Q: How can I avoid gaining weight after menopause?
A: Most women notice weight gain during the menopause transition because menopause can affect the hormones that regulate fat storage, among other things.
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As hormone levels change, we produce less estrogen, and these changes promote weight gain around the stomach.
But you can ward off excessive weight by being proactive before and during menopause, whether you enter it naturally or surgically.
Start by watching your diet. Reduce the fat and sugar you’re consuming. Stay away from processed foods. You want to re-learn and listen to your body’s true hunger signals, and make sure that you’re not eating out of habit or due to emotions (both positive and negative emotions can trigger false hunger signals).
Becoming diligent with exercise can help push past weight loss plateaus. However, keep in mind that you can’t exercise past a bad diet. Even competitive athletes, marathon runners, etc., gain weight if they don’t watch their diet. Keeping your eating healthy is the highest priority when the goal is weight loss.
In addition to cardiovascular exercises to burn fat, strength training with weights is also recommended, as well as yoga or Pilates — not only because they boost metabolism, but also because they keep the musculoskeletal frame strong as bone density decreases during menopause.
Continue to seeing doctor regularly to discuss any preventive measures you may need.
If you exercise regularly and choose a diet that significantly limits processed foods and controls portion sizes, your odds for minimizing weight gain at menopause are excellent.
— Internist Pelin Batur, MD.