Conquering Menopause Weight Gain with Grace and Grit

Ever notice that keeping off those extra pounds gets trickier as we age? Especially around the big M (menopause) time? Trust me, it’s a common struggle especially among women who are in the perimenopause and menopause phases. But with the right balance of activity and healthy eating, we can tackle this!

Why does this weight creep up during menopause? It’s a combination of things. Menopause messes with our hormones, making some of us gain weight around the belly. But it’s not just about hormones. Aging, our lifestyles, and even our genes play a part. As we age, our muscles shrink, fat goes up, and our calorie-burning rate (aka metabolism) drops. So, if you’re munching like you did in your 20s and chilling on the couch more, it makes sense the scale might tip. Also, if your family tends to have belly weight, you might too. And hey, if you’re skimping on sleep and not eating great, that doesn’t help either.

What’s the big deal about this weight? More weight, especially around the middle, can be bad news for our health. Think breathing issues, heart problems, Type 2 diabetes, and even some cancers.

How to dodge (or dump) this weight: No magic tricks here, just some old-school advice:

  • Move it! Getting your groove on – be it dancing, walking, or lifting weights – can help keep those pounds in check. Aim for around 150 to 200 minutes of brisk walking a week or some solid strength training a couple of times. Find something you enjoy, like gardening or yoga. More movement also means better sleep. Win-win!
  • Watch what you eat. As we hit our 50s, we generally need fewer calories. Go for more fruits, veggies, and whole grains. Think plant-based! Fewer steaks, more fish, and switch out butter for healthier oils. And keep an eye on those sugary treats and drinks; they add up!
Free Download: 4-Week Menopause Friendly Meal Plan
Free Download: 4-Week Menopause Friendly Meal Plan
  • Ease up on the booze. Alcohol might hinder the body’s fat-burning abilities. On top of that, booze is sneakily full of calories and can sometimes leave us hungrier, tricking us into thinking we haven’t eaten enough. And let’s be real, who hasn’t craved some salty or fatty snacks after a couple of drinks? Just something to think about.
  • Get a cheer squad. Have friends and family on board with your health goals. Or better yet, team up and make these changes together.

You’ve got this! Adjusting some habits can make all the difference.

3 Proven Strategies to Beat the Menopause Belly Bulge

Menopause often comes with a few unwelcome changes. One of the most noticeable shifts is the way our bodies handle weight, especially around the midsection. If you’ve been nodding along, thinking about that stubborn belly fat that seemed to appear out of nowhere, this article is for you. Let’s dive into the science behind menopause belly fat and explore some effective strategies to keep it at bay.

Why Does Menopause Affect Weight?

  1. Hormonal Rollercoaster: Menopause isn’t just about hot flashes and mood swings. It brings about significant hormonal changes that directly influence how our bodies store fat and utilize calories.
  2. The Estrogen Effect: As estrogen levels take a nosedive during menopause, our bodies become less sensitive to insulin. This makes it easier for us to gain weight.
  3. Androgen Appetite: A spike in androgen levels can amplify our hunger pangs and make us reach out for those comforting, calorie-laden snacks more often.
  4. Changing Body Dynamics: As we age, there’s a natural decline in our physical activity levels and muscle mass. This means our bodies need fewer calories. But if our eating habits remain unchanged, weight gain is inevitable.
  5. Sneaky Fat Redistribution: Even if you’ve managed to maintain your weight, you might notice a shift in where your body stores fat. Thanks to menopause, there’s a higher likelihood of it settling around your belly.

Three Proven Strategies to Beat the Menopause Belly Bulge

1. Intermittent Fasting

Think of this as giving your digestive system a break. By reducing your eating hours, you can effectively combat belly fat.

But how effective and healthy is intermittent fasting for shedding pounds?

Popular Intermittent Fasting Methods:

  1. Alternate-day fasting: Consume a balanced diet one day, then either fast or consume a small meal (typically under 500 calories) the next.
  2. 5-2 fasting: Eat regularly for five days and fast for the remaining two days of the week.
  3. Daily time-restricted fasting: Limit eating to an eight-hour window daily. For instance, one might eat between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m., skipping breakfast.

