Weight Gain and Menopause

Weight gain and aging has become synonymous for many women. And one of the stages in a woman’s life where they experience the appearance of additional pounds is menopause. Medical science supports this as many changes do occur during this stage but gaining weight is not inevitable. Positive steps could be undertaken to prevent and manage weight problems associated with menopause.

Changing levels of female hormones

Many changes happen during menopause. One of this is the decreasing number of female hormones. Low levels of estrogen and progesterone slows metabolic rates. Fats are not burned or used as efficiently as before. This means eating the same diet does not guarantee we would be able to maintain our weight.

Hormone replacement therapy can cause weight gain undergoing treatment. Female hormone preparation (pills and HRT) can have a direct effect on weight. HRT is a treatment designed to help women manage the many changes seen in menopause. However, side effects include weight gain. If this happens, consult with your doctor if they could decrease or adjust dosage to minimize weight gain.

Lack of physical activity

Women in their late 40’s or 50’s may not be as physically active as their younger counterparts. Aging causes many changes and this includes weaker resistance to strenuous activities. Older women may not have the energy to perform their normal daily activities with the same zest.

Older women may feel lethargic or sluggish as menopause creeps in. This makes it harder for them to engage in exercise or physical activities. Even walking a few blocks might appear to be too burdensome, things which they usually do in the past. Because of this decreasing activity, fat is stored rather than processed as energy.

You don’t have to enroll in an exercise program to enjoy the benefits of an active lifestyle. Brisk walking or simple exercises a few minutes a day could do wonders in raising your metabolic rate.

Slower metabolism associated with aging

Aging brings so many physical changes to the body that goes beyond white hair and wrinkles.  A sedentary lifestyle along with a slower metabolic rate makes weight gain inevitable. People are advised to eat smaller portions without missing out on important nutrients. Eating a healthy diet and reducing caloric intake is recommended for women entering menopause. They should also cut down their intake of salt, sugar, saturated fat and alcohol.

-          two fruit servings

-          four servings of cereal foods/ grain (wholegrain)

-          five vegetable servings

-          two servings of protein (poultry, eggs, nuts, lean meat, beans, fish and beans)

-          four servings of calcium enriched soy and other low fat dairy products

Eating problems due to depression

Physical changes during menopause could have psychological effects. This makes women vulnerable to depression and behavioral changes. Changing hormonal levels have a direct effect on a woman’s behavior. Many women may turn into binge eating or other eating disorders in an effort to feel good. If you believe you are suffering from an eating disorder, it is advised that you consult with a psychologist especially if depression persists. Depression like any medical condition is highly manageable if treated early. But as always, prevention is still best.

Eating healthy during menopause is essential. It keeps your body mentally and physically fit. A healthy diet also supplies all your body’s nutritional requirement while keeping cellulite deposits at bay. Weight gain during menopause is a real risk. Simple ways of avoiding this is by decreasing your fat intake. Switching to high fiber foods and taking your recommended levels of nutrients is the best way of maintaining a slim and healthy body.

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