Women between the ages of 35 and 55 will soon experience menopause. It is not a disease but rather a phase in life where the female will no longer be able to conceive a child. One of the symptoms associated with this phase is weight gain. In fact, 90% of women will gain a few extra pounds which are not a direct result of overeating but rather a shift in your hormones.
Those who are already going through with menopause will probably notice a change in their physical body shape. Majority will gain between 10 to 15 pounds but this will not happen overnight. It will happen gradually like one or two pounds per year during premenopause and a little faster for those who are in early and surgical menopause.
The areas where you will see a physical change will be in the abdomen thus making you look fat when you look at yourself in the mirror. Again, this is not your fault but a fact of life because there are also already fluctuations in your hormones.
To explain this further, you have to understand that hormones do not only affect our behavior but also have a direct impact on our appetite, fat storage and metabolism.
Females have four hormones namely androgen, estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. The first one namely androgen is the one that puts that excess weight around your abdomen. This happens because when you reach androgen, your body produces more of this hormone causing you to gain weight here rather than your hips, thigh or rear.
Estrogen is the hormone responsible for your monthly ovulation. When you reach menopausal age, the level of estrogen that is produced by the body decreases. Because of this, your ovaries need a source of estrogen so it taps your fat cells that have the ability to make this happen. This forces the body to convert calories into fat but since your fat cells are unable to burn calories like your muscles do when you work out, this also causes you pack a few extra pounds.
Another hormone that will also decrease during menopause is your progesterone levels. This causes water retention and bloating. The only good news is that this usually disappears after a few months.
Testosterone is the one that converts lean muscle mass out of the calories you take in from eating. During menopause, this level also drops thus resulting in the loss of this muscle. This will slow down your metabolism thus making it difficult to burn the food you ingested and it too causes weight gain.
Other factors that may cause weight gain during menopause could be attributed to insulin resistance and stress. Insulin resistance occurs when the body converts every calorie into fat. Stress can also make this happen as the body stores calories instead of burning as its way of saving on energy.
So how will you be able to reduce menopausal weight gain? A lot of experts believe that this will be difficult but not impossible. The most obvious is eating a balanced diet. You will have to give up food products that contain refined sugars and switch it to fruits and vegetables. You should also cut back on alcohol, caffeine and nicotine.
As much as possible try to stay active by exercising regularly. Examples of these could be aerobics, cycling, jogging, running and walking that will increase muscle mass and prevent osteoporosis.
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