Does menopause lead to weight gain?

By author photo Megan Alsford

menopause · 10 Oct 19

What is menopause?

Menopause occurs when a woman stops ovulating (producing eggs) and her monthly period (menstruation) stops. Menopause usually occurs around 45-55 years of age. It can naturally happen or occur as a result of medications, medical treatments such as chemotherapy or surgery.

Can menopause cause weight gain?

For some women, menopause is also met with weight gain. It’s important to remember that weight gain can be complex, and it is influenced by many factors. While diet and physical activity can have an impact on weight, other factors related to getting older other than menopause can also have an impact. For example:

  • Loss of muscle mass
  • Reduced ability to participate in physical activity
  • Medications
  • Lowered metabolic rate
  • Family history of weight gain
  • Changes in lifestyle such as eating out more.

Hormone changes during menopause can have an impact on where you store any extra weight. As your oestrogen levels decrease, during and after menopause, it can shift fat storage from the thighs and hips to the waist.

Why can menopause cause weight gain?

While symptoms of menopause will vary between women, some symptoms may contribute to weight gain or make keeping up physical activity more difficult for example:

  • Poor sleep
  • Hot flushes
  • Body aches and pains
  • Tiredness
  • Depression or anxiety.

Weight Loss Diet for Menopause

There is no magic bullet, special diet or method to losing weight during menopause or preventing weight gain as you age. But sticking to healthy eating principles and getting some physical activity is a great start. Eating plenty fruits and veggies, lean meats or alternatives, wholegrains and reduced fat dairy and decreasing portion sizes are all helpful strategies.

You might also need to increase the time and intensity of your activity and include some resistance or weight baring activity. This resistance activity will help to combat muscle losses that come with ageing.

Be Kind To Yourself

It’s also important at this time to be kind to yourself. Your body is going through a lot and hormonal shifts can negatively impact your mood. Be sure to schedule time for yourself, find relaxation techniques that work for you and seek additional support from friends and family. It may also be helpful to discuss your symptoms with your doctor or health care professional on how to best manage them.

Find out more

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