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Benefits of Maintaining a Healthy Weight

Brittany Dick

Since the dawn of time, women have been bombarded with suggestions on how to alter their diets, appearance, and incorporate the latest fitness trends into their daily routines.

These messages can feel overwhelming, but the benefits of maintaining a healthy weight definitely run deeper than getting bikini ready or chasing impossible beauty standards.

Prioritizing a healthy weight can reduce your risk for negative health outcomes, improve your quality of life, and support your transition through menopause. It’s also important to remember that maintaining a healthy weight isn’t for anyone else— it’s for you.

Here we’ll take a look at a list of some of the benefits maintaining a healthy weight can provide — all of which can lead to a healthier, happier you. Let’s dive in!

Benefits of Maintaining a Healthy Weight

What are the main benefits of maintaining a healthy weight? Here’s what the research says:

  1. Maintaining a healthy weight reduces your risk for chronic diseases.1 With age, comes heightened risk for chronic disease, with obesity being flagged as another risk factor. Luckily, maintaining a healthy weight can help limit those risk factors and potentially reduce the chances of developing the long list of diseases that can be associated with them. These include, heart disease, sleep apnea, hypertension, diabetes, certain types of cancers, and more. In fact, for those who are above their ideal body weight, losing as little as 5% to 10% of weight can lower the risk for these diseases.2 
  2. Maintaining a healthy weight can boost energy levels. If you don’t feel well, it’s hard to find the energy to juggle work responsibilities, family events, and life’s adventures. Research shows maintaining a healthy weight can help support a general sense of well-being and boost energy levels.3 This means you can have more energy to enjoy doing the activities you love with the people you love the most.
  3. Maintaining a healthy weight can improve mood. Did you know there’s a link between poor physical health and lower mental wellness?4 Some research shows adults with excess weight have a 55% higher risk of developing depression over their lifetime.5 Fortunately, the reverse is also true. Studies have also shown that successful weight loss in individuals who are overweight, can lead to lower levels of stress, anger, and mental health issues, such as depressed moods and anxiety.6,7
  4. Maintaining a healthy weight can support better sleep. When it comes to general wellness, good sleep and a healthy weight go hand in hand. That is— improved sleep may actually aid in weight loss, and weight loss can help to improve sleep. Excess body fat increases the chances of developing obstructive sleep apnea, a condition that occurs when airways are blocked during sleep.8 Getting closer to a healthy weight, however, decreases sleep apnea, reducing night wakings and improving quality of sleep.9
  5. Maintaining a healthy weight can increase libido.10 Testosterone, a hormone that increases sex drive, decreases as we age— but that doesn’t mean there’s no longer hope for a healthy libido. Fortunately, research shows that if weight is what’s hindering your sex life, weight loss can not only boost confidence, but it can also restore sexual desire.11 

What is a Healthy Weight for Women?

There’s no one number on the scale that’s considered “healthy” for every woman. That’s because a healthy weight is as individualized as your personality. A healthy weight depends on several factors, including:12

  • Age
  • Height
  • Health History

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, your BMI— or body mass index— is a standard place to start in determining what may be considered healthy for you.13

BMI measures body fat based on height and weight. It’s a simplified approach to measuring whether a person is underweight, at a healthy weight, overweight, or obese.14

While BMI is a measurement tool, it’s not the only way to determine a healthy weight and isn’t considered to be diagnostic, due to some limitations. This is because BMI doesn’t account for all variables that determine the number on the scale— muscle weighing more than fat being a prime illustration.15 For example, an active woman with a high muscle mass may weigh the same as a sedentary individual carrying a higher percentage of body fat.

The best way to determine a healthy weight is to discuss it with a healthcare provider. They can take a look at your age, height, weight, lifestyle, and activity levels and help calculate a realistic goal for your specific body type and needs.

What Causes Weight Gain During Menopause?

If you’re wondering if it’s possible to maintain a healthy weight during menopause, simply put, the answer is yes. While menopause weight gain is common, you can minimize it with healthy eating habits and other lifestyle adjustments.

Before we dive into a few weight management strategies, let’s first take a closer look at why menopause weight gain is commonly a shared experience among women.

During menopause, hormonal changes coupled with a slowing metabolism, a loss of muscle mass and genetic factors all increase the likelihood of gaining a few extra pounds.16 This means that as your metabolism adapts, you may need less calories than you did to maintain the same weight you once were.

Additionally, menopausal hormone changes can shift where gained weight is distributed on the body, causing more accumulation around the abdomen, hips and thighs. People also tend to become less active as they age, which can contribute to this accumulation of unwanted weight gain.17

Fortunately, being aware of these influences is the first step in navigating this adjustment. So, how can you maintain a healthy weight not only during menopause, but at any life stage?

