin during the period of perimenopause, a stage during which your estrogen levels begin to change, and progesterone declines in preparation for menopause.

The age at which perimenopause occurs varies for each woman, ranging from the mid-30s to early 50s. For many women, menopausal symptoms like weight gain occur most intensely during this period.

Research suggests that normal estrogen levels help control body fat before menopause, but women may lose this protection as estrogen levels decline with menopause. The change may also contribute to increased fat storage by affecting the way your body uses sugars and starches, which can make it more difficult to lose weight.

The hormonal changes that occur with menopause can also affect the way your body gains weight. Younger women tend to gain weight around their hips and thighs. After menopause, youre more likely to add pounds around your abdomen, similar to the way men add weight.

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Tips For Weight Management

Despite all of the supplements and other supposed solutions to menopause weight gain that are available these days, theres no magic formula for stopping it. Under your doctors supervision, you can minimize menopause-related weight gain with a healthy lifestyle. This includes eating fewer calories, exercising regularly, and building muscle.

How To Reduce Menopausal Weight Gain

Understanding Your Menopausal Weight Gain

While your risk of weight gain during menopause is higher, it doesnt mean its inevitable. Research indicates that women who succeed in preventing menopausal weight are those who remain active in the years leading up to and beyond menopause. Adding weight-resistance exercises and strength training to build muscle mass can also help increase your metabolism.

Changes in diet and eating habits can support the benefits of exercise. Your body needs about 200 fewer calories in your 50s than you did in your 30s and 40s. If youre struggling to establish healthy habits, you may benefit from nutrition counseling or medical weight management to help you reach and maintain a healthy weight.

Avoiding or minimizing weight gain during menopause can help reduce your risk of health problems associated with obesity. It can also improve your self-confidence and lead to a better quality of life during menopause and beyond.

Find out more about weight gain during menopause and what you can do to remain healthy as you age. to schedule a medical consultation today.

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Watch Your Carbohydrate Intake

Not all nutrients are created equal, and some experts believe that a steady diet heavy in unrefined carbs like pasta and bread are a significant factor for excess belly fat. Carbs are the enemy of the middle-aged woman, says Dr. Boling. If you are perimenopausal, look at how much sugar you are eating. Carbs turn into sugar in our bodies. Some turn faster, like candy bars, oatmeal burns slower, but eventually it all turns to sugar. If you are aware of how many carbs you are eating, you are going to do better. Research published in April 2017 in the British Journal of Nutrition found that a reduced-carbohydrate diet may decrease the risk of postmenopausal weight gain.

Menopause Weight Gain: Why It Happens

Getting older and becoming less active causes loss of muscle mass, which slows down the metabolism. According to experts, itâs this, rather than the menopause itself, that bears the brunt of the responsibility for weight gain in middle age. However, fluctuating hormone levels also play their part.

New evidence suggests that plummeting estrogen levels may encourage us to eat more and exercise less, lowers the metabolic rate, and increases insulin resistance, making it more difficult for our bodies to deal with sugars and starches.

Our hormones also influence fat distribution. Perimenopause weight gain is often associated with the laying down of fat around the abdomen and internal organs, as opposed to the hips and thighs. Feeling stressed? Stress hormones like cortisol promote the growth of that pesky spare tire. Itâs not simply a cosmetic issue, either â the more inches you add to your waistline, the higher your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and even certain cancers.

Dr. Fatima Cody Stanford, instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School, explained, ââThe changeâ actually does bring changes for many women, including weight gain that can resist even the most diligent efforts to reverse it.â

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Vary Your Workouts And Try New Activities

Its easy to get into an exercise rut, and even easier to fall out of the habit of exercising at all. But at this stage of your life, not getting your move on is not an option. Ideally to keep your weight in check, youll be working out three or four times a week with the injection of some HIIT and it only needs to take 15 to 20 minutes, says Peeke. Its extremely effective at keeping excess body levels of fat down, and make sure to get in some weight training, even if its just using your own body weight.

