Despite their best efforts, on average women gain 10-15 lbs during the peri-menopausal/menopausal phase of life.

This is extremely frustrating and I am often asked…..

  • Is there a way to prevent this?
  • If it has already occurred, is there anything to do to get the weight off?

Every single woman will go through menopause.  Despite this fact, many women are not prepared, educated, or ready for is about to happen.  When menopause occurs there is a decline in the sex hormones, estradiol, progesterone, and testosterone.   This decline is sudden for some women, while others have years of pre-menopausal issues to navigate.   Either way, there are many bothersome symptoms to endure and one of the most aggravating, weight gain.

Time and time again, I hear women say, “I am eating very clean, never cheating, exercising more than ever, why can’t I lose this belly fat?”

Your sex hormones are very powerful and impact a lot of important processes in the body including how your body metabolizes and stores fat.   The female pattern of weight gain is affected by the amount of estrogen and progesterone in the body and the decline of these hormones during menopause may be largely responsible for the weight gain so many women experience.  Estrogen is also known to affect metabolism rate overall, appetite regulation, inflammation, prevent osteoporosis and the development of atherosclerosis and fatty liver, just to name a few.  Also, Testosterone is important for regulating body weight, muscle mass, and even energy, sex drive, and mood.

So, how to stop all this hormonal madness?

If you are reading this prior to menopause, prevention, prevention, prevention.

Try to be a healthy weight prior to menopause.  It is a lot easier to lose weight beforehand.   Eat healthy foods and exercise regularly.  I am not referring to a fad diet.    Eat a balanced, nutritious diet full of fruits and vegetables.   You can also have genetic testing done for weight loss to determine exactly what the best eating and exercise habits are for you.

But what about the women who are already in the throes of menopause?

As women enter menopause they tend to lose fat in places they want to keep it like breast and butt tissue and gain it in places they don’t, like belly tissue.   This redistribution of fat is primarily due to changes in estrogen.

Losing weight will be more difficulty but not impossible.

Consider doing the following…..

  • Balancing your hormones – Bio-identical hormone replacement (BHRT) restored to normal physiologic levels. This is safe and effective and at the right doses do not carry any negative side effects.
  • Short bursts of high intensity exercise if you tolerate it physically. This also helps increase muscle mass and prevent insulin resistance.
  • As already mentioned above, consume a healthy diet.
  • Supplement as needed. This is determined by lab workups designed to evaluate nutritional status.

We all know weight gain or the inability to lose weight is affected by multiple factors in addition to hormonal imbalance.  Addressing each one of these factors, however, is crucial for optimal health and living your best life as you age.

 

Brianne Dobson, PA-C, has extensive experience in Functional & Integrative Wellness, Primary Care, Women’s Health, Urgent Care, GI, Cosmetics and was named one of RealSelf’s Most Loved Injectors.