Potential Benefits: Recent studies indicate that intermittent fasting might offer some short-term advantages. It can induce ketosis, where the body, lacking glucose, burns stored fat, producing ketones. This process, combined with reduced calorie intake, can result in weight loss. Research indicates that alternate-day fasting can be as effective as traditional low-calorie diets.

Additionally, fasting can influence metabolic activities, potentially reducing inflammation and enhancing blood sugar control. Some studies suggest it might benefit conditions linked to inflammation, such as arthritis and asthma.

However, the long-term effects of intermittent fasting remain largely unexplored, making its enduring health impacts uncertain.

Possible Side Effects: Intermittent fasting isn’t without its drawbacks. Common side effects include hunger, fatigue, sleep disturbances, mood swings, difficulty concentrating, nausea, constipation, and headaches. Fortunately, these usually subside within a month.

For some, intermittent fasting is more manageable than daily calorie counting. However, those with fluctuating schedules might find it challenging to maintain.

Is It Suitable for Everyone? Intermittent fasting isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. It’s not advised for individuals under 18, those with a history of eating disorders, or pregnant or breastfeeding women. Athletes might struggle to meet their energy needs, and those with medical conditions should consult their healthcare providers before starting.

Remember, the essence of weight loss, even with intermittent fasting, is to consume fewer calories than you burn. Overeating during non-fasting windows can counteract benefits.

While practicing intermittent fasting, it’s crucial to ensure a nutrient-rich diet, emphasizing fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and lean proteins.

Extreme versions of fasting, such as dry fasting (which excludes both food and fluids), can be hazardous, leading to severe dehydration. Prolonged severe calorie restriction, like consistently consuming fewer than 1,200 calories daily, can also result in malnutrition.

2. Carb Consciousness

With reduced insulin sensitivity during menopause, it’s crucial to watch our carb intake. Foods that cause a rapid spike in insulin, especially refined carbs, are the usual culprits. Instead of reaching for that pasta or bread during dinner, why not try some grilled fish with a side of fresh, non-starchy veggies? Aim to keep your daily carb intake under 100 grams.

Understanding Insulin Sensitivity During Menopause: Insulin is a hormone responsible for regulating blood sugar levels. When we consume carbohydrates, they are broken down into glucose, which enters the bloodstream. In response, the pancreas releases insulin to help cells absorb this glucose for energy. Insulin sensitivity refers to how responsive our cells are to insulin. High sensitivity means cells readily take in glucose, while reduced sensitivity (or insulin resistance) means cells don’t respond as efficiently, leading to higher blood sugar levels.

During menopause, the drop in estrogen levels can diminish insulin sensitivity. This means that the body might require more insulin to process the same amount of glucose, increasing the risk of weight gain and type 2 diabetes.

The Role of Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates are a primary source of energy. However, not all carbs are created equal. Refined carbohydrates, found in foods like white bread, pasta, and sugary snacks, are quickly digested and absorbed, causing a swift rise in blood sugar. This rapid spike demands a substantial insulin release. Over time, consistently high insulin levels can further reduce insulin sensitivity.

Making Informed Dietary Choices: Given the reduced insulin sensitivity during menopause, it’s essential to be mindful of carbohydrate intake. Instead of foods that cause a quick sugar rush, it’s beneficial to opt for those that provide a steady energy release.

For instance, while pasta and bread, especially if white and refined, can lead to a rapid blood sugar spike, alternatives like grilled fish offer protein that satiates without drastically affecting blood sugar. Pairing such proteins with non-starchy vegetables, like broccoli, spinach, or zucchini, ensures you get essential nutrients and fiber, which further aids in stabilizing blood sugar levels.

Setting a daily goal, like keeping carbohydrate intake under 100 grams, can be a helpful guideline. This doesn’t mean avoiding carbs entirely but choosing quality sources and being aware of portion sizes.

By understanding the relationship between menopause, insulin sensitivity, and carbohydrates, women can make dietary decisions that support their metabolic health and overall well-being.

3. Discover Your ‘Why’

The Essence of True Motivation

Weight loss isn’t just about looking good. It’s about feeling good, both physically and mentally. To stay motivated, list down at least 10 reasons why you want to shed those extra pounds. Go beyond the usual reasons. Maybe you want to rock that dress you bought years ago, or perhaps you’re looking forward to playing with your grandkids without getting winded. Find your personal motivation.

