During menopause, your hormones may be radically out of balance. This results in many changes in your body, especially weight gain. Menopausal women notice weight gain mainly around their waist and hips, and this excess weight may not respond to weight-loss solutions that worked in the past. This is because the cause of the weight gain is probably different from the cause of weight gain before menopause. If you know the cause of your menopausal weight gain, you can find a solution for it.
Hormone-Replacement Therapy and Weight Gain
During menopause, many women begin hormone-replacement therapy, or HRT. HRT helps to relieve menopausal symptoms, but can cause weight gain. This is because HRT works by increasing estrogen levels, which tend to drop during menopause; however, when estrogen is increased too much, it can cause fat and fluid retention.
If HRT is contributing to your weight gain, talk to your doctor. She can suggest ways to adjust your HRT. If your symptoms are relatively mild, you may elect to stop taking HRT altogether in order to help yourself lose the weight.
Diet and Exercise
Much like before menopause, for many women, the cause of menopausal weight gain is poor diet. As you age, your muscle mass gradually declines, slowing down your metabolism. This process happens to almost everyone, but there is a way to slow your muscle loss: After the onset of menopause, begin to exercise if you previously didn't; if you did, maintain or increase your exercise level.
Because your metabolism slows down during menopause, you will need to decrease the amount of calories you eat each day. Exercising will allow you to take in about the same, or slightly fewer, calories than you did before menopause. However, the bottom line is that a high-calorie diet during menopause will cause you to gain weight. Try to eat plenty of fiber and drink plenty of water. Doing this will curb your appetite and help you to consume fewer calories. Eating fewer calories and exercising will allow you to lose the weight you may have gained during menopause.
Sometimes the weight you gain during menopause is only loosely related to menopause itself. The stress alone that some women feel as a result of aging, life circumstances and fluctuating hormone levels can cause weight gain. One of the best things you can do to battle menopausal weight gain is to make sure you don't get overstressed. Get plenty of sleep, spend a day at the spa and learn coping mechanisms like deep breathing.
The dropping estrogen levels you experience during menopause may help to shed light on other conditions you may have already had before without knowing it. Conditions like insulin-resistance, adrenal fatigue and hypothyroidism can exist without symptoms, but when your estrogen levels drop, these conditions are more likely to cause you to gain weight. In fact, hypothyroidism is a fairly common condition that causes significant, sudden weight gain among menopausal women. If you experience sudden weight gain during menopause accompanied by extreme fatigue, or you just don't feel like yourself, you should see your doctor. A blood test can diagnose any of these conditions; treating these underlying conditions will help you to deal with the weight gain they caused.