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Is It Normal To Lose Weight After Menopause

Get Restful Quality Sleep

Can You Lose Weight After Menopause

Many women in menopause have trouble sleeping due to hot flashes, night sweats, stress, and other physical effects of estrogen deficiency .

However, getting enough high-quality sleep is important for achieving and maintaining a moderate weight.

People who sleep too little have higher levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin, have lower levels of the fullness hormone leptin, and are more likely to be overweight .

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.

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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Types Of Foods That Can Make Menopause Worse

Diet can impact a womans menopause symptoms in both a positive and negative way, says Best. Eliminating, or cutting back on, the following things can help improve how you feel.

  • Processed foods: The rule of thumb I tell patients is to eat as close to the natural state as possible, says Dr. Mandal. If it comes in a bag or plastic wrapper, try to avoid those kinds of foods because most likely those are very processed foods.
  • Refined carbohydrates: For instance, white rice, pasta, and potatoes, are linked to spikes in blood sugar and an increase in insulin resistanceand hot flashes. Instead, opt for whole grains such as brown rice. Cut back on sugary foods like cookies, cakes, and candy.
  • Alcohol: It can exacerbate menopausal symptoms. If youre drinking more than one alcoholic beverage a daymore than five ounces of wine or 12 ounces of beerthat can not only make hot flashes worse but make you prone to the mood swings and irritability that can happen with menopause, says Dr. Mandal.
  • Spicy foods: They arent necessarily bad for you, but they can bring on hot flashes for some, so women may try cutting back on spicy foods if they notice worsening symptoms after eating them.
  • How Long Does Menopause Weight Gain Last

    How to Lose Weight during Menopause

    How much you might gain and over how long a time period is highly individual. A lot depends on your overall diet, activity level, and muscle toneand not just your menopausal status.

    Some data indicates that weight starts to plateau when youre in your 50s and then drops in your 60s. Other research shows that women tend to keep gaining weight through their sixth decade of life.

    How much of the weight gain is related to menopause and how much is related to the other aging factors isnt entirely clear.

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    Focus On Healthy Fats

    Women often find themselves reaching for Fat-Free foods because they appear to be a healthy choice. The reality of the situation is that these foods often contain outrageous amounts of sugar in place of these fats.

    Fat in food is not necessarily a bad thing. Nourishing your body with minimally-processed sources of fat such as nuts, fish, and fresh produce helps to fight a number of health conditions including heart disease and colon cancer.

    Change Up Your Workout

    Proper diet and exercise are the hallmarks of healthy weight loss and weight management. However, you may find it much harder to lose the weight during postmenopause with your regular workout routine.

    Menopause changes your metabolism, and as a result, once tried and true exercises may not be as effective any more. Thankfully, there is an endless supply of other workout techniques that you can utilize instead.

    It is typically best to focus on increasing your muscle strength. This will not only improve your figure, but will also help to keep your body healthy and strong. A good way to ease into weight training is to begin with resistance bands.

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    A Drop In Estrogen Levels

    Changes in levels estrogen contribute to weight gain.

    Estrogen is one of the primary sex hormones in females. It plays a role in:

    • physical sex characteristics
    • regulating cholesterol levels

    During menopause, estrogen levels dip substantially.

    Low estrogen during menopause does not directly cause weight gain, but it may lead to increases in total body fat and abdominal fat. Doctors associate excess weight during middle age with heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

    Hormone replacement therapy may reduce the tendency to gain abdominal fat.

    Unexplained Weight Loss During Menopause

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    If youre feeling the complete opposite to the above, and have actually experienced unexpected menopause weight loss, youre not alone!

    During the start of menopause, a womans ability to gain fat doubles while her lean muscle mass decreases.31

    However, muscle weighs more than fat, so if your bodys level of fat remains stable while your muscle decreases, you may see unexpected weight loss.

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    How To Lose Weight After Menopause

    You can lose weight after menopause, contrary to popular opinion.

    You may have heard weight gain in middle age is unavoidable, or that weight loss is impossible after the transition. However, research has shown it is possible to lose weight after menopause, and it’s a smart choice if you’re overweight and want to improve your health.

