If you’re wondering how to lose weight during menopause, the first thing to know is that it is possible. We’ll take you through the details.
If you’re wondering how to lose weight during menopause, you are far from alone.
Yep, it can definitely be more of a challenge than before.
But there are ways.
And whether or not you shed all the pounds you’d like to, these strategies are great for your overall health and wellbeing.
And before we start, it’s also worth noting that weight is not the only indicator of health.
But if you would like to lose weight (it’s entirely your choice), it’s advised to speak with your doctor beforehand.
In this article: 📝
- Why is it hard to lose weight during menopause?
- How do you get rid of menopause belly fat?
- What can I take to help me lose weight during menopause?
- Does menopause weight go away?
Why is it hard to lose weight during menopause?
Menopause is defined as twelve months after your period ends.
The time leading up to this moment is called perimenopause (literally meaning around menopause) and can come with some uncomfortable symptoms, like hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and hair thinning.
You may also find that your body changes shape.
When you go through menopause, your estrogen levels drop significantly.
And while weight gain is not necessarily a direct result of a drop in estrogen, this change does have an impact.
Before this chapter of your life, you may have found that you gained weight around your hips, thighs, and butt.
Suddenly, it’s around your middle. (Basically, it’s a shift from pear to apple.)
And it’s likely here that it’s that drop in estrogen that’s at work.
Unfortunately, the kind of weight gain that happens at this time of life (aka menopause belly) can be bad for our health, increasing the risk of heart disease and cancer.
Added to this, as this study shows, when we reach about 60 years of age, our metabolism slows, and it’s harder to expend energy.
That means it’s more difficult to lose weight and keep it off.
Other factors that make weight loss more tricky during menopause?
It may be harder to get a good night’s sleep, making it more difficult to lose weight.
Sleep affects everything from our appetite to our metabolic function.
Without decent zzzs, it may be that much tougher to drop pounds.
Added to this, we may not move as much as we age.
From health conditions to fears that we might injure ourselves to simply being unable to fit a routine into busy schedules, it’s not always easy to get the exercise we need.
While losing weight may be a little more challenging right now, it’s certainly not impossible.
We’ll take you through the details.
How do you get rid of menopause belly fat?
Unfortunately, there’s no miracle cure here.
When it comes to weight loss in menopause — particularly if you’re targeting gains around your middle — it’s about embracing the age-old tactics of diet, exercise, and getting enough sleep.
Exercise has all sorts of benefits for us as we age.
It decreases the risk of several health conditions, including diabetes, stroke, and some cancers.
It’s also great for mental health and may even help stave off dementia.
Plus, it can contribute to healthy weight loss.
The CDC recommends we get at least 150 minutes of exercise a week.
This could be divided up into 30 minutes, five days a week, for example.
They also say to do muscle strengthening exercises on at least two of those days and incorporate activities to improve balance about three days a week.
And if you want to lose weight, it’s best to increase the amount of exercise from this standard recommendation.
The first step is to opt for exercise you actually enjoy — much easier to stick with it that way.
And it’s a good idea to include a variety of different types of exercise, like:
Swimming, walking, biking — do what you love.
Start slow and build up to 150+ minutes a week.
While cardio is good for energy expenditure, it has added benefits too.
As this study showed, it may help stave off bone density loss, something that becomes more prevalent as we age.
And that goes for both low and high-impact exercise types.
And there’s good news if you like to don your dancing shoes.
Research shows that dancing may have anti-aging effects on your brain.
We lose muscle as we age, making it harder for us to burn fat.
Adding some sort of weight training can be a great help here.
If you enjoy hitting the gym, the weight machines are your friend.
Or you can do it from the comfort of your home with exercises like push-ups and squats, or by incorporating your own set of dumbbells.
Including yoga and pilates in your routine has all sorts of benefits.
From helping to reduce stress to preventing falls, balance training can be an important part of your weight loss efforts.
And this study showed that hatha yoga practice may even help alleviate some menopause symptoms. Win-win.
And one simple switch-up? Stand more than you sit.
This study showed that a sedentary lifestyle has a direct link with abdominal fat.
Don’t push yourself too hard. And meet yourself where you’re at.
Our bodies all have different needs.
If you have osteoporosis, for example, it’s important to avoid any strenuous activities where there’s a risk of falling and injuring yourself.
Rule number one — try to avoid fad diets that are very restrictive.
They’re hard to maintain and may mean you don’t get the nutrition you need at this time.
Rather, eat a balanced, nutritious diet.
Studies have shown that the Mediterranean diet can be a helpful one to follow.
Think lots of fruits and veg, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes — all topped off with a healthy dose of olive oil.
And low-carb diets have also shown to be beneficial when it comes to reducing belly fat.
Whichever diet you choose, it’s a good idea to limit salt, sugar, and processed foods as much as possible.
Also, moderating your alcohol intake can help reduce the amount of empty calories you consume.
(Plus, it’s harder to make good food choices when you’re under the influence.)
The ideal is to aim for about seven or eight hours of uninterrupted sleep a night.
But we know, this can feel like a pipe dream during the menopause transition.
Between night sweats and conditions like sleep disorders that become more prevalent as we age, quality sleep is just not always possible.
Regular exercise and practicing good sleep hygiene by sleeping in a dark, cool space away from your devices can help.
But if you’re struggling, talk to your healthcare provider about medication options.
What can I take to help me lose weight during menopause?
There’s some evidence that hormone therapy may help get rid of belly fat.
But it’s not the solution for everyone.
It increases the risk of various health conditions, including heart disease, blood clots, and breast cancer.
So it’s important to weigh up the risks with the potential benefits.
And it’s best to do that with your doctor.
Does menopause weight go away?
There’s no easy answer to whether any weight you gain around this time will hit the road.
But one thing is for sure — looking after ourselves as we age can lead to far greater quality of life, decreased risk of numerous health conditions, and possibly a more positive view of ourselves.
And part of caring for ourselves is finding support in each other.
This can be a challenging time, and we don’t have to do it alone.
We’re having the conversation.