The hormonal changes in menopause can mean that our body experiences a shift in weight. It’s not inevitable, yet if you do notice your shape changing, especially around your waist and abdomen, it might be an idea to make a few subtle lifestyle changes. This will help you to feel your best, as well as manage the passage through menopause with ease.
Why do we gain weight during the menopause?
Going through this season of change may feel highly unpredictable and discomforting, and we can feel highly stressed, especially as we adjust to irregular sleep patterns and hormone levels. When we don’t ‘let go’ or ‘come down’ from stressful feelings, we tend to produce a lot more of the cortisol hormone, which can lead to storing excess weight, especially around our mid section.
What can I do about weight gain during the menopause?
Natural ageing sees a vast drop in oestrogen, which has the effect of declining muscular strength and a redistribution of body fat. This can be anywhere from the hips and thighs, to the chest and abdomen, especially if we’re not so physically active. Your body might call for extra support through food nourishment, but we may struggle to understand exactly what it needs. You might find yourself comfort eating on snacks or low-quality, processed foods.
Is your weight gain getting you down?
It’s important to recognise the impact of weight gain past the physical aspects. Too often we will suppress our anxiety and depression with food, but even though filling our tummy can feel so good, it’s quickly followed with a feeling of self-defeat. Physical weight gain during menopause can drain our emotional as well as physical energy and make our confidence weaker. Insecurity can build because we don't feel confident in our own skin. Joints may hurt, trying on clothes can feel painful and mirrors can feel like the enemy, and we might question what others will feel or think about our body changes during menopause.
What can help with weight gain?
If you’ve already gained body weight, experienced a redistribution of weight or are afraid that either may happen to you, it’s so important to take the time to really care and nurture your body. Feed it the proper nutrients it needs and most importantly, respect and appreciate it through your menopausal journey. Remember, outside changes aren't always as important as valuing the normal, natural and necessary changes happening within.
Popular remedies for weight gain:
- Consciously consume nutritious and high fibre foods and reduce your intake of processed foods
- Move your body in ways you enjoy. This might be anything from a Zumba class with friends or a refreshing swim
- Try to reduce negative self talk
- Stay hydrated
- Try a natural supplement such as black cohosh
If you’re really struggling, please seek assistance from a health professional, especially if you’re really feeling that it is having an impact on your life and self esteem.