You’re not imagining things if you feel like it’s suddenly harder to lose weight since you’ve entered menopause. Researchers report that estrogen helps control body fat before menopause, but women may lose the benefit of this natural weight maintenance as estrogen levels fall during menopause.
The problem is magnified by the fact that weight gain during menopause averages about five pounds for most women, with about 20% of women adding 10 pounds or more. Other symptoms of menopause, which include poor sleep habits, loss of muscle mass, and increased insulin resistance, also work to make weight gain likely during this time.
Even if you never struggled with maintaining your desired weight earlier in your life, it’s likely to happen during menopause. The menopause specialists at Ovation Wellness in Madison, Mississippi, have the experience and expertise necessary to help you understand why weight gain happens so easily during menopause. Our caring and professional staff specializes in helping women find the treatments and strategies necessary to lose weight while their bodies change.
Here are some weight-loss tips that our staff recommends to women seeking to lose weight during menopause.
Create a calorie deficit
Successful weight loss occurs when your body experiences a calorie deficit. This requires consuming fewer calories than you burn.
The easiest way to achieve a calorie deficit is to change your eating habits so you can cut calories from your diet. When this occurs, your body uses stored fat to burn the calories you are lacking, and weight loss results.
As you reach your 50s, your body likely requires about 200 fewer calories to maintain your current weight versus what you needed 10 years earlier. Modifying your diet by adding more lean proteins, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables is a good start, but you may need a more structured eating plan to achieve your goal.
Medical weight management or nutrition counseling can provide the education and guidance you need to achieve your weight-loss goals despite the challenges of menopause.
Maintain an exercise program
While exercise is also important to weight loss, it typically accounts for only 3% of weight loss when used alone. However, when exercise is maintained with caloric restrictions, the combination can result in as much as 15% weight loss.
A combination of aerobic exercise and resistance training may deliver the best results for women seeking weight loss during menopause. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most healthy women should have a weekly goal of 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity, along with two days of muscle-strengthening activity.
Get adequate sleep
Common menopause symptoms such as night sweats and hot flashes can interfere with getting enough sleep. Living without adequate sleep can interfere with achieving and maintaining your goal weight.
Research indicates that too little sleep can result in having too much ghrelin, also called the “hunger hormone,” and too little leptin, also called the “fullness hormone,” leaving you susceptible to weight gain.
Being sleep-deprived can also make you crave more calorie-dense foods. Your body desires these foods, which are typically high in carbohydrates, to provide energy for your sleep-deprived body and brain.
Living with menopause can contribute to additional stress as you deal with the physical and emotional changes of declining hormone levels.
Stress can contribute to elevated cortisol levels, which are linked to increased abdominal fat. Reducing stress through practices such as yoga can reduce stress and improve the quality of life in menopausal women.
Consider bioidentical replacement hormone therapy (BHRT)
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) uses man-made compounds that contain natural plant estrogens. These hormones are called “bioidentical” because they have the same clinical structures as the natural hormones that exist in your body.
Bioidentical hormones can be administered via pellets, creams, gels, injections, patches, or lozenges. Our staff specializes in the use of bioidentical hormone pellets.
Bioidentical hormone pellets release a steady flow of low levels of bioidentical hormones into your bloodstream over several months. These pellets, which are the size of a grain of rice, deliver the hormones gradually to ensure that levels stay balanced, the same way they would be with natural hormones, helping you achieve the weight-loss benefits that these hormones can supply.
Find out more about ways to lose weight during menopause. Call or message Ovation Wellness today to schedule a medical consultation.