The dreaded menopause is a naturally part of the aging process of any female, which typically occurs between the ages of 45 and 55 years of age. Despite the menopause being a part of every woman’s life, sadly it comes with some rather unfortunate side effects that can be pretty difficult to deal with. Many of us are horrified to find that the svelte figure we’ve tried to keep in good shape for 40 years suddenly seems to collapse overnight and keeping your body in check becomes an almost impossible task.
Many will try to combat weight gain my eating healthier, adding some light exercise into the routine and hoping to regain their slimmer figure, but during the menopause this can regularly lead to no avail. What is it about the menopause which causes our bodies to change? Are there some elements of life which are beyond our control and we need to accept as we get older? Is there anything we can do in an attempt to combat menopausal weight gain? This blog post will attempt to tackle the symptoms of the menopause head on, helping you to retain a healthy body throughout the period of your menopause and hopefully for many more years after that too!
Sadly, the hormonal and physical changes our bodies go through during the menopause mean that many women are more likely to gain weight during this time. The hormonal changes your body incurs means your body deals with processing food a slightly different way, which sadly results in weight gan for many. Many women are particularly conscious about the weight they gain during the menopause, because menopausal weight tends to sit in one place (usually around the tummy area), rather than spreading evenly around the body.
Also, when you go through the menopause, particularly when you’re stressed, your body will produce an increased amount of the hormone cortisol. When cortisol levels in the body are high, you are more likely to develop fat around the middle. Having said this, menopausal weight gain is often caused by other factors too – such as aging, genetics and lifestyle choices as you get older.
So how do we combat this pesky weight gain and keep ourselves fit and healthy?
Sadly, there’s no secret recipe for magic menopause weight loss. We need to be dedicated, put the work in and be realistic in our efforts to get healthy. Your diet is a great place to start. Consciously choose more fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Opt for fibre and protein rich foods. Manage your portion sizes and try and make sensible and healthy choices wherever possible. Treats should be in moderation, rather than a regular addition to your food diary!
The next step is to move more. Exercise is such an important part of life – particularly when you’re hitting the age of the menopause. Adding regular and consistent walks, swims and work outs will not only ensure that you’re feeling absolutely fantastic, but help you tackle that stubborn weight gain at the same time.
Try and include more strength based training into your workouts. As you gain muscle, your body burns calories more efficiently. This makes shifting menopausal weight a little easier. Be honest with yourself when it comes to the amount of exercise you’re doing. Consistency is key!
Limiting your alcohol can be good way to help try to beat the menopausal weight gain. Alcoholic beverages add excess calories to your diet, and monitoring your intake of alcohol can be a simple change to make that could have a great impact on the weight gain side effects of the menopause.
Lastly, but certainly not least, surround yourself with supportive people who are committed to helping you battle the menopause in style. Friends who will power walk with you, family members who will eat healthily with you and colleagues who will support your choices are essential for helping you on your journey to a healthy menopause.
The most important thing to remember is that you are certainly not alone when it comes to the menopause – in fact, every woman experiences the symptoms at some stage in her life! Weight gain is perfectly normal in these circumstances – but also, not definite and certainly not forever, as long as you work hard and focus on building a healthy lifestyle.