Menopause Weight Gain Help

Overview

Your hormones change during menopause, but that is not necessarily the cause of weight gain. Other factors, including normal aging and lifestyle, play a role, too. Taking care of your health and your body becomes extra important at this time of your life, and there are steps you can take to help maintain a healthy weight after menopause.

Causes of Weight Gain

As you age, your body needs fewer calories for energy. Your body also begins replacing muscle with fat. If you continue to eat the same amount of calories as you did before menopause, you will put on weight. Genetics may also play a role in weight gain, predisposing you to a collection of extra weight around the middle.

The Physical Activity Fix

Exercising can make a difference in your menopausal weight gain by boosting your metabolism, which helps your body burn fat. Also, if you build muscle mass through strength training, not only can you boost metabolism but you can also make your bones stronger. You do not have to enroll in a formal program to see a benefit from increased activity. Try to add 30 minutes per day of activity, whether it is gardening or dancing or taking walks.

The Dietary Fix

Reduce the amount of calories you consume by at least 200. It is also a good idea to eat a diet that is made up mostly of fruits and vegetables and whole grains, so you reduce your calorie level safely. If you restrict yourself too much, your body may respond by conserving energy—which will make extra pounds harder to lose. Watch the fat in your diet, too, since excess fat leads to excess calories. Your fat intake should be 20 to 35 percent of your daily calories.

Manage Stress

Get real about managing your stress. A high level of stress hormones may create the “famine effect” in your body so that it stores every calorie as fat and desperately holds onto it, despite your best efforts to burn calories.

Pay Attention

Paying attention to weight gain—and working to minimize it—is important not just for your psyche but for your body. The extra fat, most of which accumulates in your midsection, can make you more prone to diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, gallbladder problems and cancers.

About this Author

Amber Smith is health and fitness editor at “The Syracuse Post-Standard,” where she has worked for 22 years, specializing in medicine, health and fitness. She has also written for “Woman’s Day,” “Parenting,” “Weight Watchers Magazine,” DiscoveryHealth.com and Cancersource.com. She blogs about heart health at Heartbeatnews.blogspot.com; and dementia at DementiAwareness.blogspot.com.