How Can You Prevent Weight Gain After Menopause
When it comes to preventing menopausal weight gain, there are some steps you can take.
- Exercise: If youre not working out, its never too late to start. Or if you do work out, evaluate your routine to see if it needs some adjustment. According to Scientific American, there are three types of activity women over 50 should focus on: aerobic, resistance or strength training, and restorative. For aerobic, find cardio you enjoy. This could be walking, swimming, biking, dancing, etc. Resistance or strength training will help you keep or build muscle mass for a strong metabolism. Try our free resistance training guide if youre not sure where to start. And finally, for restorative, try yoga or breathwork.
- Nutrition: There are certain things to keep in mind as you eat during menopause. Many studies show that low-carb, high-protein diets work well for weight loss and reducing abdominal fat. Watch your sugar intake, fuel up on vegetables, and stay hydrated by drinking at least 64 ounces of water daily.
Support: And most importantly, find those who will support your efforts to live a healthy lifestyle through menopause and on. Whether it be a friend who will go to the gym with you or your family who will support you with healthy meals, rally up a support system to see the most success. Need some extra support? Read on to learn how Profile can help.
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.
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.
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Eat Lean Clean And Green
What you eat during and after menopause is just as important as when you were a growing child. Cut out processed foods and cut back on carbohydrates.
Now that you know how a reduction in estrogen affects blood sugar, its important to not overload your new tolerance. Sugar that isnt used is stored as fat.
Eating clean means avoiding chemicals, including those used in the raising of conventionally-grown produce. Organic, natural, non-GM foods devoid of preservatives and other additives will nourish your body without further taxing it with added toxins.
It Can Help Manage Weight Gain
Changes in hormone levels can cause weight gain during menopause.
A clinical trial in 2012 studied the effects of acupuncture on weight gain, lipid profile, immunogenic and inflammatory markers.
The study combined lower calorie diets with acupuncture treatment in obese patients.
When the effects of lower calorie diets alone were compared with the effects when combined with acupuncture, it was found that changes in most of the parameters were more significant when acupuncture was used in addition to a diet change.
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It Can Reduce The Effects Of Lost Libido
One of the potential symptoms of menopause is that it can cause a lowered libido.
A 2016 study was done with premenopausal patients with HSDD, or hypoactive sexual desire disorder, which is the most common type of sexual dysfunction in women.
In this study, they tested the effects of twice-weekly 25-minute acupuncture sessions, and found sexual function improved within 5 weeks of receiving consecutive acupuncture treatment.
How Menopause Can Lead To Weight Gain
- Less estrogen. During perimenopause, your ovaries dont produce as much estrogen. Low estrogen levels decrease your metabolism, and make it more likely youll store fat, especially in your belly.
- Less muscle mass. As you age you lose muscle mass, which also decreases metabolism.
- Poor sleep. Its common for perimenopausal women to have trouble sleeping, and a lack of sleep increases your cortisol or stress hormone levels. When you dont sleep well, youre more likely to make poor food choices and skip your workout.
- Poor diet. If youre busy with work, family, and other commitments at this stage of your life, youre more likely to grab fast food or processed food to save time.
- Avoiding exercise. You may scale back your workout routine if you find it leads to hot flashes.
The sad truth is, during perimenopause and menopause, these changes mean that if your diet and exercise remain the same, your weight could increase.
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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 To Control Weight Gain Around Menopause
Dont despair you can reverse weight gain. Women who go through our programme can lose weight without dieting. Although weight gain is widespread during menopause, there are steps you can take to prevent or reverse it.
- Get your body back into good nutritional shape make sure your body isnt deficient in critical nutrients, which is the case for millions of women around the world. Take a good multivitamin every day, such as Fema 45+. Take a look at our downloadable nutritional deficiency guide to help you identify what you may be lacking.
- Eat cleanly, reduce the carbohydrates and eat healthily.
- Make sure that you add Mother Natures oestrogens to your diet. By adding these to your daily diet, you can fool the body into thinking that they are still naturally occurring in the body.
- Work out: Engage in strength training to improve body composition, increase strength, and build and maintain lean muscle. Exercising to the point of breathlessness five times a week will make a real difference.
- Rest and relax: Try to relax before bed and get enough sleep to keep your hormones and appetite well -managed. Try a meditation App such as Pzizz or Headspace for 30 minutes before you go to sleep. It will make all the difference.
If you follow these steps, it is possible to lose weight during this time, regain wellbeing and get back to feeling better.
Are you feeling demotivated?
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Ready to get the support you need to take control of your health?
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.”
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Why Do Some Women Put On Weight During Menopause
Reasons for why women gain weight during menopause include hormonal and behavioural changes, which can occur as a result of the other symptoms of menopause.
Oestrogen is known to have an impact on both metabolism and weight, so the changing levels during perimenopause can contribute to weight gain.
This can be made worse by the brain fog, joint aches or fatigue you may experience as well which, understandably, can change your exercise or eating patterns.
