A woman is standing on a scale
Menopause weight gain is typically caused by slowing of the metabolism, genetic factors, drops in estrogen levels, and other aging factors.

Understanding Menopause Weight Gain

A woman’s body goes through many changes during menopause. Unfortunately, weight gain is a common culprit that sometimes women feel like they can’t escape or control.

While it’s true that the body is more susceptible to weight gain during menopause, there are things that a woman can do to curb the pounds and continue living her healthiest life.

What Causes Weight Gain During Menopause?

While it’s obvious to say that inactivity and an unhealthy diet always plays some role in weight gain, the body chemistry during menopause can also influence fluctuations in weight.

There is a combined effect of all the bodily changes occurring while you are also aging and slowing down. This creates the ideal situation to pack on the pounds.

Check out some of the most common bodily changes that impact weight gain during menopause.

Genetic Factors

Genetics can play a role in weight gain during menopause. If close relatives are prone to weight gain (especially as they age), then it is likely that you will struggle with it, too.

It’s a good idea to be mindful of the genetic factors so you can make necessary changes even from a younger age.

Drop in Estrogen Levels

One of the first things that happen to a woman’s body during menopause is the shift in estrogen levels. Estrogen is proven to be a weight suppressant, however when that level dips then it can influence physical activity and increase your appetite.

Lower estrogen can also lead to other issues such as the body’s difficulty with transferring stored fat into usable energy, use starches and sugars less efficiently, or even slow down your metabolism.

Changes Attributed to Aging

At the point that menopause occurs, women are simply getting older. This doesn’t mean that they don’t have several active years left, but it does mean that the body is responding differently due to the natural impacts of aging.

For example, 60 percent of people are less likely to exercise as they get older. Sometimes this is due to poor activity when they were younger which makes it much more difficult to begin a routine the older you get.

As you age, you often lose muscle mass which decreases metabolism. A decreased metabolism makes it easier to gain weight.

However, even if you do exercise and eat right, the way that your body processes energy changes as you age. You will likely need to increase the length and intensity of your workouts to get the same results that you did ten years ago.

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How Do You Lose Weight During Menopause?

As a woman ages, her physical ability may change. However, there are still exercises that you can do that will fit into your lifestyle. Common exercises for older women include:

  • Find small ways to be active throughout your day. Staying active doesn’t mean that you have to run a marathon. However, little adjustments like walking your dog, washing your car, or running errands on your bike can have a significant impact on your body.
  • Low-impact aerobics is an excellent option if you struggle with intense workouts. It keeps your heart and lungs healthy without harshly impacting your joints. Low-impact aerobics includes activities like walking or swimming. There are a lot of groups dedicated to this type of exercise. However, they are simple enough that you don’t need a gym and you can do them virtually anywhere.
  • Strength training exercises should become part of your workout routine. Activities that fall into this category include lifting weights, resistance training, and even yoga.

Participating in at least one of these activities a few times per week can help you keep the pounds away. Plus, there are many additional health benefits to working out such as keeping your heart healthy and promoting good bone health.

To ensure that you get a good workout routine in place, try to consider activities that you enjoy so that you are more likely to participate long-term. You should discuss any potential workout plans with your doctor to avoid possible injuries.

Other tips for avoiding weight gain:

  • Avoid sugar and processed foods
  • Try to avoid eating late
  • Keep track of the foods you consume
  • Eat smaller portions

Small adjustments can go a long way toward preserving your health and preventing unwanted weight gain.

The Bottom Line...

Menopause does not mean absolute weight gain. While many women do gain weight during this time, it doesn’t have to stay.

Discuss your options with your doctor, specifically in regards to a healthy diet and effective exercise plan. Make the necessary changes to take back control of your body.