Some people think that gaining weight during menopause is a fact of life that can’t be avoided. They believe that their metabolism will undergo certain changes, and that they’ll be difficult, if not impossible, to control.
When you are gradually phasing out of your normal menstrual cycle, it means that your body is producing less estrogen. Hormonal shifts are in turn reflected in both your body and your mood.
But by being aware of the changes that this process can cause, you can take some early actions to prevent them, while always relying on the advice of your doctor.
Menopause is a new stage of your life, and it’s possible to live as fully, healthily, and happily as before by just taking care of yourself. In today’s article we’ll explain how.
Causes of gaining weight during menopause
According to the European Medical Institute of Obesity, during menopause women can actually add 10 to 20 pounds to their normal body weight.
Is this unavoidable, you might be asking? Is there something we can do to stop this during this phase?
Of course there is. Taking the appropriate action can prevent this from happening to you, while helping you also have a better overall quality of life. But to understand the changes a little better, let’s first discuss the causes:
During menopause, your body will stop producing estrogen. This means that you’re going to notice some small changes:
- Your metabolism will slow down, and your adipocytes (fats) will increase.
- You’ll require less energy to power your body, and anything that you consume that’s in excess of what you need will be converted into fat.
- In a lot of cases, women experience emotional changes during menopause. This can cause difficulty sleeping, anxiety, and even depression.
- Menopause can lead to eating disorders.
- Some women will experience a loss of muscle tone.
- Menopause will gradually reduce your muscle fiber. You’ll have more fat and less muscle, losing that strength and agility that you enjoyed just a few years ago.
Coping with your emotions
Something that usually occurs in women going through menopause is that they experience some of the changes in a negative way.
When they look in the mirror they may see that they’ve gone up a size or two, when they’ve been eating normally. They wonder: I’m taking care of my diet but why do I suddenly have this fat around my belly, thighs, or even face?
It’s important to be aware of what’s happening in your body – only then can you find better ways to improve your quality of life.
Sometimes the emotional challenges can lead to having to take certain medications, like antidepressants. In the long term these too can cause weight gain and physical changes. Remember to take that into account.
What can you do to avoid gaining weight during menopause?
1. A new stage requires new strategies
You can remain beautiful and still see yourself as attractive. Menopause is the start of a new phase in your life to be lived fully, aware of the new changes in your body. You need to adopt new strategies.
Don’t hesitate to enlist the help of your doctors to guide you through this transition, because sometimes hormone replacement therapy can be helpful.
That’s something that depends on the kind of woman you are and your body type.
One thing must be made clear, however, and that is the fact that your body now requires fewer calories. This doesn’t mean you have to eat less – you simply need to “eat better.”
2. Prioritize the consumption of certain vegetables
3. Eat two servings of fruit a day
As you are aware, there are fruits that have a high sugar content, which can cause weight gain if you consume too much of them.
The European Medical Institute of Obesity suggests that you should consume two servings of fruit a day.
Want to know what your best options are?
- White-fleshed fruit: pears and apples.
- Oranges and strawberries are excellent sources of bioflavonoids that can help alleviate symptoms such as hot flashes.
4. Say “yes” to whole oat flakes
- It’s highly recommended that you eat oatmeal or pumpernickel bread for breakfast.
- During lunch, you can accompany these types of bread with your salads and vegetables, for example.
5. Eat oily fish twice a week
Fish like salmon provide important omega-3 fatty acids and protein to help improve your heart health and your body’s overall balance.
6. The importance of white meats and healthy fats
It’s a good idea to consume these up to four times a week:
- Chicken or turkey
- White fish, like hake, cod, and monkfish
- Add olive oil, diced avocado, and nuts to your salads
7. Remember to drink 1.5 to 2 liters of water a day
- It’s important that you remember to stay well hydrated. To do this, try to always carry a bottle of water with you.
- It’s also a good idea to drink a glass of red wine a day.
8. Get plenty of exercisePut on some comfortable clothes and invite a friend to go for a walk, dancing, swimming, hiking, or biking. Getting 45 minutes of aerobic exercise every day is a good habit.
Want to read more? Discover all the benefits of a walk
Try to follow all of these tips and avoid weight gain during menopause.