Weight gain may seem inevitable once you enter middle age, but the truth is it does not have to be. Natural hormonal changes begin in menopause with symptoms like night sweats, hot flashes, and mood swings, but you do not need to idly accept that the number of washroom visits will creep up at speed.
Menopause is a time where you reach the end of your last menstrual cycle. Therefore, people say that they are experiencing menopause that means they have not reached it yet. They are feeling perimenopause or going to experience it.
That also means females experience the majority of symptoms like mood swings, hot flashes, during perimenopause, which can last on average for 4 years.
Before during, and after menopause, your estrogen level starts to decline and metabolism slow, making it extra hard for you to reduce weight, especially in middle age. And belly fat is not annoying, it is also not healthy. According to studies, it increases heart disease, diabetes, and cancer risk, even early death.
Body Changes At Menopause
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As age progression, muscles begin to decrease in bulk and metabolism gets slow. These changes can lead to weight gain near menopause.
Additional physical alterations connected with menopause may involve:
hair growth or loss
skin transitions like loss of elasticity and dryness
These changes may influence a woman’s body image and self-confidence and raise the risk of sexual problems and depression.
Fat Distribution And Oestrogen At Menopause
A change in levels of hormones, especially estrogen, may affect the fat distribution of the body. Many females in perimenopause and early post-menopause time cause fat gain as estrogen levels reduce. Females of childbearing age tend to store fat in the lower body while male and postmenopausal females store fat in abdomen parts.
Can Menopause Cause Weight Gain?
Deflated estrogen levels are required. Estrogen levels are less to nothing once you reach menopause. And there is some analysis to back this up. According to a 2014 study in the journal BioMed-Research-International, a reduction in estrogen has been linked with a few rapid metabolisms. However, lifestyle modifications can also cause weight gain near menopause time.
The North-American-Menopause Society-(NAMS) repeats this view,
including that lean body mass reduction with age while body fat develops from adulthood. If you manage the habits you had before hitting menopause, you will likely notice a body change.
Weight gain apart, menopause may also cause a female body to redistribute its fat. Fat distribution changes. That is why women tend to gain weight near their bellies.
According to the NAMS, this transition from a pear shape to an apple shape is linked with a raised amount of fat near the abdomen around menopause time. More research requires to be done to know why this is the society.
Can You Prevent Menopause Weight Gain?
Many women experience weight gain due to menopause, which is uncomfortable, here are simple ways to keep them fit.
Remember: every woman has different health and menstrual health. What diet and exercise work for one woman may not work for another? Make sure to speak to your nutritionist.
Focus On Your Muscles
As females age, they start to lose their muscle mass. They do not burn as several calories as they might get back. It is vital to ensure you are getting sufficient protein after you reach menopause since protein benefits support muscle mass. Make sure you get adequate protein in your diet at every meal. That means including some weight training days to exercise also, additionally to your cardio workout.
Cut some calories—but not more than 500 per day
Because you are not burning as many as calories you used to, you can begin reducing extra calories, where you see fit. It is not a drastic change, but stay mindful. Cutting calories, for example, might mean reducing that 2nd glass of wine every night or replacing one snack every day for low calories or veggies.
Include extra exercise a day in your schedule
If you perform cardio 3-days a week, try including a weight lifting or strength-training session in your weekly mix or not just to help in pumping blood in muscles but to include some more calorie-burning minutes to your schedule. As your age increase, you might wish to include an extra day if you can, if you can get the time. Make sure to be active. Once you reach menopause, you have to stay mindful. It makes it harder, but it does not mean we should give up.
Stand More Than Sit Whenever Possible
It is a simple formula: The more time your body has motions, the more calories your body will burn. Stay as vertical as possible in the day. Not only it will increase calorie burning, but it can also help to prevent another health ailment. According to a study issued in January-2018-in-the journal-Obesity found that long sitting is linked to greater levels of intestinal fat, as well as fat that is build up near organs such as the liver, which increases the risk of heart illness and diabetes.
To stay upright more often, stand and walk when you are talking on the phone, or park farther from the places you are going so you will have to walk a little extra. If you are a binge-watcher, keep a pedal exercise over the floor in front of your couch. Therefore, you can fit in some essential movement during still picking up on your favorite show.
If your job requires more sitting all day, try to stand in mid of work.
A research report from the Society-for-Human-Resource-Management,
standing desks are the fastest-growing employee benefit in the US.
Check Portions of Your Meals
Your metabolism has slowed down by the time you reach menopause with some research recommending it burns some hundred calories someday. You can instantly skip 200 calories, but that can also quickly include if you do not lower the calories you consume. It is also this time in life, when you may be reliving from everyday duties of preparing family meals and just need to take a break from the kitchen. Cutting down restaurant meals and going out is easy to control portion, but eating frequency and timing of meal can make difference. There is a lot of research about meal timing and you will know more about eating.
