The majority of women find that weight gain and menopause seem to happen at around the same time. It is during this hormonal period that weight gain occurs, possibly due to changes in lifestyle. However, it is different in that we put the weight on around the stomach instead of around the hips as happened when we were younger.
This can be explained because of lower levels of estrogen due to the cessation of menstruation and subsequent ovulation.
It may also be a result of a loss in muscle tissue. As we get older, our muscle bulk lessens and the metabolism slows down.
Lifestyle changes can also be partially responsible for this weight gain. If you are eating the same diet as when you were premenopausal, you may find the weight piling on due to the slowing of the metabolism. You need to watch your fat intake and increase, or at least maintain an adequate level of activity.
Many women believe that hormone replacement therapy or HRT as it is more commonly known, causes weight gain. This is a myth and, if you are prone to weight gain, you will put on weight regardless of whether or not you are on HRT.
Often, the bloating and water retention associated with menopause is mistaken as gained weight but this is normally only a temporary situation.
One positive aspect of HRT is that it can reduce the risk of heart conditions because it stops the changes in the storage of body fat. It also reduces cholesterol levels. It is quite normal as we get older to be more at risk of cardiovascular disease so anything that disperses the fat deposits from around the organs is a bonus.
Unfortunately, there have been studies that show an increased link to breast cancer in women who have hormone replacement therapy.
If you are concerned with weight gain during menopause, there are some steps you can take such as:
Eat a low-fat, high fibre diet Avoid too much sugar Keep up a regular exercise program Maintain muscle strength and mass Accept the changes to your body
there are a number of exercise programs which are suitable for people as they get older or for those with a medical problem such as arthritis. Activities such as water aerobics, tai chi, or some forms of yoga puts little stress on the joints while making great contributions to your overall health.
Of course, it is important to consult your doctor before embarking on any exercise program, particularly if you have been inactive for some time or have a medical condition. Your doctor can also give you advice on the symptoms of menopause and any subsequent weight gain.
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