Menopause Weight Gain and Hot Flushes
Menopause Weight Gain, as you age, is the topic of a lot of conversations. Couple that with a hot flush! I always break into a sweat just saying the word! However, I can tell you, it is not a COLD SWEAT! Because COLD is not associated with The Menopause. Nothing COLD is! I have heard of this impending disaster at least, as I have perceived it to be, for decades! Not only from my Mother, but from other female relatives as well, over the years!
The First Flush of Menopause!
It’s a bit like spinning a slot machine, because it stops with a jerk! Life was normal until suddenly one day or even one night, you felt this incredible heat starting from your neck up. Roaring into a full-fledged redness and breaking out into a torrent of raging rapids as turbulent as the Niagara Falls! Welcome to the next stage of your life and the perimenopause!
What is the Perimenopause?
Well, basically, it is a LIFE-CYCLE change, affecting female hormones. The first thing to do is, visit your GP and have hormonal levels checked. Those little ovaries have been busy for decades producing the hormone Oestrogen, and during this time it starts to ease off the production line! A little blood test can give a good indication of where on the scale of things you are sitting.
This is the start of the Perimenopause stage, which is that time leading up to Menopause. If you think of an Apéritif as being an alcoholic drink taken before a meal to stimulate the appetite, then Perimenopause could be described as the Aperitif, Hors d’hoeurve, Soup, Appetizer, Salad, and Fish, all leading up to the main course!
How long does Perimenopause last?
This is the 6 million dollar question, as every woman is different. Some skip the starters altogether and go straight to the main event, while others potter about for up to four years or indeed longer! If you have ever been to a theme park and looked at one of those speedy roller coasters – up and down – fast and slow, that is similar to the emotions of perimenopause! With it come some unwelcome symptoms.
What are the symptoms of Perimenopause?
- Weight Gain
- Hot Flushes
- Brain Fog
- Mood swings
- Poor Memory
- Dry skin
These are just a few sample symptoms, and some people experience them to a lesser extent than others. Lucky them!
Middle Age Spread?
To be fair, and not wanting to put the frighteners on women, it is not inevitable to have weight gain in menopause. But it is fairly common and, we hear about it all the time from menopausal women, or as it has become commonly known as Middle-Age-Spread! Hormonal changes might be one of the most likely reasons why a woman could gain weight around her tummy, rather than for example their hips or their thighs, as fat storage shifts. But apart from hormonal reasons, the real reasons are :-
- Poor Diet
- Lack of Exercise.
Weight gain can be tackled at any stage of life. Yet, one is inextricably linked to the other.
The difficulty for many women during this stage of their lives is, it comes with a host of symptoms and other issues, making weight loss and a healthier diet less of a priority.
How can I avoid gaining weight in Menopause?
This is a time when important physiological changes occur. You have to make a decision here. Standing at the crossroads, and you know you are only going in one direction, but there are a couple of different routes.
- The Mountain Route, with rugged climbs and narrow paths, teetering on the edge.
- The Ocean Route with roaring waves and surf just breaking occasionally for breath.
- The Scenic Route with rolling fairways and soft underfoot.
Personally, the scenic route offers the most gentle of passages, and being prepared for every eventuality makes it so much easier. In the context of perimenopause, if you pay attention to
Healthier eating habits
Lead a more active lifestyle
– it will make the transition into Menopause much easier.
How can I lose weight during Menopause?
Everything is relative! In ‘normal’ circumstances, most people make the determined decision to lose weight for a variety of reasons. However, there are a few other considerations here.
Night sweats can interrupt sleep.
This is a drain on cognitive function and being able to focus the next day. Lack of sleep increases irritability and anxiety. All of which can lead to snacking, nibbling and picking. Make sure your bedroom is airy and well ventilated. Use cotton sheets and loose nightwear.
2. Loss of Muscle Mass is common during the Menopause.
Adopting a more active lifestyle is essential for good health. Have your vitamin D levels checked. Your GP might recommend a DEXA Scan to measure bone density levels. Particularly if there is a history of osteoporosis in the family. Muscle strength training is important to help build muscle mass as we get older. Pilates, swimming, jogging and dare I say it – vigorous housework, though I have avoided that one – are all excellent forms of strength and muscle training.
3. Mood booster foods to improve anxiety.
Chocolate improves mood.
Beetroot is a stress buster.
The tastiest mood booster ever discovered, has to be chocolate! However – don’t you just hate that word – it is of little help when you are trying to prevent a menopause weight gain, unless you can control the quantity you consume. Some people are quite satisfied taking a little occasional chocolate as a treat, while for others, a risk assessment is needed!
Believe it or not, beets are great mood boosters, particularly Beetroot! So, think of adding it to salads and snacks!
4. What are hidden dietary sugars?
Check your diet! You might be surprised to know that while you are cutting back on some of your favourite treats, added sugars, can be sneakily hiding in what are promoted as healthy snack foods.
Some examples of hidden sugars.
- Cereal Bars
- Flavoured Yoghurts
- Juices – including juices labelled as ‘no sugar added’.
Fruit naturally contains some sugar, but it’s not added. That is the difference.
5. Does alcohol cause weight gain in menopause?
Alcohol is empty calories with zero nutrition
Limit alcohol intake when trying to reduce any Menopause Weight Gain. Apart from affecting how the body burns fat, the main reasons why alcohol contributes to weight gain are because
- It can make you feel hungry
- Leads to poor food choices.
This screen takes around a minute to complete. It will give you a very good indicator of your lifestyle and how healthy it is, by making you think about your daily habits.
How often do you snack?
How well do you sleep?
Do you take regular exercise?
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Lifestyle changes become MORE IMPORTANT as we age. We only have 1 body!