Hormonal Changes and Menopausal Weight Gain
Menopausal weight gain seems to be a great concern for women as they age. It seems that gaining some weight during this period in life seems inevitable. Some women may even be puzzled as to why they seem to pile up weight even though they eat the same amount of food. There are many reasons for this.
Women go through menopausal weight gain because their body is going through changes during menopause. The reason for the weight gain may stem from the hormones themselves. During menopause, normal estrogen levels in the body seem to go down. Estrogen is the female sex hormone that is responsible for a woman’s monthly ovulation.
Low estrogen levels during menopause cause the female body to stop ovulating. As the ovaries of the woman produce less estrogen, her body tries to look for other means to get its estrogen supply. One of the means that the body can be supplied with the estrogen hormone is through the fat cells. So the body tries to convert as much of the calories it is supplied with into fat to be able to produce the much-needed estrogen. Unfortunately, the fat cells are not as effective in burning calories as much as muscles do. This causes women to pack up additional pounds.
Progesterone is another hormone that may be the cause of weight gain during menopause. Just like estrogen, women undergoing menopause also experience their body’s progesterone levels go down. This causes weight gain for women in a different way. Low levels of progesterone in the body are associated with water retention and bloating, giving one the appearance of getting bigger and heavier. But this effect usually only happens for a short time and will disappear in just a few months.
Another hormone that may be responsible for weight gain during menopause is the male sex hormone androgen. Menopause brings about an increase in androgen levels in women. This hormone becomes responsible for sending the gained weight into the abdominal area or the middle section of the body. This is the reason why weight gain during menopause is also referred to as the “middle-age spread”.
Another hormone that may be responsible for weight gain during menopause is testosterone. This hormone helps the body to create lean muscle mass out of the calories that the body takes in. Muscle cells are better at burning calories than fat cells and help in increasing the body’s metabolism. During menopause, the level of this hormone drops which then results in a gradual loss of muscle. This also means that metabolism in the body slows down, causing the body to burn calories slower.
Women become frustrated and concerned when they suddenly find themselves gaining weight during menopause. No matter how careful they are on maintaining their eating habits and even adding up a dose of exercise into their daily habit, they still can’t seem to maintain their weight. Women must understand that it is because of the changes in the body during menopause that makes maintaining their weight even more difficult. Losing weight even becomes a more challenging undertaking than ever before.
Women must remember that it is not entirely their fault that they are gaining weight during this stage in their life. Menopausal weight gain is a normal occurrence due to the fluctuations in the hormone levels in the body. These hormones will also have a big impact on one’s appetite and the body’s ability to metabolize calories and store fats.
The better that women understand what goes on with their bodies during menopause, the less frustrated they can become when faced with weight gain.
Menopause Weight Gain
Menopause weight gain is one of those stages that most women are afraid of. This is because weight gain during menopausal does not only indicate that they are indeed aging but also means that they cannot really control the drastic changes that their body will go through.
But, women should not sulk into the great pit of depression once they start to gain weight during menopausal because this does not mean that they are not doing something for themselves. They should realize that as people—especially women—age, their bodies will not have the same function as it did ten years ago. They should realize that this weight gain caused by menopausal is really inevitable.
Once they have accepted this fact, it will be easier for them to get out of the depression and start thinking of ways that can help them minimize the gaining of weight. Experts say that weight gain is one of the common problems women in their midlife stages—those who are in their 40s and 50s—complain about. Most of the complaints include the “uncontrollable” bulges in the hips, thighs, and abdomen which can be unsightly of they remain using the clothes they used to wear.
Although there is nothing much that can be done once weight gain in menopausal stage rushes in, there are some things that can be done to minimize and totally prevent it while you are younger.
What causes weight gain menopause?
To be able to avoid suffering from too much weight gain caused by menopause, one of the things that younger women should do is to understand what the reasons behind this weight gain are.
Once they were able to discover and understand these causes, they can do something about it.
The following are just some of the common reasons that cause weight gain. Younger women should be very well aware of these causes so they can plan some ways to avoid gaining weight too much:
1. Less exercise. This is considered as the number one reason why more and more women experience menopause weight gain. Studies show that as women age, they tend to move slower that is why they keep on accumulating fats on specific areas of their bodies. To avoid menopausal weight gain, younger women or even those who are in the borderline can start increasing their physical activities by having regular sets of daily exercise and workout that is specially designed for them.
2. Increased food intake. This is also a major reason why women gain too much weight during their menopausal stage. Experts say that as women grow older, their appetite increases which leads to the accumulation of too many calories which later on becomes fat since they are not able to burn it right away.
3. Inability to burn lesser amounts of calories. Studies show that this is also a great factor that contributes to menopause weight gain since it replaces fat with calories which are harder to burn. Once the muscles in the body are replaced with fat, the metabolism will be slower which will lead to deposits of fats in the body.
Women who have menopause weight gain in their family histories are more prone to this condition.
To avoid suffering from the burdens of menopausal weight gain it is best to include healthy foods in the diet, having a regular set of physical exercise and visit the doctor once in a while for a general check-up.
Can You Reduce Menopausal Weight Gain
Women between the ages of 35 and 55 will soon experience menopause. It is not a disease but rather a phase in life where the female will no longer be able to conceive a child. One of the symptoms associated with this phase is weight gain. In fact, 90% of women will gain a few extra pounds which are not a direct result of overeating but rather a shift in your hormones.
Those who are already going through with menopause will probably notice a change in their physical body shape. The majority will gain between 10 to 15 pounds but this will not happen overnight. It will happen gradually like one or two pounds per year during premenopause and a little faster for those who are in early and surgical menopause.
The areas where you will see a physical change will be in the abdomen thus making you look fat when you look at yourself in the mirror. Again, this is not your fault but a fact of life because there are also already fluctuations in your hormones.
To explain this further, you have to understand that hormones do not only affect our behavior but also have a direct impact on our appetite, fat storage, and metabolism.
Females have four hormones namely androgen, estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. The first one namely androgen is the one that puts that excess weight around your abdomen. This happens because when you reach androgen, your body produces more of this hormone causing you to gain weight here rather than your hips, thigh or rear.
Estrogen is the hormone responsible for your monthly ovulation. When you reach menopausal age, the level of estrogen that is produced by the body decreases. Because of this, your ovaries need a source of estrogen so it taps your fat cells that have the ability to make this happen. This forces the body to convert calories into fat but since your fat cells are unable to burn calories like your muscles do when you work out, this also causes you to pack a few extra pounds.
Another hormone that will also decrease during menopause is your progesterone levels. This causes water retention and bloating. The only good news is that this usually disappears after a few months.
Testosterone is the one that converts lean muscle mass out of the calories you take in from eating. During menopause, this level also drops thus resulting in the loss of this muscle. This will slow down your metabolism thus making it difficult to burn the food you ingested and it too causes weight gain.
Other factors that may cause weight gain during menopause could be attributed to insulin resistance and stress. Insulin resistance occurs when the body converts every calorie into fat. Stress can also make this happen as the body stores calories instead of burning as its way of saving on energy.
So how will you be able to reduce menopausal weight gain? A lot of experts believe that this will be difficult but not impossible. The most obvious is eating a balanced diet. You will have to give up food products that contain refined sugars and switch them to fruits and vegetables. You should also cut back on alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine.
As much as possible try to stay active by exercising regularly. Examples of these could be aerobics, cycling, jogging, running and walking that will increase muscle mass and prevent osteoporosis.