Along with experiencing hot flashes, mood swings, and irregular periods, you may be putting on extra weight without making any significant changes in your lifestyle. You are not alone. Studies show that roughly 90% of women report an average weight gain of 12 to 15 pounds in their menopausal years.
Though moderate weight gain is perfectly natural, heavier women are at a higher risk for some health complications. The key to keeping balanced and healthy is to be informed and proactive.
Why Am I Gaining Weight?
There are several factors that come into play regarding menopausal weight gain, hormonal fluctuations are one of the primary causes. Also, increased consumption of calcium and a 5% decrease in metabolic rate every ten years may lead to weight gain. However, it can be helpful to ask yourself a few questions about your lifestyle in order to discover other possible causes.
- How do you deal with stress?
- Are you physically active?
- What kind of foods do you eat?
- How often do you drink and or smoke cigarettes?
If you struggle to deal with stress, are lacking physical activity in your life, have poor eating habits, or consume alcohol or tobacco frequently, you may be putting yourself at risk for future health problems.
What Risks Are Associated with Weight Gain?
Aside from negative body issues associated with weight gain, there are potentially serious health complications that may develop over time. The following list includes:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Breast cancer
- High cholesterol
- Kidney disease
- Sleep apnea
- High risk of type II diabetes
It's never too late to change your unhealthy habits, and starting to treat your body better. Continue reading to discover how to avoid weight gain, or click here for more information on risks and motivation.
How Can I Curb Weight Gain?
It's true that it's easier said than done, but there are simple steps that women can make in their lives, in order to fight weight gain, and increase overall health. Below you will find a list of easy tips to help you stay fit and healthy.
Sleep for eight hours
Getting enough sleep each night will give your body a chance to perform at its maximum capacity, and will leave you feeling alert and refreshed in the morning.
Eat breakfast every day
Beginning the day with one smart choice often leads to another. Not only that, but breakfast is the fuel that provides the energy your body requires to function correctly.
Maintain consistent eating patterns
Be realistic. Avoiding “bad food” altogether could lead to a late-night binge, so you can still indulge in your favorite treats every now and again, but focus on eating more healthy foods, like whole grains, lean protein, and fruits and vegetables.
Walk instead of driving
Incorporate activity into your whole day instead of just designated exercise time. Try taking the stairs instead of the elevator whenever possible, and if you have to drive somewhere, select a parking spot further away than usual, which will force you to walk a little.
Abstain from alcohol
Alcohol consumption has been linked to weight gain, so it should be avoided entirely, but if that's not realistic for you, try and minimize the frequency and quantity of your drinking.
- BMJ Group. "Menopause: What is is?" Patient Leaflet. 2007.
- Hutchinson, Susan, M.D. "The Stages of a Woman's Life: Menstruation, Pregnancy, Breast Feeding, Perimenopause, Menopause." November 2007.
- Love, Susan, M.D. Menopause and Hormone Book. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2003.