Stats show that 50% of women will gain 10kg (that’s 1 dress size) over the peri -menopause period, aged 40+.
This can be really distressing, especially as it seems to come out of nowhere, with no obvious changes to diet or exercise.
Weight loss can be a taboo issue, we’re told we should love our bodies no matter what, which I absolutely agree with but quite often this sudden pre-menopausal weight gain can impact a woman’s confidence, quality of life and become a huge precursor to additional stress.
We all need to acknowledge that our bodies will change as we get older but if losing those extra KG’s will make you feel more confident and comfortable in your own skin, listen up – there are ways of managing this weight gain, it doesn’t have to be inevitable.
What causes menopausal weight gain?
There’s a perfect hormonal storm in peri menopause that will lead to weight gain if you continue to exercise and diet in the same way you have done throughout your 20’s-30’s.
1) As Oestrogen levels decline, you become more insulin resistant. This means the diet strategies you used to take on, now won’t work for you. You’re more susceptible to sugar in the diet and more likely to store fat as a result.
2) Chronically high insulin levels caused by insulin resistance have knock on effects on your hunger hormones: leptin and ghrelin, causing you to feel more hungry and less satisfied. There is a tendency to overeat which promotes fat storage.
3) Declining oestrogen makes you more prone to sarcopenia (muscle wastage). This means you have a natural decline in your metabolic rate – consuming the same amount of food as you used to will inevitably make you put on weight.
4) As progesterone declines, we react more to stress. Cortisol levels increase and can become chronic – this drives insulin resistance and promotes fat storage (usually around the belly).
5) As Oestrogen declines, the body tries to make a new form of oestrogen in our fat cells. New fat cells are laid down, usually around the belly.
This is a lot to deal with, yet on top of this we usually have an array of ugly menopausal symptoms playing up in the background, meaning we sleep less, have less energy to exercise, crave sugar, drink more alcohol, and tend to rely more heavily on processed meals due to busy schedules and time restraints.
If nothing is done to counterbalance this, the inevitable result is weight gain.
So, what do we do about it?
Firstly, you need to shift your mind set: Exercising more and eating less to reduce a calorie balance may have worked for you 10 years ago but it won’t work now!!
Diets won’t work.
Over exercising won’t work.
Menopausal weight gain is a hormonally driven event which can only be managed by making changes to what you eat, the way you eat, how and when you exercise.
Below are some of my top tips:
· Implement self-care strategies to reduce stress.
· Reduce simple sugars and high-level fructose in food and drink.
· Increase fibre content of your diet.
· Increase protein in your diet.
· Eat all your meals within a shorter window of time.
· Move after a meal.
· Increase daily movement.
· Add strength training to your exercise schedule.
· Prioritise core + pelvic floor strength.
· Implement positive sleep hygiene measures.
· Improve your gut microbiome.
If you’d like to learn more about this and how you can make some of these changes for yourself, Let me help you!
Please check out my MOVEMENT & DIET FOR MENOPAUSE PROGRAM which you can take solo or with a friend for extra support:
This wonderfully comprehensive program is on offer (£50 off) for October in support of World Menopause month.
Get in touch to book, spaces are limited: email@example.com
Do this for yourself, you’ll feel so much better for it.