Weight loss During Menopause
One of the most challenging aspects that women experience during perimenopause & menopause is weight gain and difficulty with weight loss. Weight loss during menopause is one of the most common questions we get asked in our clinic. This is a very complex topic and there is a lot of confusion about it. In this article I will explain some of the causes of weight gain during the menopause transition and some basic recommendations on how to keep the weight off.
Body Changes During Menopause
Many women gain weight as they age. The theory behind this is that the body “knows” that its level of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone which are produced by your ovaries are declining. In the case of estrogen, the adipose tissue can also produce it. In an effort of your body to keep some amount of estrogen around, the body starts to encourage more fatty tissue trying to restore balance. This fatty tissue of course goes to the areas that it can produce more estrogen, which are your Thighs, Belly and Waist.
In United States, more than 70% of women ages 55 to 75 are overweight. Overweight or Obesity is defined by the BMI or Body Mass Index, which is a calculation based on your height and weight. A normal BMI is defined by having a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 and anything beyond that is considered overweight or obesity.
During the Menopause and perimenopause transition, women gain an average of 5 (five) pounds or 2.27kgs. Those numbers can vary from person to person but those are the average. However, the idea that weight gain is solely caused by menopause or Hormone replacement therapy is erroneous and not supported by scientific evidence. There is no quick or magical potion to keep your weight down during menopause.
Causes of Weight Gain During Menopause
Many factors contribute to weight gain during menopause but most of them are related to aging and lifestyle choices. So here is a list of common causes of weight gain and things that can affect weight loss during Menopause.
- Aging and lifestyle choices
- Body Fat accumulation during adulthood
- Lean body mass decrease during the aging process
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Sleep Deprivation
- Some types of hormone replacement therapy
- Metabolic Syndrome and PCOS
- Family History
- Hormonal Imbalances
There are many factors that can affect weight gain and weight loss during menopause as you can see on that list. There is not a definitive cause but a multifactorial one.
Metabolic syndrome, which is a combination of medical disorders that can increase a women risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 Diabetes and cancer, is something that we see more frequently in our clinic since the pandemic. Screening for this medical condition is very straightforward and is something we always do at TexasMenopause.
Metabolic Syndrome is characterized by Central Obesity, elevated Triglycerides , low levels of good cholesterol, elevated blood pressure and elevated glucose levels. If you want to read more about what are the symptoms of menopause and what we treat, you can read this article that explains what are the symptoms of menopause and how to treat them.
Weight Loss Management during Menopause & Perimenopause
Like mentioned before, there is no magic pill or potion to help you with weight loss during menopause. You need to reassess the types of food that you eat and the calories in and calories that your body goes through every single day. No single diet or eating regimen is the correct one for all women. Every women is different and has different needs. A few popular diets that are available for the general public are the following
However, basic tips that you can implement right away to help you keep the weight off during menopause are the following:
- Eating at regular intervals every 4-5 hours
- Engaging in a regular exercise program
- Consume a diet rich in vegetables and fruits
- Choose whole grain and high fiber foods
- Limit intake of saturated and trans Fat .
- Minimize intake of foods and drinks with added sugars
- Consume alcohol if any with moderation
- Prepare foods yourself and avoid take outs
- Follow the American Heart Association for more tips
At Texas Menopause we can offer a comprehensive physical exam and metabolic panel to help you with weight loss during menopause. There are also pharmacological interventions that can be discussed to help you keep the weight off and make you feel young again.
Book an appointment today!