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Weight gain is common among women going through the menopausal transition. Those who want to reduce this weight may find it more difficult than usual to do so, and keeping it off might be tough. Part of the reason for weight gain before and during menopause is a decline in estrogen levels. Weight gain can also be caused by lack of sleep and age-related changes in metabolism and muscle mass. Although reducing weight during menopause might be more difficult, many people find that there are a variety of strategies that work. Here, we will go over the link between menopause and weight loss, as well as tried-and-true methods for losing weight during the transition.

Weight gain and menopause

After a period of 12 months without a monthly cycle, women begin menopause. People may develop body fat and find it difficult to reduce weight during menopause and perimenopause (the time leading up to menopause). The following can cause weight gain during menopause:

1. Oestrogen levels

Weight gain can be triggered by changes in oestrogen levels. In females, oestrogen is one of the most important sex hormones. It’s involved in the following:
  • Physical aspects of sex
  • Regulating periods
  • Preserving bone health
  • Maintaining healthy cholesterol levels
Low oestrogen levels during menopause do not induce weight gain directly, although they can increase total body fat and belly fat. Changes to your lifestyle such as, opting for foods high in oestrogen can help in increasing levels. However, for a fail-safe solution, bioidentical hormone replacement treatment can help to minimise abdominal fat growth.

2. Ageing

Regular ageing processes and lifestyle behaviours are also connected to weight increase during menopause. People tend to become less physically active as they become older. Their metabolism slows down naturally as well. These factors result in a decreased muscle mass and an increase in body fat. Alongside this, during menopause, women can notice changes in mood and feelings of anxiety. While exercise is highly recommended to help manage weight during this period, it can also be great for lifting and individuals mood by stimulating the production of our bodies ‘happy hormones’ such as endorphins.

3. Irregular sleeping patterns

Medical professionals also link menopause to sleep problems, which can be caused by hot flashes or nocturnal sweats. Sleep deprivation can indirectly have an impact on weight fluctuations

Can menopause cause weight loss?

Weight fluctuation is without a doubt one of the most typical side effects of a woman’s shift. While the majority of women appear to gain weight during the procedure, some women discover that they lose weight. Although rapid weight loss is associated with weariness, mental confusion, and the inability to lead a regular life, it also leaves many women feeling powerless. To comprehend this weight fluctuation in the body, we must look at the hormonal changes that are taking on under the surface. It’s important to understand that our ovaries generate two hormones: oestrogen and progesterone, which regulate our biological activities. These two hormones help you get through your monthly periods and aid fertility. Our menopausal symptoms, on the other hand, might cause havoc with these hormones. Simply put, the ovaries cease generating eggs within ovarian follicles, and our bodies become less responsive to oestrogen and progesterone. This can in fact have a negative impact on our appetite, causing some women to under-eat as a result.

How to lose weight during menopause

See below for some weight-loss tips for women going through menopause.

1. Regular exercise

Regular exercise is a great method to lose weight and improve your overall health. Many people’s muscle mass deteriorates as they age, and this can lead to an increase in body fat. Physical activity plays an important part in maintaining muscle mass. Activities such as aerobics can help women lose weight after menopause. Also partaking in resistance exercise three times a week can enhance lean body mass and reduce body fat in postmenopausal women. Body fat can be reduced and muscle can be built through a combination of aerobic activity and resistance training. If you’re someone who isn’t particularly active, gradually increasing activity levels may be simpler. The following are some simple methods to include extra movement into your day:
  • Increase your steps
  • Taking stairs instead of elevators/lifts
  • Standing up more often throughout the day
  • Gardening

2. Consuming a nutritious diet

People must consume fewer calories than they expend in order to lose weight. Dietary modifications are an important element of reducing weight. All meals and snacks should be built around nutrient-dense foods. Colourful fruits and vegetables, nutritious grains, and lean protein sources should all be included in a person’s diet. Processed foods, as well as those heavy in trans or saturated fats, should be avoided. Sugar-sweetened drinks have a high calorie content so reducing the intake of these, such as sodas and juices, can also assist.

3. Get a good night’s sleep

Sleep difficulties have been connected to ageing and metabolic disruption during menopause, therefore it’s critical to get enough good sleep to maintain a healthy weight and general health. Changes in sleep quality and circadian rhythms can have an impact on the following:
  • Hormones that control hunger
  • Body fat
  • Energy levels
It is worth noting that other symptoms associated with menopause like hot flashes and night sweats might sometimes make it difficult to sleep. By making certain changes such as wearing lighter clothing, avoiding caffeine before bed and implementing a consistent sleep-wake schedule are all things that can help with sleep issues.

Treatment options

While the above lifestyle changes can certainly help, sometimes symptoms can become so debilitating that treatment is the best option for you. Hormone replacement therapy, specifically bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) is a favoured choice amongst women and men suffering with hormonal changes. It works by replenishing the exact hormones your body is deficient in through natural and safe treatment. Unlike standard HRT, BHRT is a bespoke treatment, tailored to your individual needs and deficiencies. If you would like to find out more on BHRT, click here.
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