Saturday, 17 February 2018

Can the Menopause make it harder to lose weight?

I turned fifty last year so I knew then that I was at the age when menopause is literally just around the corner. I hadn't really had any symptoms up to then but within a month of my birthday, out of the blue, I literally felt like menopause had jumped up and slapped me in the face. I've always had a problem with fluctuating hormones and have found herbal supplements have helped but this time my hormones went haywire and I found it stated to get harder to lose weight. I also found that if I lapsed with my diet or had to cut down on my workouts that I put on more weight than I expected. I felt awful, was bloated and constantly exhausted with no energy. I started reading about how the menopause can have an effect on your weight and ways to help combat it. I found out quite a few interesting things.

The most important impact of the menopause is that any weight gained will go to a different part of your body. Hormone changes make your weight move from your hips and thighs to your belly. This can cause the so called middle aged spread. The weight gain can be made worse by fluctuations in the levels of oestrogen in your body. Either very low or very high levels can mean an increase in the amount of fat that your body stores.

You will also find that your metabolism slows although this is also a part of general ageing so that diets that have worked in the past are not now as successful. As we age, our bodies generally need less calories so portion control becomes more important. This is one reason why an exercise routine alone will not be enough to prevent weight gain during menopause.

Menopause can be a stressful and worrying time especially if you are experiencing distressing symptoms such as hot flushes. Unfortunately this can also have a detrimental effect on your weight. When our bodies are under stress, this causes the production of cortisol to increase. A high level of cortisol can cause you to develop more fat stores around your belly. Stress can also cause comfort eating which is always a huge problem for me.

So the answer is that yes, going through perimenopause and menopause can have an impact on your body both in terms of your weight and also how you store fat and the shape of your body. This was interesting to find out as it partly explains why, when I fell off my diet last year, I was able to put weight back on so easily and so quickly. The extra weight also definitely all went on my belly.

I've been trying a few different things to help myself adjust to this new stage in my life and I will write a post soon to share some of them with you and explain what has worked for me and what hasn't.

Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx


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