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Menopause and weight gain. Module 2

It stands to reason that the more active you are the less weight you are likely to gain, however I hear a lot of women myself included who exercise a lot and eat well still struggle keeping the weight down.

Lots of women gain weight around menopause but it isn’t set in stone that you will, it just gets a little harder to achieve. Around 30% of women aged 50-59 are not just overweight but obese.

This can be soul destroying when you feel you are doing all the right things. Many of the risks of weight gain are well known like high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes and extra fat around the waist line raises that risk, if your waist measures over 35 inches you need to take steps to rectify this.

oestrogen one of our main hormones has a big impact on our bodies as far as weight is concerned, when we are not in menopause oestrogen appears to control body weight however when oestrogen levels drop so does our metabolism and that lack of oestrogen may also cause the body to use starches and blood sugar less effectively, which would increase fat storage and make it harder to lose weight and we tend to want to eat more and be less physically active.

Other factors

  • You are less likely to exercise. 60% of adults are not active and this increases with age
  • The hormonal changes of menopause make you more likely to gain weight around the mid-section your abdomen and your hips and thighs. However these hormonal changes are not the only reason this can happen.
  • Muscle mass starts to diminish with age while fat increases and your body doesn’t burn the calories as fast as it use too as you metabolism slows down so this can make you gain weigh if you carry on eating the way you always have, and don’t increase your exercise .Im not talking about going for long runs as this is not the most effective for burning fat, but working out more effectively.
  • Some things that don’t help is genetics if your parents carried weight around abdomen then it’s likely you will too.
  • Other factors that may lead to weight gain is unhealthy food choices, processed foods, unrefined carbohydrates, ready meal, sodas and diet products with artificial sweeteners and alcohol.
  • Your gut health needs to be looked at as this may need some work with some probiotics.
  • Lack of sleep can also effect weight as we tend to snack more as we feel tired and stress!!! Plus the body releases cortisol the stress hormone when we don’t get enough sleep, which can then make us carry weight around the middle, so it’s important to manage your stress as much as possible, by taking time out each day for yourself and doing a meditation or just sit and listen to some music, or sit in your garden away from electronic devices and just take in nature, or go for a walk. Go to a yoga class.

Exercises that help you lose and maintain weight during peri menopause and post menopause.

Strength training or a weight resistance exercise program, will help build muscle mass and improve metabolism and also strength training helps maintain bone mass which will protect you against osteoporosis. HIIT sessions where you do some fast exercise for 20 seconds and rest for 10 seconds and do several rounds can have a great effect on reving up your metabolism

You should aim for two to 3 times a week examples include Dumbbell’s, exercise bands, yoga and gardening.

Low impact exercise to raise heart rate is good also a gentle jog, swimming, exercise bike.

Other benefits are

  • Lower risk of osteoporosis
  • Lower risk of heart attack and cardiovascular diseases
  • Improved insulin resistance
  • Keep joints and muscles strong
  • Helps keep bowels Working
  • Relieves depression and anxiety
  • Improves overall health
  • Skin and general appearance will be better.

Always talk to your doctor before taking on any exercise plan.