Why Can Women Gain Weight After Menopause
Various reasons can be attributed to menopausal weight gain. The onset of this stage in a womans life is accompanied by several bodily changes. A change in hormone levels, primarily estrogen, may have an impact on body fat distribution.
Many women in perimenopause and early postmenopause years may gain more fat as their estrogen levels decrease. Other factors contributing to weight gain at or after menopause include age-related metabolic changes and reduced physical activity as women age.
Why Menopause And Weight Gain Go Hand In Hand
Most women will gain about five pounds during the menopausal transition, Pinkerton says. While it might not seem like a lot, these five pounds may be compounded by a future weight gain or previous weight gain you’ve been trying to lose.
However, most of these causes are related to aging, not menopause. It just so happens these events all occur at the same time. That’s why menopause often gets the blame.
Here are some factors that contribute to weight gain during midlife and menopause.
Make A Plan To Stay Active
With age, many people let exercise fall to the bottom of their priority list. Maybe it’s because they’re busy, maybe it’s because they’ve become less body conscious with age, or maybe it’s due to comfortable ruts.
Regardless, the priority shift away from activity can have consequences. Many experts believe midlife weight gain has more to do with lifestyle than with hormonal factors related to menopause.
So your plan to lose weight after menopause should include a program to stay active. You may want to invest in a fitness tracker or activity monitor to make sure you’re getting enough movement to slim down or stay lean.
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Eat More Whole Foods While Cutting Back On Ultra Processed Items
“It is important to focus on including an abundance of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and plant-based protein sources like tofu, beans and lentils and small amounts of heart-healthy unsaturated fats like nuts, seeds and olive oil,” says Dr. Mittal. And while some processed foods are okay, it’s best to limit ones that don’t add much value to your day. “Limit ultra-processed foods that provide convenience, but most of the time do not offer much nutritional value but pack a lot of calories. Frequently, sugar-sweetened beverages, yes even that favorite treat from your local drive through coffee shop, are sources of added sugar, often leading to exceeding the World Health Organization recommendation of limiting added sugar for women to 25 grams daily.”
Can You Lose Weight After Menopause
Conventional wisdom suggests you can’t lose weight after menopause. Research says otherwise.
You’ve likely heard your whole life that weight loss becomes harder the older you get. There is some truth to that, of course. The metabolism of an average 25-year-old is typically higher than that of a 55-year-old. Likewise, a 30-year-old may be able to exercise longer than a 60-year-old.
Couple physical changes from aging with the hormonal changes brought about by menopause, and it may seem that losing weight after menopause feels really hard for most women.
“Weight gain is a problem for many women, despite maintaining the same diet and exercise routines that they’ve had for years,” says JoAnn Pinkerton, M.D., executive director of the North American Menopause Society. “Even if the number on the scale doesn’t change, women complain of a shift in fat to the midsection after menopause.”
Sound familiar? You’re not alone.
Here, how to help your body adjust to changes brought about by menopause so that you can keep weight off and maybe lose a few pounds too.
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Menopause And Weight Gain
Menopause and weight gain. It seems that these two things always go hand in hand for many women. Gaining some weight after menopause is not entirely uncommon. Menopause causes women to experience many distressing symptoms, like hot flashes, mood disorders, sleep disturbances, and more.
Obesity is considered to be one of the most important disturbances related to menopause. 65% of women between the age of 40 and 65 in the US are obese.
Gaining too much weight is linked with multiple health risks, like hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, and diabetes. Unfortunately, most women going through menopause will experience different menopausal symptoms, including weight gain. It is important to be proactive and take measures to control your weight after menopause.
This post will discuss menopause, subsequent weight gain, and how you can control menopausal weight gain.
Bottom Line: Can You Lose Weight During Menopause
Maintaining a healthy weight before and after the change is totally possible. Just because youre going through menopause doesnt mean you have to gain weight, Dr. Zeszutek reaffirms. Lifestyle tweaks such as prioritising sleep and stress management, eating plenty of lean protein, and adding strength training to your fitness routine can help keep you healthy in multiple ways after menopauseon and off the scale.
