How to Lose Weight After Menopause

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You may think it's impossible to lose weight after menopause. You may also feel like weight gain is unavoidable in middle age. Research, however, shows it is possible to change your weight at any age. It's an important step to take, too, if you're overweight and want to improve your health.

This article discusses weight gain and weight loss during and after menopause. It also offers some tips on how you can manage your postmenopausal weight with diet and exercise.

What Causes Post-Menopausal Gain?

Researchers don't know exactly why some women gain weight in midlife. Studies have shed some light on factors that may have an impact, though.

Research has found that the hormonal changes that occur during menopause are associated with an increase in body fat. Many experts also believe midlife weight gain is related to lifestyle. Menopausal females are more prone to mood and sleep disorders, which can make them less likely to engage in exercise and healthy eating habits. Getting older can also lead to a decrease in muscle mass, which can result in a slower metabolism.

Prevent Post-Menopausal Gain

You may be able to prevent weight gain before menopause and beyond. Staying active is one of the best ways to keep the extra pounds off. A 2013 study, for example, found that women ages 50 to 59 who engaged in high levels of aerobic activity gained less fat. 

Aerobic activities are those that require increased oxygen. Also known as cardiovascular or cardio exercises, these include things like:

  • Biking
  • Jogging or running
  • Rowing
  • Swimming

Resistance training has also been shown to be beneficial after menopause. Weight training and exercises that include resistance bands can help speed up your metabolism and build muscle mass.

If you only have enough time during the day to do a brief workout, a brisk walk followed by a few weight-bearing strength exercises will help you maintain your figure.

Adopt Healthy Eating Habits

Healthier eating habits are important for weight loss, especially when you reach menopause. The Mediterranean diet is associated with reduced body weight and waist circumference in postmenopausal women. Though more research is needed to confirm this association, adopting a Mediterranean style of eating could help you keep weight off as you get older.

It is also a good idea to keep track of how many calories you're eating each day. Health and fitness apps make this easier. You can learn how many calories you need with the weight loss calorie goal calculator below.

Make a Plan to Stay Active

Many people exercise less as they get older. The reasons why vary. Some people just feel that they have less energy. Others may have gotten used to a sedentary routine. Chronic conditions like arthritis can also play a role.

Regardless, the priority shift can have consequences. People who gain weight in middle age have higher rates of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and cancer.

Your plan to lose weight after menopause should include a program to stay active. You may want to invest in a fitness tracker or activity monitor to make sure you're moving enough each day.

Getting More Exercise

Consider joining a gym or forming an exercise group with friends or coworkers. If you're retired, you can start an exercise program at home.

People who are very physically active before menopause are usually the most physically active during and after menopause. So what does this mean for you?

It's a good reminder to make exercise a part of your life at every stage. Don't wait until you need to lose weight to start an exercise program. Do it now. Get support from your family, involve your kids, and do what is necessary to stay fit and active. It will pay off in the long run.

Summary

People tend to gain weight during and after menopause. This may be a result of hormonal changes as well as diet and lifestyle.

You can prevent post-menopausal weight gain by staying active. Adopt a plant-based or Mediterranean diet and track your calories. And make sure to stay active beyond menopause, too.

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