Is Menopause Weight Gain Inevitable?
Many women approaching midlife are worried about gaining weight through the course of menopause transition. While changes in hormone levels do make us more vulnerable to weight gain, it is definitely possible to maintain a healthy weight. What causes the weight gain? Decreasing levels of oestrogen and progesterone can cause a loss of muscle mass, which in turn lowers the resting metabolic rate (the rate at which your body burns calories at rest) meaning that your body does not burn energy (calories) as efficiently. These changes can also lead to insulin resistance - a reduced sensitivity to the hormone insulin leading to persistently high insulin levels. Insulin resistance is a significant health concern and key factor in abdominal weight gain as well as many other symptoms of menopause. How can I maintain a healthy body weight through perimenopause? Firstly, let's stop talking about "weight" and focus on how we feel. Kilograms are not an accurate reflection of body composition, or the health of our body. Rather than a daily weigh-in, gauge changes by the fit of your clothes and how your body feels when you move it. 1. Exercise regularly to build muscle: building muscle helps to increase your metabolic rate. 2. Make sure are eating enough protein. Protein is needed to build and maintain muscle, and keeps you feeling full for longer - less snacking! 3. Eat a healthy diet: plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, good quality protein, healthy fats and some complex carbohydrates. 4. Talk to your health practitioner: the changes happening in your body are complex. Getting help to navigate these changes is central to maintaining your health throughout perimenopause, and setting you up for good health beyond menopause.