Menopause & Weight Gain: Debunking Common Myths
Menopause, often overlooked, has been a breeding ground for misinformation, especially regarding weight changes during this hormonal shift. To set the record straight, experts weigh in on some prevalent myths surrounding menopause and weight gain.
Myth 1: Weight gain is non-existent during menopause. Contrary to the belief that menopause doesn’t trigger weight gain, experts like Dr. Suzanne Gilberg-Lens highlight that, on average, women experience a 5-10 pound weight gain during this transition. Hormonal imbalances, particularly declining progesterone and post-menopausal estrogen reduction, contribute to this shift, often manifesting as abdominal weight gain.
Myth 2: Eating less and exercising more can prevent menopausal weight gain. The traditional approach of calorie restriction and increased cardio exercise may not be effective during menopause. Dr. Bojana Jankovic Weatherly advises against this, emphasizing the importance of maintaining muscle mass, as it supports metabolic activity. Instead, evidence-based strategies include stress reduction, proper sleep, sufficient protein and fiber intake, weight lifting, and targeted training.
Myth 3: Hormonal changes alone cause menopausal weight gain. While hormonal shifts play a role, lifestyle factors significantly contribute to weight gain. Research indicates that environmental factors such as a calorie-dense diet, reduced physical activity, heightened stress, and poor sleep quality have a more substantial impact on weight gain during middle age than previously thought.
Key Takeaway: Menopausal weight gain is a common occurrence, influenced by both hormonal changes and lifestyle factors. Managing stress, prioritizing sleep, considering targeted supplements, and staying physically active are crucial components in preventing excess weight gain and promoting healthy fat loss during this phase.
Repurposed article originally published in MbgHealth