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Circuit Training For Weight Loss After Menopause
Circuit training is great at any age. This type of training lets you work on all your muscle groups during a single training session. It also burns a significant amount of calories. That is very important if youre looking to lose weight during menopause. Circuit training can increase your muscle mass and endurance.
Update Your Healthy Sleep Strategies To Rest Better And Fight Weight Gain
Insomnia is an extremely common symptom of perimenopause, which is the period of time when womens bodies transition toward their final menstrual cycle. And according to the North American Menopause Society, that transition phase can last for four to eight years. All that time spent waking up unrefreshed means youre probably feeling too exhausted to head out for a workout, too. Its imperative to get sleep as you get older, says Peeke. One of the things that truly helps combat the menopot is high-quality sleep.
Inadequate sleep impacts our hunger hormones, ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin and leptin become dysfunctional when you dont get enough sleep, so good luck trying to lose weight if you dont fix that problem, says Peeke.
Palumbo says that you should close your kitchen and brush your teeth by 7 p.m. This will keep you from eating late, which can keep you from getting restful slumber and cause you to pack on the pounds. You shouldnt be eating before you sleep, because it will interrupt your sleep, she says.
Aim for a minimum of seven hours of shut-eye, although this varies from person to person and over time. Keep your bedroom cool to offset hot flashes and night sweats, and turn off all glowing screens for at least an hour before you want to fall asleep. If you really cant fathom doing that, wear amber-lensed glasses to counteract the sleep-disrupting effects of blue light, or see if your device has an amber light setting, says Peeke.
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Menopause Belly Fat: Does Menopause Really Cause Weight Gain
This simple answer is yes. In a study that followed a number of women through all stages of menopause, it was found that almost all women gained fat and lost muscle mass. There are several reasons for this:
- Hormonal changes during menopause drive hunger, resulting in higher caloric intake.
- These hormonal changes also change where fat is stored. More commonly found around the hips in pre-menopausal women, menopause shifts fat storage to the stomach, leading to more noticeable abdominal fat or meno-pot.
- Menopause is linked to a slower metabolism, which increases weight gain.
- The menopause can result in higher levels of insulin in your blood, which causes your body to store more energy from your food intake than normal.
Other contributing factors to menopause belly fat include lower levels of physical activity amongst postmenopausal women, factors like retirement that lower the day-to-day need for burning energy or conversely high-level career progression that increases stress levels and results in weight-gain associated with said stress.
The long and short of it is that menopause belly fat is real. Whether caused as a direct result of physiological changes or lifestyle factors, its a problem many women experience.
No It’s 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 it’s 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 it’s a trend that doesn’t 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 scale’s upward spiral. Here’s how:
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Prioritize Exerciseincluding Strength Training
“To counteract the decrease in lean body muscle mass, it is important to include weight training two days per week, in addition to meeting minimum guidelines for moderate physical activity of 150 minutes per week. The increase in muscle mass not only helps with appearance, it helps to maintain metabolic rate and help improve insulin sensitivity, reducing risk for type 2 diabetes,” says Dr. Mittal.
Lifting weights will not make you bulky but instead will increase the number of calories burned at rest, which will make losing and maintaining weight loss much easier. Cardio exercise alone could lead to loss of muscle. If you don’t use it, you lose it.
How Can You Prevent Weight Gain During Menopause
The best things you can do to prevent menopausal weight gain are to get and stay active and watch what you eat.
If you notice your weight creeping up, reduce your caloric intake by a couple hundred calories a day. Limit sweets, sugary drinks, and alcohol, and stick with healthful foods high in nutrients and fiber.
Research shows that people who had a high adherence to a reduced-carbohydrate diet with moderate fat and high protein were at decreased risk of gaining weight during menopause.
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High Intensity Interval Training
One study found that women who followed HIIT workouts lost twice as much weight and improved their body composition more than endurance exercisers. A second study found that HIIT-style exercise training can reduce abdominal fat.
“Bump up the intensity of your aerobic exercise, slowly at first, until you get in better cardio shape,” Upton says. “Think about trying high-intensity functional fitness like CrossFit or a boot camp-style workout.”
