Menopause weight gain – 7 reasons you’re piling on the pounds

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Menopause Advisor
@EileenDurward
Ask Eileen


23 April 2018

Today's topic

Hello, and welcome to my weekly video blog. And today on A.Vogel Talks Menopause, I'm going to be talking about seven things that can contribute to our weight gain in the menopause. And to be honest, this is one of these symptoms that is so distressing for just about everybody that it happens to.

One of these things in the menopause, our weight seems to creep up over the space of months and years. For the majority of women, just through the menopausal time which is roughly an average of five years for most women, we will put on between two and five pounds, if not more, and that can make quite a lot of difference to our general health, to our dress size which is very important for most of us, too.

Hormones & weight gain

So the main reasons for weight gain in the menopause, one is falling oestrogen
It causes so much disruption in the body that that in itself is one of the main contributory factors and also as we age, our metabolism tends to slow down naturally anyway, but there are a number of other things that we can maybe be in a little bit more control of that can help us to avoid so much weight gain in the menopause. 

7 other reasons which could be behind your weight gain

There are several other factors which can cause weight gain during menopause, these include:

1. Stress

Now, probably one of the main ones is stress, and let's face it, who's not stressed today? The menopause itself, just those changing hormones will put your nervous system into flight-or-fight and that can really cause havoc with your metabolism, with your appetite, and with your energy control, and energy output. 

We also know that the more stressed you are, the more magnesium that you need as well, and low magnesium could actually trigger cravings, too.

2. Becoming more sedentary

We also know that we tend to exercise less. We're busy, you know, most of us are really busy during the week.  

We've got jobs. We may still have family that we tend. Where do we fit our exercise into? And a lot more of us tend to have sedentary jobs these days.

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3. Fatigue

We've also got fatigue, you know, if you're tired day in, day out, the last thing on your list is, "Oh, I'm going to do half an hour of serious exercise." We also have loss of motivation.  

This can be a big factor for a lot of women and it's just the thought of having to do exercise, you're just thinking, "No, thank you, I really just want to sleep, or I want to do as little as possible."

4. Joint pain

We have joint pain in the menopause. This is one of the more common symptoms that we found with the majority of women experiencing joint pain at some point, and if you have got joint pain, again, you're not going to be able to exercise even if you feel like it.


The joint pain, it's going to be a real stumbling block for you getting out there and having regular exercise, too.

5. The wrong diet

It can be the wrong diet, you know, let's face it, again, we're busy. We don't always have time to prepare fresh foods. We tend to eat a very high-carb diet in this day and age, and high carbs, unfortunately, in the menopause, can be a factor for weight gain, too.

6. Poor sleep

And poor sleep, who of us don't have bad nights these days going through the menopause?  Falling oestrogen affects your sleep generally. If you're getting woken up with things like joint pain, with night sweats, with anxiety, then your sleep is going to be severely disrupted, and studies show, again and again, that poor sleep or not enough sleep can contribute to weight gain as well.

7. Cravings

We've also got cravings themselves, and we know that when we're stressed, we need more magnesium but as our oestrogen falls, then we can end up having problems with magnesium absorption, and we know that low magnesium can be a factor in cravings, too.  

We've also got the fact, if we've got the wrong diet, if we're eating too many carbs, our blood sugars are going to go up and down like a yo-yo, and that will make you crave sweet things, or things like caffeine which just sets the whole cycle all over again.

What you can do to help yourself manage your weight gain

So what do you do in this situation? There's a few things that you can look at, certainly de-stress if you can.  

De-stress

This is a really important one for all aspects of the menopause and again, for those of you that have been watching for a while, you know how much importance I put in that very important me time every day and to make sure that you get regular rest and relaxation generally. That can make a huge amount of difference to your cravings and to the sorts of food that you want to be eating as well, because let's face it, when we're stressed, we tend to comfort eat just because we feel so miserable, so if you can get rid of the stress, that's one whole aspect that we're much more able to control. 

Eat better

Look at your diet, see where you might be going wrong. Are you eating regularly? And, you know, unfortunately, when we put weight on in the menopause, one of the things we say is, right, we'll go on a low-carb diet, we'll go on a low-fat diet, and we'll exercise like mad. And all that's going to do is make you put more weight on, so it's really important to go for diets that are low-carbohydrate but are really nice and high in loads of lovely vegetables, fresh foods, and healthy fats as well, because they will keep your blood sugar stable and that will reduce your cravings as well, so sometimes doing one thing can cover quite a lot of issues in this particular situation.  

Sort out your cravings

If you're getting cravings, take some extra magnesium. If they're really severe, if you find that you're really craving chocolates a lot, then you can look at supplements such as chromium. We also have a lovely remedy, it's one of the flower essences called Craving Essence, if you find it's really hard to give up the chocolate biscuits in the afternoon. Look at what kind of exercise you're doing.  


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Stay active

If you are too tired and too fatigued to exercise, then just try and keep more active until your energy comes back. So maybe walk a few extra steps up the stairs, maybe not necessarily run, but try and go up the stairs a little bit quicker. If you go to work by bus, get off a couple of stops earlier. 

Just do a little bit more walking and a little bit more activity. If you're okay, then look at the high-intensity exercises because these are known now to work really well at weight control. They are known to work really quickly at getting your muscle mass up which is going to burn more calories, and it's going to help your metabolism, too.  

And it doesn't take long, you know, the studies now looking at fat, you only need to do really high-intensity exercise for four minutes, three times a week, and most of us could fit that into our daily life.

The other thing that happens is vary the exercises that you do. We get into a rut, if you go to the same exercise class every week, your body and your metabolism will get used to that and then instead of you really pushing our body and getting your metabolism working well, your body just goes into cruise mode, and you might end up burning less calories than what you think you do, so on a regular basis, do different types of exercises and that will keep your body on its toes as well.  

Keep hydrated

Other thing, remember the water, really important here because that will help to keep your body nicely flushed. If you have a little glass of water maybe half an hour before you eat, you may well find that that helps to suppress your appetite. One really important thing here, fizzy water can make you put on the weight.There have been studies done showing that drinking a lot of fizzy water increases your hunger hormone, so don't rely on fizzy water for hydration, and it won't hydrate you as much as plain water anyway, so just save it for a little treat now and again, or for special occasions.  

So hopefully these tips will help you. There's a huge amount of things that can happen with weight gain in the menopause and we're just sort of touching on it, and hopefully, at some other point in the future, we can look at some of the other issues that can cause weight gain as well.

So I will see you next week for another edition of A.Vogel Talks Menopause.

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Did you know?

You won’t get the menopause the minute you turn 50! The average starting age is actually between 45 and 55 and it can often depend on a number of factors including hereditary, weight and health, however every single woman will have an individual menopause.

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