Choose Carefully and Eat Healthy Fats
Fat has different types and makes the food taste better. Therefore, you can have healthy fat options too. You just need to know how to make healthy choices like walnuts, olive oil.
The healthiest fats are obtained from vegetable sources like nuts, olives, but have different calories such as avocado have different content of healthy fat and calories.
Restaurant meals are not health-friendly. They add many flavors that carry different unhealthy fats. Salad dressing is the biggest source of extra fats.
Avoid Mindless Eating
It is not about what you eat when you are on a midlife diet that is important, but also when you eat.
Midnight ice cream binges and potato chip affect. The idea is to do not eat too much or too late.
Track your calories throughout the day. Overeating can increase the weight of menopausal women.
To help curb snacking, try to notice your circadian rhythm. Eat in between 8-12 hours a day and then do not eat for the remaining time. Try to stay strict with a time limit and end you’re eating time at 7 pm and continue again after 12 hours, in the next morning at 7 am.
How Exercise Prevent with Weight After Menopause
Staying active help to prevent weight gain. According to the National-Institutes-of-Health review showed that people who did aerobic workouts every day for 10 or more times had 6 fewer inches around the waistline compared to people who did not work out. And exercising for losing weight helps in weight maintenance.
Other Exercise Benefits After Menopause
Workout has different other perks apart from weight loss, including:
Less risk of osteoporosis
Low risk of heart ailment, metabolic syndrome, and cardiovascular diseases.
Keep muscles strong and joints
Improved insulin resistance
Improve overall health
Help with bowels
Relieve depression anxiety.
Good Exercise Options After Menopause
Here are the exercises to do to prevent menopause weight gain.
Strength training or a weight resistance workout program helps to develop muscle mass and increase metabolism. It also helps to balance bone mass. Because you lose muscle mass as your age increase, include strength training in your exercise, if you have not before. Make a goal for 2-3 times a week. Examples of strength training include dumbbells, weight machines, workout bands, gardening, and yoga.
Low-impact aerobics is suitable for the lungs and heart. For example, walking is one of the good choices, because you can perform it anywhere, and anytime. Other examples of aerobics workouts include cycling, swimming, dance, and tennis.
Exercise moderately for 30 minutes most, if not all, days of the week.
Whenever you can, include activity today. Wash the car, play ping pong game, hide and seek with grandchildren, etc.
Other Workout Tips to Help Assure Success
Before you start exercising:
Talk to your physician about the new workout program. Choose activities you enjoy so you will attach them with practice.
Choose a workout partner to stay motivated.
Purchase supportive shoes that are suitable for your activity.
Eat Nutrient-Rich Foods
Replacing saturated fat with healthy fats like avocado helps to prevent weight gain. You will need to eat fewer calories than you use. Creating dietary changes is an essential part to prevent weight gain.
Healthful and nutrient-dense food should be the basis for all snacks and a menopause woman’s diet should consist of different color vegetables and fruits, whole grain, and lean protein sources.
A Mediterranean-style diet is a very famous and effective diet for health. According to a study of 2016, this diet can improve risk factors of heart health like lipid levels and blood pressure.
Different fruits and vegetables
lean proteins, from fish, beans, chicken
whole grains like bread and cereals
healthy fats, such as legume, olive oil, or avocados
A woman should skip processed foods and containing high saturated fat or trans-fat.
Some examples include:
pastries, such as cakes, donuts, and cookies.
processed meats, like hot dogs, bologna
foods containing added oils or sugar
Avoid consumption of sweetened drinks like sodas and juices — can also help. These beverages contain high sugar.
After you begin exercising:
Do 10 minutes warm-up before beginning to workout rigorously. Choose a gentle activity to work on major muscles.
Do good muscle stretching to absorb the shock of the workout routine.
If you have any new pain during a workout, stop and let your physician know.
Slowly boost the length, distance, and workout intensity.
Combine it and do another workout to avoid bore feeling and challenge your body.
For the best result of fitness, combine your efforts with good nutrition. Here are some tips:
Choose fruits, whole grains, lean protein, and vegetables.
Avoid processed foods.
Keep a food journal or explore apps to help calories counting.
Do not eat in the late evening.
Eat smaller amounts frequently.
Adjust Stress Levels
Stress is linked with weight gain and fat. Staying with constant stress cause increases cortisol levels, which will increase the fat deposit in the abdomen parts. Cortisol is a stress hormone, activates the liver to increase blood sugar production and helps the body to convert fats, carbohydrates, and protein into usable energy. As part of the body’s response of fight or flight, cortisol is released during stressful times to provide a natural energy boost to the body when cortisol levels get high, these are similar effect may result in type-2 diabetes and insulin resistance.
