As women get older, it’s no secret their bodies change. One of the most significant changes for women is menopause. When women hear menopause, many immediately think hot flashes, mood swings, and weight gain. Menopause and weight gain seem to be related. However, not every woman experiences the same symptoms of menopause.
Understanding why women are more likely to gain weight during menopause is the first step to maintaining and even avoiding it. When women age and enter menopause, their bodies produce less estrogen and progesterone. When the body produces less estrogen, it starts to slow down the metabolism. As the metabolism slows, it burns things like starch and sugar less efficiently. Since it is extremely difficult to naturally increase metabolism later in life, the next best thing is to learn how to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
How Much Weight Gain Common During Menopause?
Doctors believe on average women gain at least five pounds in the early stages of menopause. This weight gain is most likely to last unless you make dietary and lifestyle changes. If one continues to gain weight, they run the risk for serious health problems like heart disease and diabetes.
What Can You Do To Avoid Menopause Weight Gain?
The first tip to avoiding menopause-related weight gain is to get ahead of it. While it may seem difficult to do since the start of menopause is not scheduled in your Google Calendar, taking a look at your family history and genetics is a great way to start. If your mother started menopause in her late 50s, the chances are higher that you will too.
Taking a look at your environment is also very important. Are you getting enough sleep? What is your stress level like? Are you a smoker? These environmental factors all aid in weight gain, but even more so later in life.
Understanding how much sleep you need and how to maintain your stress can help keep the weight off, especially before beginning menopause.
Change Your Diet To Avoid Weight Gain
By age 50, doctors recommend cutting at least 200 calories per day from your diet. While it may seem like a lot, it is only the equivalent to a small muffin or medium soda. In fact, doctors say the easiest way to cut calories is by avoiding calorie-dense beverages. Swap your soda or juice for water flavored with slices of fresh fruits and herbs. Sipping on hot tea is also a great option. Another suggestion is consuming less starchy foods like bread and pastas and swapping for alternatives like brown rice or sweet potatoes make it easier for the body to digest.
How Can Daily Exercise Help?
Exercising for as little as 30 minutes a day five times a week is one of the best ways to avoid weight gain when paired with a healthy diet. It also helps lower the risk of age-related osteoporosis. 30 minutes a day may seem like a lot, but exercise doesn’t always mean going to the gym.
Strength and resistance training help maintain and build muscle. As we age our bodies lose muscle mass. Great muscle mass helps burn off calories throughout the day. Adding two to three days of strength or resistance training allows the body enough time to build muscle. Working with light free weights and resistance bands are a great way to start building muscle.
When Should You See A Doctor?
Many women experience menopause weight gain but not all. Being proactive and changing your lifestyle before you begin menopause increases your chances of not gaining weight. Despite modifying your diet and lifestyle, if you still cannot lose weight or continue to gain, it is important to see your physician. Your physician will help determine if there is an underlying health concern.
What Else Can I do?
Need Help Losing Age-Related Weight?
If you need to lose age or menopause-related weight or are ready to change your lifestyle to avoid it, schedule an appointment with Dr. Abboud and her team at Weight Less For Way Less. We can help customize your weight loss program. We also can help treat patients with our new laser weight loss and cell With three locations in the Chicagoland area (Elmhurst, Burr Ridge, and Oak Lawn, IL) scheduling your appointment is easy!