    What Happens After Menopause

    As you wind down from the menopause, your body continues to go through a lot of changes. While your hormone levels adjust to a new normal, you can face changes to different parts of your body, and your health.

    Common post menopause symptoms:

    1. Your hot flushes will stop – eventually

    As your hormones settle down, so will perimenopausal symptoms like hot flushes. Hurrah! However, they may continue for up to 8 years – and things might get worse before they get better. “Leading up to menopause, your oestrogen levels fluctuate. When they’re high, you don’t have symptoms,” gynaecologist Dr. Kevin Audlin explains. “But when you go into menopause and there’s a complete lack of oestrogen, you start to notice those symptoms more.”

    2. Your breasts may look different

    Postmenopausal breasts may shrink, change shape, lose firmness and become more prone to lumps. This is because weight can fluctuate during the menopause, meaning your breasts lose their elasticity. Time to go for that bra fitting.

    3. Your weight distribution will change

    Fat is less likely to settle on the hips and thighs post menopause – but more likely to settle on the waistline. It’s thought that the body attempts to hoard’ oestrogen in fat cells around the belly area, but experts warn that this kind of fat has been associated with diabetes, heart disease, stroke and even some cancers. Discover our tips to help you deal with menopause weight gain here, if you are concerned.

    4. Sex may become more painful

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    Eat Less Sugar Lose More Weight

    The study included about 500 overweight and obese postmenopausal women with waist sizes greater than 31.5 inches. None of the women had high blood pressure, heart disease, or diabetes.

    Half the women followed a weight loss plan that included regular meetings with nutritionists, exercise specialists, and psychologists. None of these options were available to the other women, but they were given the opportunity to attend seminars on general health.

    The women were followed for four years. During this time those in the nutrition and exercise group lost an average of 8 pounds, compared to around half a pound among those in the general health group.

    Behaviors associated with weight loss at six months in the combined groups included eating:

    • Less sugar
    • Fewer fried foods
    • Eating out in restaurants less often

    After four years, behaviors linked to long-term diet success emerged:

    • Also eating fewer desserts and drinking fewer sugar-sweetened beverages
    • Eating more fruits and vegetables and fewer meats and cheeses

    The study appears in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

    How Can You Get Rid Of Menopausal Belly Fat

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    Theres no magic formula or food that can specifically target the size of your mid-section. You cant spot-reduce fat, Dr. Faubion says. Heres what can help reduce belly fat: steady, sustainable weight management that happens holistically. That encompasses the tips in this articlegetting good sleep, moving your body regularly, and managing stressas well as eating a nutritious diet filled with a range of whole foods.

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    Talk To Your Doctor At Atlanta Obstetrics & Gynecology

    There is no reason as to why you need to go through this journey alone. Your physician can assist you by giving you information and advice on which foods would be best for you, while also checking to make sure that the intensity of your new workout routine is safe.

    To consult with one of the menopause management professionals here at Atlanta Obstetrics & Gynecology in Atlanta and Brookhaven, GA, please call our office today at 355-0320 to schedule your appointment.

    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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    Give Your Body The Rest It Needs

    This is a good rule for any happy and healthy routine, but especially during menopause when your hormones and moods fluctuate, difficult to manage on a bad nights sleep.

    Getting enough sleep helps to manage these hormones.18

    Plus, not getting enough sleep can increase your appetite and decrease your ability to resist unhealthy snacks, so sleep is an important weapon in your fight against menopause weight gain.

    What Causes Weight Gain During Menopause


    Weight gain during menopause has a variety of causes. Some of the gain is due to the bodys natural aging process. As your age creeps up, estrogen and muscle mass decline. That slows your metabolism and changes the way your body stores and distributes fat, leading to weight gain.

    Lifestyle factors such as becoming more sedentary and developing sleep problems can also promote weight gain.