Beyond the Surface

  1. More Than Just Looks: While the allure of fitting into a smaller size or looking good for a special event can be enticing, these motivations might not sustain you in the long run. True, lasting motivation often stems from a desire for a better quality of life, enhanced self-confidence, and an overall sense of well-being. It’s about feeling good from the inside out, not just the reflection in the mirror.
  2. Emotional and Physical Wellness: The journey to weight loss isn’t just about shedding pounds; it’s about shedding doubts, fears, and limitations. It’s about embracing a healthier lifestyle that uplifts your spirit, boosts your confidence, and enhances your physical vitality.

Crafting Your Personal Motivation Blueprint

  1. The Power of a Personal Journal: Taking the time to introspect and jot down your reasons for wanting to lose weight can be a transformative exercise. This isn’t just a list; it’s a reflection of your deepest desires, hopes, and dreams. [Here’s 100 Motivations to Lose Weight — Feel free to download and use it as your guide]
  2. Aligning with Core Values: Your reasons should be in harmony with what you truly value in life. Maybe it’s about being able to actively participate in family activities, or perhaps it’s the dream of embarking on adventures that you’ve always put off due to physical constraints.
  3. Varied Motivations: Your motivations can range from simple joys to grand aspirations. It could be the wish to wear a beloved dress that’s been sitting in your closet, the ambition to conquer a challenging mountain trek, or the heartfelt desire to play endlessly with your grandchildren without feeling drained.
  4. Your Anchor in Stormy Seas: There will be days of doubt, days when you might want to give up. On such days, revisiting your list can reignite your passion and remind you of why you started this journey in the first place.

Understanding your ‘why’ is like setting the coordinates for your journey. It ensures that even if you stray off the path momentarily, you have a clear direction to guide you back. By aligning your weight loss goals with deeply personal motivations, you not only set yourself up for success but also embark on a journey of self-discovery and growth.

Unraveling the Link Between Menopause and Abdominal Weight Gain

The Pathogenesis of Body Composition Changes at Menopause

During menopause, there are a number of changes that occur in a woman’s body, including changes in hormone levels, body composition, and energy expenditure.

One of the most significant changes that occurs at menopause is a decline in estrogen levels. Estrogen is a hormone that plays a number of important roles in the body, including regulating metabolism and fat storage. When estrogen levels decline, it can lead to changes in body composition, including a decrease in fat-free mass (muscle and bone tissue) and an increase in fat mass.

Another change that occurs at menopause is an increase in follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) levels. FSH is a hormone that helps to regulate the production of eggs in the ovaries. When estrogen levels decline, FSH levels rise. This can also lead to changes in metabolism and fat storage, which can contribute to weight gain.

In addition to changes in hormone levels, menopause can also lead to changes in energy expenditure and spontaneous activity. Energy expenditure is the amount of energy that the body uses to maintain its basic functions. Spontaneous activity is the amount of activity that is done without any conscious effort, such as fidgeting or walking around. Both energy expenditure and spontaneous activity tend to decrease after menopause, which can contribute to weight gain.

A study published by Journal of Mid-life Health1 suggests that women gain an average of 1-2 pounds per year after menopause. Other studies have found that women gain as much as 10-15 pounds during this time. Below are some of the highlights from the study:

What Causes Menopause-Related Weight Gain?

There are a number of factors that can contribute to menopause-related weight gain. One factor is the decline in estrogen levels. Estrogen is a hormone that helps to regulate metabolism and fat storage. When estrogen levels decline, it can lead to changes in body composition, including a decrease in fat-free mass (muscle and bone tissue) and an increase in fat mass.

Another factor that can contribute to menopause-related weight gain is the increase in follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) levels. FSH is a hormone that helps to regulate the production of eggs in the ovaries. When estrogen levels decline, FSH levels rise. This can lead to changes in metabolism and fat storage, which can contribute to weight gain.

How Can I Prevent Menopause-Related Weight Gain?

There are a number of things that you can do to prevent menopause-related weight gain. These include:

  • Eating a healthy diet: Eating a healthy diet that is low in calories and fat can help you to maintain a healthy weight.
  • Exercising regularly: Exercise can help you to burn calories and build muscle, both of which can help you to lose weight and keep it off.
  • Getting enough sleep: Getting enough sleep can help to regulate your metabolism and reduce your risk of weight gain.
  • Managing stress: Stress can lead to unhealthy eating habits and weight gain. Finding healthy ways to manage stress can help you to avoid weight gain.

