Are you currently experiencing weight gain in menopause or perimenopause? Are you worried that this might become an issue for you in the future?
If you answered either of these questions with a “yes”, getting informed about how menopause can lead to changes in body composition is a great first step. The more you know, the easier it’ll be to avoid gaining weight during this stage of your life.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about weight gain with menopause.
There are a lot of factors that can contribute to a woman experiencing increases in body fat as she goes through this transitionary phase. Alterations in hormone levels play a major role, as do changes in physical activity and other behaviors.
Hormones, of course, are significant contributors to menopause weight fluctuations. We need to discuss the hormone estrogen, in particular, when talking about why it’s common for the number on the scale to increase for women in this stage of life.
As women get older, their ovaries slowly begin to produce less estrogen. This decrease in estrogen production begins well before menstruation ceases. Symptoms often become noticeable in a woman’s early 40s, but they may start to occur even earlier in some cases.
Estrogen plays an important role in maintaining a healthy metabolism. When estrogen levels decrease, this can lead to a slower metabolic rate. This means you burn fewer calories both when exercising and at rest. If a woman’s metabolic rate decreases but her calorie intake does not, she will start to gain weight and may find that it’s harder to shed extra pounds.
Low estrogen can also lead to a slower metabolic rate because it can contribute to a loss of muscle mass. Research suggests that estrogen supports muscle stem cell activity. When estrogen is low, stem cell function diminishes, and faster rates of muscle loss may occur.
The body burns a lot of calories just to maintain muscle mass. When mass decreases, calorie burn decreases and the metabolism slows down. As a result, it can be harder to burn calories and lose body fat.
When a woman’s estrogen levels decrease, they also tend to store fat differently. This is why it’s common for older women to experience increases in abdominal fat (or belly fat). By contrast, younger women who aren’t going through these hormonal changes tend to store more fat in their hips and thighs.
The fat stored in the hips and thighs is also stored as subcutaneous fat, whereas belly fat associated with menopause is more likely to be stored as visceral fat. This is a type of fat that wraps around the organs.
We can’t talk about increases in body fat without also addressing behavior changes that tend to take place during this transition phase of life. When many women use search terms like “why gain weight menopause”, they often come across information about hormonal changes. What they don’t always realize, though, is that their behaviors play a role in their body size and composition.
As women age, it’s common for their physical activity to decrease. This might be due to increased discomfort that they feel due to symptoms like hot flashes or lower energy levels that result from poor sleep. Regardless of the reason, lower levels of physical activity will often lead to a higher number on the scale. This is especially true if the changes in activity aren’t accompanied by adjustments to one’s diet.
Speaking of diet, differences in eating habits can contribute to increased body fat as well. Women who are feeling stressed, anxious, or depressed about their menopause symptoms might find themselves indulging more often in foods that are high in calories and that may worsen their symptoms (processed food, baked goods, alcohol, etc.).
Overconsuming these foods and beverages can make weight loss harder to achieve. They won’t help in the long run with other symptoms (hot flushes/flashes, mood swings, etc.), either. In fact, they might even make symptoms worse.
On average, women put on about five pounds during this stage of life. There are plenty of women who see more noticeable increases, though. For example, one study showed that 20 percent of women experience increases of 10 pounds or more.
It’s also not just the number of pounds a woman puts on that matter. Even if the number on the scale doesn’t go up in a dramatic way, differences in fat storage can also have negative effects on women’s self-esteem. They may impair her overall health, too.
Addressing weight gain isn’t just about aesthetics. Increases in body fat and abdominal fat, in particular, can lead to a greater likelihood that a woman will develop certain health problems, including the following:
Menopausal and postmenopausal women who have excess fat around the midsection may also be more prone to breathing problems. They may find that they have less stamina than they once did as well.
The good news is that there are steps you can take to avoid putting on extra body fat during this stage of life, including these:
Regular exercise is great for your health at any age. It’s especially important for perimenopausal and menopausal women, though.
Consistent cardiovascular exercise is great for your heart, and strength training is also important for maintaining muscle mass and strengthening the bones. Remember, women are more prone to osteoporosis and fractures post-menopause due to lower estrogen levels.
Healthy eating is essential for those who want to avoid increases in body fat during menopause. Focus on eating lots of fruits and vegetables, as well as high-quality protein sources (meat, poultry, eggs, seafood, legumes, etc.), healthy fat sources (avocado, olive oil, etc.) and whole grains.
