What Causes Weight Gain At Menopause
Weight gain at menopause is primarily caused by 3 main categories.
Understanding these categories is very important because if you understand what is causing weight gain in your body then you can target treatment to those specific issues.
So, what is actually happening in your body to cause weight gain?
A good way to determine how you will handle menopause is to talk to your mom or sisters .
Their experience will probably be a good reflection of what your experience will be like.
You can’t always control your genetics , but you can actually control some of the expression of your genes through something known as epigenetics .
So, even if it’s in your cards to gain weight at menopause doesn’t necessarily that you will.
Certain factors, including behavior factors such as the foods that you eat and how much you exercise, can impact the expression of your genes.
In this way, you may be able to prevent some of the negative side effects associated with menopause even if you are genetically pre-disposed to them because of your DNA.
#2. Hormonal Changes.
The next category, and probably most important, has to do with the changes associated with the menopause transition.
You already know that your sex hormones are powerful, but what you probably didn’t realize is that they impact very important processes in your body including how your body metabolizes and stores fat.
And this makes perfect sense if you think about it:
#3. External Factors.
What Can I Do To Maintain A Healthy Weight
Like I said earlier, although so many factors impact weight in perimenopause, there IS something you can do about it. It takes a commitment to giving your body the support it needs to stay balanced, so it wont resort to storing fat as a protective measure.
1. Give Yourself Permission to Do Less
This is a perfect time to reassess your to-do list to see what can be dropped. Despite the common perception, you do not have to be everything to everyone. Its essential that you find time to relax, breathe, and even play a little! If stress has been constant for a long time, your adrenals may need some support to regain balance. I offer a range of adrenal support products, and I can help you find exactly the right one to fit your needs.
2. Drastically Reduce Your Consumption of Sugar and Processed Foods
Sugar is everywhere, so you may be eating far more than you even know. And if youve been doing so for a long time, the cumulative effect in your body is severe. Start to read labels and recognize that packaged foods arent going to offer the same nutrients that fresh, whole foods give you. Scrambled eggs with fresh vegetables is a much better breakfast choice than a donut or a bagel!
3. Eat Plenty of Protein and Healthy Fat
4. Move with Intention
5. Fill Your Plate with Color
6. Take a High-Quality Multivitamin and Other Nutritional Support as Necessary
7. Try My Successful Weight Loss Program
Experimental Model Simulated Menopausal Sleep Issues
To eliminate the variable of natural aging, the researchers studied 21 women who were premenopausal, meaning their hormone levels were not naturally reduced.
They brought the women to the lab and allowed them two nights of blissful sleep. Then, for the next three nights they continually interrupted the womens sleep, repeatedly waking them with an alarm.
We chose an experimental model of sleep interruption that is consistent with the type of sleep disruption experienced most commonly in menopause increased nighttime awakenings caused by hot flashes, but no change in overall sleep time and duration, Dr. Grant explains.
In addition to this sleep disturbance, in 9 of the women the researchers also temporarily suppressed estrogen levels with a drug called leuprolide, to mimic the effects of menopause.
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Hrt And Weight Gain: Is It The Hormones Or Is It Menopause
If youve stepped on a scale recently and been unpleasantly surprised by the numbers, you may be searching for a reason behind your unintentional weight gain. If youve recently started taking hormone replacement therapy for menopause, you might suspect your new hormone regimen is the culprit. Or is it menopause itself?
Both menopause and HRT can cause weight gain as well as redistribution of your bodys fat deposits. But you may be surprised to learn that neither menopause nor HRT guarantees that you will gain weightand many women even lose weight during this time. Given these facts, how can you figure out whats causing you to gain weight and come up with a plan for how to stop it?
While it may not always be possible to isolate the cause of weight gain from confounding factors like aging or lifestyle factors, weight gain doesnt have to be mysterious or inevitable when you are in menopause or undergoing HRT. Understanding the link between HRT and weight gain as well as the effects of menopause on weight will go a long way toward giving you peace of mind as well as an action plan to take control of your weight. Despite how intimidating unexpected pounds can be, the good news is that you are far from powerless to counteract it even during menopause and HRT.
