As women age, they may gain weight, especially during perimenopause and postmenopause. Perimenopause is the transitional period into menopause, in which a woman normally starts to experience menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, vaginal dryness, loss of libido, and weight gain.
Weight gain and perimenopause often go hand-in-hand but they don't have to. There are many ways to stay healthy and avoid undue weight gain.
Understanding Weight Loss and Perimenopause Symptoms
Most women enter perimenopause in their 40s and 50s. There are different theories about why this causes weight gain: some scientists believe a woman's metabolism is slowing down while others argue that this stage in a woman's life provokes hormonal imbalance, which in turn affects her weight.
Hormonal imbalance can be caused by low estrogen levels. Because estrogen is stored in fat, when you approach menopause, your body responds by holding on to fat cells in an effort to boost falling estrogen levels. It's much tougher to lose fat at this time, but weight loss and perimenopause can work together.
As estrogen imbalance is the most likely cause of weight gain during perimenopause, it's a good plan to consider natural hormone related methods when looking for solutions like phytoestrogens and hormone-regulating supplements.
Top Tips for Weight Loss and Perimenopause Symptoms Relief
It's important to work out if your weight gain is due to physical (hormonal imbalance) or psychological factors (e.g., stress). It may also be a combination of the two of them or other factors.
Once you have established this, you can work out the most effective method for weight loss. Start by:
Schedule rest into your daily routine. Taking time to relax can improve both physical and mental health.
Exercise regularly at least 5 hours per week. Over time you may notice that your body weight stays the same. However, this is not because exercise is ineffective, but because you are stopping the progression of weight gain. If you hadn't exercised, you would have gained weight instead of staying the same.
Eat a more balanced diet. Add more fruit and vegetables to your meals and limit your intake of processed foods, sugar, and red meat.
Explore complementary therapies. Consider using an alternative remedy, such as herbal supplements, in conjunction with the above methods.
Find out more about the treatments for weight loss and perimenopause and how they can work for you.
- Hutchinson, Susan M.D. "The Stages of a Woman's Life: Menstruation, Pregnancy, Nursing, Perimenopause, Menopause". November 2007.
- Love, Susan M.D. Menopause and Hormone Book. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2003.
- BMJ Group. "Menopause: What is it?" Patient Leaflet. 2007