Here are some techniques to manage stress:
Go Out And Enjoy Nature
According to research nature help to lower stress study, issued in September 2014 in the Journal-Environment-and-Behavior, discovered that people who simply see images of trees reported feeling less stressed out.
Try A New App
Try to use new apps like meditation app such as Headspace, Insight Timer, and calm, provide 5-minute and other meditations for beginners that can reduce heart rate and stress short-circuit response
Ease Up On Alcohol
While drinking alcohol or wine may feel like a stress reliever, it will not last long and have reverse effects of increasing belly fat.
Avoid Crash Diets
Skip crash diets that claim to lower the menopause weight gain because they are short-term. Because of body changes in muscles, means you are likely to increase weight when you begin eating normally again.
Leptin a fat hormone is essential for managing body weight as it helps to control appetite and the metabolic rate. According to studies, the leptin levels drop after a crash diet, which raises the appetite and reduces metabolism.
Get Better Sleep
Getting quality sleep is essential for healthy weight management and complete health. Because low quality sleep is also the risk of unwanted weight gain.
Having regular sleep disturbances can lead to metabolic disruption and the aging process during menopause. Sleep quality alteration affects the following conditions:
Body fat composition
Additionally, symptoms like night sweats and hot flashes can affect sleep.
Focusing on sufficient restful sleep can lower weight gain related to menopause.
Menopause Weight Gain Risk
Menopause weight gain can have severe health implications. More weight especially near the midsection, raise the risk of the following conditions:
- Breathing problems
- The disease of Heart and blood vessel
- Type 2 diabetes
- Cancer like colon, breast, and endometrial.
Take your doctor help
If your low estrogen inducing menopausal symptoms, such as night sweats, and harsh hot flashes, then you may need to think of hormone therapy or other medication.
HT has had a questionable history since it was first established by the FDA for the treatment of hot flashes compared to menopausal in 1942.
As early as the 1950s, doubts began that taking hormones might affect the health of women and since that time concerns have continued.
Whether risk decreases the benefits, though, is something every woman should discuss with a physician.
Taking your gynecologist’s help to provide medication might help to control the symptoms of menopause. Your doctor will likely wish to analyze whether your weight gain is indeed from menopause and not from some other health condition that requires to treat.
Other Reason To Weight Gain During Menopause
- Reduced metabolic rate
- Number of children
- Family history of obesity
- Less metabolic rate
- Altered lifestyle
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
Opposite to the common view, weight gain is not linked to hormone-replacement therapy, which is also called menopausal hormone therapy. Some studies recommend that usage of HRT/MHT is linked with low-fat gain and possible beneficial results on muscle mass.
If the female is likely to gain weight during middle age, she will gain weight regardless of whether she uses HRT/MHT.
Some women get symptoms at the beginning of the treatment like breast fullness, bloating, which are believed as weight gain. These symptoms usually disappear in 3-months of the therapy doses being changed to suit the individual.
Cardiovascular disease and Menopause
With increased age, the risk of cardiovascular disease increases. It may be because of the postmenopausal tendency to increase weight around the abdomen. Body fat build-up within the abdominal part and around the internal organs is a risk factor for the increase of cardiovascular disease.
Hormone replacement therapy may lower the cardiovascular disease risk by preventing abdominal body fat. Additionally, estrogen replacement promotes good blood cholesterol and reduce bad cholesterol
Calories Are Essential, But Low-Calorie Diets Do not Work Good Long-Term
To lower weight, a calorie deficiency is required. Through and after menopause, a female’s resting energy usage or the calories she burns during rest drops. Although it may be attractive to try a smaller calorie diet to lower weight suddenly, it is the most harmful thing you can do.
Research indicates that lowering calories to reduce levels causes muscle mass loss and a decline in metabolic rate.
Therefore, lower-calorie diets may lead to short-term weight loss, their effects on metabolic rate and muscle mass will make it hard to keep the weight off.
Moreover, insufficient calorie consumption and reduced muscle mass can cause bone loss. This can cause osteoporosis risk(Source).
Research also suggests that dietary restraint, like watching portion sizes instead of sudden slashing calories, may be helpful for weight loss(Source).
Changing a healthy lifestyle can be helpful to maintain a long-term metabolic rate and lower muscle mass reduction with aging.
Consider alternative therapies
While there is not well-conducted research about medicine alternatives for lowering menopause-related symptoms. Here are some therapies, which can help to lower stress and other symptoms.
Does yoga help to relieve menopause?
While there is no cure for every symptom of menopause, research indicates that yoga practice helps to relieve several symptoms.
Here are reasons to practice yoga during perimenopause and menopause.
A natural remedy
A regular yoga practice will help to calm down the body and mind and lower the discomfort linked to menopause.
Rather than depending on a hormonal approach for managing menopause, yoga is a comprehensive and natural remedy.
