Losing Weight After Menopause Is Tough Here Are Tips That May Help
Stress changes hormones so we store more fat. Be aware that shifts in mood including increased irritability — can accompany menopause.
For Mary van den Berg-Wolf, 63, an internist in Bala Cynwyd, a ski accident and the resulting knee injury proved a wake-up call.
Knowing that every extra pound she carried translated into six pounds of additional pressure on that aching knee, she was determined to lose some of the 20 or so pounds she had gained between the ages of 45 and 50.
“My experience with weight loss was always trying to lose a couple of pounds, trying to be healthy, eating a low-fat, high-carb diet and thinking of it as calories in, calories out,” said van den Berg-Wolf. She often found herself cutting back on lunch and then devouring a box of low-fat cookies later in the evening.
And not losing weight.
Her experience, as many women can attest, is common. Shedding pounds after menopause is usually harder. But it’s not impossible, said Janine Kyrillos, director of the Jefferson Comprehensive Weight Management Program at Bala.
“People are resigned to gaining weight as they get older, and they assume that’s what’s going on,” said Kyrillos. “But there are lots of subtle things happening, including lack of sleep and increased stress levels.”
“If people pay more attention to what’s going on in their lives, it doesn’t have to be a fait accompli that they’re going to gain weight,” she said.
But what if none of these measures helps?
Crash Diets Don’t Work
You’ve probably noticed that crash diets don’t work the weight just comes right back again. The problem in perimenopause is that weight loss is more complex than “calories in/calories out” but that doesn’t mean that you can’t change your metabolism and lose unwanted pounds.
When your hormones are out of balance in perimenopause, balancing your hormones and optimizing your overall health are virtual requirements for losing unwanted weight and belly fat. A healthy diet and lifestyle and specific medicinal herbs and nutritional supplements can all help you get there.
Just because that fat hasn’t budged lately doesn’t mean that it won’t when you try a different approach!
|Want even more new ideas for stopping hormonal weight gain? Read our article: Demystifying perimenopausal weight gain.|
Eat Less Exercise More To Avoid Weight Gain
Gass says that while weight gain is not inevitable, most middle-aged women need to eat less and exercise more than they once did to maintain their weight.
âVirtually all of my patients who have been successful tell me they have done this,â she says.
She notes that weight gain around the time of menopause is much less common in Japan than in the U.S., suggesting that Western eating patterns are largely to blame.
Women in Japan typically eat more fruits, vegetables, and fish, and less sugar, red meat, and fast food than women in the United States.
âJapanese women also live longer than women in any other country , and their healthier diets are a major reason for this,â Gass says.
Barone Gibbs, B. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Aug. 28, 2012.
Bethany Barone Gibbs, PhD, assistant professor, department of health and physical activity, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pa.
Susan Williams, film producer, Atlanta, Ga.
News release, Academy of Nutrition.
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Lower Levels Of Estrogen Equal Higher Levels Of Insulin
Insulin is your body’s fat-storing hormone. The more insulin you have, the more fat your body retains. Estrogen helps combat spikes in insulin, but when estrogen levels fall, such as before and during menopause, your body has fewer resources to prevent the surge in insulin. The higher levels of insulin can lead to greater fat retention.
What Is The Average Weight Gain During Menopause
According to the Obesity in Action Coalition , the drop in estrogen that occurs during perimenopause and menopause causes an average weight gain of about five to ten pounds. Of course, this will vary for each individual dealing with the issue based on their own personal health.
Along with the hormonal fluctuations packing on pounds, symptoms like fatigue, joint pain, and digestion issues can all add up to more numbers on the scale. You might not be overindulging or changing your diet in any way, but still find yourself with gaining weight because you lack the energy or feel too uncomfortable to hit the gym or go on as many walks as you did before hitting menopause.
You might also notice and be irritated by that your clothes dont fit as well as they used to, even if you actually havent gained any weight. This happens when our hormones shift the way our bodies store fat. Prior to perimenopause, estrogen deposits fat in your thighs, hips, and buttocks, the OAC explains. During and after menopause, the drop in estrogen leads to an overall increase in total body fat, but now, more so in your midsection.
This becomes what is known as visceral abdominal fat which causes menopausal belly fat. Aside from affecting the way we look , this type of fat is associated with increased risk for serious conditions like heart disease, breast cancer, uterine cancer, diabetes, hypertension, stroke, sleep apnea, and many other troubling diseases.
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Menopause Symptoms Worsen Weight Problems
“During the menopause transition, night sweats, sleep disturbances and problems with mood are common and may affect a woman’s ability to adhere to a healthy diet and regular exercise program,” Pinkerton says. “Whether you are just trying to stay awake or combat a low mood, the candy bar may seem like a great energy booster.”