Strength Training To Lose Weight After Menopause
Strength training can provide many benefits during menopause. Exercises like squats, lunges, and Kegels can help you avoid urinary incontinence due to low estrogen levels. It can also improve the quality of your sleep, which is a fundamental step to losing weight after menopause. Strength training has also been shown to aid in treating depression and mood swings.
These exercises are also very important to avoid muscle mass loss and improve bone density. Its always a good idea to start a strength training routine, as long as you perform exercises right and give yourself time to recover after a workout.
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How Do I Stay Fit During Menopause
Now that were monitoring our calories and opting for smarter meal choices, we need to begin a training routine that not only fights back against menopause symptoms, but assists our body. Before starting your fitness journey, remember this: Menopause and weight loss are not mutually exclusive. With enough will power and determination, we can remove unwanted weight loss from our lives and sculpt the body of our dreams.
During our womanly change, our bone strength begins to dwindle and the chances of developing arthritis rises. The way that we can fight back against this occurrence is by incorporating a strength-training routine into our daily habits. Located below are a few exercises you can do in the comfort of your own home or gym to build lean muscle and bone density:
- Walking with light dumbbells
- Bike riding
Each of these practices, when performed on a day-to-day basis, make menopause and weight loss easier to manage!
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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.
How To Lose Weight During Menopause
Losing weight, and keeping it off, becomes harder as we age. This is especially true for women going through menopause. Changing hormones , increased levels of stress, and the aging process as a whole can make it increasingly difficult to shed the pounds and keep them off.
And while its true that theres a lot working against women going through menopause who are trying to lose weight, with the right fitness and health plan in place its entirely possible to do so over the long term. Read on to learn about losing weight during menopause and more about keeping your body healthy after this change.
What Is The Best Diet For Menopause
The Mediterranean diet, popular in Greece and Italy, is a diet rich in vegetables, fruit, fish, and olive oil. The Mediterranean diet includes rare red meat consumption, which helps to reduce saturated fat. The plant proteins increase antioxidants.
The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health reports that the Mediterranean diet is excellent for heart health, blood pressure, brain health, and weight loss. And, it just so happens it may decrease menopausal symptoms, too.
The traditional Mediterranean diet is void of processed foods like refined carbohydrates and integrates healthy fats, says Trista Best, RD, a registered dietitian at Balance One Supplements. Both of these characteristics are excellent for women going through menopause because it is naturally anti-inflammatory and loaded with beneficial nutrients.
Lose Weight During And After Menopause
Many women experience weight gain during and after menopause, since a woman’s metabolism begins to slow down around this time. Middle aged spread is a common phenomenon where fat accumulates around the abdomen and buttocks rather than on the hips. A healthy diet and exercise can make it possible to lose weight during and after menopause.
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Hiit Your Menopause Symptoms Where It Hurts
Exercise routines that we used to stay fit and healthy in our 20s to early 40s no longer work the same way as we age. The key to losing your menopause belly fat is to shake things up. One of the single best types of exercise during menopause is high-intensity interval training , shown to help you lose weight faster and keep it off, especially during times when this can be more challenging, like menopause.
HIIT workouts are usually quite varied, which helps keep them from getting boring
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What Causes Weight Loss During Menopause
Weight fluctuation during a womans change is, without a doubt, one of the most common side effects. While most women seem to experience some sort of weight gain during the process, some women notice that they lose weight. Although losing weight at an unwanted rate usually leads to fatigue, mental fog and the inability to lead a normal life, it usually renders many women feeling powerless.
When our system becomes less sensitive to estrogen and progesterone, this can affect our appetite and causes some women to under-eat.
To understand this weight fluctuation in the body, we need to explore the hormonal changes developing below the surface. Without getting into the scientific details, its essential to know that our ovaries produce two hormones that control our biological functions: estrogen and progesterone. These two hormones are what assist you through your menstrual cycles, maintain fertility and allow you to feel like an empowered woman.
However, our menopause symptoms can wreak havoc on these hormones. In short, the ovaries stop producing eggs within the ovarian follicles and our system becomes less sensitive to estrogen and progesterone. This has an adverse affect on our appetite and causes some women to under-eat as the process occurs.