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    Foods To Eat During Menopause

    A menopause diet plan involves a few key steps:

  • Eat a well-rounded diet rich calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D. Increase your consumption of fruits, greens, colorful vegetables, and dairy productssuch as yogurt, cheese, and milk. The decline in estrogen as women go through menopause obviously increases their risk for certain things like osteoporosis, so getting foods rich in calcium is very important, says Soma Mandal, MD, womens health specialist and author of Dear Menopause, I Do Not Fear You.
  • Consume omega-3 fatty acids.Research shows that omega-3s can decrease the frequency of hot flashes and the intensity of night sweats. There are times when you can supplement omega-3s, but I really encourage my patients to get their omega-3s first through food, which includes fish such as salmon, mackerel, and tuna and vegetarian sources like flax seeds and chia seeds, says Dr. Mandal.
  • Add foods containing plant estrogens, or phytoestrogens. Broccoli, cauliflower, dark berries, chickpeas, and soybeans can help mimic estrogen and reduce some menopausal symptoms, says Dr. Mandal.
  • The following foods can help strengthen bones and relieve menopause symptoms:

  • Dark green leafy vegetables, especially spinach and kale
  • Yogurt
  • Chickpeas and other legumes
  • Soybeans or foods like tofu, tempeh, and soy milk
  • If you find you cant take in enough of these nutrients through a healthy diet alone, a calcium and magnesium supplement may be beneficial during this time as well, says Best.

    What Is Menopause Exactly

    Menopause refers to the natural and permanent end of a womans menstrual cycle something many of us will hardly be complaining about and usually occurs between the ages of 45 and 55. Peri-menopause is the stage when periods become irregular and can last several years in the lead up to menopause. Post-menopausal refers to a woman who hasn’t had a period for 12 months or more.

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    Best Way To Lose Weight During Menopause

    First of all, to facilitate the process of weight loss, you will need to reduce the number of calories consumed and significantly minimize the consumption of sugary and other carbohydrate-rich foods. Because, the body will not be able to use glucose effectively and will inevitably transform it in the form of fat to the waist, abdomen, hips and other problem areas. Secondly, the high content of carbohydrates in the products leads to an increase in insulin levels, which in the long run also harms both health, well-being, and figure.

    How Many Steps Do I Need Daily To Lose Weight During The Menopause Years

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    One study analyzed the step habits of 79 healthy postmenopausal women. The findings showed that the higher physical activity, the lower the obesity in postmenopausal women. The researchers observed that the recommended 10,000 steps/day seems insufficient for postmenopausal women. They recommended that postmenopausal women walk at least 12,500 steps per day to improve their health. While 12,500 steps per day is an ambitious undertaking, its worth working towards if youre struggling to lose weight.

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    Keep Portions In Check And Time Your Meals Right

    Your metabolism has slowed down by the time you hit menopause with some research suggesting it burns a couple hundred calories fewer a day. You can very quickly avoid 200 calories, but that can also very quickly add up if you dont reduce the number of calories you consume, says Christine Palumbo, RD, a nutrition expert in Chicago.

    Its also this time in your life, Palumbo notes, when you may be easing up from the daily duties of preparing meals for your family, and you just want to take a break from the kitchen. She has cooked for 25 years, and is sick of it, and she just wants to go out to eat, says Palumbo. What happens then is that you will inevitably eat twice as many calories as you need at that meal, and its often accompanied by alcohol, which is also associated with abdominal weight gain. Order appetizers as entrees and ask for a to-go container for leftovers when you do indulge in a large main course.

    Time Meals And Snack Right To Counter Mindless Eating

    Its not just what you eat when you are following a mid-life diet that matters, but also when you eat. Midnight ice cream binges and potato chip raids, for example, are generally bad ideas and would be a poor choice even during the light of day. But the general message on food timing is clear: Dont eat too much too late, Peeke says. Eating later in the evening is murder for trying to keep weight off.

    Another way to keep snacking calories in check is to avoid mindlessly nibbling throughout the day or falling into the dreaded afternoon snack trap. What a menopausal woman does from 3 p.m. on every day can determine how big her belly is. Thats when most women tend to overeat and oversnack.

    To help rein in your snacking, Peeke says to start paying attention to your circadian rhythm. Eat during a window of 8 to 12 hours a day, and then dont eat for the rest of the time. Experts find this imperative to take care of weight at any age, but especially during menopause, she says.

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