As you go through menopause, you may have symptoms from the changes your body is making. All of a sudden, you are gaining weight or notice an increase of body fat around your waist. Weight gain is one of the effects of menopause along with mood swings, hot flashes, dry skin and many other symptoms associated with menopause.
Lower Estrogen and Progesterone Levels
During menopause, your ovaries will decrease in production of estrogen and progesterone. Estrogen levels decline rapidly, causing your body to stop ovulating. When this happens, your body will look for other places to get its estrogen. Your fat cells can also produce estrogen; however, during the process, fat cells convert calories into fat, causing you to gain weight.
Like estrogen, lower levels of progesterone can be responsible for many of the symptoms women are experiencing during menopause, which include weight gain. Decreased progesterone levels during menopause can make you more susceptible to water retention and bloating. You will feel a bit heavier, and your clothes will feel a bit tighter until the water retention or bloating disappears, which usually happens within a few months of menopause.
When your body goes through menopause, it can mistakenly turn every calorie you take into fat as it tries to look for more estrogen and progesterone. In addition, you can also become insulin resistant due to metabolic changes related to fluctuations in adrenal and thyroid secretions. Your body will tend to crave more food, usually higher in carbohydrates, because your body is starving for more energy. According to the Epigee website, when you follow a low-fat, high carbohydrate diet, you will tend to eat more processed and refined foods, making your body resistant to insulin produced in the blood stream. Your liver will convert the extra glucose in the bloodstream into fats when you have insulin resistance.
A study published by the National Institute of Health also mentions that the one factor most consistently related to weight gain in menopausal women is physical activity. Echoing this study is a research published by the Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, which concluded that menopausal women with lesser physical activities or those with sedentary lifestyles tend to weigh more than menopausal women who are physically active. Exercise combined with proper nutrition can prevent obesity among menopausal women. Chronic obesity will happen without proper weight management control before and during menopause. Therefore, weight gain prevention must form an integral part of your approach towards menopause.