4 Myths About Menopause Weight Gain
There are some common misconceptions about weight gain in midlife, and here are some of them.
Women experience so many changes at Menopause: not just physical but emotional as well and it’s important to understand what’s happening and take steps to feel better during this key life transition.
Myth #1: It’s your fault you are putting on weight
Forget the insulting and time-worn accusation of “letting yourself go.” It’s a simple fact that many women gain about 1.5 pounds a year in their 40s and 50s.
That’s due to a few things: Metabolism naturally slows with age. You also lose muscle in midlife (and muscle burns more calories than fat).
Finally, if you are experiencing oestrogen dominance then that is where you will start seeing the increase of weight, particularly if you are experiencing oestrogen dominance.
Myth #2: Weight gain doesn’t happen until you hit menopause.
Weight gain actually starts in perimenopause, the years leading up to menopause (which is officially defined as 12 months in a row of no periods).
That transition to menopause can take up to ten years.
Myth #3: Menopausal weight gain isn’t a big deal.
Well, actually it is a very big deal indeed as too much extra weight can also increase your risk for conditions that occur more frequently with age, like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
Extra weight can also make hot flushes worse as you are more likely to be conscious of your appearance when carrying some extra weight that can also make you anxious which will also increase your chance of hot flushes..
Myth #4: There’s nothing you can do about it.
Women’s bodies change throughout their lives and although you may not have the same body you did when you were 20, that is normal and it would be very unusual if you did!
Though weight gain is normal in midlife, there are some steps you can take to slow it, stop it, or drop pounds that you’ve gained:
So there are several key areas but you can certainly take action over: hormone balance, your diet, lifestyle and exercise are all within your control.
One thing you might like to consider is strength training: our metabolism slows with age largely because of muscle loss, so preserving and even building muscle right now is key.
All exercise can help burn calories, which helps with weight control. But resistance exercise, such as weight training, at least twice a week (in addition to other activities like walking) help your muscles to stay strong and help combat weight gain.
Exercise can also help with menopause side effects like sleep problems, moodiness, and a low energy level.
It may be hard to believe, but eating more often can help you lose weight. When you eat large meals with many hours in between, your metabolism slows down between meals.
Having a small meal or snack every 3 to 4 hours keeps your metabolism working, so you burn more calories over the course of a day. Several studies have also shown that people who snack regularly eat less at mealtime.
That is obviously a key element, and we are aiming for a balanced healthy one but one thing you may not have considered is adding in some spices.
Spicy foods have natural chemicals that can kick your metabolism into a higher gear. Cooking foods with a tablespoon of chopped red or green chilli pepper can boost your metabolic rate. The effect is probably temporary, but if you eat spicy foods often, the benefits may add up.
When watching your weight it is also a good idea to replace some of the carbohydrates in your diet with protein such as lean beef, turkey, fish, white meat chicken, tofu, nuts, beans, eggs, and low-fat dairy products.
Also be careful about when you eat as eating later in the evening is not in harmony with the way our body best processes food, which is earlier in the day.
Unfortunately, it’s common for women to not eat enough during the day, then become so hungry by dinner that they eat far more calories than they need — which also contributes to weight control issues.
Finally if you are struggling with issues of oestrogen dominance and hormone balance, or stress and anxiety, and these are things that again are within your control and can certainly be helped.