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Menopause And Weight Gain

The hormonal changes of menopause might make you more likely to gain weight around your abdomen than around your hips and thighs. But, hormonal changes alone don't necessarily cause menopause weight gain. Instead, the weight gain is usually related to aging, as well as lifestyle and genetic factors.

menopause and weight gain

For example, muscle mass typically diminishes with age, while fat increases. Losing muscle mass slows the rate at which your body uses calories (metabolism). This can make it more challenging to maintain a healthy weight. If you continue to eat as you always have and don't increase your physical activity, you're likely to gain weight.

Other factors, such as a lack of exercise, unhealthy eating and not enough sleep, might contribute to menopause weight gain. When people don't get enough sleep, they tend to snack more and consume more calories.

Menopause and weight gain: Do they always go hand in hand? It may seem that way, especially because gaining weight is so common after menopause. About 30% of women ages 50 to 59 are not just overweight, but obese. Here's what you need to know about the risks of weight gain and how exercise can help you lose weight and keep it off after menopause.

Many of the risks of weight gain are well known: high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes, to name a few. Extra fat at your waistline raises these risks more. Unfortunately, a bigger waistline is more likely after menopause. If you now have a waist measurement of more than 35 inches, it's time to take steps to reverse this trend.

The impact of estrogen. In animal studies, estrogen appears to help control body weight. With lower estrogen levels, lab animals tend to eat more and be less physically active. Reduced estrogen may also lower metabolic rate, the rate at which the body converts stored energy into working energy. It's possible the same thing happens with women when estrogen levels drop after menopause. Some evidence suggests that estrogen hormone therapy increases a woman's resting metabolic rate. This might help slow weight gain. Lack of estrogen may also cause the body to use starches and blood sugar less effectively, which would increase fat storage and make it harder to lose weight.

The more active you are, the less weight you're likely to gain. A National Institutes of Health review showed that people who did aerobic activities every day for 10 or more minutes had 6 fewer inches around the waistline compared to people who didn't exercise. And exercising while you're in the process of losing weight -- as well as after you've lost it -- may be critical to maintaining weight loss.

Again, listen to your body when trying new classes, especially strength-focused ones like CrossFit. If you feel lost, if you experience discomfort, or if the instructor isn't helping you, it may be best to get more formal guidance from a trainer as you start an exercise routine. They can help you optimize your form to avoid injury.

Some research suggests that HT may actually help women prevent menopausal weight gain. According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, menopausal hormone therapy may help prevent an increase in visceral (belly) fat, body mass index (BMI), and body fat in general. The study reported that, compared with women who had taken HT in the past, current users were found to be nearly 1 point lower on the BMI scale and have nearly three pounds less of fat mass.

Ask your ob-gyn about medication and nonprescription supplements you might take to help you control your menopause symptoms. Complementary therapies such as acupuncture may help, too. Your doctor will likely want to investigate whether your weight gain is indeed from menopause and not from some other health condition that needs treating as well.

Reduced levels of oestrogen after menopause can cause fat to be stored around your waist rather than on your hips and thighs. In postmenopausal women, belly fat accounts for 15 to 20% of their total body weight, compared with 5 to 8% in premenopausal women.

Aging and lifestyle factors are more commonly associated with perimenopause weight gain and post-menopause weight gain. Like changes in hormones, aging also brings natural decreases in muscle mass and metabolism. So it becomes especially easy to take in more calories than your body needs, and store that extra energy as fat. But lifestyle factors like what you eat, how much you eat and how much physical activity you get can affect your weight the most.

Many women gain weight during the menopause transition. This weight gain is sometimes blamed on menopause or on treatment for conditions related to menopause, including hormone therapy. However, there is no scientific evidence that menopause or hormone therapy is responsible for midlife weight gain.

Your hormones change during menopause, and this may contribute to weight gain, but there are also other factors. Many people put on extra weight as they age, although the reason why this happens is not clear-cut.

Research suggests that the diversity of the microbiome is linked to estrogen levels and menopausal state in women. Because of the changes happening in the body during menopause, there may be a change in microbiome diversity as well.

