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How to Lose Weight During the Menopause

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How to Lose Weight During the Menopause

All ‘women of a certain age’ go through the menopause, and in fact, it wasn’t long ago that the term ‘woman of a certain age’ was used to describe a women going through the menopause. As if it was some dirty secret that couldn’t possibly be discussed using its real name in public (or in many cases, in private).

Thankfully now (aside from a few that still use the term in a derogatory manner), the menopause, and the perimenopause, is seen for the perfectly natural part of being a woman that it is. The menopause is being normalised, and spoken about, in the media, on social media and on websites such as ours, much more now.

But unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that symptoms get any easier, although hopefully, talking about them does.

One of the symptoms of the menopause that many women experience, is finding it more difficult to maintain their weight. Whether we’ve always been slim or we’ve regularly chosen to watch our calorie intake, during and after the menopause, losing weight becomes harder.

This is because the loss of oestrogen that occurs during the perimenopause and the menopause often leads to increased fat storage and a decrease in muscle mass. According to our friend, the Menopause Doctor, Louise Newson and her colleague Sally Norton, doctor and weight loss consultant, the way we store fat changes too, as it tends to shift more towards our midriff rather than our hips. Hence we develop menopause midriff.

Some women also experience metabolic changes, meaning that they become insulin resistant – a condition that can cause blood sugar levels to rise leading to weight gain.

So what can we do to maximise our chances of losing the weight we want to, during and after the menopause?

Sally suggests watching what and how much we eat more carefully than we might have done previously. Smaller portions are better when we’re past our childbearing years, as we require less energy. We should also avoid sugary and processed foods, which increase our chances of gaining weight around our abdomen, more so than in our younger years.

Stress also plays a part, as it releases the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol encourages fat to accumulate around the abdomen, so doing all we can to minimise stress and anxiety can help our mental wellbeing as well as our weight loss journey. Practicing yoga is a great way to switch off from the stresses and strains of life.

Exercising and keeping active also helps to increase our levels of lean muscle as well as brown fat, which both help to increase our metabolic rate in order to burn abdominal fat. So make sure you keep up with your OYG plan!

Finally, don’t be afraid of HRT. HRT is an effective way of managing the most uncomfortable and frustrating symptoms of the menopause, such as night sweats, hot flushes and mood swings. As a happy act of serendipity, it’s thought that taking HRT can also help to prevent an accumulation of abdominal fat!

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