If you’ve started menopause and are looking to prevent weight gain or improve the quality of your life, you’re not alone. Women everywhere suffer from low self-esteem due to menopause-related weight gain. Hormones shift, estrogen declines and you may experience muscle loss and/or fat buildup… but don’t despair! There are treatments and solutions to help you look and feel your best.
Declining estrogen levels during menopause can be a key contributing factor to extra belly fat. Increased abdominal fat can be dangerous because it can lead to insulin resistance and higher chances of contracting metabolic syndrome. Both of these problems can increase your chances of getting atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Hormone therapy has been shown to prevent new-onset diabetes when women started their therapy between the age of 50 and 59. As a side note, about 30% of women within this age group are obese.
According to new research that has been conducted, menopausal hormonal therapy can help BMI and body fat in general. Data analyzed from a study consisting of 1,053 women in Switzerland from the ages of 50 to 80 years old who had hormonal therapy showed less visceral fat than women who were not on hormone replacement therapy for weight loss. Additionally, they had 3 pounds less of fat mass compared to women who had taken hormonal therapy in the past. Aside from treating menopausal weight gain, hormonal therapy can also be used to treat a variety of symptoms associated with menopause. This symptoms include hot flashes, vaginal dryness, night sweats, urinary problems, and bone loss and fracture.
It’s important to note that results may only last for the time that you do the hormonal therapy. Once you stop the therapy, weight gain can resurface. Estrogen is a factor that affects body weight because less estrogen causes the body to use starches and blood sugar less often which increases fat storage. This is the reason it is harder to lose weight. Less estrogen means lower metabolic rate, and after taking hormonal therapy an increase in resting metabolic rate is possible.
Including a healthy diet in your lifestyle is important to help prevent weight gain after treatments. Eating whole-grain foods, and lots vegetables can not only help with your weight, but can also reduce night sweats and hot flashes. You should stay away from processed foods, keep a food diary, and watch your caloric intake. You should try to eat dinner as early as possible in the evening–eating too close to bed can contribute to weight gain.
It is important to eat smaller portions of food more often. For example, if you are eating out you should aim to take a portion of your food home as leftovers. If you need help keeping track there are plenty of mobile apps that can be very useful.
A healthy, well-balanced diet is crucial to maintaining or losing weight during menopause, but incorporating exercise in your daily regimen is equally important. You can incorporate strength training, and low impact aerobics such as swimming, cycling, dance, and tennis. Buying supportive shoes, staying motivated, finding a workout partner and talking to a medical professional before following an exercise routine are all important things to do.
Starting hormonal therapy during the beginning of menopause is safer than starting it when you are in your 60s and 70s and have a higher risk of developing heart disease, stroke dementia, and blood clots.
While you can control menopause-related weight gain on your own, it’s often easier with the guidance and assistance of experts who have experience when it comes to helping keep excess weight off. At Zana’s Place, we’re proud to offer a variety of services to help with any weight issues you may have. Contact us today to discuss your situation, or come on in–we’d love to see you!