Menopause and weight gain truly do go hand in hand. It is common for women to have weight gain during menopause. The reason for this is that during menopause a woman’s body goes through hormonal fluctuations. Hormones in a woman’s body have complex functions including weight control, and as the hormones increase or decrease, they can cause weight gain during menopause. The lack of physical workouts and unhealthy eating habits, also contribute to weight gain during menopause. These are just a few factors and bad habits that can cause weight gain during menopause.
Weight Gain and Hormonal Changes• Estrogen: During menopause a woman’s ovaries produces less estrogen than before. A woman’s body attempts to find the estrogen hormone in other places. Fat cells help to produce estrogen, so the body will work to convert calories into fat to help increase the level of estrogen in her body. This leads to weight gain.
• Progesterone: Although weight gain is not caused by water retention, decreased progesterone levels causes water retention. This bloating and water retention may make a woman’s clothes feel tighter; giving her the impression, that she is heavier and gaining weight.
• Androgen: The hormone androgen increases during the start of menopause. This hormone is responsible for distributing new weight to the body’s mid-section. Some call this the, middle-age-spread.
• Testosterone: Testosterone levels drop as a woman goes through menopause. Testosterone is the hormone that helps the body to create lean muscle mass from consumed calories. Muscle cells burn calories and increase metabolism. When the testosterone levels decrease, fewer calories are converted to lean muscle mass. This slows down the metabolism rate leading to weight gain.
Seven Hard Habits to Break that influence Weight Gain
1. Eating amnesiaThis normally occurs when you are watching television. You grab a quick snack, normally something unhealthy. Instead of taking out a small portion to snack on, you have the whole bag of chips in your lap and you eat from the bag. When you eat out of the container, especially in front of the TV, you tend to eat more, causing weight gain.
2. Not enough sleepWhen your body is not well rested it can make you feel hungry even when you are not. Loss of sleep affects the amount of cortisol secreted into your body. This hormone regulates your appetite. Loss of sleep also increases fat storage in the body.
3. Not thinking about what you are drinkingMost people tend to grab something to drink after a meal. The problem is not having a drink; the problem is what you are drinking. Carbonated sodas, beer, wine and other alcoholic drinks may taste good but still have many calories. Those calories can easily add up if you are not careful.
4. Skipping breakfastBreakfast is the most important meal of the day. It is never a good idea to skip breakfast because you have fasted through the night. Your body needs fuel to get your metabolism started. Food is the fuel that your body needs in the morning.
5. Portion distortionPortion sizes today are huge at restaurants and fast food places. We tend to eat everything that is served to us regardless of the portion size. It is a good idea to learn the proper portion sizes for each of the food groups and to eat according to the recommended portion sizes.
6. Grabby handsWe tend to grab the easiest snack or meal when we are at work, out shopping or out anywhere when we are hungry. This is not a good idea because most times, the things that are in our reach are junk foods. A good idea would be to take along a healthy snack, such as nuts, fruit, or carrots.
7. Confusing “fat free” and “calorie free“Just because something has been labeled as fat free, you still need to consider the number of calories. Calorie free products do not have any calories and are normally a better choice when faced with choosing fat free or calorie free.
Avoiding these seven habits will help minimize weight gain during menopause. Gaining a few extra pounds can not only damage a woman’s self-esteem but menopausal weight gain can also usher in many potential life threatening illnesses, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and kidney disease. Adding a few simple exercises to your routine can help prevent weight gain during menopause. Find out the reasons of rapid weight gain during menopause.