Weight gain is a symptom of menopause, especially around the middle region.
After the age of 30 we start to lose muscle mass. This can lower your resting metabolism which can result weight gain.
We primarily produce estrogen in our ovaries which naturally starts to decline in menopause. Fat cells also produce estrogen but in much smaller quantities which can cause our bodies to crave carbohydrates and foods which are high in sugar. This will then torn into body fat as your body tries to increase estrogen levels. This is why some woman notice increased weight gain around their tummy area.
Low estrogen can have a negative affect on the rate we use up energy during exercise, which is why some woman will continue with their exercise routine and healthy eating habits but still notice an increase in weight gain.
Lack of sleep and the quality of sleep we get each night can have an impact on the two hormones Ghrelin and Leptin. Ghrelin is the hormone which controls when we are hungry and need to eat. Lack of sleep produce more Ghrelin. Leptin is the hormone which tells you to stop eating and you produce less Leptin when you don’t get enough sleep. When Ghrelin becomes the dominant hormone, weight gain is more likely to occur.
Stress can also be a major factor in weight gain when our Cortisol (stress hormone) levels are high. An increase in Cortisol can the body to release more glucose for energy and if this energy isn’t used up it is laid down as fat.
I hope this information has helped to have a better understanding why these changes might be happening to our bodies when we transition into perimenopause.
Making some small sustainable positive lifestyle changes can help manage symptoms.
- Exercise 3-5 times per week
- Eat a well balanced diet
- Practise deep breathing to lower stress levels
- Lower alcohol, caffeine and sugar intake
- Get out into nature
- Rest when needed