“Menopause Does Not Result In Weight Gain”
The most common concerns expressed by many women as they get older is menopause and that how easy it is to gain weight. While individuals vary, the average woman gains about 5-7 pounds. As part of the hormonal changes that come with this period in the life cycle, women also tend to experience a change in body shape, with weight accumulating around the waist, rather than at the hips and thighs. It’s a real challenge, so much so that many women believe menopause causes a shift in the body that makes it impossible to lose weight.
But is this really the case?
Is weight gain inevitable during menopause?
Approximately 1.5 billion adults are overweight worldwide – 300 million of them are obese females. Since 1980, obesity rates have increased two-fold, mostly in industrialized nations. Experts say the obesity epidemic is caused by lifestyle changes, physical inactivity, and eating habits. A higher percentage of females are obese than males; probably because women are more susceptible to hormonal imbalances.
Experts examined findings regarding weight gain during menopause and discovered that surprisingly, increase in weight is due to non-hormonal factors, rather than the actual menopause.
The researchers found that the way fat is deposited during the menopause changes significantly; this is the main reason for rising obesity rates among women in this age group. Regardless of whether women gain weight when they hit middle-age years, they do undergo a change in the way fat accumulates in their bellies.
As women age, they experience a gradual decrease in muscle mass (which burns more calories) and an increase in body fat (which burns fewer calories), resulting in a gradual reduction in metabolism. Consequently, the number of calories needed to maintain body weight is reduced.
Most women also become more sedentary as the years go by, which further reduces the number of calories needed for weight maintenance. In fact, many studies have found that lack of physical activity is one of the most important factors contributing to weight gain during menopause.
Negative thought patterns and moods that are common during the menopausal years may also contribute to weight gain. A study from the University Of Pennsylvania School Of Medicine found that middle-aged women who reported high levels of depressive symptoms and anxiety, were more likely to experience greater amounts of weight gain.
Because weight gain is mostly related to the aging process, not changing hormone levels, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) does not appear to have an effect on weight changes during menopause. Most studies have shown no significant differences in weight gain among those women receiving HRT and those receiving a placebo.
What this translates to in real terms is that women going through the menopause should begin to try to control their weight before it becomes a problem, so if you have not been looking after yourself before the menopause, you should certainly start to do so when it arrives.
There is no magic pill or formula to deal with this issue, but you can take control of your health by changing the way you have been eating. The food changes that work best to get weight off naturally and help keep it off, are plant based nutrient rich fruits and vegetables.
Eating 90 % or more plant based nutrient rich superfoods is the only way to go.
I know you’ve probably heard this before. But now it’s a proven fact. And so is the reality that increased weight affects most menopausal women, and that this increases the chances of high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and arthritis, particularly of her hips and knees.
Here are five steps you can easily take to lose weight in menopause and keep it off.
- Eat 90% or more plant based nutrient rich fruits and vegetables that means include leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables and super fruits and berries etc.
- Make time to exercise daily. You don’t have to run a marathon. Just 30 minutes daily walking or gardening or dancing. It doesn’t even have to be at the same time — add the times together for a total of 30 minutes.
- Get the support you need. Find out the real insight and help, You’ll be amazed to find out at the stuff in your refrigerator and cabinets that you thought were healthy isn’t actually good for you and that they can be swapped out for healthier nutrient rich choices.
- Keep the soda and sweetened juices out of the house. Try plain water with a lemon or lime, orange wedge. So refreshing!
- Keep fruit in a bowl in plain view. You’ll be amazed at how it encourages snacking on them (and keep sugary sweets out of view or better out of the house). I love to snack on sliced apples flavored with cinnamon.
- Pick a partner to exercise or walk with and pick a time to do it. It will become part of your schedule and, therefore, much more likely to do.
Bottom line – Weight gain is a major risk factor for a variety of diseases, including diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Heart disease is by far the number one killer of postmenopausal women, and this risk is increased by excess weight. We women need to be aware of this, especially at the menopause when estrogen levels drop. A woman needs to adjust her lifestyle to ensure a healthier life after the menopause. In fact, I would say that every woman should consider using the menopause as a marker, a reason to review her overall health and make necessary decisions as her life moves on forward.