How to help prevent weight gain during menopause
If you’ve noticed weight gain during menopause, rest assured that you’re not alone. Changes in your body shape is quite common during this stage of life, and is usually down to hormonal fluctuations and the way your body metabolises fats and sugars – but there are other factors at play too. Some find that changes in their weight begin during perimenopause, the transition to menopause, often starting in your early 40s. But many women experience weight gain during or after menopause - it’s a double menopausal whammy.
Menopause is a natural and healthy transition. It occurs when a woman hasn’t had a period for 12 consecutive months.
Why does weight gain occur over menopause
In order to effectively manage those menopausal symptoms and to grasp why (oh why) it is so much easier to put on pounds during this stage of life, it helps to understand the reasons why women are more prone to weight gain during menopause.
Declining levels of oestrogen
Hormonal changes are one of the reasons why you may gain weight during perimenopause and straight through menopause. During this stage, the ovaries gradually stop producing as much oestrogen, and so levels begin to decline. As oestrogen plays a role in storing fat, declining levels of oestrogen are associated with an increase in abdominal fat aka “belly fat”.
Your metabolism slows down
Reduced oestrogen levels may also reduce your metabolic rate, the rate at which the body converts stored energy into working energy. This process typically results in lower utilization of calories, leading to increased body weight.
Decreasing muscle mass
As we age our muscle mass decreases, which can slow the rate at which the body burns calories. These shifts can contribute to changes in body composition and fat distribution, increasing the appearance of any weight gain.
Nutritionist approved tips to prevent weight gain
While trying to lose weight may feel like an uphill battle, the good news is that there are simple tweaks that you can make to help minimise the effects of menopause.
Opt for plant-based foods
Following a diet that is whole-food focused shows promising results for weight loss. The key to avoiding weight gain during menopause is to eat a diet low in processed foods and rich in whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts and whole grains. It’s time to ditch those fad diets that focus on temporary gains, and instead embrace fresh plant-based foods to support your weight and health during menopause and beyond.
Get more fibre in your diet
Consuming whole foods will naturally help amp up the fibre in your diet. This is really important, because getting enough fibre in the diet helps with digestion, increases insulin sensitivity, reduces appetite and promotes weight loss.
You can also easily boost your fibre intake by including psyllium husk in your diet. Naturally occurring and plant-derived, psyllium husk is a rich source of soluble fibre, making it perfect for those looking to add some extra fibre to their diet.
Our Psyllium Husk Fibre is 100% pure, high grade powder that is derived from the seeds of Plantago Ovata plant and is encapsulated in an easy-to-swallow capsule format.
Get plenty of quality sleep
A range of studies suggests that menopause is linked to sleep disturbances. This is mainly down to falling oestrogen levels and an increase in follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), contributing to difficulties falling asleep. Poor sleeping patterns can leave you craving sugary and fatty foods, as well as increase your hunger hormones, which can collectively contribute to weight gain.
Sleep deprivation is also associated with increased levels of inflammation, which also impairs how effectively the body uses glucose. This can lead to high blood sugar levels, insulin resistance, and ultimately weight gain.
If you’re struggling to get enough quality sleep, try to develop a nighttime routine and sleep schedule. Also, paying attention to stress levels and managing it effectively will help you wind down at night. You could also try our Natural Night Complex to help you get some restful sleep. The formula is designed to help you fall asleep easier thanks to a blissful blend of all-natural sleep aids including Magnesium, Chamomile, L-theanine, 5-HTP and Lemon Balm to help you relax and drift off to deeper restorative sleep.
Our Natural Night Complex has been formulated with carefully selected botanicals and minerals such as calming Lemon Balm and Chamomile; 5HTP and L-Theanine; and Magnesium, Vitamin B12 and Biotin. You can get this unique blend of soothing ingredients per daily dose (1 capsule).
Riya Lakhani ANutr is a registered nutritionist and health writer with a special interest in plant-based nutrition. She has completed a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Human Nutrition, and has developed a passion for writing about all things plant-based.