If you’re over 40, you’re probably fighting excess menopause weight gain. And you’re not alone: roughly 90% of all women between the ages of 40 and 55 struggle to lose extra body fat. Even worse, it’s a different type of fat. In your 20s and 30s, you probably lost unwanted pounds by simply eating a little less and exercising a little more.
Now, losing that extra weight is much more difficult. In fact, middle-aged women often complain that no amount of dieting or exercise can eliminate their belly fat. Despite all efforts, their bodies slowly transition from a pear shape to an apple shape. Why? The answer is both simple and complex: it all begins with your hormones.
Hormone Imbalance: The Root of Mid-Life Menopause Weight Gain
Mid-life weight gain is often associated with hormonal shifts that begin as women approach menopause. This typically starts in the mid-40s. You see, as you age your ovaries produce less and less estrogen. Estrogen is vital to many life-sustaining functions, so the body looks for other places to generate the needed hormone. Since fat cells can produce estrogen, the body reprograms itself to convert calories into fat to meet the needed hormone levels.
The bottom line: the mechanism of mid-life weight gain cannot be addressed without first addressing the fundamental issue of hormone imbalance. Simply put, if your hormone balance is off, your weight problem will persist — no matter how much broccoli you eat, how many stairs you climb, or how many diet pills you consume.
About Menopausal Weight Gain
Menopause is an inevitable fact of life. As women approach their forties and fifties, their estrogen levels drop and their ovulation stops. After her menstrual cycle has stopped for twelve months a woman is officially in menopause. It might happen as early as the late thirties or as late as the sixties.
A host of symptoms comes with the onset of menopause, making it a very difficult time in a woman's life. Menopause weight gain is often one of the most distressing symptoms of menopause. Menopause weight gain is usually experienced around the waist and in the abdomen, the least favorable weight-gain areas from most women. Gaining weight during menopause can be harmful, both to a woman's health and to her self-esteem.
Another effect of menopause is hot flashes which involve a sensation of heat washing in waves over a woman’s body, primarily her head and neck. Hot flashes vary in frequency and severity. A woman could experience the discomfort several times a day, or rarely at all. Similarly, her hot flashes can last a few seconds, or a few minutes.
Other side effects of menopause insomnia, night sweats, incontinence, vaginal discomfort, emotional unsettlement and the inability to focus.
Menopausal Weight Gain Treatment Options
- Long walks;
- Yard work;
- Light cardio training;
- Group fitness classes;
Natural ways to balance hormones and lose weight
Nutrition & Healthy Lifestyle
Eating better and replacing tempting snacks with healthy alternatives like a fruit, vegetables, and yogurt will also aid in weight loss. Supplements and hormonal therapy may help women retake control of their lives again. Women can find their hormonal balance and fight menopausal symptoms by adopting a healthy lifestyle, especially a healthy nutrition. Here are two nutrition plans specially designed for women over 40 to balance their hormones, help them lose weight and keep it off: Lose Stubborn Belly Fat & Healthy Nutrition For Women Over 40.
Exercises & Support Groups
Women are often frustrated over the multiple symptoms of menopause, especially weight gain. Women do not have to accept menopause weight gain in their lives. Being proactive by increasing exercise levels and doing a variety of physical activities can help with weight loss, reduce stress and improve overall well-being. It's important to add strength training and cardio exercises as part your daily routine to help you lose weight during menopause. Ideal exercises to fight menopausal symptoms including weight gain are:
Another way to help women lose menopause weight or avoid weight gain is to find a support group of women going through similar symptoms. By discussing the situation with others, women may be less likely to dwell on it and find innovative solutions to the problem created as a collective.
As in any period of life, being motivated and keeping active do the trick more than anything else. Women should plan to be on the move, stock the house with healthier food, eat out less and choose wisely when they do. It is also a good time to think about traveling and including variety in forms of entertainment, especially those that require being outdoors and physically active.
The best, most natural ways to combat menopause symptoms are maintaining muscle mass, cutting back on cholesterol and fat, and resting. Menopause is a time in women's life when she needs to be understood by others, be surrounded by loved ones and - most importantly, take control of her body and be aware.
Hormone Replacement Therapy & Medication
Hormone Replacement Therapy could be one option to fight menopause weight gain but studies show it can come with serious side effects. Find out more about Hormone Replacement Therapy here. Other medication for weight gain and other menopausal symptoms can be antidepressants or birth control pills. Is important to consult with your doctor before taking any medication for menopausal symptoms.
Weight Gain Symptoms
Most people notice weight gain because clothing starts to get tighter or the number on the bathroom scale increases. Although weight gain is not a symptom only seen during menopause, there are unique symptoms associated with weight gain during menopause. Menopause weight gain symptoms include:
Type 2 diabetes
Increased severity in menopause symptoms
Weight Gain FAQ's
FAQ: Is weight gain a cause for concern?
A: Yes, gaining weight can make a person at higher risk for certain medical conditions. Some conditions and diseases that can be associated with excess weight include:
- Heart disease
- Kidney disease
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Breast cancer
- leep apnea
- Insulin resistance
- Type 2 diabetes
- More severe menopausal symptoms
FAQ: If diet, exercise and herbal supplements are not enough, are there other ways to treat weight gain?
A: Unfortunately for some women, changing their diet, exercising regularly and taking supplements is not enough to prevent weight gain. These women may want to discuss diet pills or surgical options with their doctor. The most common type of surgery is liposuction, which reduces fat in a targeted area. Women discussing medications or surgery to help with weight loss should discuss these options with their doctor. They both have risks and side effects associated with them, and only a doctor can help the patient decide is these are the right treatments for them. Read more FAQ’s on weight gain during menopause.