Around age 40, women start experiencing a minimal decrease in production of certain hormones, especially estrogen and progesterone. By age 45, this decrease intensifies, leading to symptoms of perimenopause and menopause–hot flashes, insomnia, moodiness, and anxiety. The combination of interrupted sleep patterns, stress and loss of estrogen/progesterone makes most menopausal women susceptible to weight gain in their hips, thighs, and abdomens. But, while losing weight after menopause is hard – it isn’t impossible. 1, 2
Understanding Why Menopausal Women Gain Weight
While low estrogen, declining metabolic rates and cessation of ovarian activity contribute heavily to weight gain during menopause, recent research indicates that sleep problems interacting with the hunger hormones leptin and ghrelin might play a bigger role in menopausal weight gain than previously thought. In addition, eating in the middle of the night (nocturnal eating) is more prevalent among middle-aged women than men. This activity is often triggered by an imbalance of reproductive and hunger hormones that make losing weight after menopause more difficult, especially if high-calorie foods or whole meals are consumed at night. 3
Is Maintaining a Healthy Weight Possible After Menopause?
Yes! By learning what happens to your body’s chemistry before, during and after menopause, you can take action to defeat food cravings, improve sleep quality and reduce your risk of gaining weight.
So why would hunger pangs rumble in your stomach just a few hours after eating a four-course meal? Is your stomach really growling and grumbling because it needs food?
Of course, you don’t “need” food two hours after eating but disruption of hormones during menopause leads women to feel hungry. Here’s why that happens:
- Leptin suppresses hunger and ghrelin stimulate hunger. When you do not get enough sleep, your body requires more energy to function normally. This encourages the release of extra ghrelin to compel you to eat energizing food. Unfortunately, when you are tired, the kind of food you crave usually contains sugars, carbs, and fats–all ingredients leading to weight gain.
- Eating foods high in refined carbohydrates causes your blood glucose to drop significantly. Low blood sugar intensifies hunger pangs and makes you feel tired and irritable later.
- Some women suffer chronic dry mouth as their ovaries stop producing hormones and cortisol levels increase in saliva. When your mouth is dry, you may think you are hungry when you just need to drink some water. Try drinking three or more cups of water before you grab a doughnut and wait a few minutes. Chances are your hunger pangs diminish. 4
Weight Loss Tips for Menopausal Women
- Keep a food journal How can writing down everything you eat help you lose weight? Try it for a day or two and find out why food journals are one of the most effective weight loss tools.Food journals not only work as reminders of what you eat but when and how much you eat. You may be astonished (even horrified!) at your eating habits–grabbing a handful of M&Ms, gulping down sugary sodas when you are thirsty and craving a quick energy fix or impulsively going through a drive-thru to pick up a quick sandwich several times throughout the day. Since we tend to forget about eating small meals or one piece of cake but readily remember consuming full meals, keeping a food journal makes you keenly aware of everything you eat during the day. 5
- Add a physical activity or an exercise program to your daily life It is no secret that regular exercise helps reduce weight. But for menopausal women, research suggests that an active lifestyle with regular exercise not only helps you lose weight after menopause, it also enhances health, quality of life, and overall fitness in postmenopausal women. Evidence suggests that women may suffer fewer hot flashes and improved mood too. 6
- Join a monitored weight loss program If you have trouble sticking to a regular diet or following weight loss tips on your own, a monitored weight loss program, such as our Clean Start Weight Loss Program, can help you get rid of fat deposits gained during menopause. This program is based on medical reasons for losing weight after menopause and focuses on counteracting the chemical response of your body to hormone fluctuations.In addition to resetting metabolism and reducing cravings for high-sugar, high-fat foods, our weight loss program also helps control your appetite by suppressing ghrelin and increasing leptin levels. In addition to that, this program includes vitamin and fat burner injections to stimulate metabolism, a comprehensive guidebook explaining all aspects of the program, a cookbook featuring more than 50 delicious and healthy recipes covering all phases of our program and a list of effective weight loss tips. You will also receive a food journal notebook to keep track of what you eat.
Call Renew Health & Wellness today to learn more about our monitored weight loss program
We have two locations in Virginia and one location in Greenville, SC for your convenience: Richmond, VA. • Fredericksburg, VA. • Greenville, SC. Start taking charge of your weight and general health today by enrolling in our evidence-based weight loss program!