Weight gain and menopause
Most women gain some weight when they reach menopause. Women who have always struggled with their weight find that the battle becomes even harder at this time. Many women who have never had to worry about their weight in the past find that they gain a couple of inches around their waist and are troubled by how to get rid of them.
Weight gain at menopause is common but not inevitable. There are effective ways to prevent the pounds piling on.
Why do women gain weight at menopause?
- At menopause blood levels of estrogen and progesterone decline and this leads to a slowing down of the metabolic rate. Often menopausal women carry some excess weight around their abdomen, and weight gain here can increase blood levels of male hormones (testosterone and others). High levels of male hormones make weight loss more difficult. The herbs in FemmePhase capsules have a feminizing effect and can help to correct the hormone imbalance.
- As we all get older the percentage of muscle on our body declines and the percentage of fat increases. From our mid 30s we generally start to lose muscle mass. This causes metabolism to slow because muscle burns more calories than fat does, even while resting.
- Menopausal women often exercise less than younger women. This may be because of sore joints or injuries, low energy levels or a change in lifestyle.
- Menopausal women often don’t sleep well or don’t get as much sleep as they used to. Unfortunately sleep quality tends to decline as levels of female hormones drop. Poor quality sleep can make weight loss extremely difficult. Magnesium is wonderful for helping to calm and relax the muscles and nervous system. It can help to quieten your mind and enable you to achieve a deep and refreshing sleep.
- Alcohol consumption increases in some menopausal women. This may be due to more time spent socialising or in an effort to wind down in the evening and get to sleep. Many menopausal women have problems sleeping and they do not realise that alcohol worsens these problems because it increases hot flushes and night sweats.
- Some menopausal women spend more time eating out and going on holidays, particularly if they have retired from work. Restaurant meals are always higher in calories, fat and carbohydrate than home prepared food. Many menopausal women who live on their own stop cooking. If there are no other people to feed, such as children or a partner they nibble on food throughout the day rather than eating three meals a day. That promotes weight gain because convenient snacks are usually high in carbohydrate.
- Syndrome X (insulin resistance) gets worse as we get older. Insulin is the hormone made by the pancreas that enables sugar in our bloodstream to get inside our cells and be used for energy. As we get older, if we don’t exercise much and if we’re overweight, insulin becomes less and less effective at this task. This means that glucose (carbohydrate) is not used for energy as efficiently, but rather it is converted into body fat. As we age, our calorie requirements are not as great, so we should be eating less food in general, and less carbohydrate if we want to avoid weight gain.
Carrying excess weight at any time of your life is dangerous; gaining weight after menopause significantly increases a woman’s risk of heart attacks, strokes and breast and uterine cancer.
How to lose weight after menopause
- Energy requirements are reduced as you age, therefore it is necessary to eat less food in general if you want to avoid weight gain.
- Start exercising or increase the amount of exercise you do. The two main types of exercise are aerobic exercise (that makes you huff and puff) and strength training (using weights or your own body weight). As women become older, exercise becomes more important, not just for losing weight but for helping to prevent various diseases, particularly osteoporosis, cancer and heart disease. Strength training exercise will increase the amount of muscle on your body, and the more muscle you have, the faster your metabolic rate will be.
- Reduce the amount of carbohydrate you consume. Foods like rice, potatoes, breakfast cereals, pasta, bread and any food made of flour are high in carbohydrate but low in nutrients. Therefore they fill your tummy and provide lots of calories. If you don’t exercise a great deal, or you are carry excess body fat, you don’t need all those calories. Eating more carbohydrate will only pile on more weight. High carbohydrate foods raise your blood insulin level and that stimulates abdominal weight gain. Our Syndrome X book contains an easy to follow low carbohydrate eating plan.
- Cook. Eating three proper meals a day, rather than nibbling throughout the day is an effective way to lose weight. Many women stop cooking when the children leave home or they live alone for other reasons. Make an effort to prepare quality healthy meals, even if you are cooking for one.
- If you are very busy and like the convenience of having a smoothie for a meal, you can use a whey based protein powder such as Synd-X Slimming Protein powder. Whey is an excellent source of protein, therefore is very filling. It contains virtually no carbohydrate or fat. You can use a protein powder to replace one main meal a day and as a snack.
For more information about everything related to menopause, see the book Hormone Replacement the Real Truth.
The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.