The Best Way To Lose Weight During Menopause
The onset of menopause, the point when a woman hasnt had a period for the past 12 months, and the bodily changes that occur in the years leading up to it can trigger a number of symptoms, including weight gain. During perimenopause or the menopausal transition, production of the female hormones estrogen and progesterone shift, which causes a redistribution of fat to your belly. Weight gain and an expanding waistline are common complaints during this period, according to Elizabeth Ward, a registered dietitian and co-author with Hillary Wright of The Menopause Diet Plan, A Natural Guide to Managing Hormones, Health, and Happiness.
Aging reduces your calorie-burning capacity and a reduction in estrogen often results in extra belly fat, Ward told TODAY. She also cautioned that the shift in estrogen levels can also have consequences for bone and heart health. So, even if your main goal in dieting during menopause or perimenopause is to lose weight, there are other factors to consider.
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Why Menopause Makes Weight Loss So Hard
Menopause officially starts when a person hasnt had a menstrual cycle for 12 months. Around this time, it may be very hard to lose weight.
In fact, many people notice that they actually start putting on weight during perimenopause, which can begin a decade prior to menopause.
Several factors play a role in weight gain around menopause, including:
- Hormone fluctuations. Both elevated and very low levels of estrogen can lead to increased fat storage .
- Loss of muscle mass. This occurs due to age, hormonal changes, and decreased physical activity .
- Inadequate sleep. Many women have trouble sleeping during menopause. Poor sleep is linked to weight gain .
- Increased insulin resistance. Women often become insulin resistant as they age, which can make losing weight more difficult (
Whats more, fat storage shifts from the hips and thighs to the abdomen during menopause. This increases the risk of metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease .
Therefore, strategies that promote the loss of abdominal fat are particularly important at this stage of life.
Menopause may lead to hormonal changes, loss of muscle mass, poor sleep, and insulin resistance. These effects may, in turn, increase the risk of weight gain.
What Causes Menopause Weight Gain
The menopause is when you stop having periods and can no longer get pregnant. The age at which this happens varies a lot, but most people start to go through the menopause in their 40s or 50s.
This is often a time of general changes in your body and lifestyle, as well as changes that are specifically related to the menopause, and both can play a part in weight gain.
As you reach middle age, for example, you may be less active than you were when you were younger. The combination of lifestyle changes, age-related health niggles and your metabolism slowing down can mean that you use less energy every day.
Plus, the menopause causes a drop in the amount of a hormone called oestrogen in your body, and this is also thought to contribute to weight gain. The weight gain is often particularly noticeable round your tummy meaning even a small increase can lead to a change in clothing size.
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What Age Does Menopause Start
While the average age is 51, the majority will go through menopause between the ages of 40 and 58. Theres a transition period, called perimenopause, where you may have menopause symptoms but still have a menstrual cycle. Perimenopausal symptoms can start up to 10 years before the menstrual cycle stops.
Premature menopause occurs before the age of 40. Those who undergo premature menopause may benefit from hormone replacement therapy to help prevent cardiovascular disease and protect bone health.
How Long Does Menopause Weight Gain Last
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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What Can I Do
A range of lifestyle changes can make symptoms more tolerable. Hormone replacement therapy can be used by many women to help control these symptoms, however some women cannot take HRT due to other health problems, whilst others choose not to. The decision to take HRT or not should be discussed with your doctor. For all women, diet and lifestyle changes can help with symptoms. This can include taking dietary supplement products.
What Are The Physical Side Effects Of Menopause
Hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, hair loss, weight gain , skin changes, arthralgias , sleep disruption and loss of muscle tone are all common. You dont have to live with the discomfort, though. There are treatment options, including lifestyle modifications, that can help improve bothersome symptoms. I ask my patients about their most bothersome symptoms, and then we talk about those things and how to manage them so they can feel better.
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How Can You Lose Menopause Weight Gain
You can lose menopause weight gain the same way you can lose weight that isnt associated with menopause.
Restrict calories with a healthy diet. Exercise regularly, and aim for a combination of aerobic exercise to burn calories and strength training to build muscle. Prioritize your sleep.
Lastly, reduce stress. Stress can lead to things like overeating, excessive alcohol use, sleep disturbances, and other issues that can lead to weight gain.
Natural Remedies For Menopause
In addition to diet, there are many natural remedies that have been used by naturopathic doctors for centuries to help offer women menopausal relief. Researchers recommend using maca root, for example, which allows the endocrine system to better regulate mood, metabolism, and energy levels all of which can serve to alleviate pesky irritations caused by menopause. Though its unclear exactly how maca works, experts believe it may suppress the follicle-stimulating hormone , which is important, because low estrogen levels and high FSH levels may cause hot flashes.
Root herb black cohosh, flaxseed, red clover, and evening primrose oil have all been shown to help quell hot flashes, while plant extract kava, which can help with generalized anxiety, and St. Johns Wort, which treats mild to moderate depression, are sometimes used to help control mood swings.
If you need some help beyond what your diet and natural remedies can provide, it may be time to take a supplement. Read on for Womans Worlds picks for the best menopause supplements for women over 50!
Note: Before taking any herbs, supplements, or vitamins, its imperative that you first talk to your doctor, as some herbs are not compatible with other medicines, and/or medical conditions, such as liver disease.
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How To Fight This Menopausal Weight Gain
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: