Menopause and Weight Gain
Menopause and Weight Gain
What you can do to avoid it!
For many women menopause and weight gain go hand in hand, especially around the abdomen. It’s true for me and that’s why I started on The Diet Solution. This type of weight gain, also know as “middle age spread” can be caused by poor diet, changes in body composition as well as genetics, a more sedentary lifestyle and hormonal changes.
As women approach menopause their body’s hormone levels start changing. As estrogen levels decline, your body will look for other places to get the needed estrogen, and fat cells are capable of producing estrogen. This results in your body working harder to convert calories to fat.
Testosterone levels are also declining and testosterone is the hormone that converts your calories to lean muscle mass. With lower testosterone levels the body starts losing muscle mass. And, since muscle cells burn more calories than fat cells, your body loses some of its ability to burn fat.
Menopause and weight gain can contribute to higher levels of bad cholesterol and triglycerides, increased blood pressure, even the onset of type 2 diabetes. These health conditions can have negative effects on the heart and can also increase the risk of cancer, particularly of the colon and breast.
But it can be hard to lose weight as we get older and exercise plays a big part when it comes to menopause and weight gain. Aerobic activities, such as brisk walking, increase metabolism and help burn fat. Adding light weight training to your exercise routine two to three times a week helps strengthen bones and tone muscles. And increasing muscle mass helps the body burn even more calories. Incorporating Yoga and Pilates into your fitness routine will promote flexibility, increase bone mass and improve your overall balance.
A diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains keeps energy levels high while helping to lower calorie intake. It’s also important to get plenty of protein such as lean meat, chicken, turkey, fish, beans, nuts and flaxseed. Eating several smaller meals throughout the day keeps your metabolism and energy levels high, while holding hunger at bay.
Avoid sources of empty calories in alcohol, refined flour and sugar.
With a healthy diet and regular exercise menopause and weight gain don’t necessarily have to go together.
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