Women going through menopause, begin to notice a struggle with weight gain around this stage of life. Despite having no changes to diet or activity, some women notice that fat is starting to shift to their abdomen, and in other places they have never seen it before. Around 2/3 of women from 40 to 59 and nearly 75% of women older than 60 are considered overweight, which is considered a BMI greater than 25kg/m2. Obesity, can increase the risk of diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol, an increased risk of breast and uterine cancers, as well as heart disease. Obese women have also been noted to experience a higher severity of hot flashes. This large unexpected change during midlife can effect a woman’s self-esteem, personal relationships and even libido.
We can blame all of these changes on menopause, because they are to blame on the loss of estrogen. Muscle mass decreases as we age and go through menopause, muscle which allows you to burn weight while sitting and while maintaining a lower level of physical activity. When that muscle mass is depleted, coupled with the same diet you’re used to, can lead to a recipe for weight gain.
Estrogen loss itself helps shift fat to your abdomen, and when menopause leads you to have mood swings, hot sweats and insomnia, it can become harder to adhere to regular exercise and a healthy diet. Instead, women will turn to high sugar alternatives to boost their energy. It’s important to be aware of the multifaceted changes at play in menopause related weight gain, because the only way to beat it, is to do the opposite of what your body is telling you it wants to do.
Here are some tips to losing weight:
Cut calories; low animal fats, lower processed sugars, more green leafy vegetables, lean meats, fruits
Increase exercise: 30 mins of moderate intensity exercise 3-4 times a week.
Mental mindfulness: Relax, listen to calming music, use essential oils, and participate in yoga
Weight gain can seem like a struggle that exemplifies during menopause, but it doesn’t have to be. Understanding why these changes take place, can help you combat not just the weight gain aspect of menopause, but the other symptoms that may accompany this phase of life.