Most women gain weight as they age, especially during the years leading to menopause. This excess pound gained during and after menopause is not inevitable. You can prevent and reverse it by paying attention to healthy eating and exercising.
What cause menopause weight gain?
Hormonal changes in estrogen and progesterone, as women age cause weight gain to happen around abdomen area rather than hips and thighs. Estrogen level decreases cause the body to look for other sources of estrogen. Fat cells can produce estrogen and work harder to achieve this. Progesterone level decreases cause water retention, and the feeling of bloatedness.
2) Reduce activities
Muscle mass reduced with age and if you don’t replace lean muscle you lose, your body composition will shift to more percentage of body fat.
3) Reduce metabolic rate
If your mother and aunt carry extra weight around the abdomen, you are likely to do the same.
What is the problem with weight gain?
Most of the weight is gain from fat deposit in the abdominal area. Belly fat is made up of subcutaneous fat (fat underneath the skin) and visceral fat (fat around the organs). While subcutaneous fat poses cosmetics concern, visceral fat has serious health consequences.
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Type 2 diabetes
- Heart disease
- Cancers of colon and breast
How to prevent and reverse weight gain from menopause?
Eat a healthy diet. Reduce calories intake by 200-300 calories. Eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Avoid energy dense food by reducing saturated fat and processed food. Go for lean protein or plant-based protein such as soy protein.
Increase your activities level. Aerobic exercises such as walking, cycling, swimming are excellent in improving cardio fitness. Strength training helps to gain muscle and burns fat. Exercise at least 3 times a week for 30 – 60 minutes.
A research study from Duke Medical Center reported that non-exerciser have 9% gain in visceral fat. Exerciser doing 12 miles jogging a week have no added visceral fat while exerciser doing 20 miles a week lost both visceral and subcutaneous fat.
The University of Pennsylvania study over 2 years on overweight women age 24-44 and reported that those who did weight training 2 times a week reduce body fat by 4% compared to those who just exercise.
Don’t wait till you hit menopause and feel the bulge to do something. Prevent weight gain by adopting the above recommendations now.
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