Gaining weight during menopause is such a common experience that it’s nearly universal. Even women who use hormone replacement therapy typically only delay their weight gain rather than escape it. Not only do many women gain weight, but their bodies change and carry more of that weight around their midsections. Why is it so hard to maintain a healthy weight, and how can you boost your metabolism? We’ve compiled some handy tips so that you feel good about your body during menopause.
Why Weight Gain During Menopause Happens
During menopause, your estrogen production drastically decreases. Low estrogen levels result in increased fat storage and less muscle mass, so your hormones are working against you. Reduced estrogen levels are also correlated with diminished hormone functions (leptin and neuropeptide Y), which are the hormones in charge of regulating your appetite. Plus, gaining some weight is a natural part of aging, so many factors play a role.
When Weight Gain During Menopause Is a Problem
Gaining weight isn’t automatically a bad thing. If you were at a healthy weight or slightly below before menopause, you may not need to worry about menopausal weight gain. However, your body image may be affected by menopause, and it’s crucial that you feel good in the body you have. For some women, the most empowering thing to do is to focus on health and how their body feels, rather than what the scale is telling them. Shifting your perspective toward the activities that bring your life meaning—instead of how you look—is also an exciting way to embrace the changes of menopause.
Some post-menopausal women will be advised to lose weight to maintain their health. Being overweight is more dangerous during post-menopause than it is during the rest of your life. Those extra pounds put you at a higher risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Plus, weight gain can have severe repercussions for your health, and in some instances, causes breathing problems, type 2 diabetes, and other physical impairments.
How to Combat the Effects of a Slow Metabolism During Menopause
Exercise is a necessary part of menopause; not only does it make maintaining a healthy weight easier, but it can also ease many other menopausal symptoms. Exercise can help you stave off osteoporosis, alleviate depression and anxiety, reduce constipation, and keep your heart healthy. Further, exercise can help you develop a positive body image—even if your goal is not to lose weight. And if you need another reason, exercise can lower your resting heart rate (a primary indicator of heart health), reduce your risk for specific cancers, and enable you to cope with stress.
The slowdown of your metabolism during menopause also means that you won’t need as many calories. If you can replace some foods that trigger hot flashes with a healthy substitute, you may improve menopausal symptoms at the same time you slim down.
Maintaining a Healthy Weight Is Only One Component of Whole Body Health
If you’re struggling with some of the symptoms of menopause, you’re not alone. Combatting the effects of your metabolism slowing down is difficult, but so is dealing with vaginal dryness, which is one of the most commonly experienced symptoms of menopause. Don’t suffer a minute longer. Try the Membrasin® 2-Step Starter Pack to help alleviate the effects of vaginal dryness.