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What Helps With Menopause Weight Gain

Health Risks Of Weight Gain In Menopause

Menopause Weight Gain / Bloating

Having overweight or obesity in any stage of life, including menopause, can have negative health effects.

Obesity is associated with an increased risk of:

  • cardiovascular disease

Menopause itself also increases your risk of heart disease, stroke, and osteoporosis.

Thats why looking after your weight and your health is important.

Level Up Your Sleep Game

In addition to helping you wake up energized and refreshed, high-quality sleep supports long-term weight management, according to a 2017 literature review in the journal Sleep Medicine Clinics. Even if you cant avoid every hot flash, creating a consistent bedtime routine and setting up your sleep environment can help optimize your ZZZs. About an hour before youd like to be snoozing, try winding down by dimming the lights, taking a bath, and/or cracking open a good book. If you have control of a thermostat, adjust your bedroom temperature to about 65°F, a thermal sweet spot that seems to keep sleepers comfortably warm without overheating. Your beds comfort factor matters, tooif your mattress feels lumpy or your pillows are flat as pancakes, some upgrades might be in order.

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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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.

Why Menopause Makes Weight Loss So Hard

Menopause &  Weight Gain Connection 1

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.

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Why Do Women Gain Weight During Menopause

Not everyone gains weight during menopause, but most women notice a redistribution of weight, says Dr. Mittal. “Due to hormonal changes that occur during this time, a reduction in estrogen, progesterone and testosterone, there is an increase of fat deposition in the mid-section/abdominal area,” she says. This is the not-so-healthy fat called visceral fat. Dr. Mittal explains, “An increase in visceral fat is associated with increased inflammation, including development of insulin resistance, which can lead to increased risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes, high-blood pressure and even certain cancers, like endometrial and post-menopausal breast cancer.”

“In addition to hormonal changes, with age, there is a natural reduction in the basal metabolic rate and in muscle mass, leading to weight gain and increased body fat percentage,” says Dr. Mittal. According to studies, muscle mass decreases about 3 to 8% per decade after age 30, and the rate of muscle loss is even higher after age 60. Muscle is metabolically active, meaning that it burns calories . When you lose muscle, the number of calories you burn at rest decreases. “If food intake and physical activity remain the same, women can notice weight gain,” Dr. Mittal explains.

Finally, along with hormonal changes and loss of muscle, changes to eating patterns and reduced physical activity can lead to menopause weight gain, especially weight gain in the stomach area, says Dr. Mittal.

What Is The Most Common Symptom Of Menopause Weight Gain

Due to these drastic physical, emotional & mental changes caused by hormonal imbalance – many women tend to experience a major storm in their lives, especially when it comes to the dreaded weight gain.

The truth is hormones are only one of the reasons for weight gain after menopause. Depression, anxiety, lack of mobility due to tiredness can also be contributing factors to weight gain for many women.

So, are you currently experiencing weight gain inmenopause or perimenopause? Are you worried that this might become an issue for you in the future?

If you answered either of these questions with a yes, getting informed about how menopause can lead to changes in body composition is a great first step. The more you know, the easier itll be to avoid gaining weight during this stage of your life.

Read on to learn everything you need to know about weight gain with menopause.

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Why Take Hormone Replacement Therapy

Most women in perimenopause and menopause are struggling with their weight on some level. As we discussed, hormones control metabolism and weight balance.

The most effective way to get hormones back on track, halt the ever-present scale creep, and return to a healthy weight is to correct hormonal imbalances with HRT. Once hormones are back in balance, weight loss can begin.

How Menopause Can Lead To Weight Gain

Avoiding Menopause Weight Gain (NATURALLY!)

Jennifer Hofmeister, an OBGYN physician assistant at Banner Health Clinic in Loveland, CO, said there are a few factors that combine to make weight gain more likely as you approach menopause:

  • 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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Add An Extra Workout Day To Your Schedule

If you do cardio three days a week, try adding a strength-training or weight-lifting session to your weekly mixnot just to help pump your muscles but to add a few more calorie-burning minutes to your schedule. As you age, you might want to add an extra day if you can, if you can find the time, says Gans. Be a little bit more active. Definitely, once you hit menopause, youve got to be mindful. It makes it harder, but it doesnt mean we should give up.

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Does Menopause Cause Weight Gain

As if hot flashes, intimacy challenges and the mood swings that can occur during menopause weren’t enough for women to get their heads around, many fret that their clothes will inevitably start feeling too tight as well. But the good news is that menopause doesn’t have to equal weight gain a few simple lifestyle tweaks can help you steer well and truly clear of weight gain later in life.

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How Can I Treat Menopause Naturally

When it comes to treating menopause naturally, there are lots of steps you can take to decrease the severity of your symptoms and make this stage of life more tolerable.

