If you’re going through menopause, you’ve probably noticed that a few extra pounds have attached themselves to your midriff recently and your body is slowly transforming from its hourglass or ‘pear’ shape to a more rounded ‘apple’.
You may not be very happy about this but you will be happy to know that you’re not alone: almost 90% of women gain some weight between the ages of 40 and 55.
This increase in weight may not be entirely your fault. Research shows that weight gain during menopause can be caused by shifts in your hormone levels and not necessarily by over-eating.
However, menopause is not completely to blame for those extra pounds. A sedentary lifestyle can also contribute to menopausal weight gain. As we become less active, our body starts to trade muscle for fat, resulting in a slower metabolism and weight gain.
The Good News Is – You Can Reverse Weight Gain
Even though you may expect to put on a bit of weight in your 40’s and 50’s, gaining excess weight during menopause is not inevitable. You can actually reverse weight gain by reducing your calorie intake and spending more time moving and less time sitting.
The fact is that when approaching menopausal age, women tend to exercise less. Of course, this can lead to weight gain, especially if you’re still eating like you did in your 20’s.
Additionally, muscle mass just naturally decreases the older you get. So, if you don’t do anything to ensure that you retain your muscle mass, then it will start to diminish and your body will begin to transform from firm to flabby, i.e. more fat, less muscle. The less muscle you have, the less efficiently your body will burn calories. Your metabolism starts to slow down, and the end result is weight gain.
So, now that you’ve learned that weight gain during menopause isn’t totally inevitable and can be controlled, how exactly do you go about doing that?
First of all, get up and get moving! You don’t have to squeeze yourself into lycra and join a gym to get the weight off. Exercising at home for as little as 20-30 minutes a day, three times a week can make all the difference in the world. Or you can get yourself a walking partner and go power walking, join a walking club or start one!
Remember that muscle burns fat, so the more muscle you have, the better your body will burn fat which makes it easier to control your weight. Don’t forget that strength training and weight-bearing exercise like walking are especially important for bone density – which is necessary in preventing osteoporosis.
Short & Easy Home Workouts
If you want to get rid of those excess pounds and you haven’t exercised since the Jane Fonda days of “going for the burn”, a great way to get you started is to try a few short and easy workouts that you can do at home.
There are a few extremely good, easy-to-follow video programs by professional fitness experts that you can purchase online to help you get the most out of your home workout.
You should choose a program with exercises that have been specially developed for women over 40 to get your body gradually accustomed to an increased level of activity. As you gain in fitness and flexibility you’ll be able to step up your fitness program with longer and more intense workouts.
Although there is no quick fix for menopausal weight gain, changing your eating habits by eating small meals 4 or 5 times a day – only nutritional food (no junk!) and increasing your activity levels with regular home workouts, will help you to speed up your metabolism, burn calories and avoid that dreaded middle age spread!