Easy Weight Loss Methods During Menopause

People going through menopause can gain weight. Those who want to lose this weight may have more difficulty than usual.

Weight gain is due in part to a drop in estrogen levels before and during menopause.

The decline in sleep quality and age-related reduction in metabolism and muscle mass may contribute to this weight gain. Weight tends to develop in the abdomen.

While it is more difficult to lose weight during menopause, there are several methods that many people find effective.

This article will examine the relationship between menopause and weight, as well as proven ways to lose weight during the transition.

Menopause and Weight

Women enter menopause after a full 12 months without a menstrual cycle.

During menopause and perimenopause – the time leading up to menopause – people can accumulate body fat, making it difficult to lose weight.

Menopause is linked to increases in body fat for the following reasons. Changes in estrogen levels contribute to weight gain.

Estrogen is one of the primary sex hormones in women. It plays the following roles in the body:

  • Physical gender determines characteristics
  • Regulates the menstrual cycle
  • Maintains bone health
  • Regulates cholesterol levels
  • Estrogen levels decrease significantly during menopause.

Low estrogen during menopause does not directly cause weight gain, but can lead to increases in total body fat and abdominal fat. Doctors associate overweight in middle age with heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Hormone replacement therapy can reduce the tendency to gain belly fat.

Natural Aging Processes

Weight gain during menopause is also linked to regular aging processes and lifestyle habits.

As people age, they tend to be less physically active. Their metabolism also naturally slows down. These variables lead to a decrease in muscle mass and an increase in body fat.

Bad and Irregular Sleep

Doctors also associate menopause with poor sleep, which can be caused by the heat or night sweats. Animal studies associate sleep deprivation with weight gain.

Below, we’ve compiled strategies that can help you shed extra pounds during menopause.

Increasing Activity

Regular exercise is an excellent way to increase weight loss and overall physical health.

Many people experience decreases in muscle mass as they age, and muscle loss can cause an increase in body fat. Exercise is a key way to build muscle and prevent age-related muscle loss.

Research shows that aerobic exercise can reduce body fat after menopause. Another study found that training three times a week can get rid of body fat and reduce body fat in postmenopausal women.

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends that people aim for at least 150 minutes of aerobic activity per week and that people do muscle-strengthening activities two or more days a week.

A combination of aerobics, exercise, and resistance training will help reduce body fat and build muscle.

If the person is not already active, they may find it easier to gradually increase their activity level. Here are some small ways to generate more activity during the day:

  • doing gardening work, such as gardening
  • take a walk
  • Parking away from the building entrance
  • Using the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Going for a walk or other type of exercise at lunch

Consuming Nutrient-Rich Foods

Making dietary changes is an important part of losing weight.

Foods that are healthy and nutritious should be the staple for all meals and snacks. A person’s diet should include a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein sources.

A Mediterranean-style diet is a very popular and effective diet for health. A 2016 study reported that this diet can improve heart disease risk factors such as blood pressure and lipid levels and result in weight loss.

You can organize your diet by considering the following:

  • Various fruits and vegetables
  • Lean proteins, such as beans, fish or chicken
  • Whole grains in bread and cereals
  • Healthy fats like olive oil or avocado
  • Legumes

People should avoid processed foods and those that contain high amounts of trans or saturated fat. Some examples:

  • White bread
  • Pastries such as cakes, cookies, and donuts
  • Processed meats like hot dogs or bologna
  • Foods with a lot of fat or sugar

Reducing consumption of sugary drinks such as soda and juices may also help. Sugar-sweetened beverages carry a lot of calories.

A dietitian or nutritionist can help create a healthy eating plan and monitor progress.

Making Sleep a Priority

Getting enough high-quality sleep is crucial to maintaining a healthy weight and overall health. Poor quality sleep can cause weight gain.

Research has linked sleep disturbances to aging processes and metabolic disruption during menopause. Changes in sleep quality and circadian rhythms can affect:

  • appetite hormones
  • body fat composition
  • energy expenditure

Also, symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats can disrupt sleep.

Getting enough restful sleep can help reduce menopausal weight gain. Overall, a lot of good has been done on whether alternative medicine is effective in reducing symptoms related to menopause.

Considering Alternative Treatments

While these treatments may not result in significant weight loss, they may help relieve some symptoms and reduce stress.

Potential complementary and alternative therapies include:

  • Yoga
  • Hypnosis
  • herbal treatments
  • Meditation

Mindful Eating

Being mindful when eating can help change eating behavior and prevent weight gain.

Mindful eating can help a person gain internal awareness rather than outward signs of eating. It can be a helpful approach to avoiding eating and eating in relation to emotional states.

In some studies, mindful eating has resulted in reduced food intake in overweight individuals and people with obesity.

