Menopause is perhaps one of the biggest changes that women go through once they are done with puberty. It is like dealing with puberty all over again. Quite a few studies show that when women experience menopause, they experience an increase in their weight as well. There are many women who complain of finding it difficult to even maintain their original weight.
The question is, why does this happen? What happens during menopause that leads to a steady rise in weight during this period? Does the weight gain eventually stop? Would you like to be able to lose the weight? How can you make sure that you avoid the risk of getting overweight or obese during and after menopause? Here are all the answers for you.
Menopause and Weight Gain: The Science
Research shows that about 30% of women who are between the ages of 50-59 are not simply overweight, but more likely obese. This means that there is a direct correlation between menopause and weight gain. What is this connection?
The major reason why menopause and weight gain is connected is that when estrogen levels go down in the body, a person is likely to become less active. This in turn gives rise to an increase in weight. When a women goes through menopause, the body undergoes many chemical changes, which also includes the lessening of the hormone estrogen.
Estrogen Levels Decrease
When estrogen goes down, the metabolic rate slows and it becomes difficult for the body to convert fats into energy. Lack of estrogen also means that your body is unable to completely utilize sugars and starch, which is instead stored as fat. Hence the weight gain and inability to shed pounds. Since women’s bodies become less active, they are unable to burn as many calories as they consume, and this too means that fats continue to get stored up.
There are some other reasons that also cause weight gain during and after menopause. As mentioned above, menopause means a change of hormones in the body. You may have noticed that you haven’t been feeling your best and might like the idea of finding comfort in food. This comfort eating consist mostly of items that are high in sugars, processed products, and fats.
Stress during Menopause
Stress also causes weight gain during menopause. Women are unable to shake the feeling of depression and anxiety, which means that cortisol levels in the bloodstream spike. High cortisol levels give rise to accumulation of fat in the abdominal region and removes the curves from your body, giving way to tires instead.
Keep in mind that weight gain at the time of menopause is not immediate. You won’t suddenly wake up one day and be 10 pounds heavier. But with the end of your monthly cycle, you gradually start putting on the pounds. What you also need to remember is that the weight gain could be indicative of some kind of medical issue like heart disease, breast cancer, type II diabetes, and even depression. If you feel the weight gain is sudden, get in touch with your doctor immediately.
So does this mean that you will continue to gain weight and there is simply no way to remain fit and healthy? Of course not. If you become aware of the problem, there are quite a few corrective and preventive measures you can take to stop weight gain during or after menopause.
Weight Gain Preventive Measures
As scary as the prospects of weight gain are, they are something that you can manage with a little bit of research and planning. The very first thing you need to find out is that whether or not your mother had to deal with increasing weight during her menopause years. If the answer is yes, then chances are high that you too will face similar difficulty.
The research is meant to help you, so don’t get terrified. Now that you know you are at risk, you can take preventive measures to control the issue before it becomes unmanageable. Here are some easy to follow tips that you can incorporate in your routine life.
If you had been on a diet that is rich in fast food, junk and processed foods, now is the time to quit this habit. These are the things that give way to excessive weight gain. The one thing you need to do is reduce about 200 calories from your diet for each meal. This would mean that instead of gaining weight, you will lose some and feel better.
Add healthy and nutritious food items like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans and low fat milk in your diet. Make sure you eat fiber regularly, as that helps in making your metabolic rate fast. Flaxseeds consumption need to be a daily ritual for you. If you would like to know which foods to avoid for you, check out the DNA Uprint available at Health Solutions Plus.
Limiting alcohol and other sweet beverages is another thing that you will need to curb. This only increases your likelihood of gaining and retaining weight. So cut out these harmful habit as much as you can.
Exercise for Strength
There is nothing more beneficial than exercise for menopausal women. It keeps the bones strong, keeps you active, helps with digestion, and ensures that no fat is stored in any part of your body. The kind of exercise you decide to partake in depends on your physical condition. If you have always been an exercise junky, good for you. Continue on with your passion.
On the other hand, if you used to avoid exercise, this is a good time to begin. Start with a daily walking routine or swimming routine. You can even cycle if that is what you are into. Strength training is another thing that works well for women gaining weight during menopause. You will be able to develop lean muscles and your body will remain supple and strong. Many women enjoy the calming effects of yoga as well.
The good thing about adopting exercise after menopause is that you will also lower the risk of problems like insulin resistance, heart attack, osteoporosis, depression, joint and muscle pain, and metabolic syndrome. You will feel that your emotions are more in control, and you feel better than you did before. It is best that you get in touch with your doctor so that they can guide you about the risk factors of menopause.