Glancing in the mirror and noticing changes in your body can wreak havoc on your self-confidence and leave you desperate for change.
Or, maybe you’re looking back at pictures from just a few months ago and seeing a dramatic difference in your midsection.
But, why not learn how to lose menopause belly fat rather than stressing out and losing hope? First, though, you need to understand what causes menopause weight gain to combat it.
So, why do women gain weight during menopause? From hormonal shifts like the decrease in estrogen and progesterone to genetic factors, lifestyle changes, and even sleep disturbances - there are a myriad of culprits you can blame.
We’ll unpack each of these before we arm you with tips on combatting rapid aging after menopause. So, why do women gain weight during menopause?
Why Do Women Gain Weight During Menopause?
You're not alone if you've noticed those extra pounds creeping in as you transition into menopause. This may not provide you much solace, but it can at least ease fears of something more serious going on.
There are a wide array of menopause symptoms you can expect in this new chapter in your life. You probably accounted for hot flashes and mood swings, but may not have anticipated menopause weight gain.
So, what causes weight gain during menopause? While your situation is unique we can point a finger at a primarily underlying cause: hormonal changes.
It All Starts With a Decrease in Estrogen and Progesterone
Hormones play a pivotal role in almost every facet of our health. Two hormones are particularly significant when it comes to menopause: estrogen and progesterone.
Their decline is not just the hallmark of menopause but is intrinsically linked to many of the changes women experience, including perimenopause weight gain.
But what’s happening here and why? Let’s start with estrogen.
This is considered the ‘female’ hormone, but it impacts a whole lot more than just your reproductive system. It influences the distribution and storage of fat.
The body starts conserving more energy and storing it as fat as estrogen levels drop during menopause. This change is most noticeable in the mid-section - which is where the term meno belly comes from.
Moreover, reduced estrogen levels can also lower your metabolic rate. This makes it easier to gain weight even if you haven't changed your eating habits.
So how does progesterone play a part? While its decrease during menopause doesn't directly result in weight gain, it does cause water retention and bloating.
This might give the appearance of weight gain or make women feel heavier, particularly around their menstrual cycle. It also leads to gastrointestinal discomfort and in some cases menopause nausea.
But, these changes alone aren’t what causes menopause weight gain…
Decreases in Muscle Mass
There’s an often-overlooked factor contributing to weight gain - the gradual decrease of muscle mass. Muscle is more metabolically active than fat, which means it burns more calories even at rest. Therefore, when muscle mass decreases, so does our metabolic rate.
Women can lose up to 3% to 5% of their muscle mass per decade starting in their 30s. This becomes accelerated with the beginning of menopause.
The shift is driven by changes in hormones, but we can’t only blame estrogen and progesterone here. Reduced physical activity and other age-related factors play a part as well.
Less muscle not only contributes to weight gain but can also make physical tasks more challenging and slow down metabolism.
This is why incorporating strength training and resistance exercises becomes crucial during this phase. Not only can it help counteract the loss of muscle mass, but it can also increase bone density and improve strength and balance.
Life during our 40s and 50s often looks quite different than our younger years. Kids have grown up, work responsibilities might peak, and personal time often gets filled with caregiving or community responsibilities.
These changes in lifestyle can indirectly cause weight gain during menopause. Here are a few of the most common changes menopausal women make that result in increased weight gain:
Decreased Physical Activity: Many women find less time and motivation for regular exercise with age and increasing responsibilities. The sedentary patterns can contribute to weight gain, especially when combined with a slowing metabolism.
Altered Eating Patterns: Stress from work or personal changes can lead to emotional eating or skipping meals. Moreover, you might not adjust your caloric intake to your decreased energy needs as you age, leading to gradual weight gain.
Social Factors: Social outings or gatherings might revolve around food and drink and less around physical activity. Overindulgence becomes easy, especially with alcohol. This not only adds empty calories but can disrupt the metabolism of other nutrients.
Chronic Stress: Midlife can bring about unique stressors, including the challenges of aging parents, concerns about financial security, or health challenges. Chronic stress can elevate cortisol levels, a hormone that, when consistently high, can encourage fat storage, especially around the abdomen.
Being aware of these causes of weight gain during menopause can help women strategize their approach to weight management. You can then incorporate healthier habits and routines that align with this new phase of life.
Genetics Play a Role
Your body's characteristics and tendencies are inherited through genes. This includes predispositions related to weight and body composition. If your lineage shows a history of weight gain during this time, it’s likely you’ll follow suit.
For example, some women might naturally have an “apple” or “pear” body shape, determined largely by genetic factors. Those with an apple shape might find weight accumulating in the abdominal region, especially during menopause.
Your basal metabolic rate, or the number of calories your body burns at rest, can be influenced by genetics as well. Some people naturally have a faster metabolism, while others may not be as fortunate.
As with most aspects of genetics, though, don’t feel limited by your family history. Genetic predispositions aren’t a guarantee, it just means you may need to be more proactive in your approach to combatting weight gain during menopause.
Lack of Sleep
Sleep is an often-underestimated cause of weight gain during menopause. But while it becomes more important to get a good night’s sleep during menopause, it also becomes significantly harder.
Here’s how a poor sleep schedule is going to force you to fight an uphill battle against menopause weight gain:
Hormonal Imbalances: Lack of sleep can lead to imbalances in hormones like ghrelin (the hunger hormone) and leptin (the satiety hormone). This can result in increased appetite and cravings for sugary or fatty foods.
