With life, for women, comes menopause. Some women fear menopause because it’s a sure sign that she is entering her “declining years.”
Some women fear menopause because they believe weight gain always comes with it and there will be no escaping the pounds menopause brings.
Well, I guess there’s no denying the declining year point of view. It’s not true, however, that menopause causes weight gain.
Well, for a lot of reasons including that’s what menopausal women report happening to them. Many women do experience weight gain, but menopause isn’t the reason why. Aging is a reason because as we age we lose muscle mass. Muscle burns more calories at rest, so if muscle is lost, then metabolism slows. Becoming more sedentary is another reason.
We require fewer calories because of loss of muscle and reduced physical activity and rather than cut back on calories, we may continue to consume them at the former rate. We may even increase our calorie consumption. Whether it’s the former or the latter, the end result is too many calories getting consumed and too few being burned. That’s a formula for weight gain.
Menopause is a normal part of a woman’s life when period cease. During menopause a woman’s body slowly produces less of the female hormones estrogen and progesterone usually around the ages of 45 to 55. Menopause is when a woman hasn’t had a period for 12 consecutive months.
Menopause isn’t without its “symptoms” which include:
- Changes in menstruation. The times between periods and the flow itself can change
- Some women experience hot flashes that may be mildly to very uncomfortably becoming warm in the face, neck and chest. They may or may not experience sweating.
- Night sweats that may interfere sleep
- The vagina may become dry and thin, and sex may be painful.
- Osteoporosis which causes bone density loss and may lead to losing height and brittle bones that can break easily.
One “symptom” of menopause, however, is not weight gain. Lower estrogen levels change how body fat is stored on women’s bodies. The weight gain isn’t from menopause, but from the reasons above – too many calories going in and fewer getting burned.
The most disconcerting thing about menopause is that weight gain is woman notice weight gain around their bellies. That may be the first for many. That may be why a woman’s weight may not change but because where the body fat is now carried, a woman may feel and look fatter.
The lower female hormone levels allow fat to accumulate around the middle.
Younger women are more likely to carry any extra body fat in their hips and thighs. As women’s estrogen levels drop, their body shape may change from coke bottle or pear-shape to that of an apple on stick legs!
Lower estrogen levels and fat accumulating around internal organs put women at a higher risk of heart disease. Woman may want to lose weight to look better, but what really matters is weight control for lowered health risks. It’s important and completely possible and without buying any special pills or potions advertised on TV, in magazines or on the Internet!
Women are never too old to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
That includes women who have been overweight for all, or most, of their life. Although both men and women lose muscle mass as they age, both men and women can also build muscle mass at any age. It’s a matter of engaging in the appropriate resistance exercises.
Combining regular physical activity with a nutrient dense, balanced diet can prevent the weight gain that comes not with menopause, but comes with aging for both men and women!