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Weight Control During Menopause

  • What happens to your body during menopause
  • How to control your weight during menopause
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy

What happens to your body during menopause

Your body starts to store fat around your tummy, instead of on your hips

Why? Because your body is producing less and less oestrogen. You see, oestrogen causes us to store fat around our hips, so when we run short of it, our weight stops going to our hips and goes to our tummy area instead.

Unfortunately, this is not good news. Why not? Because abdominal obesity is a risk factor for diabetes, hypertension, certain cancers, and cardiovascular disease.

Your cholesterol levels tend to rise

Why? Lack of oestrogen again! Oestrogen helps promote a favorable cholesterol level, so when we run short of it, our cholesterol level tends to rise. Which (as we know) is bad news for our heart.

You tend to gain weight

This is NOT directly caused by menopause. It is due to three things:

  • We take in too many calories. Usually because we eat too much fat & sugar
    The point is, as we get older, we actually need fewer calories.
  • We take less and less exercise
    This further widens the gap between the energy we take in and the energy we expend.
  • We experience physical & mental disruption
    For example, we give up smoking or suffer from increased anxiety and depression.
    Result? We seek comfort in food.

How to control your weight, during menopause

In a nutshell, weight control in menopause in best achieved, as follows:

Eat fewer calories

Metabolism slows with age – by the age of 40, our normal maintenance needs are about 20% less than they were at the age of 20. Unfortunately, we fail to take this reduced need into account and eat the same amount – usually more! Result? We gain weight.

The correct approach

  • Limit yourself to about 1,200-1,500 calories per day.
  • These calories should come from nutritionally dense foods, like fruit, vegetables, grains, beans, cereal, fish, low-fat dairy foods and ultra-lean meat.
  • Increase your consumption of fiber.
  • Reduce consumption of caffeine and alcohol.
  • A good way to do all this, is to follow the Weight Loss Diet Program!

Eat less fat

Before the menopause, oestrogen protects women from some of the effects of a high fat diet, but afterwards Рas oestrogen levels decline Рour level of HDL fat (the good fat) tends to fall, and our LDL (bad fat) tends to rise, thus increasing our risk of heart attacks.

The correct approach

Limit yourself to a maximum of 30-35 grams of fat, per day. Of this, a maximum of 10 grams may be saturated fat. A good way to do all this, is to follow the Weight Loss Program!

Take regular daily exercise

Regular active exercise increases the production of HDL fat (the good fat) and thereby reduces LDL (the bad fat). It lowers the risk of diabetes, osteoporosis and other medical problems. Also, regular exercise helps raise our metabolic rate (thus easing weight loss) and decreases our feelings of stress (thus reducing our need for comfort-eating).

The correct approach

Take at least 30 minutes of moderate activity, most days of the week.
For details, see Exercise tips.

Be aware!

Feelings of tiredness, depression and discomfort are greatly eased by staying on top of the situation and by knowing what is happening to your body.

The correct approach

Maintain regular contact with your doctor. At the same time, monitor your body, including your weight level.

Hormone Replacement Therapy

  • Hormonal Replacement Therapy (HRT) replaces some of the missing oestrogen and progesterone caused by menopause.
  • It can only be prescribed by a doctor.
  • HRT may be prescribed in pill, skin patch or implant form, in various doses and combinations.
  • As well as easing some of the ‘minor’ symptoms of menopause, HRT reduces the risk of heart disease and osteoporosis.
  • HRT may produce PMS-like symptoms including nausea, bloating, breast tenderness, spotting, and headaches.
  • The long term side-effects of HRT remain unknown.

Not for everyone

HRT doesn’t suit everyone. For example, women who have cancer concerns or who are at high risk of other¬†complications should avoid HRT since the hormones may exacerbate these conditions.

Consult your personal doctor

As stated above, for best results, please consult your doctor.

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