Similarly, she says, an exercise class may be a bit too daunting after a night of not sleeping well. The combination of poor food choices and lack of movement can lead to a gain around your midsection.
Its Better To Stand Than Sit If And When You Can
The formula is simple: The more time that your bodys in motion, the more calories your body will burn. One low-effort way to do that? Stay as vertical as possible throughout the day, Peeke says. Not only will that increase calorie burn, it can also help prevent other health problems. A study published in January 2018 in the journal Obesity found that prolonged sitting is connected to higher levels of abdominal fat, as well as fat thats accumulated around organs such as the liver, which increases risk for diabetes and heart disease.
Staying vertical isnt exactly the same as breaking out a full-on sweat . To stay upright more often, stand and pace when youre on the phone, or park further from the front door of the places youre going, so youll have to walk more. If youre a binge watcher, place a pedal exerciser on the floor in front of your couch, so you can fit in some needed movement while still catching up on all your favorite shows.
To stay upright more often, stand and pace when youre on the phone, or park farther from the places youre going so youll have to walk a little more. If youre a binge-watcher, place a pedal exerciser on the floor in front of your couch, so you can fit in some needed movement while still catching up on your favorite shows.
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Some Eating Behaviors Werent Sustainable
Barone Gibbs speculates that strategies that led to short-term but not long-term weight loss, such as restricting fried foods and eating out less often, may be difficult to sustain.
Margery L. Gass, MD, who is executive director of the North American Menopause Society, tells WebMD that while weight gain is common among women in their 40s and 50s, menopause is not to blame. Gass is a professor of obstetrics at the University of Cincinnati.
âIt happens to men as well as women,â she says. âFor some reason, as we get older weight seems to redistribute to our middles. This is not good because fat in the abdomen increases risk.â
Is There Any Relation Between Stopping Hormone Replacement Therapy And Weight Gain
One of the biggest disadvantages of HRT is the relation between stopping hormone replacement therapy and weight gain. Do you gain weight when you stop hormone replacement therapy? Clinical studies manifested the negative reaction of a human organism to a sudden stop of hormone therapy weight loss. The organism rapidly restores the lost pounds even if a patient keeps to a diet and is physically active. The NHS disapproves of this statement saying that men and women lose and gain weight during the menopausal transition regardless of hormone therapy for menopause weight gain.
Doctors usually warn about stopping hormone replacement therapy and weight gain consequences. Experts recommend stopping hormone therapy for weight loss abruptly or gradually. Everything depends on the situation. Though, due to the experience of leading HRT professionals, the answer to does hormone therapy cause weight gain will be positive when patients refuse from therapy in a day without gradual reduction of doses.
Besides belly fat, the sudden interruption of hormone therapy for weight loss can return severe symptoms of menopausal transition like climacteric vasomotor syndrome, sleeping troubles, night cases of excessive sweating, inability to manage stress, and others.
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A Sample Day On A Menopause Diet
Heres what a day of eating on the menopause diet by Ward and Wright looks like. Since meal timing is important, snacks are ideally eaten before dinner.
- Breakfast: 1/2 cup of oats made with 1 cup of low-fat milk mixed with 2 teaspoons of almond butter and a small, sliced banana served with 1 scrambled or hard cooked egg and coffee with low-fat milk.
- Lunch: Tuna mixed with 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise layered with lettuce and tomato between toasted whole-wheat bread. Serve with sliced red peppers.
- Dinner: Salmon served with 1/2 cup of cooked whole-wheat pasta tossed with 1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil and roasted broccoli.
- Snacks: 1/2 cup each plain, nonfat Greek yogurt and berries 3 cups popcorn sprinkled with 1 tablespoon parmesan cheese.
Menopause Weight Gain And You
If youve ever thought to yourself, how can I lose weight with hypothyroidism and menopause, I hope this article helped.
What I want you to know is that there are many reasons why weight gain during menopause is not insurmountable, and what you can do to put yourself on the right track today. Once you really identify and manage those causative factors, things can become easier.
Are you interested in maintaining a good, healthy body weight? What about dealing with some of the symptoms plaguing your everyday experience ? Regardless of hormone levels, or menopause status, your adrenals are the key. Learn more about them by taking the Adrenal Quiz today, and we can begin to talk through some of the first steps you can take to get your health back where it belongs.
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Tips For Losing Weight After Menopause
You may think since an imbalance of hormones is the cause of your weight gain, hormone therapy can solve your problems. While hormone therapy does treat weight gain, it poses additional health risks.
Most doctors dont recommend hormone therapy unless you have other health problems. Instead, you should try to address your menopausal weight gain with diet and exercise.
Make a sustainable plan. Weight loss is a long-term goal and should be treated that way. In order to maintain weight loss, you need to make lifestyle changes that support your health. Dont think about going on a diet. Instead, rethink your relationship with food. Make healthy eating a priority.
