Menopause Weight Gain

gaining weight in menopause

By Hannah Cooke

Several years ago, I taught weight loss classes for a well known company and amongst my clients were several menopausal ladies. Although they said that they were following my suggestions regarding diet and exercise, these ladies never seemed able to maintain any sort of weight loss.

Several of them resorted to diet pills and weight loss supplements.

At the time I was in my thirties and had no experience of menopause weight gain, so naturally I assumed that they were eating more than they claimed and exercising less.  How wrong was I?

Now I`m in my fifties and experiencing the same thing myself, I`m ashamed that I didn`t show more support for those ladies or at least try and find out if there was any inevitability to menopause and weight gain.

 Why Maintaining A Healthy Weight Is Important

The term middle aged spread is justified and is due to the decrease in estrogen levels. Excess fat is now deposited around the stomach, rather than the hips and bottom. This can be bad news for our health because abdominal fat increases the risk of certain types of cancers as well as diabetes and heart disease.


It`s a fact that women between the ages of forty and fifty five gain on average fourteen pounds. If you`re around those ages and you`re gaining weight, this article will explain why and more importantly – what you can do about it?

Why Our Bodies Store Fat As We Get Older

As we age and get closer to menopause, the hormone levels fluctuate in our body as it prepares for the eventual stopping of our periods and egg production. When this happens, the body will attempt to find these hormones elsewhere – especially estrogen. And guess where an ample store of estrogen can be found?….. Within fat cells. Consequently, the body becomes more efficient at converting excess calories into fat.

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Appetites can increase by up to 67% as we draw closer to menopause
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Menopause Weight Gain:  What`s The Answer?

  1. Don`t worry the weight gain and carry on as normalweight gain during menopause
  2. Cut portion sizes right down and up your exercise routine to keep the body that you always had
  3. Accept that a little weight gain is normal and use the following strategies to maintain a happy medium

How To Lose Weight Tips:

menopause & exerciseExercise

It`s always unpopular, so I will get it out of the way first.

If you are truly serious about maintaining a healthy weight, there is no getting round the fact that you will have to move around more. Although you may be suffering from bloating, spotting,  fatigue and incontinence, you need to maintain a suitable activity level if you wish to keep your body at a healthy weight.

Our metabolism slows down by around 5% every ten years. This means that we will burn approximately 200 fewer calories per day at 45, than we did at 25.  It might not sound like much but that`s a massive 5600 calories per month less than we were using in our 20`s.

When I ran my weight loss classes and came to the exercise section, at least half of my clients made their excuses and left. It`s a sad truth that most of us are too sedentary.

Take a look at the escalators next time you are in a shopping mall and compare the number of people using them with the number actually taking the stairs. It`s a small thing, but you need to get into the mindset of making small changes wherever you can. These small changes will make a big difference to your weight, but you must commit to taking regular exercise.

menopause foodPortion Control

Make your hand into a fist and you will get an idea of how big your stomach is. Now open your hand and you will see how large your portion sizes should be. Below are some everyday foods and their recommended portion size. Compare these with the size of your portions and you will probably be in for a surprise.

manopausal weight gainPotatoes – a clenched fist

 

menopausal weight gainBread  - size of your palm

 

menopausal weight gainMeat or fish – size of your palm

 

menopause and weight gainCheese – two fingers

 

menopause weight lossFat - the tip of your thumb (one tip is to stop using butter or margarine on your bread, you`ll save thousands of calories over the year and your heart will thank you).

If you`re still not convinced and would prefer not to cut back on your calorie intake, you will need to do at least 60 minutes of exercise a day to prevent weight gain. However, if you can be persuaded to eat a little less, 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity such as cycling, brisk walking or swimming should do the trick

menopause eatingSlow down your eating

It takes around twenty minutes for food to reach your stomach, yet most of us gobble down every mouthful so quickly that our plate is cleared in less than ten minutes.weight gain during menopause

Watch how naturally slim folk eat and you will see that they take their time, chew each mouthful properly and may even put down their cutlery to pause eating for a few seconds. That`s what you need to do.

It`s been proven that the first few mouthfuls of food taste the best and so take your time enjoying them and savouring every morsel. There is no need to hurry and I promise that you will enjoy your food even more if you spend more time tasting it.

menopause dietDon`t clear your plate.

I know that you were always told to eat every morsel of food when you were small, but now I`m asking you to do the opposite. Listen to what your body is telling you and the minute you begin to feel comfortably full. STOP EATING.

It`s a really hard thing to push your plate away when you are so accustomed to clearing it, but you must get used to leaving food if you want to have a good relationship with it. Save it for later or give it to the dog if you don`t like wasting it. But eating more than your body needs and storing fat is still a waste and is also damaging to your health.

Conclusion:

Allow yourselves small treats, but make sure that  your menopause diet consists mainly of fruit, vegetables, whole grains and pulses, nuts, beans, fish and chicken. These foods are far better at curbing appetites and making you feel fuller for longer. This is because fiber slows down the rate at which we digest our food and water adds volume helping is to feel fuller for longer. In addition, protein triggers the brain to feel full far sooner than both fat or carbohydrate.

It`s really tough trying to keep a healthy weight at any time, but even tougher as we get older, because everything is stacked against us. Sometimes diet supplements can support your weight loss regime.

Our appetite increases. our metabolism slows down, we`re suffering from menopausal symptoms that you wouldn`t wish on anybody…..No, it`s not easy to keep menopause weight gain at bay, but take a look around and you will see that other middle aged women are managing to keep themselves fit and healthy. All it takes is a little effort.

 

Comments

  1. admin says:

    I like these tips – I thought it was only me that had gained half a stone in 2 weeks!
    None of my clothes fit

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