The Link between Menopause and Weight Gain

It is not uncommon for women of menopausal age to find their waistlines are expanding, and their optimum target weight is becoming much more difficult to maintain. While activity is much more common when the metabolism is functioning at a higher rate, middle age brings with it a less efficient fat-burning body with a lower desire to get up and moving. This combination can result in weight gain at the time of menopause, particularly around the middle of the body. If you are concerned about weight gain during menopause, the good news is that there are a number of lifestyle choices that you can make to win the battle of the bulge.

Why Women Gain Weight During Menopause

There are a number of contributing factors to weight gain during menopause. First, this stage of life tends to be a time when women have more trouble sticking to a regular exercise routine. Whether from fatigue, stress or lack of time, women in this age bracket seem to exercise less. This is an unfortunate statistic, considering that this is the time of life to begin worrying about health issues like heart disease, diabetes and osteoporosis. All of these conditions, as well as many others, can be improved or even prevented through a regular exercise regimen. Your exercise program at this age should include the same elements as it did in your younger years – daily aerobic activity combined with regular strength training.

Another factor in menopausal weight gain is the fact that women tend to consume more calories at this stage of life. Part of the reason for this increase in eating could be contributed to the hormonal changes that can cause mood swings, anxiety and depression. You can help fight the urge to nibble by training yourself to know when you are responding to physical hunger and when it is a case of emotional stress. You can also make good choices in your eating habits, snacking on fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains when the “munchies” get the best of you.

Finally, this is an age where your body begins to burn calories at a much slower rate, making it more challenging to maintain your target weight with your current lifestyle choices. The reason for this slowdown is that aging causes your body to begin replacing muscle with fat, and fat burns much more slowly than muscle does. This results in your metabolism slowing down, which makes weight loss and maintenance a more difficult endeavor. You can fight this trend by continuing your physical activity while cutting your daily caloric intake by about 200 calories. This can easily be achieved by training yourself to eat only when really hungry, and making healthy choices for your plate.

Weight gain does not have to be an inevitable part of the menopause process. With health choices and small lifestyle alterations, you will be able to survive menopause without the weight gain that many women experience.

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