Is it possible to stop menopausal weight gain? ABSOLUTELY! We’ve helped thousands of women do it over the past 25 years in our Metabolic Testing & Weight Loss Centers.
You may be thinking, what you used to do to manage your weight doesn’t work. And you certainly don’t want to hear that snarky comment ‘just eat less and exercise more’ because we agree, that doesn’t work either!
It is estimated that the average weight gain during menopause is about 10 to 15 pounds or more.So what can you do?
The first step is to understand why this weight gain is happening to you in the first place.
Here are SIX Menopause Realities many women face as they travel through menopause which can slow down their metabolism and invite weight gain…
REALITY #1: Woman lose muscle mass and strength as they age.Yes, while men lose muscle and strength with age too, our male counterparts are naturally gifted with substantially more testosterone than we are. Testosterone is one of many factors involved in the development and maintenance of our muscle bulk and strength. And although testosterone is considered a male sex hormone, women do produce small amounts of testosterone in their ovaries and adrenal glands.
As a woman ages, her testosterone also decreases naturally along with other hormones, such as estrogen. These hormonal changes negatively affect muscle mass retention.
As muscle loss occurs, the body’s resting metabolism can slow down (you burn less calories and store more to fat), and subsequently the risk of weight gain increases along with the accumulation of body fat especially around the waist.
REALITY #2: Menopausal women burn less fat and store more than they did in pre-menopausal years.
During and after menopause, the number of calories a woman burns during rest declines. In addition, fat cells store more fat, and they love to hold on to that fat.
Declining estrogen levels also cause a lower amount of calories burned while exercising. Studies show that as a menopausal woman ages, she’ll burn less overall body fat than a younger woman even when doing the same exercise.
And if you’re thinking of starting a low calorie / starvation diet, don’t do it — it’ll just make matters worse because it will negatively affect your muscle mass and lower metabolic rate. Even if you lose weight at first, it’ll be hard to keep it off.
REALITY #3: Menopausal women gain excess belly fat.
Women tend to gain more belly fat during peri-menopause and menopause. As estrogen levels naturally decline, body fat is redistributed from the hips, thighs and buttocks to the abdomen.
It becomes easier to increase visceral fat mass, the type of body fat stored deep in the abdominal cavity near vital organs including the liver, stomach, and intestine. AND the belly gets bigger and clothes get tighter.
REALITY #4: Declining estrogen levels wreak havoc on many hormones that can affect weight gain.
As women age and approach menopause and estrogen levels drop, the production and effectiveness of other hormones also changes. Specifically when it comes to weight gain, changes in hormone levels can trigger fluctuations in blood sugar levels.
The hormone insulin can become less effective at lowering glucose levels in the bloodstream subsequently making easier to store fat.
In addition, the reduction of estrogen in postmenopausal women can accelerate the development of insulin resistance and Type 2 Diabetes.
REALITY #5: Changes due to menopause can increase the risk of developing certain health problems.
Lowering levels of estrogen and other changes related to aging such as loss of muscle mass, increased visceral fat and weight gain raises your risk of osteoporosis, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, insulin resistance, Type 2 diabetes, a sluggish thyroid, heart attack, and even stroke.
The risk to developing a health condition is greater if you were already overweight. While medications can help, many of these conditions interfere with the ability to live a more ACTIVE lifestyle due to the increased fatigue, medication side effects, the extra weight and the self-consciousness about having it, and just not feeling your best.
REALITY #6: Certain medications can slow down the metabolism and cause weight gain.
In response to newly diagnosed medical conditions, lack of sleep and more fatigue, as well as a lessoned ability to deal with physical, emotional and mental stress, more medications are prescribed.
It’s important to understand that while they may be necessary, certain medications such as antidepressants, beta-blockers, corticosteroids such as cortisone or prednisone, insulin, statins and Tamoxifin can trigger hunger, an increase in appetite, increased fluid retention, and a slowing of the metabolism.
There’s certainly no magic pill for preventing – or reversing – weight during and after menopause. But there are several things you can do to help yourself that when combined, can make a HUGE difference!
Eat leaner proteins such as, chicken, turkey, fish, and egg whites. Your body burns more energy (calories) to process proteins, AND these proteins are easier to digest and don’t place as heavy a burden on your digestive tract.
Eat higher-fiber foods such as apples, oranges, strawberries, raspberries, and dark green vegetables. Fiber helps keep you feeling full longer after meals or snacks.