Some older women find that they feel better and can avoid menopause weight gain and lose weight when they consume a lower carbohydrate or ketogenic diet, too. This kind of diet can help to improve insulin sensitivity and may decrease one’s risk of developing conditions like type 2 diabetes.
It’s understandable that stress increases for a lot of menopausal women. After all, their body’s going through major changes!
Increased stress can lead to increases in abdominal fat, though, and may make it harder for women to lose body fat. This is especially true for those who have a tendency to overeat when they’re feeling stressed out.
Everyone manages stress differently, and there’s no one-size-fits-all plan for feeling more relaxed. Taking up practices like meditation, journaling, or yoga can be helpful, though. Spending more time outdoors (preferably without your phone or other distractions) is a good option, too.
It’s also important to prioritize sleep as well. Many menopausal women struggle with poor sleep, especially those who experience hot flashes at night.
Keeping the bedroom cool, minimizing caffeine and blue light exposure later in the day, and sticking to a consistent night routine can all help to improve sleep quality and, by default, promote weight loss.
You can also help to stop hormonal weight gain and have an easier time trying to lose weight by utilizing certain supplements. The following are some of the most effective products to add to your routine:
Poor gut health can exacerbate hormonal imbalances and make menopause symptoms, including increases in body fat, worse. Supplementing with probiotics can help to balance the bacteria in the gut and minimize the effects of fluctuating hormone levels.
Probiotic supplementation can help with weight loss and improved digestion for many women, too. This is especially true when they’re supplementing with certain probiotic strains, including B. Breve, L. Gasseri,andB. Lactis. All of these probiotic strains have been shown to promote fat loss and may help with blood sugar balance, too.
Turmeric is an herb that has powerful anti-inflammatory properties thanks to the presence of a compound known as curcumin. Curcumin acts as a phytoestrogen and can mimic the effects of estrogen in the body. It may be helpful to women struggling with the effects of decreased estrogen production.
Bioperine is a patented form of piperine, which is a compound naturally present in black pepper. It helps to increase the bioavailability of curcumin. This, in turn, improves curcumin’s anti-inflammatory and estrogenic effects.
Moringa Leaf is a healing plant that has been used around the world for hundreds of years. It’s loaded with vitamins and nutrients that support proper metabolic health and minimize inflammation.
There is research showing it can improve blood sugar balance and promote healthy cholesterol levels as well. Managing both of these is important for women who want to feel their best and reduce their risk of developing certain chronic health conditions.
Curry Leaf is another healing plant that is widely used in Asian cooking. It contains many vitamins and minerals that menopausal women need, including vitamins A, B, C, and E, as well as phosphorus and iron.
Like Moringa Leaf, it can regulate blood sugar levels and promote healthy cholesterol levels. It can also improve digestion.
There are also certain vitamins and minerals that can help, both directly and indirectly, with body composition issues. When evaluating and making changes to your diet, be sure to assess whether you need more of any of these vitamins or minerals:
You can get many of these nutrients from your diet (B vitamins are found in meat, poultry, and dark leafy greens, while magnesium is found in dark leafy greens, some nuts, dark chocolate, for example). It may also help to supplement with a multivitamin to ensure you’re getting them all in adequate amounts.
Let’s say you’ve already experienced changes in body fat or body composition that are related to hormonal imbalances. If you need help shedding the fat you’ve gained recently (or perhaps not so recently), all of the strategies outlined above (increased strength training, dietary changes, smart supplementation, etc.) will still be effective for you.
Talk to your doctor about specific steps you can take to shed excess pounds and improve your health. You might want to consider working with a personal trainer and a registered dietitian, too, for extra assistance and a plan that’s better tailored for your specific needs.
You now know more about what happens to your body during this stage of life and what causes perimenopausal, menopausal, and postmenopausal women to gain weight and lose muscle mass. Armed with this valuable information, it’s time to take action.
You don’t have to sit back and accept every change that happens to your body composition as you get older. The right supplements, paired with a healthy diet and lifestyle, can help you to lose weight and maintain control over your body size, shape, and health as a whole.
Of all the supplements you can use to manage menopause symptoms, increases in body fat, Provitalize (all rights reserved) is one of the best options to check out. It provides you with a healthy dose of probiotics, as well as other nutrients your body needs to feel its best.
Formulated with research-backed probiotics strains and other ingredients that have been proven to improve weight loss efforts, balance blood sugar, and aid in the management of other symptoms (hot flashes, mood swings, etc.), Provitalize (all rights reserved) is an incredible product to add to your daily routine. Order your first bottle today to see what it’s all about!