Menopause doesn’t necessarily always cause you to gain weight. But because extra pounds can creep on as women age, a spare tire around the middle is the least looked for result.
If you want to know more about this “middle-age spread” and what you can do about it just read on.
Why It Happens
Women tend to have more fat during middle age than men do. Even if you don’t add pounds, you may find that clothes don’t fit because the waist is too tight.
Doctors think several things can work together to explain why weight gain can strike around this time:
- We burn fat more slowly as we age. All bodies slow down over time.
- Many women exercise less in their 40s, 50s, and 60s. Busy lives and lapsed gym cards mean less muscle and more fat.
- Falling hormone levels, plus your genes, cause your body to store fat in new places after menopause. You may have once had more padding at the hips. Now there’s more at the waist. This can shift your shape from pear-like (wider at hips and thighs) to apple-like (wider at waist and belly).
Why it’s important to keep a healthy weight
Whatever the cause, more menopausal women are overweight than at their normal weight. Those extra pounds come with added health concerns, too.
Belly fat is linked to heart problems, stroke, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, and breast and colon cancer.
Even when body mass index (BMI — a measure of body fat based on height and weight) is normal, a large waist (35 inches or more for women) along with other risks is linked to more chances of getting diabetes in women.
How to help reduce belly fat
Excess weight responds well to some effort, sadly there is still no ‘magic pill’ that can target the area but here’s what can help:
- Eat a bit less overall as pounds gained now may be more likely to go right to your middle. Since your goal should be to lessen weight gain overall, eating just 200 fewer calories a day in your 50s can help.
- Eat healthier. Food choices make a big change. In a study, women lost weight at menopause by eating a diet with more nutrients and fewer calories. They ditched sugary drinks, fried foods, meat, cheese, and desserts for fish, fruits, and vegetables.
- Maintain muscle. Regular exercise helps boost your metabolism and burns off what you eat, and helps your body shed fat faster overall. Keeping active adds muscle mass, which also helps prevent weight gain. Walking, jogging, and strength training also help you shed pounds.
- Manage your menopause symptoms. Hot flushes and poor sleep can raise your stress levels. Stress packs on pounds so look for ways to reduce it.
The fact of getting older can’t avoided and nor can menopause, but and having perhaps a less healthy exercise and health regime are fairly simple things to address.
There are four critical elements: hormone balance, stress, diet and exercise. Tackling these really will make a substantial difference to how well you manage menopausal weight gain.
At menopause oestrogen dominance is a real factor that helps put extra weight around your middle as your body is shifting production of oestrogen from the ovaries into the fat cells of the abdomen.
Diet and exercise will soon see improvement in your weight and health overall, but tackling stress really will make a difference too. That impacts your sleep, which impacts your hot flushes and reduces your overall ability to cope with your hormonal symptoms.
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