Stress and Cortisol: Insufficient sleep can elevate cortisol levels. As mentioned earlier, persistently high levels of this stress hormone can promote fat storage, particularly in the abdominal area.
Reduced Energy Levels: A poor night's sleep often results in fatigue and reduced motivation to engage in physical activity the next day, leading to decreased calorie burning.
But, hot flashes, night sweats, and other symptoms of menopause can disrupt sleep. This can create a cycle where menopause symptoms disrupt sleep, which in turn exacerbates weight gain, which then further aggravates menopause symptoms.
The good news? We’ll introduce you to one of the best supplements for menopause that doesn’t just directly combat weight gain but also fends off hot flashes and night sweats. First, we need to cover a few other causes of weight gain during menopause.
Thyroid and Metabolic Changes
The thyroid gland is nestled in your neck and plays a pivotal role in metabolism and energy regulation. You may be starting to see a common theme here, but its function shifts during menopause.
Hypothyroidism becomes more common during menopause. This is where the thyroid is underactive, which results in sluggish metabolism. It ultimately leads to weight gain or difficulty losing weight.
What’s more, the thyroid releases hormones that directly influence our BMR - the rate at which we burn calories while at rest. An underactive thyroid can make weight management more challenging as BMR drops.
The signs of a thyroid issue can be subtle and easily mistaken for typical menopausal symptoms: fatigue, mood swings, and weight gain.
That’s why it’s essential to see your doctor if you notice these signs. Proper thyroid medication and monitoring can help bring your metabolism back in balance.
Changes in Fat Distribution
You may not necessarily be gaining more weight during menopause - your body is just changing how it distributes fat.
Many women store fat in the hips and thighs before menopause. But fat storage often migrates to the abdominal area when estrogen levels plummet. This leads to a shift from a “pear” shape to a less pleasant “apple” shape.
Understanding this shift in fat storage can guide targeted interventions, from specific exercises that focus on abdominal strength to dietary adjustments that take into account the body’s changing needs.
Now That You Know What Causes Weight Gain During Menopause, Here’s What You Can Do to Fight Back…
Each of these plays a role in helping you shed stubborn belly fat with ease - but it all starts with optimizing your gut microbiome.
A balanced gut is intrinsically linked to efficient nutrient absorption, improved digestion, and a fortified immune system - along with a host of other non-weight related benefits.
But probiotics alone only paint part of the picture. Herbs like Moringa leaf, turmeric, curry leaf extract, and Bioperine all come together to create a synergistic supplement that works.
There aren’t any troublesome side effects of Provitalize either - just simple, sustainable weight management, fewer hot flashes, and a more balanced lifestyle in menopause and beyond.
And you don’t have to take our word for it - with thousands of Provitalize reviews and a 90-day money-back guarantee, you can order your first bottle with confidence.
Lifestyle Adjustments to Support Healthy Weight Management: Diet, Exercise, Sleep, Stress Reduction, and More
Provitalize can help you overcome weight gain during menopause all on its own - no need for drastic dietary changes or exercise regimens.
That being said, a holistic approach to weight management will speed up your timeline for results and bolster the efficacy of our supplement.
Diet: You need to be in a slight caloric deficit for weight management - meaning you burn more calories than you eat. If you need 2000 calories a day to break even, aim for around 1,800 calories. Embrace lean proteins such as chicken and fish to preserve muscle mass. Healthy fats like avocados and nuts support hormone health. Remember the importance of calcium and vitamin D for bone density - so add dairy, leafy greens, and fortified foods to your plate. Learn more about following a menopause diet plan in our blog where you’ll find lists of foods to avoid menopause weight gain and foods to never eat for a flat stomach
Activity: Exercise isn’t just for weight loss - it’s a crucial component for overall health. Integrating strength training exercises helps retain muscle mass as you age, which in turn boosts metabolism. Activities like walking or swimming are fantastic for cardiovascular health and can support your efforts to remain in a caloric deficit.
Sleep: Menopause can wreak havoc on your sleep patterns. However, you can drastically improve your sleep quality by setting a consistent sleep schedule, reducing screen time, and ensuring a comfortable bedroom environment. Remember, a well-rested body is more efficient at burning calories and balancing hormones.
Stress Management: Heightened stress during menopause contributed to unwanted weight gain around the midsection. Embrace techniques like meditation and deep breathing exercises to not just look better - but feel better.
Hydration is Key: Drinking enough water daily aids in digestion, nutrient absorption, and overall metabolic processes. So, fill up that bottle and keep it handy.
Regular Check-ups: This helps in the early identification of any potential issues contributing to weight gain, including thyroid imbalances.
Final Thoughts on the Causes of Weight Gain During Menopause
Let’s summarize our findings as we bring this guide to a close - why do women gain weight during menopause?
It can primarily be attributed to changes in key hormones like estrogen and progesterone. That being said, the result of aging itself takes a toll on your metabolism, muscle mass, energy, and stress levels.
While a multitude of factors are working against you, fighting back with Provitalize and a few healthy lifestyle changes empowers you to overcome weight gain during menopause.
Remember, menopause is a natural progression in life, not a setback. Embrace the change, prioritize your well-being, and let's journey towards a healthier, more balanced you. Get your first bottle today!