Keep it simple. Diet plans and exercise regimens often have hefty price tags and flashy promises. Weight loss fads may give you short-term results, but will they last? Dont overcomplicate weight loss. Its about eating less and moving more. Be serious about sticking to a healthy diet and watching how much you eat. Its OK to splurge once in a while on treats, but every day cant be a cheat day.
Count on cardio. Burning more calories than you take in is what causes weight loss. You should get at least 30 minutes of activity, 5 days per week. Remember that small changes can make a big difference. Park in the back of the parking lot when you go shopping. Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
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Stress And Depression During Menopause Can Cause Weight Loss
Hormonal changes during menopause can cause severely low moods in women. They can even lead to stress, irritability, and hopelessness. Sometimes, this is just a normal symptom of menopause, but there are times it could lead to chronic depression. This, paired with difficulty in sleeping that comes in naturally with age, can lead to loss of appetite, and in turn, an unhealthy loss of weight. This is just as bad as putting on weight, as the body still needs a healthy balanced diet to perform all its functions properly, irrespective of what the age may be.
Treatment A healthy diet can be very beneficial in boosting mood levels, especially if it includes foods that are rich in magnesium. Try and get some physical activity every day as exercise releases endorphins or feel good hormones and can significantly help in bringing down your stress levels.
In case you feel your mood swings are too severe or indicative of a more serious condition, such as depression, it is very important to seek professional intervention. Consult your doctor for advice he will discuss the possibility of various treatments with you, such as antidepressants which can help ease your symptoms.
Note: Always seek the guidance of your doctor before taking antidepressant drugs for you may be unaware of the serious side effects they could have on your health.
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No Its Not Entirely Your Fault Yes You Can Shed Those Extra Pounds
by Hallie Levine, AARP, July 30, 2018| 0
As you hit your mid-to-late 40s, you may notice that besides battling the occasional hot flash or mood swing, your favorite black go-to pants are starting to feel noticeably more snug. This time its not your imagination.
The average woman gains about four-and-a-half pounds as she starts the transition to menopause in her 40s, according to a landmark study. And its a trend that doesnt slow down, either: Women continue to put on about a pound and a half each year in their 50s and 60s, according to a new review published in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings.
The main reason is the natural loss of muscle mass that occurs with age, explains Jo Ann Pinkerton, M.D., executive director of the North American Menopause Society and professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Virginia Health System. Since muscle burns more calories than fat, your metabolism slows down, causing you to put on weight. Starting at age 30, research shows that you lose on average about a half pound of muscle each year and that number rises to almost a full pound once you hit 50.
Sounds daunting, but there are expert-approved ways to reverse your scales upward spiral. Heres how:
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Move More Once You Hit Midlife Say Experts
Weight gain may feel like its inevitable once youve entered your fourth decade, but the truth is, it doesnt have to be. Natural hormonal changes mean you may start to notice symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes, night sweats, and mood swings, but you dont need to idly accept that the number on the bathroom scale will steadily creep up, too.
Heres whats going on with your body if elastic-waist pants are now your go-to fashion staple: Weight distribution changes as you hit menopause, with the added pounds accumulating right around your belly. I named the extra fat that collects around your middle the menopot, says Pamela Peeke, MD, MPH, author of Body for Life for Women.
What we did when we were 30 and what we do when were 60 is very different, says Kathryn A. Boling, MD, a family medicine physician at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore. We have to adjust our exercise some as we get older. If youve lost some gusto, create incentives for yourself to stay moving. I have an Apple Watch, and I like to see that circle closed, she says. Peeke says you dont have to go to a gym, but you do need to do enough strength training to keep your muscles strong and your metabolism revved. Try activities that have you lifting, pushing, and pulling, she says.
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What Happens To Your Body During Menopause
Menopause changes our bodies regardless of whether youve had surgery or not. Obviously with menopause comes changes in terms of your hormones levels, mood, and some of the less pleasant symptoms like hot flushes and weight gain or body composition changes. However weight gain during menopause is not so simple Heres why!
During menopause women experience a reduction in oestrogen. This reduction in oestrogen means that the ratio of oestrogen to testosterone changes which changes how you store body fat. Often its not necessarily that you are gaining weight but sometimes its where you store weight that changes. You might naturally begin storing more weight around your hips and your stomach .
Along with this change in hormones, as we get older we lose muscle mass . This reduction in muscles mass means we burn less energy at rest, and our metabolism is reduced. In addition, we are often less active then we were when we were younger and after a sleeve when you lose a huge amount of weight, you arent only losing fat, you are losing muscle too!
So to sum it up. The surgery itself as well as ageing reduces muscle mass. Combine that with the hormonal changes that occur menopause. Add on top the fact that as we age were commonly less physically active. What does that equal? Often weight gain!