If you are concerned about menopause-related weight gain, talk to your doctor. They can help you to develop a personalized plan to help you lose weight and keep it off.

What Else Should I Know?

In addition to the factors mentioned above, there are a few other things that you should know about menopause-related weight gain.

  • Weight gain is more likely to occur in women who have a family history of obesity.
  • Weight gain is also more likely to occur in women who are sedentary and who have unhealthy eating habits.
  • Weight gain can be more difficult to lose after menopause, so it is important to start making healthy lifestyle changes early.

Here’s something to think about: women going through menopause who are overweight tend to have a tougher time with symptoms. Losing weight can boost their mood, self-worth, and overall well-being. And when it comes to intimacy, some studies suggest that obesity can affect satisfaction and function. It’s also worth noting that how we feel about our bodies can deeply impact our mental health. If you are concerned about menopause-related weight gain, talk to your doctor. They can help you to develop a personalized plan to help you lose weight and keep it off.


1 Fenton, Anna. Weight, Shape, and Body Composition Changes at Menopause. Journal of Mid-life Health 12(3):p 187-192, Jul–Sep 2021. | DOI: 10.4103/jmh.jmh_123_21

Maintaining Your Weight During Menopause: It’s Easier Than You Think

If you are here, you or somebody close to you might be cruising into that fantastic stage of life called menopause, right? While this new phase brings plenty of changes, from fluctuating hormones to shifting moods, one thing you might have noticed creeping up is your weight. But don’t worry, maintaining a healthy weight during menopause is not as daunting as it may seem. In fact, it’s easier than you think. So, sit back, relax, and let’s discuss how you can sail smoothly through menopause while keeping your weight in check.

The relationship between menopause and weight gain is often misunderstood. While hormonal changes do play a role, it’s not the entire story. Factors like aging, lifestyle, and genetics also contribute. But no matter the cause, it’s essential to understand that this is a normal part of life’s journey and not an insurmountable hurdle.

So, how do we keep the scales balanced during this time of change? Here’s the good news – it’s not rocket science! Let’s break down some key strategies:

1. Mindful Eating: It’s all about quality, not just quantity. Make a conscious effort to eat balanced meals rich in lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Try to limit processed foods, added sugars, and high sodium foods. Also, pay attention to portion sizes. Eating slowly and savoring your food can help prevent overeating.

2. Regular Exercise: Physical activity is a big win-win here. Not only does it help burn calories and maintain a healthy weight, but it also boosts your mood and helps manage some menopause symptoms. You don’t need to run marathons – walking, dancing, swimming, or any activity that gets your heart rate up will do. Also, add strength training to your routine to maintain muscle mass and increase metabolism.

3. Adequate Sleep: Hormonal changes during menopause can disturb your sleep. But, poor sleep can also affect your metabolism and lead to weight gain. Try to create a restful sleeping environment, maintain a regular sleep schedule, and avoid caffeine or alcohol before bed to ensure a good night’s sleep.

4. Stress Management: Chronic stress can lead to overeating and weight gain. Finding healthy ways to cope with stress is vital. This could be yoga, meditation, reading, or any hobby that helps you relax and unwind.

5. Regular Check-ups: Last but not least, regular medical check-ups will help keep track of any health changes during menopause, including weight fluctuations.

Embrace these strategies as part of your lifestyle, not just temporary fixes. Remember, the goal is not perfection but progress. Any positive change, no matter how small, is a step in the right direction.

Menopause is a time of transition, yes, but it’s also an opportunity for growth and reinvention. The weight changes that come with it can be managed with a positive mindset and a few lifestyle adjustments. Be patient with yourself; every woman experiences menopause differently. And most importantly, remember to love and accept yourself at every stage of life.

Thanks for stopping by today, ladies. I hope this blog post has shed some light on maintaining a healthy weight during menopause and perhaps even dispelled some of those menopause myths. Let’s age gracefully, confidently, and healthily. Here’s to you and your next chapter in life – you’ve got this!

Until next time, stay fabulous!