Why Does Menopause Cause Weight Gain
The hormonal fluctuations you encounter as you enter the menopause means that your body deals with the food you consume in a different way, all too often resulting in weight gain. Your metabolism reduces, which means that you store more calories than you will burn. This is only made worse if you are spending less and less time on the go or exercising.
When you go through the menopause, particularly if you are feeling somewhat stressed, the production of the hormone cortisol will increase. When your cortisol levels are high you are more likely to develop fat around the middle.
Also Check: How Does Menopause Affect Sex Drive
Questions Abound About What Causes This Shift In Body Composition
Research, such as an October 2017 review in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, typically attributes this effect to the decline in estrogen levels brought on by menopause and to the fact that menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats can interfere with exercise and other healthy lifestyle measures, along with natural changes from aging.
Drops in estrogen alone are unlikely the sole factor in this weight gain, says Leilah K. Grant, PhD, a postdoctoral research fellow in medicine at Harvards Brigham and Womens Hospital in Boston and an author of the new study. All women stop producing estrogen in menopause but only about half report gaining weight, she says.
Menopause Weight Gain: A Gp Explains Everything You Should Know
Including the causes and medically-approved ways to slim down
Along with hair loss, brain fog and mood swings, weight gain is one of the more unwelcome symptoms of menopause. But it’s also one of the most common with hundreds of Google searches every month which is why we went straight to a doctor to find out the facts around menopause weight gain.
Dr Cat Hyatt, a GP based in Dorset, often answers questions from female patients in her surgery around menopause weight gain and the reasons for it.
Here, Dr Hyatt explains the biological and behavioural changes that can cause weight gain during perimenopause and menopause and shares the medically-backed suggestions she makes to help women feel themselves again.
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Brushing Teeth Between Meals Or Earlier In The Evening
In addition to improving dental hygiene, brushing the teeth can help reduce the temptation to snack between meals.
If a person who frequently snacks at night brushes their teeth earlier in the evening, they may feel less tempted to eat unnecessary snacks.
A diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help a person lose weight and maintain their weight loss.
The authors of a
Research suggests that getting sufficient sleep can contribute to weight loss.
The researchers found that women who described their sleep quality as poor or fair were less likely to successfully lose weight than those who reported their sleep quality as being very good.
Using smaller plates could have a positive psychological effect. People tend to fill their plate, so reducing the size of the plate may help reduce the amount of food that a person eats in one sitting.
A 2015 systematic review concluded that reducing plate size could have an impact on portion control and energy consumption, but it was unclear whether this was applicable across the full range of portion sizes.
It is also worth noting that many of the studies included in the review were authored by an academic, Brian Wansink, who has since had a lot of research withdrawn from journals due to errors and misreporting.
What About Conventional Medicine
If you are really struggling to control your weight and have not found that home and herbal remedies are helping, it is important to seek medical attention. While your doctor may be reluctant to prescribe diet pills on the basis that it is the menopause causing you to put on weight, he will be able to work with you to find a solution.
It is important to remember that weight gain can have a serious impact on your lifestyle and health. Weight gain or difficulty losing weight are also symptoms of an underlying health condition such as low thyroid function, which will need to be treated by a doctor.
If you are worried about your condition or fear that it is causing you to have further health problems such as heart disease, then it is vital to seek medical attention.
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Hormone Therapy May Also Help Control Weight Sleep Trouble
Menopausal hormone therapy may also help with sleep, Pinkerton notes. Current guidelines recommend hormone therapy at menopause as the most effective treatment for menopausal symptoms, which includes sleep disturbances, she says. And as this study indicates, improving both estrogen levels and sleep may prevent weight gain often seen during menopause, and thus decrease the risk of heart disease and obesity while improving daytime function, she says.
Santoro recommends trying hormone therapy for a few months. If your sleep and other symptoms improve, you can assume it is helping. If they dont, you can stop the hormones without issue.
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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Your Risk Of Weight Gain
Unfortunately, theres no crystal ball that can tell you if youll gain weight during menopause, but some factors play a role in your chances. These factors can include:
All of these factors could potentially increase your risk of putting on extra pounds. But why is weight gain so prominent around menopause? The short answer is your hormones.