Tracking Food and Weight

Meal tracking helps the person to keep track of what foods they consume regularly and to make changes in this regard.

Research shows that people who keep track of food, weigh regularly, and maintain high activity levels are more likely to have clinically significant weight loss.

Controlling Portion Sizes

Portion sizes in restaurants have increased over the years, causing people to eat more, which can make it difficult to gauge how much food a person needs per meal and per day.

Determining how much to add to a meal can help understand the standard portion sizes of some common foods. For example, some standard servings are:

  • Bread – 1 slice
  • Rice and pasta – ½ cup cooked
  • Fruit – a small piece
  • Milk or yogurt – 1 cup
  • Cheese – 2 ounces or the size of a domino
  • Meat or fish – 2 to 3 ounces or deck size

The following tips can help you control portion sizes:

  • Separate snacks from packages as much as you will eat instead of meals.
  • Avoid eating in front of the TV – sit at a table instead.
  • When dining out, opt for less bread and less appetizers.
  • Use a kitchen scale and measuring cup to measure portions at home.

Making Meal Planning in Advance

Meal planning and having healthy foods available will make a person less likely to choose unhealthy foods.

Fill your kitchen with healthy food and plan for those meals to avoid eating quickly and carelessly. Carry healthy snacks with you to avoid getting food from the automatic snack machine.

Get Help from Friends and Family

Having the support of family and friends is an integral part of losing weight. For example, having a workout buddy can help people stay motivated to exercise.

Some people like to follow their progress on social media, which can help keep you motivated.

Making Lifestyle Changes

The key to not losing weight is to maintain healthy habits over the long term.

While fad diets cause short-term weight loss, adopting healthy habits such as cooking habits and getting regular exercise are more likely to cause long-term effects.

In summary;

People often experience an increase in body fat during menopause. These low estrogen levels are linked to poor quality sleep and decreased metabolism and muscle mass.

Researchers associate low estrogen levels with an increase in body fat, particularly belly fat. Maintaining healthy lifestyle habits can help you lose weight.

People who are concerned about their weight or hormonal fluctuation symptoms should speak to a doctor about appropriate treatment.

Medical News Today, Best ways to lose weight during menopause, 2019.

References:

Changes in weight and fat distribution. (n.d.). http://www.menopause.org/for-women/sexual-health-menopause-online/changes-at-midlife/changes-in-weight-and-fat-distribution

Conceição, MS, et al. (2013). Sixteen weeks of resistance training can decrease the risk of metabolic syndrome in healthy postmenopausal women. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3783540/

Davis, SR, et al. (2012). Understanding weight gain at menopause. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.3109/13697137.2012.707385

Friedenreich, CM, et al. (2015). Effects of a high vs moderate volume of aerobic exercise on adiposity outcomes in postmenopausal women: A randomized clinical trial. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaoncology/fullarticle/2396584

Kravitz, HM, et al. (2018). Sleep, health, and metabolism in midlife women and menopause: Food for thought [Abstract]. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30401550

Mancini, JG, et al. (2016). Systematic review of the Mediterranean diet for long-term weight loss. https://www.amjmed.com/article/S0002-9343(15)30027-9/fulltext

Moore, TR, et al. (2017). Review of efficacy of complementary and alternative medicine treatments for menopausal symptoms [Abstract]. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28561959

Painter, SL, et al. (2017). What matters in weight loss? An in-depth analysis of self-monitoring. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5446667/

Parrish, JB, & Teske, JA (2017). Acute partial sleep deprivation due to environmental noise increases weight gain by reducing energy expenditure in rodents. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/oby.21703

Physical activity guidelines for Americans. (2018). https://health.gov/paguidelines/second-edition/pdf/Physical_Activity_Guidelines_2nd_edition.pdf

Portion size versus serving size. (2015). https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/nutrition-basics/portion-size-versus-serving-size

Sayón-Orea, C., et al. (2015). Adherence to Mediterranean dietary pattern and menopausal symptoms in relation to overweight/obesity in Spanish perimenopausal and postmenopausal women [Abstract]. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25513984

Warren, JM, et al. (2017). A structured literature review on the role of mindfulness, mindful eating and intuitive eating in changing eating behaviors: Effectiveness and associated potential mechanisms. https://www.cambridge.org/core/services/aop-cambridge-core/content/view/351A3D01E43F49CC9794756BC950EFFC/S0954422417000154a.pdf/structured_literature_review_on_the_role_of_mindfulness_mind_ind01E43F49CC9794756BC950EFFC/S0954422417000154a.pdf/structured_literature_review_on_the_role_of_mindfulness_mind_ind01E43F49CC9794756BC950EFFC/effective_intuitive_changing-ourede-potential.

What is estrogen? (2018). https://www.hormone.org/hormones-and-health/hormones/estrogen

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