Yoga Relieves Stress
Pranayama is a key component of yoga. It refers to controlled breathing. This breathwork helps to reduce anxiety, calm down the mind and help females to get calm mental health.
Regular Practice May Lower Blood Pressure
Some research indicates that blood pressure may raise after menopause because of hormonal changes that occur in the body. Yoga is the best traditional way to use an antidote. Regular practice may help to boost oxygen and blood circulation in the body.
Yoga Promotes Joint Health
According to research, consistent and frequent, yoga practice may help to lower joint pain. Not all menopausal females have arthritis, but the condition does not raise with aging. As such, yoga will help to increase the way menopausal females live and work by strengthening joints and promote flexibility.
Yoga can also focus on other common symptoms of perimenopause such as fatigue, making females who instantly practice it experience extra energized as a result.
Yoga May Help Lower Hot Flashes
Hot flashes are connected to an extra pitta or fire in the body that must be released. Yoga is considered a helpful way to release that fire, or energy and rhythmic, slow, weight-bearing movements may help.
Hypnotherapy During Menopause
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is another option shown to lower stress from hot flashes to improve anxiety and sleep. Hypnotherapy has been shown to lower the intensity and frequency of hot flashes, also, to benefit with anxiety and mild depression.
Research has shown to focus on calming imagery whilst in a state of hypnosis makes for greater control of hot flashes and helps to prevent them altogether. Hypnosis has shown to lower night sweats and hot flashes by up to 74%, showing it to be as successful as HRT in managing these symptoms. For example, you might think of the cooling feeling of stepping into a swimming pool or being outside, the feeling of a cool breeze over the skin.
Concentrate on this picture, feeling, imagine it moving from the body. Next time you get hot flashes, target your mind over this cooling feeling.
Your Future Self
Imagine how you wish to feel in the next 6-months. Close your eyes and think about every detail, feel the image, sound, scents, and stepping into the scene of the future. Focus on how you will feel at that time. Work out what you require to do to create this future. It might include taking extra time for yourself, adding yoga or another workout into life, and exercising you want it from life. Keep this visualization, the more you do it, the more it feels real, which is the best motivation for changes into place.
Flash control dial
Imagine you in the room and there is a dial on one wall that goes all the way from 0-10. 0 represents a comfortable, good calmness. 10 represents a very hot feeling during a hot flash. Close your eyes and think about where you are on this scale. Now try to turn the dial up at some notches and feel body heat increase. Go up and down like this, manage body heat, and then set the dial at one comfortable level. If you practice this on your own before getting hot flashes, the next time you get flash, use this flash control dial to reduce heat simply by imagining it.
Herbal Remedies for Menopause
Black cohosh is a flowering shrub that relates to eastern North American regions. It is used to maintain many illnesses and below-night sweats and hot flashes associated with menopause.
It is not recommended for people with liver disease to prevent reactions.
Red clover is an herbaceous plant that belongs to the legume family. It is a rich source of isoflavones. These compounds function similarly to the estrogen hormone and may help to reduce symptoms linked with estrogen production decline in menopause. It is frequently used to treat different symptoms like night sweats, hot flashes, and bone loss.
Dong Quai is also called female ginseng, which is an Asian herb that is linked to celery, parsley, and carrot. It grows in cool regions like Japan, Korea, and China. It is frequently in use for traditional medicine of china to support women’s health and treat symptoms linked with PMS and menopause.
The evening primrose (Oenothera-biennis) seeds are utilized to make evening- primrose-oil (EPO). It is also utilized to treat signs of menopause like bone loss and hot flashes.
Maca is a Peruvian vegetable that belongs to Brassica sprouts
It has been used for centuries in traditional medicine for ailments like hormonal imbalance, anemia, infertility, vaginal dryness, moodiness, and low sex drive.
Soybeans promote a rich supply of isoflavones, which are structurally the same as the estrogen hormone and reduce the effects of estrogen in the body.
Flax seeds are also known as linseed, which is a naturally good source of lignans. These plants synthesis have chemical structures and function like estrogen hormone. Flax is sometimes used to lower menopause symptoms like bone loss and hot flashes.
Ginseng is one of the most famous herbal medicine throughout the world. It is used as medicine from ancient Chinese times to promote immune function, energy levels, and heart health.
It may interact negatively with medications like cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood thinning. Take your doctor’s advice before taking it.
Valerian is also a flowering plant whose roots are utilized in different herbal medicine to trigger calmness and relaxation. It helps to treat symptoms of menopause symptoms like hot flashes and insomnia. It is not recommended to females already taking medication for pain and sleep.
Chasteberry is a medicinal herb belonging to the Mediterranean. It is known from ancient times to treat menstrual disorders, infertility, and menopause.
These are all detailed information about preventing weight gain related to menopause. Make sure to follow every instruction and doctor’s advice.