Why Menopause Causes Weight Gain?

Erin Benjamin 

Menopause causes a lot of changes in a woman’s body. One of the biggest changes a woman may notice is weight gain. Many still wonder what causes the body to put on weight during this time. While every woman is different there are some common causes to weight gain during menopause.

Changes in Hormone

Menopause Causes Weight Gain

When you enter menopause the levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone drastically decrease. A decrease in these hormones can have an effect on the metabolic rate. Estrogen helps regulate the levels of insult in the body as well as cortisol. Progesterone also helps reduce the negative impact that cortisol can have on the body. High levels of insulin and cortisol can lead to weight gain. When these hormones are low for a long period of time fat is stored rather then burnt. The worst part is most of this fat is stored in the mid section leading to an increase in belly fat which is tough to lose.

Age Related Factors to Weight Gain During Menopause

There are some factors in aging that affect weight again. By the time the typical woman enters menopause she is in her 50s. At this age the average adult woman is not likely to be an active participant in an exercise program. Many older adults do not have the energy to exercise. This is especially true during menopause when energy levels are low. As a woman ages there is a natural reduction in muscles mass. This will decrease metabolism in addition to hormonal changes. With the natural changes in the body in addition with menopause symptom can seem trying. Even walking for 30 minutes a day can help reduce the amount of weight that is gained.

Genes Play a Large Role

If your mother or grandmother gained weight during menopause there is a good chance that you will too. This is based on your genes. If close family members put on extra weight around the abdomen as they aged there is a good chance this may happen to you as well. Be sure to speak to older family members to be prepared for these changes.

Menopause and Stress

Going through menopause is stressful enough without having to add on the stress of life events. Serotonin levels in the brain also decrease during this time. Serotonin is responsible for the feeling of happiness. As you age you may have grown children moving back home, experience the death of a spouse, or go through a divorce. There are also work related stressors in addition to the stress from hormones. Additional stress and low levels of fat burning hormones are the perfect combination for weight gain.

How to Reduce Weight Gain?

There are some things that you can do to limit or even prevent weight gain and menopause. Getting involved in regular exercise can reduce weight gain. There are many stress management techniques that should be used to keep you calm. The lower the stress levels the less the weight gain. There are certain changes in the diet that must be made as well such as reducing the amount of fat and calories that are consumed.

Reduction of Muscle Mass

Lean muscle mass helps the body burn off fat and uses up calories instead of storing them. Age as well as hormonal changes can decrease the amount of muscle mass in the body. With less muscle mass the body will not burn calories as quickly as it used to. This makes it harder to maintain a healthy weight and keep the extra pounds from building up. If you keep the same diet you will notice that you will begin to gain weight. The reduction is muscle mass begins around the same time that menopause does.

Weight gain is another unfortunate side effect of menopause. While there is nothing that a woman can do to stop this process there are some healthy choices that can be made to reduce weight gain. Exercising regularly even doing low impact workouts can reduce the amount of weight that is gain. A diet low in fat and simple carbohydrates will also help reduce weight gain. Menopause can be a trying time but these simple things will help you regain some control of your body.