Okay, yes it's true. Most women do tend to gain weight post Menopause. I get it. I am 56 ( soon to be 57). But the question I get asked most is this-"What can I do about it ?" First, let's try and understand why the weight starts to creep on during those Menopausal years. Here are three of the most common reasons.
Estrogen-During Menopause women's estrogen levels drop. This causes weight to be redistributed around the middle, which makes just about anyone feel, well, "fat".
Slower Metabolism-Every year, beginning in our 20's and 30's we lose muscle mass-approximately 1-2% per year. As a result, by the time we hit 50, we can see a significant drop in muscle. Muscle needs more calories to sustain, fat needs less. As a result, our metabolism slows down.
Less Activity-As we age, we tend to move less and eat the same portions as we did when we were younger with a much faster metabolism. Soooo, we gain weight. Every year. And that adds up. Before you know it, you are 10, 15, 20 pounds heavier.
Less Sleep-this is common among older Men and Women. Less sleep means higher cortisol levels which tells your body to hold on to those calories instead of burning them. Less sleep often makes it very difficult to lose weight.
So how do you stop the slow and steady weight gain that seems to come with Menopause?
Exercise-Weight training builds muscle, which speeds up your metabolism and helps to burn some of those calories. It makes you stronger and slows the inevitable loss of muscle that happens every year as we age.
Sleep-I can't emphasize sleep enough. The increased stresses of caring for aging parents, paying for college, stressful careers, can all have an affect on sleep. But with less sleep comes increased cortisol levels and you know what that means.....more fat storage!
Nutrition-Watch your portion sizes! We can no longer eat like we did in our 20's or 30's. A Big Mac is a BIG NO! Eat lean proteins, fresh veggies, fruit and about half your weight in water every day. No soda, easy on the alcohol, and make sweets something you have on occasion...not every day.
Change your lifestyle and you will see a change around the middle!