Menopause and weight gain. A lot of women think the combination is inevitable and out of their control. They believe that metabolism and other things change so much after menopause that no matter what they do they will still gain weight.
For these reasons, women today associate fear and discomfort with the word “menopause.”
But, is weight gain really inevitable after menopause?
There are a few reasons women might gain weight after menopause, including:
• Hormonal changes
• Metabolism decrease
However, “Hormonal changes alone don’t necessarily trigger menopause weight gain,” according to the Mayo Clinic’s website. And “… exercise can help you lose weight and keep it off after menopause,” WebMD’s website says.
Also, not only can you prevent weight gain after menopause, but it’s also possible to lose weight after menopause.
In reality, these are probably the biggest contributors to weight gain after menopause:
• Increased sedentary habits, such as too much sitting
• Lack of frequent cardio exercise, such as walking
• Increased loss of muscle mass: Although some muscle mass loss is normal as we age, you can minimize the loss and the resulting decrease in metabolism by using your muscles regularly through weight training and other exercises.
• Eating lifestyle: You really are what you eat. The older you get, the faster the way you eat shows on the outside.
If you want your body to stay lean, eat the highly nutritious foods it requires to help achieve that leanness.
Because too many Americans of all ages are overweight or obese, entering into menopause, becoming more inactive and continuing to eat poorly on top of some less significant disadvantages, such as normal changes in hormones and muscle loss, are a recipe for trouble. Weight gain will be more significant and rapid. Therefore, it’s important that you take an honest look at yourself. I’m not talking about being preoccupied with your weight. I’m talking about being honest about the behaviors that might be contributing to increased weight.
Your body can’t do what you want it to do without your help. It certainly can’t do it when your only focus is the weight, wishing it were different, mentally beating yourself up about it, giving up because you believe you have no control. But if you provide your body with what it needs to make changes, it will produce those changes. It may do so more slowly than it would have at age 20, perhaps, but if you’re consistent and keep a realistic attitude, it will make you proud.
In my 20s, I read an article about a middle-aged woman that was accompanied by photos that showed what your body can look like with consistent weight training through the years. The feminine, lean muscles she attributed to weight training made her look years younger. Her statements about how much of what we associate with aging can be avoided with regular exercise stuck with me. I introduced weight training into my lifestyle at that point. Now in my 60s, I can say she was right. Weight training has made weight management in menopause a simpler matter, as well.
If you are approaching or in menopause and want to help your body out, consider these points:
• Make an active lifestyle a priority. Menopausal women who have retained their “youthful figure” are active individuals and probably have been active most of their lives.
• Focus on health and beauty from the inside by spending more money on nutritious foods that go into your body rather than products meant to hide external flaws.
• Work on your attitude about weight management by focusing on what you can do rather than what you wish would happen without your help.
The menopause years should be a time to stop and smell the roses. That means slowing down to savor all aspects of life. So, even if your body takes a little longer to produce weight-loss changes, what’s the hurry? If you’re going in the right direction, you’re getting healthier, and you’re doing the best you can. Give your body a break and let it make changes at its normal menopausal pace. And while it’s doing that, have fun with life.