If you can get through perimenopause and menopause without gaining any weight, you are the rare and fortunate woman. Fluctuating hormones and water weight retention are the bane of middle-aged women.
Progesterone and Water Weight Gain
During your reproductive years, progesterone is the hormone manufactured when you ovulate. When you stop ovulating, progesterone levels decrease drastically. When this occurs, bloating and water weight gain tend to occur. Lack of progesterone doesn’t necessarily make you gain weight, although you may feel as though you have because of the water retention. When you swell, this is called edema, caused by excess fluid trapped in your body tissues.
Combat edema by avoiding salty foods and foods that contain sodium, both of which exacerbate water weight gain. Consider the types of medicines you are taking. Some may cause edema.
Testosterone Complicates Matters
Gaining as much as 10 to 15 pounds during perimenopause, which can last for several years, is, unfortunately, more the rule than the exception, according to Epigee.org. You are going to have to work hard during this period of your life to control your weight. Testosterone levels may rise at this time which will make the weight settle in your mid-section, rather than in the lower half of your body where it may have been before.
Hormones, Metabolism, Appetite and Fat Storage
Remember that your hormones may well go haywire while you are transitioning into full menopause and this is going to have a significant impact on your body. Your hormones directly effect how you store fat, your metabolism and your appetite. You cannot eat as much as you once did because your metabolism is slower, according to the Mayo Clinic. If you do, you are going to gain weight.
Finding Sources of Estrogen
When your ovaries stop producing estrogen your body looks for another source and finds it in fat cells, which can produce estrogen, according to 34-menopause-symptoms.com. Your body is going to work diligently to convert calories into fat so that the estrogen levels are increased. Fat cells don’t burn calories as quickly or effectively as muscle cells do. If you end up with more fat cells than muscles you are going to gain weight. Remember to keep active.