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Weight Gain During Menopause Causes, Risks and How to Avoid It


Is menopause the reason behind why you are gaining weight? As you age you may find it difficult to maintain your normal weight. 

Majority of women start gaining weight during perimenopause which is the transition stage.

Weight gain during menopause
Is menopause responsible of my weight gain?

Gaining weight during menopause is inevitable, but you can alter the outcomes by maintaining a healthy lifestyle and a healthy diet.

Causes or reasons 

1. Hormonal changes

Hormonal changes are especially common during the transition period of menopause causing a rather rapid weight gain in the mid-section.

According to research conducted on animals, estrogen helps to curb body weight: a decrease in estrogen levels indicated a rise in the need to eat more and reduced activity level and leading to a decrease in the metabolic rates notes Web Md.

2. Age

Age is another factor that is responsible this problem. With age muscle mass tends to decrease while fats increase: with a decrease in muscle mass leads to a decrease in the rate at which your body utilizes calories, therefore, making it difficult to sustain a healthy weight notes Mayo clinic.

3. Genetics

Genetics is hereditary and therefore passed from generation to generation. So, if any of your relatives have a wide mid-section, it's more likely than not that you will also suffer the same fate.

4. Poor lifestyle choices

Sleep depravity, unhealthy eating habits and lack of exercise may also be the contributing factors to one adding weight during menopause.

Risk factors 

Weight gain during menopause can have some severe health implications: it increases the risks of heart conditions, breathing issues, type 2 diabetes and numerous kinds of cancer such as colon, breast and endometrial cancer notes Mayo clinic.

 How to avoid weight gain during menopause

With age, your metabolic system tends to slow down. Maintain or avoiding weight gain isn't as simple as you'd want it to be, it’s a matter of being committed to a healthy lifestyle.

1. Watch what you eat

First things first, start by keeping a track of your weight and calorie intake to understand weight at the moment and the changes that will need to be made in order to remain healthy.

If you notice that you are increasing any weight, then it’s time for a lifestyle change. Be careful about your calories intake by considering the calorie content foods especially those that are pre-packaged.

Talk to a healthcare provider to get advice on the number of calories that are healthy for you and the amount you need to lose to revert back to a healthy weight.

2. Menopause Diet and nutrition plan

A healthy diet goes a long way to ensure a healthy lifestyle. According to Mayo clinic the best diet for menopausal weight loss should include:

  • Proteins and carbohydrates since they prevent the constant feeling of hunger thus improving your health and prevent unwanted menopause weight gain.
  • Complex carbs such as whole grains and fibers are the best to keep you filled up faster and for longer durations. These include wheat or whole grain bread, brown rice among others.
  • Additionally, your diet should include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products and lean proteins such as beans, nuts, poultry, and fish.
  • Reduce intake of added sugars present in sweets and food since they will lead to unwanted additional weight and are low-value foods and result in hunger cravings.

Maintain a strict eating diet can become monotonous and boring, so once in a while, indulge in your cravings to help you stick to your healthy diet. self-discipline is key.

3. Exercise

Squeezing some gym time may be difficult to juggle especially with a busy schedule, but considering the benefits mentally and physically its totally worth it!

Try to include a minimum of a 60-90minutes workout session, depending on the flexibility of your schedule during the week: which you can split into smaller activities and still maintain the demands of your life.

Your workout session doesn’t have to be boring, choose activities that you love doing like walking, bike rides, jogging and if you are into sports join a local league.

  • Strength training builds muscle mass and enhances metabolism notes Web Md. With the loss of muscle mass as a result of aging strength training is the best menopause exercise: this is because it builds muscle mass and muscles burn calories more than fat.

Examples of strength training exercises include yoga, Pilates, dumbbells, and sit-ups.

  • Aerobics such as walking, swimming, and dancing are good for keeping your heart rate up.

Talk to your doctor or trainer to get the best advice to avoid straining yourself especially if this is your first time.

3. Lifestyle changes

Avoid or reduce alcohol intake: alcoholic beverages contain high amounts of calories which leads to this issue

Increase your activity level: dance once in a while, take part in a game of 'hide and seek' with your children or grandchildren, do some gardening or just take a brisk walk to a nearby grocery store.

Practice mindful eating: always eat at the right moment, don’t skip any meals. You could also opt to eat 6 small portions of meals rather than 3 big portions to avoid feeling hungry and overeating notes Web Md.

Get adequate rest: lack of sleep causes people to eat more leading to increased weight.

Mind your sugar intake: avoid added sugars present in sweetened beverages instead opt for healthier options such as iced tea or water.

Get support: avoiding weight gain can be a challenge, surround yourself with family and friends that support your lifestyle changes or even find people in your neighborhood that are going through the same as you are.

  • Mayo Clinic:
  • Web Md:

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