During menopause, your hormones fluctuate quite a bit. In the beginning, your body makes an excess of the hormone estrogen later on, it barely makes any at all. can lead to an increase in your appetite and fat storage in your belly area.
Weight gain around the abdominal region is linked to diseases such as insulin resistance, heart disease, and Type 2 diabetes. Sometimes, though, your hormones arent to blame. Weight gain during menopause can also just be a side effect of aging.
With all of these factors lining up against you, what can you do to fight off weight gain during this transitional period? Dont lose hope. Some lifestyle changes can help you shed the pounds.
Lack Of Exercise Contributes To Weight Gain During Menopause
As we get older, we tend to be less physically active.4 This, combined with everything else like diet or caloric intake, can make it harder to maintain a healthy weight. But this doesnt necessarily mean doubling down on your exercise routine because that often leads to doubling down on your calorie intake too.6 Staying moderately physically active while sticking to a healthy diet and eating routine is the best combination for staying at a healthy weight. In terms of physical activity, be sure to incorporate aerobic exercise and strength training into your daily physical activity in order to promote lean body mass and healthy body composition.
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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.
Metabolism Also Slows Down With Age Which Can Lead To Weight Gain
Not only does your body store fat differently as you age, but metabolism also slows down too. Outside of menopausal symptoms, age has a direct influence on a womans metabolic rate. This is true for men as well, but for women, this natural progression toward a slower metabolism is compounded with hormonal changes that come with menopause.3, 4
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How To Get Your Metabolism Back On Track
The good news is, you dont necessarily have to give up alcohol in order to boost your metabolism. However, you should definitely limit alcohol intake to a moderate amountwhich for women is considered one alcoholic drink per day. If youre trying to lose weight, it would also be wise to opt for lower-calorie drinks such as red wine, vodka & soda, or gin & soda.
You should also consider using bioidentical hormone replacement therapy to correct the hormonal imbalances that have slowed your metabolism at menopause. Renew Woman can provide the safe and effective treatment you need. We base all treatments on lab tests of relevant hormones and we provide individualized dosages to bring your body chemistry back into balance. To learn more, call us at 800-859-7511.
Weight Gain During Perimenopause And Menopause
Why is it so much easier to put on pounds as you get older? During perimenopause , estrogen levels start to decline. That hormonal shift slows your metabolism, says Dr. Pattimakiel. Every year we get older, our metabolisms slow down. Then around menopause, its common to see a significant drop.
That sloth-like metabolism means even if you eat the same healthy diet you ate in your 30s, youre more likely to gain weight. It also makes it that much harder to drop pounds youve already put on. When your metabolism is slower, its harder to lose weight, she says.
As if thats not frustrating enough, mid-life pounds tend to settle around your middle. Unfortunately, extra fat in the abdomen increases the risk of heart-related problems, Dr. Pattimakiel says. So its worth making some changes to keep your weight in the healthy zone as you get older.
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Weight Gain In Menopause: Why Does It Happen And What Can You Do
All too often the “change of life” results in unwelcome changes in the number on the bathroom scale. Many women find that no matter how sensible their diet or how frequently they exercise, they still start packing on the pounds once menopause begins.
This problem is primarily driven by estrogen loss that occurs during menopause. Estrogen loss causes a number of health issues, one of which is deterioration of muscle mass. Because muscle burns more calories than fat, less muscle also means fewer calories burned, all of which adds up to a recipe for a slower metabolism.
Speaking with CBS News chief medical correspondent Dr. Jon LaPook, Dr. Lori Warren, a gynecologist and a partner with Women First of Louisville, said weight gain is one of the top complaints among her patients.
“As a gynecologist one of the biggest things I’m asked is, ‘What is going on with this weight gain as I’m aging and going through menopause,'” she said. “And it kind of creeps up on women and all of the sudden they’re angry about it when they come in for an annual visit and they’ve gained 10 pounds and they say, ‘Why didn’t anyone tell me that I might gain weight?'”
Women need to understand that eating and exercising the same way they have in the past may not be good enough as they age.