Hormonal changes are common when transitioning from peri-menopause to the menopause phase of life - the phase where a woman has no more menstrual periods, ever again. These hormonal changes are one of the reasons that an increase in weight around the abdomen is more common at this time of life.
But these hormonal changes are not the only factor for this weight gain; ageing, nutrition, lifestyle and genetics all play a role too. Leaving a woman with more options to address this weight gain that are within her control.
Weight Gain in Menopause - How Does it Happen?
According to Right as Rain by UW Medicine, menopausal weight gain is common - with women going through this natural change of life who gain weight, gaining 5-8% of their baseline body weight during the first two years of life.
Weight gain during menopause becomes common due to several factors as mentioned above, as well as the muscle loss that happens, and a slower metabolism that results in changing hormone levels.
When a woman has transitioned to menopause, oestrogen and progesterone levels are much lower than what they would have been when a woman was having a regular menstrual bleed.
Thyroid hormones can also be impacted by the change in these reproductive hormones leading to an under-active thyroid, and adrenal glands step in to make a hormone that can be converted into a form of oestrogen - oestrodial. So, as you can see, the whole body goes through massive changes and reorder during menopause.
What Does a Healthy Weight in Menopause Look Like?
Firstly, when it comes to achieving a healthy weight, it is not necessarily about the size clothes you take. What is actually important is having a healthy lean mass to fat ratio. This means having good overall muscle mass and strength are more important than a number on your clothing tags.
Fat gained around the middle is one of the most dangerous types as they can release inflammatory substances that then can increase a person's risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and heart attacks. Whereas muscle mass can appear to increase your overall weight, it does so in a healthy way that increases strength and protects bones.
Tips For Achieving A Healthy Weight In Menopause
To achieve a healthy lean mass to fat ratio, exercise is one important aspect. A combination of brisk walking, jogging, swimming and strength training are all great options. To help you stick to a regular exercise routine, try banding together with friends which will help you stay accountable whilst having fun at the same time.
Good nutrition is another important aspect that will help you achieve a comfortable weight in menopause. Keeping sugar, alcohol, coffee and processed and deep-fried foods to a minimum is important as all of them can contribute to further hormonal imbalances and can create inflammation, and worsening symptoms, especially during the peri-menopause stage. Whilst increasing your intake of colourful whole fruits and whole vegetables whilst enjoying small amounts of whole grains, healthy fats and healthy animal protein sources.
Herbal remedies can also be extremely useful during the menopausal shift, but it is always better to get personalised advice on which ones to take through a qualified herbalist.
If you are experiencing weight gain and would like some assistance from a holistic viewpoint as you transition into menopause, please send an email to me personally: firstname.lastname@example.org. We can then discuss your personal case, and in a consultation, we can make a personalised health and wellness plan that looks to help you achieve all-around menopausal support, as well as achieve a comfortable weight.