So potentially take a Zumba or barre class. See what all your buddies are talking about and join them one weekend for a beginner class at a CrossFit center. Give PiYo a go . There are so many different exercises to try, youll be able to find ones you like and stick with them.

Or maybe youll enjoy the chase of trying out new workouts regularly. According to research published in the Journal of Sport Behavior, adding variation to your exercise routine may be the most successful way to make you stick with it. Any kind of physical activity is better than none at all, but if your body gets too accustomed to a routine, it wont burn belly fat as efficiently as when you first started working out.

What Is A Menopause Diet

Lose Weight During Menopause I Causes of Perimenopause Weight Gain

Theres no singular menopause diet, however, Ward pointed out that the menopause diet plan in her book with Wright grew out of decades of working with women, personal experiences and a deep dive into the scientific literature. The research resulted in an eating plan that works well both before and after menopause. Here are the basic principles of the books menopause diet:

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Adjust Your Coping Strategies And Address Your Stress Levels To Help Reduce Weight Gain

If your fat is making you feel stressed or vice versa for that matter dont disregard that link. There is a stress-fat connection, Peeke says. If you walk around completely stressed all the time, your cortisol levels will increase, and that will make it easy for you to deposit fat deep inside the belly.

Cortisol, known as the stress hormone, stimulates the liver to increase production and release of blood sugar and helps the body convert fats, proteins, and carbohydrates into usable energy. As part of the bodys fight or flight response, cortisol is released during stressful times to give your body a natural energy boost, but when cortisol levels are constantly high because of chronic stress, these same effects may result in insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.

To reduce stress and belly fat, employ quick and simple techniques to help calm you down.

How Much Weight Do You Gain During Menopause

During the whole menopause period, women are likely to gain between 10 to 15 pounds on average. The range, however, can vary between three to 30 pounds. Women who were already overweight can experience more weight gain.

Ive heard it from so many women: They feel like their bodies have betrayed them when it comes to losing weight at this stage. This can pose a challenge to women accustomed to losing weight quickly. But theres somewhat of a silver lining: Theres a massive boat of gals sailing the same waters, as almost 90% of us tend to gain weight during this period.

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The Effects Of Menopausal Weight Gain

The impact of menopausal weight gain can affect more than your appearance. Being overweight at any age increases your risk of cardiovascular disease, a condition that causes almost 50% of deaths in women over age 50. This group of health conditions includes hypertension, stroke, myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure, and valvular heart disease.

Women who are overweight have an increased risk of high cholesterol, sleep disorders, and some cancers. Obesity is also a risk factor for dementia, urinary incontinence, and musculoskeletal disorders like osteoarthritis, all of which can affect your quality of life as you age.

Being overweight can also impact your appearance, self-esteem, physical competence, and how you interact with others. Depression and depressive symptoms are common psychosocial consequences of obesity.

How To Fight This Menopausal Weight Gain

Health Treasure

The internet is full of supplements that claim to help you lose weight and boost your metabolism before and during menopause. But Hofmeister doesnt know of any that actually work. Unfortunately, there is no magical pill as the solution, she said.

The tried-and-true weight-loss strategies that are effective in other life stages can work now, too. That means you should:

  • Choose a diet high in whole foods, vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and legumes
  • Limit processed foods and red meat
  • Watch your portion sizes

Hofmeister has a few more weight-loss tips for this stage of life:

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Hormone Replacement Therapy: Will It Make Me Fatter Or Fitter

Since we often put weight on because our estrogen levels are low, usually we can keep that weight off or, at least, gain less by replacing estrogen. It makes sense, right? But then why do so many women say that they gain weight on HRT?

Thats the million-dollar question but theres actually a simple and logical answer.

First, lets look at the facts about HRT and weight: A widespread look at HRT, the PEPI trial as well as other smaller studies found that while women on HRT did often put on a few pounds, those women who werent on HRT gained more weight. In fact, some studies have shown that many women actually lose weight on HRT .

One possible reason: When youre in premature menopause, your estrogen levels drop so your body may try to up its fat content to store and produce as much estrogen as possible.

