Most women hit menopause in their 40s and 50s. Hitting menopause is often accompanied by weight gain. A change in body shape and the feeling that weight loss just seems impossible. My name is Eva. I’m a dietitian at tetrogen. In today’s video, we will look at why it can be so easy for women to gain weight and so difficult for women to lose weight during and after menopause. We will then look at two things you can focus on.
To help you with weight management both during and after and a pause now, I’ll just leave four quick definitions on the screen, so please pause this video and have a look at them before continuing on with the video.
So let’s begin. Why can it be so easy for women to gain weight and difficult for women to lose weight during and after menopause? Estrogen levels decrease, causing a change in the fat distribution and also waking. So how does this happen? After menopause, the ovaries stop producing estrogen. Therefore, estrogen levels in the body decrease and as well as that the androgens such as testosterone now have a stronger influence in the body.
One of the roles of estrogen is that it promotes the storage of harmless fat in usually around the bum and the thigh region. So this is called peripheral fat, and it’s usually harmless. But because we aren’t producing as much estrogen as before menopause, the androgens increase the visceral fat, which is the fat around our organs in the abdomen. So it’s the fat around the tummy. Now visceral fat is quite dangerous to our health because visceral fat is metabolically active.
This puts us in a constant state of a low-grade inflammation and inflammation can make losing weight more difficult. So quick recap, we have less estrogen, a stronger influence of androgens, and this is the main reason for weight gain and weight redistribution. Another reason it can be easy to gain weight and difficult to lose weight. There is a decrease in muscle mass which leads to a lower basal metabolic rate or the VMware. So this means that you burn less.
Calories of rest. Now muscle mass tends to happen anyway. It decreases with age, but especially around the time of menopause, it decreases even faster. Why does this matter? This is because muscle requires a lot of energy to be maintained, so the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn at rest or the higher your BMI or your basal metabolic rate. So ideally the more muscle you have the better because you need more energy or more calories to maintain the muscle. Just think of it. A bodybuilder and how much energy or calories they need to consume to keep their muscle. We will focus on two things you can do in this video.
- The first one exercise trying to find something you enjoy and just stick to it. It can be aerobic exercise. It can be resistance exercise or it can be a combination of both. Exercise will help you to burn up or use up the excess energy you have stored as fast and it will also help you to preserve the muscle mass that you have. So again the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn at rest, so that’s a good thing. And
- You need to make sure that you have enough protein in your diet and that it’s spread out over the course of the day. The amount of protein you need is at least 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight every day. So what this means is if you weigh 80 kilos, you multiply by 1.2 grams and you get 96 grams of protein. So again, make sure you space this out throughout the day and this will help you to preserve the muscle mass that you have. Some good protein sources.
Include eggs, beans, lentils, fish, soy products like tofu, and white meats like turkey and chicken for more tips on what to eat, check out the video inflammation and weight gain with a registered dietitian Eva. Let’s me and I hope you have a better understanding of how menopause affects, weight gain and weight loss and what you can do about it.
Mike Dorfman is BS in Biochemistry from the University of Colorado. Mike’s has worked as a personal trainer for Gold’s Gym and helped many clients achieve their weight-loss and fitness goals.
To health first, weight-loss second. Mike and Tetrogen are here to help you make the transition to the healthier, happier, and thinner you!