Menopause is rather a complex process that affects all women sometime in their lives. This might be different for various women, but for many, it comes with different symptoms that they might want to exclude. Probably one of the most visible is weight gain that also can make a woman feel less secure and good in any situation.

Weight gain in the menopausal process mostly tends to appear in the belly region instead of hips. In this way, a natural mid-life process can become a pathological process that needs further medical or professional help. In the menopause “as the body’s metabolic rate naturally falls and the adipose tissue becomes the key producer of the hormone estrogen.”[1] As one of the solutions that usually work is exercise but it cannot work alone. If a person is under stress and has some anxiety, it should be some other treatment options used like yoga, medications and some other relaxation techniques depending on which ones work.

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In menopause, insulin level increases. It is a fat-building hormone that stores glucose as fat in fat, liver and muscle cells, increases abdominal fat, protein absorption into cells, reduces metabolic burning and other things. Quite common with age we can notice insulin resistance when the body’s cells don’t recognize insulin. In this process, the pancreas secretes increased insulin levels. This also reduces appetite people thus people are more likely to overeat.

 

Weight gain main drivers

  • Lack of exercising as it can help to burn calories and fat as well as growing of lean muscle can prevent insulin resistance.
  • Refined carbohydrates from refined sugars, white flours, etc. have a high amount of calories and low level of nutrients and no fiber thus negatively influencing hormones and promoting insulin resistance.
  • Hormonal imbalances occur naturally, but it can also lead not only to additional weight gain but also decrease metabolism and ability to build muscles and bones.
  • Toxins from an environment are damaging body cells, like fructose corn syrup and thus also negatively affect fat.

Additional research has shown that women in menopause or before it tend to gain on average a pound a year.[2] Women also tend to have higher levels of cholesterol (10-20% higher than premenopausal women). As for hormones, “hormone levels have shown high testosterone and free androgen index, high estradiol, low thyroid function, high cortisol, and increased inflammatory markers.”[2] Women with lower estrogen are also much more prone to central obesity.

Weight gain problems

Weight gain can be much higher with inappropriate eating habits that can make a lot more problems during menopause as the whole woman’s system is experiencing different changes. The food should have low fat, stimulants, and sugar. Omega-3 fatty acids that are in foods like hemp seeds, linseeds, oily fish and others have also proved to help in hormone-related problems. Soya foods, on the other hand, can highly increase fat occurrence. Additional vegetable consumption is also important. You can use stevia, erythritol, xylitol as alternative sugars. Each should have personalized diet plan as it might have slightly different effect in each body.

As for exercising, according to the University of Pittsburg, at least 1 hour of exercise in a day for at least five days with aerobic and resistance exercise can give a steady weight loss of long-term time. Each person can find an exercise that fits the best: resistance bands, sit-ups, etc.

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Weight gain during menopause appears in most of the women, but that doesn’t mean that there is anything to be done about it. There are numerous treatment options – each one just needs to find the best solution for a particular body and have the patience to wait for results.

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Reference:

[1] Wisdom, energy and freedom. Accessed from: http://www.ion.ac.uk/information/onarchives/changeofliferel=”nofollow”

[2] Metabolic Syndrome and the Menopausal Woman. Accessed from: http://www.townsendletter.com/FebMarch2012/metabolic0212.htmlrel=”nofollow”