Hear are a few quick facts on why maintaining weight during menopause and beyond is so important, from Bonafide Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Alyssa Dweck:


How to Maintain a Healthy Weight During Menopause

Calories in vs. Calories Out

Weight management has traditionally included a focus around energy intake vs. energy output, in other words, what your caloric intake is like.18 While this was once considered the best way to manage weight, the approach is now considered to be antiquated.19

The concept of calories in vs. calories out suggests that if you consume more calories than you burn in a day, it’s more likely than not that you will gain weight. Likewise, if you burn more calories than you consume, you will likely lose weight. If your energy output is similar to what you take in, your weight will more or less remain the same.

Calorie goals have always depended on age, height, activity levels, and more. If your goal is to lose or gain weight, it could be helpful to work with a nutritionist or certified healthcare professional to determine a set calorie range to stick to. Again, and as noted, while this was once the main strategy to follow when it came to weight management techniques, its principles don’t stand quite as strong today.

Eat a Healthy Diet

A healthy diet is one that offers your body the nutrients it needs while aligning with your calorie goals. A few healthy diet tips can include:,20, 21

  • Consuming a diet rich in lean protein. Examples include chicken, fish, beans, and eggs. Protein is one of the most filling macronutrients and is essential in maintaining or building muscle mass. The Mediterranean diet is often considered one of the more helpful diets to consider during menopause because it’s been shown to support cardiovascular health and healthy glucose levels, as well as potentially help reduce vasomotor symptoms, which can seriously impact quality of life during this transitional time.
  • Try to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables to support your overall health.
  • Opt for fiber-rich, complex carbohydrates to help you stay fuller for longer, and aid in curbing cravings. Examples include whole grains like oats, sweet potatoes, brown rice, lentils, and some whole grain breads.
  • Limit foods high in saturated and trans fats (fried foods).
  • Limit foods high in sugar – such as candy, baked goods, and sugary beverages – this also includes limiting ultra processed foods.

Intermittent fasting (IF) is another dietary approach some women may find helpful to manage weight during menopause. There are a few ways to go about IF, but the two most popular are the 16:8 and the 5:2 methods. The 16:8 requires you to limit your daily food intake to an eight-hour window, which basically boils down to no snacking after dinner and skipping breakfast the next day – while the 5:2 method allows you to eat normally five days a week but restricts your calories to 500-600 on two non-consecutive days.22

Stay Active

Staying active is a key ingredient to maintaining a healthy lifestyle and weight.

If your goal is to lose weight, you’ll need to burn more calories than you consume, as we mentioned earlier. Moving your body is a great way to burn through this energy. If you’re new to exercise, it can feel intimidating— but it doesn’t require a gym membership or sudden lifestyle overhaul to make it work.

Healthy adults should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week. You can start small by walking each morning or afternoon.23 You can also find an activity you enjoy— like walking, swimming, or hiking— and incorporate it throughout your week. Little by little, movement adds up and it may be simpler than you think to reach your activity goals.

Incorporate Strength Training and/or Resistance Training

When it comes to muscle mass, it can be a “use it or lose it” scenario— especially as we age.

While all physical activity can help you support your goal of maintaining a healthy weight, certain types of strength and/or resistance training can help to build and maintain precious muscles. Why is this so important during menopause?

Muscle mass is critical in keeping you mobile, warding off osteoporosis, and preventing obesity.24, 25 Muscle tissue burns more calories than fat, making strength training an excellent long-term tool to consider for maintaining a healthy weight.26

Determine if Medication May Be Right for You

One of the more popular advancements in weight management has been the advent of new-generation weight loss medications, known as GLP1s. Common GLP1s include drugs like Ozempic or Wegovy. Ozempic is often recommended for those with type 2 diabetes, while Wegovy may be more commonly used to help people lose weight. These medications are designed to help people lose weight by suppressing appetite and lowering blood sugar levels by causing the pancreas to produce more insulin, slowing the rate at which food moves through a person’s digestive system and keeping them full longer. One downside is that these drugs may not help with weight that is centrally distributed27 – so it’s important to discuss medications like these with your healthcare provider, to see if they’re right for you.

What is the Key to Maintaining a Healthy Weight?

When it comes to staying healthy, it all comes down to lifestyle habits that add up over time. Whether it’s through menopause or another life stage, you can reap the benefits of maintaining a healthy weight by sticking to a healthy diet, staying active, and working with your healthcare provider to find balance between the two.



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