Make breakfast and lunch your larger meals, and eat a lighter dinner as early as you can. Most people are more active during the daytime hours and more inactive after dinner as they wind down to sleep. Eating a heavier meal with too many calories in the evening after your day is completed can cause a “food hangover”, place too much burden on your digestive tract, and cause you to take in more calories than you need at this time of day. While dinner is an important meal and it should not be skipped, it’s better to eat a lighter meal and stay awake for a minimum of two hours after you eat it.
Eat every 3-4 hours. Eating less food more often can stop you from getting overly hungry between meals, typically three meals and one to two snacks per day works for many. If at all possible, avoid eating or snacking after 8 pm unless you are working a night shift, and your days and nights are reversed.
Limit alcohol intake to two or less glasses, a maximum of two to three days a week. This totals less than 10 fluid ounces of wine, 16 ounces of beer, or 3 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits per day. Alcohol has calories and can also be an appetite stimulant. Look for other activities and other ways to be social or relax!
Start strength training (challenging your muscles during exercise). It can help you shed excess pounds and help maintain a healthy weight because as you gain muscle, your body burns calories more efficiently. However if you’re not exercising at all, begin by taking brisk walks at least 20-30 minutes per day. But always begin at your tolerance level.
Look for ways to de-stress your mind and body. Stress relief is also important during the menopausal transition. In addition to increasing the risk of heart disease, stress leads to elevated cortisol levels, which is directly associated with increased abdominal fat. Some form of daily exercise, massage, yoga, deep breathing, meditation, or acupuncture can all help destress your body as well as your mind.
Drink more water. Women often experience dryness during menopause typically caused by the decrease in estrogen levels. Drinking water helps reduce the bloating that can occur with hormonal changes. A good rule of thumb is to drink one-half to two-thirds of your body weight in ounces of water each day. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, drink at least 75 oz of water each day. Wine doesn’t count. Alcohol actually dehydrates your body.
Schedule enough time for regular uninterrupted sleep. Unfortunately, many women have trouble sleeping due to hot flashes, night sweats, and other physical effects from estrogen deficiency. However getting enough high-quality sleep is important for achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. If you sleep too little, you’ll have higher levels of the “hunger hormone” ghrelin, and lower levels of the “fullness hormone” leptin and are more likely to gain weight. You can help improve your sleep by going to bed at the same time each night, avoiding naps during the day, not exercising in the evening, and avoiding caffeine in the afternoon and evening.
Start taking supplements that will support your metabolism.Metabolism DAY and Metabolism NITE are all-natural supplement formulas that help fix the metabolic damage caused by aging, toxins, hormonal changes, and other factors, resulting in a faster, more efficient metabolism, which means it’ll be easier to lose FAT and WEIGHT!
Metabolism DAY & Metabolism NITE help preserve lean muscle. The carefully selected ingredients help direct the calories you eat toward muscle function and repair instead of storing those calories as fat. In addition, they help your muscles and ligaments recover from your day’s activities while you’re asleep. This will help slow down muscle loss and help your muscle rebuild more quickly when you exercise!
Metabolism DAY & Metabolism NITE help your body BURN FAT safely. These two safe all-natural “metabolic enhancers” can help burn fat effectively at any age & UNBLOCK your fat burning pathways… helping you RELEASE FAT that’s been LOCKED in your fat cells… helping you TRANSPORT THE FAT DIRECTLY to where it needs to be burned… and finally, helping you BURN THAT FAT by cranking UP your fat-burning furnace — YOUR METABOLISM.
Consider Metabolism DAY & Metabolism NITE to be the multi-vitamins for your metabolism that continually help the various functions affecting metabolism and weight management to continually improve and become more efficient…
As blood sugars become more balanced for continued periods of time, you have sustained energy throughout your day;
As muscle recovers over time, your body begins to burn more fat calories;
As the body better accesses fat stores, you continue to lose inches and fat;
As the body rests & recovers, sleep improves, inflammation reduces, muscles heal;
As the body’s metabolism becomes more fired up… you continue to LOSE WEIGHT & THEN KEEP THE WEIGHT OFF!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. Rich Farina is a Metabolic Health and Conditioning Specialist with over 30 years of experience helping thousands of individuals lose weight, rebuild their metabolisms, and improve their health in his Metabolic Testing & Weight Loss Centers.
He holds both Bachelor and post-graduate degrees in Exercise Physiology and Public Health respectively and is a passionate advocate of using proven, scientific principles in his approach to exercise and nutrition. He is a contributing author, professional speaker, and advisor on topics that include weight loss, human performance, and medical fitness.
He continues his deep-seated passion to help people improve their health and optimize their body's performance through his seminars, webinars, books, and line of proven-effective nutritional supplements.