The Truth About Menopause & Weight Gain

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Of the many menopause side effects, weight gain is one of the least welcome. Dr Stephanie Goodwin, a London-based GP and menopause specialist, reveals the truth about those extra pounds and what you can do to shift them.

Does menopause automatically lead to weight gain?

It is true that hormonal changes make you more likely to gain weight around your abdomen, and animal studies have shown that those with lower oestrogen tend to eat more and be physically less active. The weight does not go on all at once by the way; estimates suggest that this creeps on at the average rate of a pound a year.

Does HRT cause weight gain?

It’s a myth that HRT causes you to gain weight –  it’s all down to that oestrogen deficiency.

What is the link between hormones and extra pounds?

The weight is all part of the effect of your hormones encouraging your body to store more fat as you leave your reproductive years behind. As your ovaries produce less oestrogen the body turns to other production sources and extra fat cells effectively become the body’s safety net.

Is there anything else menopausal causing the weight gain?

This situation is compounded by the fact that your metabolism will slow so that you store more calories than you burn and you may be stressed through perimenopause which causes an increase in the production of cortisol. This is turn makes it more likely that you will store fat around your middle.

Does a lack of sleep affect metabolism during menopause?

If you are not sleeping you will tend to snack more and of course age, lifestyle and genetic factors will also play their part.

What can be done to halt menopause weight gain?

Just because weight gain is likely it really doesn’t make it mandatory. Yes, weight gain is another symptom of the new imbalance in your body but with effort you can maintain or restore your ideal weight again.

What’s the best exercise to lose menopause weight?

Firstly, move more. It is recommended that most healthy adults do moderate aerobic activity for at least 2.5 hours a week – so you may need to up this amount. Also, embark on a strength training or weight resistance programme. This will help build your muscle mass and improve metabolism.

What is the best diet to halt menopause bulge?

Eat less – it is recommended that you eat 200 less calories per day when you are in your fifties. Also, cut down on the sugar in drinks, desserts and sweets

Any final advice?

Try to get a good night’s sleep – and commit to this healthier lifestyle. It’s not going to be easy but at least you know now you have a choice and some power over those scales.

Read more from Dr Stephanie Goodwin and find out about her clinic, at www.drstephaniegoodwin.co.uk

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