If you dont want to rely on prescription medications or other medical interventions, here are some of the most common recommendations doctors, naturopaths, and holistic practitioners recommend:

  • Dietary changes
  • Hormone-balancing supplements
  • Mind-body practices

These solutions can be used on their own or in conjunction with other treatment modalities.

Its Better To Stand Than Sit If And When You Can

Diet For Menopausal Weight Gain

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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Remind Me Again What Is Menopause

Technically, menopause is a point in time, marking 12 months since your last period. So, when people say they’re “going through menopause,” that means they haven’t actually hit menopause yetthey’re actually experiencing perimenopause, or the lead-up to menopause.

That also means women experience the majority of their symptoms during perimenopause, which can last, on average, for four years.

Find A Friend Or A Group To Exercise With

To attack belly fat and any other menopause weight gain, youll need to burn between 400 and 500 calories most days of the week from cardiovascular exercise, such as walking briskly, jogging, bicycling, dancing, or swimming, Peeke says. Need motivation? Find a friend who needs to exercise as much as you do, and set a date to work out together. Research published in April 2015 in the British Journal of Health Psychology found that actively looking for a new workout partner and exercising together is beneficial for both exercise and emotional support.

If you dont have a buddy to join you on your weight loss mission, it may be time to try a group fitness class at your local gym or community center. Data published in November 2017 in the Journal of Osteopathic Medicine found that participating in regular group fitness classes resulted in a significant decrease in stress and a rise in physical, mental, and emotional quality of life compared with exercising regularly on your own or not engaging in regular exercise at all.

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Get 7 To 8 Hours Of Sleep A Night

“From observational data, less than 6 hours of sleep is associated with an increased body mass index and 7 hours appears to be the goal to hit,” explains Dr. Mittal. Lack of sleep can increase ghrelin and decrease leptin . This is why you may find yourself snacking more when you are tired.

Aim to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night and if it’s proving difficult to do so, set systems in place to help like charging your phone outside the bedroom, getting an alarm clock and turning off screens after a certain time.

How Can I Stop Menopause Weight Gain

Menopause Weight Gain & how to lose it – Eileen Talks Menopause

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!

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Menopause Diet: Foods For Menopause

A menopause diet – which involves eating the right foods for menopause – can help to ease the menopause weight gain we all experience as we reach our mid-life.

So which are the right foods for menopause?

As is correct for anyone hoping to lose weight, a diet rich in fruit and vegetables and starchy fibres, such as brown rice and wholemeal bread, is always preferable.

According to the British Nutrition Foundation, women who are post-menopausal are also at an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, so keeping your heart healthy is imperative during and after the life stage. Post-menopausal women should avoid saturated fats, instead replacing them with things like olive and sunflower oils and spreads.

Oily fish should also be eaten twice a week, whilst salt intake should be kept to an absolute minimum. And of course, alcohol should not be consumed to excess – the NHS recommends no more than 14 units a week, with alcohol free days too.

To find out more about the food and supplements you should be taking during the menopause, .

But most importantly, it’s important to remember to love and accept your body as much as you can, even if you are working on improving your health in this way.

Does Menopause Cause Hair Loss

Hormonal changes due to menopause can contribute to hair loss. The most common causes of sudden rapid hair loss, or telogen effluvium, are stress and fluctuating hormones that occur during the menopause transition. Female pattern hair loss is also very common. It is more prevalent after menopause because hormones play a role. Underlying medical conditions, heredity and certain styling practices may also influence hair loss.

To help prevent hair loss, adhere to a well-balanced diet. Certain supplements may help. Also, be gentle to your hair and follicles. Avoid hairstyles that cause pulling. Minimize the use of direct heat on the hair and keep hair well-conditioned.Natural oils like argan oil, Jamaican black castor oil or olive oil may help. Over-the-counter products, such as minoxidil, or laser caps or helmets may provide some benefit. It takes up to four months for any of these treatments to work. If, after four months, there is no improvement, then its time to make an appointment with a doctor. Hormone replacement therapy has been shown to help some women with hair loss.

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How Does Menopause Affect Sex

The loss of estrogen during menopause can change the tissues of the vagina, causing them to become thinner, dryer and less flexible. This can lead to vaginal irritation and painful intercourse, which can seriously interfere with the ability to become aroused and enjoy intercourse. Unlike other menopausal symptoms, which improve over time, vaginal symptoms will worsen if not treated. There are a number of non-hormonal and hormonal treatment options that are safe and effective. In some cases, pelvic floor physical therapy and sex therapy can be helpful. The UChicago WomanLab website provides information on vaginal moisturizers, lubricants and pelvic floor physical therapy along with vaginal estrogen treatments.


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