It’s weight gain!! The weight just keeps piling on, and on and on!

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    Stasi

    Weight gain, especially around the belly, is common during peri and post menopause. What most women don't know is that this occurs partly due to the fact that the body is trying to compensate for the decrease in estrogen that occurs during menopause. Fat tissue secretes estrogen, so with an increase this helps to mitigate the natural estrogen decline during this time of life.

    First thing first, re-frame weight loss expectations. Despite what our culture and media messages want us to believe, IT IS natural for our bodies to change in shape and size throughout our lives. With all of the hormonal changes, and often life changes, that occur during menopause, increases in body weight are very common. You are not doing anything wrong and this doesn't mean that weight loss is not possible, but it is important to be realistic about expectations for weight loss. In other words, what you weighed when you were 30 years old may not be attainable and the stress caused to reach this weight may cause more harm than good. 

    The strategies below can support your health, help with menopause symptom management, and may support weight loss. With every woman's body being unique to her, how your body responds to these strategies will be unique to you. 

    • Move in a way that feels good for your body. Moving your body supports heart health and can help with weight management. Most importantly, find movement that feels good. To really obtain the benefits of movement, it needs to be consistent and you are more likely to be consistent if it is something you enjoy. 
    • Pile on the veggies. This probably isn't new info, but we all need reminders to eat more veggies. Vegetables provide a tremendous amount of vitamins and nutrients that can support health, decrease risk for disease, and increase energy levels. Additionally, the fiber content supports satiety and if you are more satisfied with the foods you eat this can help with decreasing your total calorie intake and in turn, support weight loss. 
    • Limit sugar and refined carbohydrates. During menopause the metabolism of sugar and refined carbohydrates changes and can increase body fat gain when consumed in high amounts. Aim for most of your carbohydrates to come from fruits and vegetables and enjoy sugar and refined carbohydrates in smaller portions. 
    • Manage stress. Stress has widespread impact on our entire body and menopause places an additional stress for a woman's body to manage. While experiencing zero stress is probably not the goal (some stress is good), decreasing chronic high levels of stress is recommended. This can be as simple as taking deep intentional breaths for 1-2 minutes per day.  

    Here's a article that provides additional information. 

    Want a more personalized approach to your experience with body shape and size changes? Sign-up for HealthFix and work with one of Gennev's Registered Dietitian and Health Coaches.

    Stasi Kasianchuk MS, RDN, CSSD, CSCS, EP-C
    Gennev Director of Health Coaching

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