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How Does Menopause Affect Weight Control?

Jul 01, 2023
How Does Menopause Affect Weight Control?
Menopause is a transitional time in every woman’s life, and it comes with plenty of changes, including changes in body weight. If you’re struggling to control your weight during menopause, find out why it happens and what you can do about it.

You probably know that menopause is a natural transition that every woman experiences as her reproductive years come to an end. Yet many of the symptoms that come with it feel anything but natural, and they can leave you wondering what’s going on with your body.

Along with the hormonal changes that occur during this phase, you may notice changes in your body composition and weight. If you’re struggling to maintain a healthy weight during this time, you’re not alone.

Our team at Better Health Management is here to help. We specialize in women’s health, and we’re ready to answer your questions about how menopause affects weight control and what you can do to manage your weight — now and in the future.

Menopause and its impact on your weight

During your reproductive years, the hormones estrogen and progesterone control your menstrual cycle. But in the time leading up to and during menopause, your ovaries produce fewer of these hormones.

Hormonal fluctuation is the top cause of weight gain and changes in fat distribution during menopause. Here's why.

Slowed metabolism

As estrogen levels decline, your metabolic rate also decreases. That means you don’t burn as many calories when your body is at rest, which can make it easier to gain weight and harder to lose weight.

Increased abdominal fat

Menopausal women often experience a natural increase in abdominal fat. Unfortunately, fat accumulation around your belly can increase your risk of chronic diseases, like insulin resistance.

Muscle loss

Thanks to age and hormonal changes, you may also experience a gradual loss of muscle mass. Since muscle burns more calories at rest than fat, this loss can further contribute to decreased metabolic rate and weight gain.

Lifestyle modifications for weight control

While menopause can bring about weight challenges, implementing healthy lifestyle habits can help you manage weight. We can recommend lifestyle modifications for you, which can include:

Eating a balanced diet

Your diet should include a healthy blend of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Do your best to limit processed foods, sugary snacks, and refined carbohydrates. When you eat, pay attention to portion sizes and practice mindful eating.

Engaging in regular physical activity

Regular exercise is a natural way to maintain muscle mass, boost your metabolism, and manage your weight. Strive to get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise each week, and add strength-training and flexibility exercises a few times a week.

Managing stress

For many women, menopause comes with rising stress levels. High stress levels can contribute to emotional eating and weight gain, but finding effective stress management techniques, like meditation or yoga, can combat these negative effects.

Getting adequate sleep

Most adults need 7-8 hours of sleep each night for optimal health. Poor sleep can contribute to hormonal imbalance and increase your appetite, while sufficient sleep supports hormone regulation, reduces cravings, and promotes overall well-being.

Medical treatments for menopausal weight gain

In addition to lifestyle modifications, we may recommend medical intervention to help you manage your weight during menopause. Depending on your health needs, we might prescribe:

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)

HRT contains estrogen and/or progesterone. The goal of treatment is to help balance the hormonal fluctuations you experience during menopause.

HRT can make it easier to control your weight and reduce abdominal fat, but it’s not without risks. To minimize risks, we work closely with you to manage your dosage and adjust your treatment plan as needed.

Medications for weight management

In some cases, we may prescribe medication specifically designed for weight management. These medications work by suppressing your appetite and/or inhibiting fat absorption. We typically recommend these as part of a comprehensive weight management plan, and we monitor your progress closely.

If you’re tired of struggling with your weight in menopause, it’s time to find the support you need. Book a consultation with our team at Better Health Management for a comprehensive solution that helps you regain control.

Call our New York City office in the Financial District of lower Manhattan at 332-237-4647, or book your first appointment online now.