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According to Bonafide Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Alyssa Dweck, concerns regarding weight gain during menopause are some of the most common topics discussed during appointments with her patients. Questions typically revolve around, “are there natural remedies for menopause weight gain?” or “how can I better control weight gain during menopause?”. So, what’s actually causing these stubborn weight issues and what can we do to deal with them?
In this next episode of “Ask Our Experts,” Dr. Dweck discusses internal as well as external factors that can commonly contribute to menopausal weight gain as well as offers some diet, exercise and lifestyle changes we can try to help better control weight gain during menopause. Learn more in the full video, below.
Weight gain and menopause. These three areas cause a lot of concern in patients I see in my office. Day in and day out. So, what can we do to help with this and what's causing this menopause weight gain?
Common Menopause Weight Gain Causes
First, with age comes a loss of lean body, mass or muscle. This translates into a slower metabolism and more difficulty not only with losing weight, but even just maintaining a steady weight. In addition, as so many women are multitaskers, they tend to just grab what they can to eat during the day without giving it enough thought. And that can lead to empty calories and weight gain. Finally, stress can cause us in some cases to eat, but it also causes us to secrete constant amounts of cortisol from our adrenal glands which contributes to menopause weight gain.
How to Control Weight Gain During Menopause with Diet
So, how can we better control weight gain during menopause? First, it’s healthy to maintain a healthy weight through the years. This minimizes the chance of cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, and of course, helps with our immune function to keep our weight in a healthy place. So first, I recommend a healthful diet. I am a fan of the Mediterranean diet. Basically, this is a heart healthy diet that also helps to enhance the immune function. It's naturally low glycemic. It contains lean protein. It contains plenty of fruits and vegetables and whole grains. It also eliminates butter and substitutes olive oil instead and minimizes salt intake but uses spices instead to enhance the flavor of foods.
Another diet that's been shown to be helpful in controlling weight gain during menopause is intermittent fasting. And although this diet plan can seem difficult; some women find it easy to just limit their caloric intake to 8 hours of a 24-hour day and fast with hydration and coffee for the rest of the 16 hours.
Other Menopause Weight Gain Solutions to Consider
What else can we do to better control weight gain during menopause? Well, exercise cannot be neglected. I recommend what the American Heart Association recommends, which is 150 minutes a week of cardio, running, walking, biking. Really, any cardio or aerobic exercise will help to burn calories. In addition, we have to add weight training or resistance training, because after all, this is what's going to build muscle and help to kick start the metabolism again.
Stress reduction is huge for helping with menopause weight gain. The more stress we have, the more cortisol we are releasing constantly from our adrenal glands – and this tends to promote fat around the middle and visceral fat, which is particularly unhealthy.
Finally, if you are physically uncomfortable from hot flashes or night sweats, especially at night, which interrupts sleep, what do you do to feel awake in the morning? Grab a sugary snack or food to keep you more awake. So, getting a good night’s sleep and controlling hot flashes or night sweats and being physically more comfortable will be quite helpful. For this, I do recommend either considering something like melatonin to help you sleep or consider managing your menopausal hot flashes and night sweats with a supplement such as Relizen®, which has been clinically shown to reduce the frequency and intensity of these symptoms.* Hopefully these are helpful tips for you.