Menopausal weight gain (also known as middle age spread) is common from about age 40 and onwards. At this time you may find yourself putting on weight or find that it becomes difficult to prevent weight gain post menopause even though you are still eating the same amount of food.
Causes of menopausal weight gain
Menopausal weight gain doesn’t appear overnight. During the years leading up to menopause you may put on about a pound a year.There are several reasons for this :
- You tend to be less active as you get older.
- Your body needs less energy as you get older so you burn fewer calories.
- Over time your muscles become replaced with fat, which burns fewer calories than muscle.
- You tend to eat more.
- Your genes may play a role. If your parents had trouble with weight, especially with fat around the tummy, you may too.
- Hormonal changes may contribute.
How to avoid menopausal weight gain
The formula for losing weight and preventing weight gain is quite simply. If you take in more calories than you use up, the excess calories will be stored as fat. So to lose weight, you need to use up more calories than you eat.
Sounds a lot easier than it is!
So what do you do?
- Get moving. – Even if you eat the same amount of food but you increase the amount of exercise you get, you should lose weight. It is important to combine aerobic exercise with weight training for best results.
- Eat less. – There are 2 ways of looking at this. You can look at this in terms of the quantity of food that you eat or in terms of the number of calories in your food.
You should avoid ‘energy dense’ foods. These are foods that have lots of calories crammed into very small quantities of food. Things like ice cream, chocolates, soft drinks (sodas), fries e.t.c. fall into this category. A plate of veggies will definitely contain less calories than a bar of chocolate or a can of soda and will be more filling and chock full of vitamins and minerals.
On the other hand you could reduce the size of your portions which may leave you feeling hungry leading to snacking later on.
The most effective way to prevent menopausal weight gain is to combine changes in your diet with an increase in the amount of exercise you get.
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