Are you struggling with weight gain as you approach menopause and beyond?
The transition into menopause can be a turbulent one as if it wasn’t enough to be contending with other symptoms, stubborn weight gain is a source of sheer frustration for some women.
Why does weight seem so damn hard to budge?
In short, there is no quick fix answer as there are many factors at play here, one of the main reasons is a decline in our oestrogen levels.
While we cannot blame weight gain wholly on menopause there is evidence to show that our metabolic rate changes, therefore adjusting the way we have been used to eating can help to support this life stage.
As our hormone levels change during the transition to menopause our body produces less oestrogen and this has an impact on the way body alters fat transition. Some women find themselves changing from a pear shape (fat around the hips and thighs) to an apple shape (more fat around our middle).
Having higher levels of fat around the middle also increases our cardiovascular risk so managing our weight is also important to heart health. To add to this, fat cells produce their own oestrogen and can drive inflammation that drives weight gain, and the cycle continues.
Women also become insulin resistant, otherwise known as pre-diabetes, when estrogen levels drop. This is because oestrogen has a protective effect on insulin. Insulin is a hormone released from our pancreas to allow glucose to enter the cell for energy. However, in this case, it means that our cells become “less” sensitive to insulin, therefore glucose does not get into the cells. Leading to higher levels of blood sugar, which our body will store as fat if it is not used up by our muscles and cells, also raising our risk of diabetes.
What we eat and when we eat naturally has an effect on our weight, it is clear that we cannot sustain the way we used to eat and drink when we were in our twenties and thirties. Taking into account how often we eat, skipping meals, our portion sizes, consumption of junk foods, changes in mood that can lead to emotional eating along with shift patterns have all shown to play a part.
So what can you do to help maintain your weight during this time of life?
It is also worth noting that lean muscle mass is lower during menopause, which can lead to a drop in your metabolic rate, so regular exercise can help to control any excess weight gain.
The key to maintaining weight during this transition is to adjust your dietary requirements accordingly. Knowing what foods to include and what to avoid are all key components that will help you to gain some control around your weight gain if this has become a concern for you.
It may also be worth addressing your eating patterns, looking at “when” and “why” you eat, in other words, looking at any emotional eating. This can really help to keep your weight at a healthy level and more importantly keep you feeling happy and confident in yourself.
I help and support my clients to make simple changes to their diet and lifestyle that support the transition into menopause and beyond. Having someone to guide you through can make all the difference, so you no longer have to manage your symptoms, you get to experience the changes for yourself. This puts you back in control feeling more confident around your food choices.
If you are struggling with excess weight gain during this stage of life and you would like to know how I can help you please click the button below.