29 Dec Why Do Women Gain Weight While Menopause?
It is extremely common to gain weight during menopause. While there are several influencing factors behind weight gain, four pivotal components influence this complication. Factors like aging, hormonal disbalance, lifestyle, and genetics play a vital role in peaked weight gain during menopause.
Here, we will discuss some of the common causes for weight gain during menopause and how to prevent or control it.
Table of Contents
Feel free to skip ahead if one topic catches your eye
- What Causes Weight Gain During Menopause?
- Risks Associated with Menopause Weight Gain
- How to Prevent Weight Gain after Menopause?
1. What Causes Weight Gain During Menopause?
Weight gain in women during menopause is very subjective. It can happen drastically in some women, and might not affect others.
Women are considered to have attained their menopause when they haven’t had any menstrual cycle for 12 months straight. A study on PubMed suggests that the average age of menopause in women is 51 years.
While weight gain is one of the primary symptoms of menopause, there are a few other complications that menopausal women complain about. Instances of night sweat, fatigue, and hot flashes are a few common ones.
All of these changes are primarily governed by the sudden hormonal imbalance in the woman’s body. If you are gaining a few pounds consistently during this phase, it is most likely because of the hormonal haywire.
When a woman attains the perimenopausal stage, their progesterone levels start declining while the estrogen levels start fluctuation in the bloodstream. Since the body’s response and feedback system is gravely impacted during the pre-menopause phase, it starts producing excess estrogen due to lack of communication between ovaries, hypothalamus, and pituitary gland.
The fat gain and storage tend to start from the peri-menopausal stage when the estrogen levels are high. The higher estrogen levels contribute to fat gain and storage around the hips and the upper thigh region.
But, when a woman hits menopause, there is a sudden drastic decline in the estrogen levels that contribute to sudden fat gain around the abdominal region. This is what we consider as the visceral fat which is extremely hard to lose and imposes risks to your metabolism and overall health.
The sustained accumulation and storage of fat around the abdomen contributes to the risks of Type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular complications, and insulin resistance too.
Not just the hormonal disbalance, even a few lifestyle changes contribute to weight gain during menopause.
Compared to pre-menopausal women, post-menopausal women experience bouts of fatigue and exertion that make them less active throughout the day. It reduces energy expenditure throughout the day, resulting in gaining muscle mass and excess fat storage.
Besides that, menopause also imposes higher insulin resistance, resulting in weight gain and enhanced cardiovascular risks in the body. With all these causes, it is also imperative to understand that these instances are not standard and don’t apply to every woman.
2. Risks Associated with Menopause Weight Gain
While hormonal and lifestyle factors contribute to weight gain after menopause, it is the risks of weight gain during menopause; you need to be aware of. How does the weight gain impact your life and well being?
Since most of the fat storage that occurs during menopause is around the abdomen as visceral fat, it contributes to several long-term complications in the body. Some of the most common risks that you need to be aware of are:
- Insulin resistance
- Type-2 Diabetes
- Cardiovascular complications
- Impaired metabolism
3. How to Prevent Weight Gain after Menopause?
While several professionals suggest Hormone Replacement Therapy right after menopause, it is not always effective in every woman. If you are trying to lose weight or trying to prevent weight gain during menopause, there are a few important factors that you can practice. If you are looking for answers on how to slim down after pregnancy, these tips work just as well.
Some of the effective ways include:
Exercise – When it comes to losing weight during menopause, weight training is the best way. Strength training helps improve the body composition, letting you achieve a leaner body with laser deposition of visceral fat around the abdomen.
Diet – Diet for menopause is not too different. You just need to strike a balance between your macro and micronutrient intake on an everyday basis. Since menopausal weight gain causes insulin resistance, reducing the carb intake helps reduce the belly fat. Additionally, including more water-soluble fiber helps enhance insulin sensitivity.
Sleep – The body repairs itself during your sleep at night. According to the National Sleep Foundation, it is the growth hormone secretion at night that contributes to the repair process. So, if you are not getting optimal sleep during your weight loss journey, it is likely that your body won’t break down the excess fats in the body by lipolysis. Try and get 8-9 hours of sleep to help avert the risks of obesity and ensure a linear weight loss journey.
At Dt. Reema, you are advised with the best weight loss program for menopausal women, which will help make you fitter and reduce the risks of several diseases.
Weight gain, in any phase of your life, is harmful to your body. Not only does it reduce your lifespan, but also affects your overall well-being. So, especially during menopause, when the body is undergoing rampant physical and emotional changes, it is essential to consume a nutritious diet and indulge in an active lifestyle to prevent or shed the excess visceral fat stored around the abdomen.