top of page

Insulin resistance and weight gain in menopause

Many women find staying slim so much more difficult with age, and this isn’t without reason - we do unfortunately experience a 15% decrease in metabolic rate as we edge towards menopause, this is due to hormonal shifts making us more sensitive to effect of sugar in the diet, muscle breakdown (Sarcopenia) and a subsequent change in body composition.

There is a lot more science behind this weight gain though and I’m a firm believer that knowing more about whats causing the change, will help you manage the outcome more successfully.

Insulin resistance causes an increased sensitivity to the amount of sugar in the diet. This cannot be overstated - both for your waistline and long-term health.

As we get older, insulin resistance becomes more of an issue, this is because our oestrogen levels begin to decline taking the body on a natural shift towards insulin resistance.

All the cells in the body love oestrogen, this hormone has so many beneficial properties for all cells across our entire health system.

Oestrogen aids our cells in taking up glucose (sugar) from the bloodstream to use for energy.

As we enter menopause and even in the 10 years prior to this (peri menopause – age 35+) our oestrogen levels are declining meaning less glucose is going to the cells to use for energy and more is being converted to fat and stored around your midsection.

This natural shift towards insulin resistance and weight gain, as we age, can of course be managed via specific diet and exercise strategies – as always awareness of these issues is key: We need to learn about insulin resistance first so we can put management strategies into practise.

To understand what insulin resistance is, let’s first introduce Insulin and the role it plays in the body:

Insulin is a hormone which is secreted from the pancreas in response to high blood glucose levels:

When we eat carbohydrates (sugar) our blood glucose levels increase – the brain will signal to the pancreas to release insulin which is responsible for escorting the glucose from the food we eat to all the cells in the body so it can be used as energy.

If we eat too much carbohydrate then the cells of the body won’t take up the extra glucose, it gets stored as glycogen in the liver and muscles or converted to fat and stored in fat cells.

Insulin resistance happens over time, if we continue to eat a diet high in carbohydrate (sugar) we eventually flood the system - our body cells become resistant to insulin - they stop taking up the glucose from the blood stream which leaves us with chronically high blood glucose and insulin levels.

Insulin resistance poses many long-term health complications such as Obesity, Type 2 Diabetes, Heart disease and Chronic Inflammation in the body.

It can also really affect our energy levels - due to the reduced levels of glucose (energy) entering our cells, causing fatigue, brain fog and a lack of concentration – remember your brain relies on glucose uptake for energy too, which is why insulin resistance has been linked to cognitive decline.

If this is not all too much to deal with already, there's the associated weight gain too.

The reasons Insulin resistance causes weight gain boil down to the extra glucose left in the bloodstream which is converted to fat, meaning fat stores in the body increase.

High blood insulin levels also mean the ability of the body to use fat for metabolism decreases.

We have less uptake of glucose by the muscles so less energy for movement and insulin resistance plays with our hunger hormones meaning we’re more likely to feel constant hunger and cravings.

This all sounds very depressing and I'll admit, none of it is ideal but it can all be managed – there are many ways we can alter our diet and exercise strategies to reduce this age-related increased sensitivity to sugar and consequential weight gain.

If you’re keen to learn how, please contact me directly:

I offer coaching on an individual basis or with a small group of friends via my ‘MOVEMENT + DIET FOR MENOPAUSE’ program

Or you’re welcome to join my monthly ‘PERI MENOPAUSE WEIGHT GAIN WORKSHOP’

Details of both on the link:

I hope you've found this helpful, if you have any questions please contact me, i'm happy to help:


Anna xx

10 views0 comments


bottom of page