Most women gain weight or find difficulty in maintaining their weight as they age, especially around menopause.
This Menopause weight gain can have serious implications for your health. Excess weight increases the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, breathing problems and various types of cancer, including breast, colon and endometrial cancer.
However, this is not inevitable. There are certain steps you can do to minimize and prevent that weight gain by paying attention to your eating habits and living an active lifestyle.
What causes menopause weight gain?
- The hormonal changes and declining estrogen levels that occur during menopause might cause weight gain more likely around the abdomen than around the hips and thighs
- Weight gain related to aging, since muscle mass diminishes with age while fat increases. The reduction in the muscle mass lowers the metabolism making it more challenging to maintain a healthy weight
- Lifestyle factors like lack of sleep, unhealthy eating and lack of exercise all contribute to menopausal weight gain
- Genetic factors
The best ways to prevent weight gain after menopause:
- Staying active and exercising regularly while incorporating strength training to maintain your muscle mass and help your body’s metabolism high. Aim for 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes a week of high intensity aerobic activity, in addition to strength training at least twice a week.
You can also practice Yoga. Many studies have proven that yoga is effective in managing menopausal symptoms.
- Reduce your calories. In your 50s, your body requires 200 fewer calories a day than you did in your 30s and 40s. Do it the right way though by eating a nutritious diet providing all the nutrients your body needs with less calories. Focus on fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, whole grain products and lean meats, and avoid the saturated fats found in butter and full fat products.
- Reduce the consumption of sugary foods and drinks, sweetened and processed food products, cookies, ice cream cakes and doughnuts. They provide empty calories with no nutrition
- Limit alcohol which adds excess calories and increase the risk of gaining weight
- Surround yourself with friends and loved ones who support you in your healthy diet and encourage you to maintain an active lifestyle.
Remember, successful weight loss at any stage of life requires permanent changes in diet and exercise habits. Commit to lifestyle changes and enjoy a healthier you.