When you go on HRT during early menopause youre getting the estrogen your body would otherwise have had if youd entered menopause at the normal age. The replacement of estrogen appears to reduce the bodys inclination to accumulate and store fat.

In addition, when your estrogen levels are low, you tend to put on weight in your middle more like a man. This accounts for the disappearing waistline that so many women in premature menopause experience.

When you replace estrogen, your body may revert to a more normal pre-menopausal weight-distribution, which for most women means putting weight on in their hips, thighs and lower abdomen instead of the middle.

Do You Gain Weight During Menopause

Weight gain is often the number one enemy for most women worldwide, regardless of age. While some women are more prone to gaining weight long before menopause kicks in, others may notice abdominal weight gain during this transition.

Unfortunately, as you age, it becomes harder to maintain your usual weight. And by the time menopause starts, several hormonal changes occur that only add to the challenge. The good news is, you can avoid gaining weight by sticking to a proper diet and getting regular exercise during menopause.

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How Can I Stop Menopause Weight Gain

For those just who are just beginning to enter perimenopause or menopause and looking for ways to stop the weight gain before it takes over, there are thankfully some simple tips out there.

Elizabeth Ward, MS, RD, co-author The Menopause Diet Plan, A Natural Guide to Managing Hormones, Health, and Happiness , explained to TODAY that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to avoiding menopause belly fat. However, after spending decades observing women and their experiences with the change, she shared some insights that can help.

Ward suggests switching to a plant-based diet. More specifically, A balanced eating plan rich in plant foods supplies the right mix of healthy fats, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. She says this will promote better health in women, particularly those ages 45 and older who may be going through the menopause transition.

If nixing meat entirely doesnt appeal to you, Ward also recommends the Mediterranean diet and says it may even help women experience fewer menopause symptoms. In this case, the idea is to eat meals rich in whole, non-processed foods, including nuts, seeds, whole grains, healthy fats like olive oil, and moderate portions of protein from things like beans, eggs, dairy products, fish, and chicken.

Recent studies have shown that combining both ideas for a plant-based Mediterranean diet is especially beneficial for weight loss and boosting heart health, so you might want to give them both a try!

What Home Remedies Are There For Weight Gain

Menopause weight gain â 7 reasons youâre piling on the pounds

Most women try to counteract the weight gain at home, and if this is done correctly can be the most effective means of preventing the weight from building up.

  • Be careful with your diet what you eat is going to have a significant impact on your weight. Eat a healthy balanced diet containing plenty of protein, low starch vegetables and fruit which dont have a high quantity of sugar, such as pears and berries. Drastic dieting is unlikely to get you anywhere, as the chances of putting the weight you lost and more back on are fairly high. It is not good for your body. Maintaining a healthy diet is a more effective and healthier option
  • Keep your muscles toned – muscle is more effective at burning calories than fat. When you go through the menopause, your muscle mass naturally decreases, causing you to gain weight. Keeping your muscles toned is more effective at keeping the weight off than crash dieting
  • Exercise be honest with yourself about how much exercise you are really doing each day, especially in comparison with when you were 20 or 30 years younger. Exercise is the most effective way of burning calories with swimming, cycling or walking being among the most beneficial.

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Demystifying Perimenopausal Weight Gain

Perimenopausal weight gain feels different for many reasons. The excess pounds seem to go on more easily and are much, much harder to lose no matter how often you diet or exercise.

Gaining weight in perimenopause is also extremely common nearly 80% of the women who took our Menopause & Perimenopause Quiz last year reported moderate to severe weight gain as a symptom.

Excess weight in perimenopause appears without explanation and quickly becomes another obstacle that prevents you from feeling and looking the way you want to at this sensitive time in your life. Perimenopause is the time in life when everything feels like its changing beyond your control. When you add in the frustration of gaining weight that you just cant seem to lose, its very discouraging.

The truth is perimenopausal weight gain is different. Thats why losing that weight will require something different too. The first step is to understand whats really causing you to gain weight right now. The reasons are probably not what youd expect:


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