Contrary to the flood of fad diets and quick weight loss tips, crash dieting is not an effective way to lose weight. A drastic reduction in calories actually works against your desire to shed pounds. It can even have long-term negative effects on your weight loss goals.

To avoid weight gain during menopause, eat a healthy diet rich in minimally processed foods, such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts, legumes, lean protein, healthy fats like olive oil, and healthy fat-rich foods like avocado.

Muscle strengthening activities make your muscles work harder. Yoga, lifting weights, gardening, and resistance bands are all examples of muscle strengthening activities. As with cardio, move in a way that works for you and your lifestyle.

Despite these factors, weight gain after menopause is not inevitable. There are steps you can take to prevent unwanted pounds from creeping on. In fact, maintaining a healthy weight is important after menopause, since excess weight increases your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes.

If you have kids going off to college, empty nest syndrome can add to the problem. It can be easy for women to console themselves with comfort food, or just eating too much in general. Plus, once a woman begins gaining weight, she may feel worse about herself, give up and gain more.

Ask a trainer at your gym or hospital wellness center to put together a basic strength training routine for you using weights machines, free weights or your own body weight. Yoga, Pilates and similar activities also build strength. Try to do this two or three times a week.

If losing weight by eating healthier is your goal, you can find support for that too. Joining a weight-loss program, such as Weight Watchers or Noom Weight, can help with accountability and learning behavioral changes and healthy habits.

Results: Weight gain that occurred over a 17-year interval (baseline to 17 years after baseline) increased the mortality risk of men and middle-aged women, but decreased the mortality risk of older women. Further study of the women revealed that a strong protective effect of weight gains was only evident among the leanest (

Methods: We conducted a search of the literature using Medline (Ovid, 1946-present) and PubMed (1966-2012) for English-language studies that included the following search terms: 'menopause', 'midlife', 'hormone therapy' or 'estrogen' combined with 'obesity', 'body weight' or 'body composition'.

Results: Whereas weight gain per se cannot be attributed to the menopause transition, the change in the hormonal milieu at menopause is associated with an increase in total body fat and an increase in abdominal fat. Weight excess at midlife is not only associated with a heightened risk of cardiovascular and metabolic disease, but also impacts adversely on health-related quality of life and sexual function. Animal and human studies indicate that this tendency towards central abdominal fat accumulation is ameliorated by estrogen therapy. Studies mostly indicate a reduction in overall fat mass with estrogen and estrogen-progestin therapy, improved insulin sensitivity and a lower rate of development of type 2 diabetes.

Conclusion: The hormonal changes across the perimenopause substantially contribute to increased abdominal obesity which leads to additional physical and psychological morbidity. There is strong evidence that estrogen therapy may partly prevent this menopause-related change in body composition and the associated metabolic sequelae. However, further studies are required to identify the women most likely to gain metabolic benefit from menopausal hormone therapy in order to develop evidence-based clinical recommendations.

The hormonal imbalance during menopause also promotes the higher accumulation of fat in the abdominal region. Low estrogen levels along with high androgen levels lead to redistribution of fat present in the gluteal and femoral regions to abdominal regions of the body, favoring abdominal obesity.[8] Besides, higher abdominal obesity is an independent risk factor for future metabolic complications.[9]

The higher preference for convenience food is also inversely proportional to time spent in home-cooked meals by these women. The lack of home-cooked meals impacts meal regularity, promoting the intake of large and/or energy-dense portions. The unhealthy eating behavior coupled with physical inactivity, irregular sleep patterns, smoking cessation, and excessive alcohol consumption leads to weight gain in this group of women.

A progressive reduction in physical activity is observed with aging, especially in females. The preference for sedentary behavior in middle-aged women might be due to diminished muscle strength that limits their functional ability to perform daily activities.[19] The limited-time spent in daily chores and physical activity is compensated by involvement in sedentary behaviors such as watching television, reading, and talking. More than half (64.7%) of Indian women follow this sedentary lifestyle.[18] Besides, these women rarely adjust their caloric intake according to decreased daily activity, making them gain weight. 041b061a72


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