Weight management has been a struggle for most women during perimenopause and even after menopause, and it can be a hard hit for some women trying to keep their body shape. Gaining weight is normal, but it can lead to ramifications if left unmanaged.
Why do women gain weight even after menopause? Are women at risk of any health problems because of increased body weight? Find out everything you need to learn on beating postmenopausal weight gain.
The Reasons behind Postmenopausal Weight Gain
Menopause brings various bodily changes, most of which are physical transformations. These changes don't happen overnight; it may take months or even years for you to notice them. For instance, you can gain a few pounds today without even minding about it. However, for the majority of the female population, gaining weight is an undesirable postmenopausal effect.
Less estradiol in the body
When menopause hits you, it signifies that your ovaries can no longer produce estrogens such as estradiol, which is essential for regulating metabolism. Thus, a decrease in estradiol can affect both your energy and body weight. Whenever a woman gains weight, her hips widen, and her thighs become bigger. But as women age, visceral fats can build up in the abdominal area, making them even more conscious of their weight gain.
Some women may also have a hard time managing their weight after menopause because of genetics. People with slower metabolic rates are prone to weight gain. Thus, if your family members quickly gain weight, you will most likely gain some extra pounds faster during and after menopause.
Lack of physical movements and exercise
Besides hormonal imbalance, physical activities also affect a woman's weight. For middle-aged women, having low estrogen levels means less energy for doing physical activities. Unfortunately, a less energetic and physically active woman may find it challenging to burn some calories and lose weight.
Most people would discourage weight gain after menopause, but for some women, gaining fats makes them feel more confident in their bodies. These two contradicting opinions have been confusing mostly for postmenopausal women.
Is gaining weight after menopause a healthy or risky thing after all? Learn more about the upsides and downsides of postmenopausal weight gain.
Weight Gain after Menopause: Healthy or Risky?
A few pounds won't hurt you, but gaining excessive weight can threaten one's health. After menopause, women become susceptible to health risks because of hormonal imbalance. Weight gain, a common postmenopausal effect, should not be taken for granted, for excessive weight gain can cause breathing problems. It can also increase your blood pressure, thereby endangering your cardiovascular health. Weight gain may also cause diabetes. Thus, if postmenopausal women aren't careful with what they eat and do, they may suffer from weight gain ramifications after menopause.
What can you do to beat this unwanted weight gain after your menopausal journey? Take note of the following tips on how to manage your weight healthily after menopause.
Tips for Healthy Weight Management after Menopause
1. Become physically active.
It is quite normal for middle-aged people to become less enthusiastic or energetic to move around or do strenuous activities. You may think that exercise is the only way to become physically active. However, moving around and doing physical activities can help you burn calories and decrease your body fats. Instead of sitting down in front of the television or lying on the bed the whole day, you can do some household chores or go for a walk. Including simple physical activities can go a long way for weight management.
2. Exercise daily.
Let's not forget regular exercise. Exercise helps you keep your muscles firm and toned, and it helps you burn the extra fats that you gain from eating. Exercise does not only affect your body weight, but it also keeps your cardiovascular system in shape. Any aerobic activity will allow your heart to pump more blood to the different organs and tissues, bringing more nutrients and oxygen as nourishment.
Women shouldn't be afraid to try doing aerobic exercises. Walking, jogging, biking, and swimming are activities that any person, regardless of age, can exercise. Other options include stretching exercises, lifting small dumbbells, and doing sports for muscular strength, improved flexibility, increased stamina, and manageable weight.
However, if you don't want to spend too much energy on such aerobic activities, you can try yoga. It is a self-meditative type of exercise that targets both your physical and mental health. By doing some yoga poses, you get to relax your mind while developing your body's flexibility and toning your muscles.
3. Avoid fatty and sugary foods.
Of course, you must always consider diet when it comes to weight management. Since your metabolism is getting slower as you grow older, it would also be best to avoid foods that make you fatter faster. For instance, sugary foods are high in calories but very low in nutritional content, making them very unhealthy. Most sugary foods don't satisfy your hunger, which often leads to overeating and weight gain.
On the other hand, some foods may not be sugary, but they are considered threats in your diet because of their high-fat content. Fast foods are among the most fattening foods that any woman must avoid after menopause. They are loaded with fat and salt without much nutritional value.
Eating fatty and sugary foods does not only add extra layers of fat to your waistline, hips, and thighs, but this unhealthy diet also poses a severe peril to your health. A high-sugar diet can adversely affect your blood sugar levels, which can trigger diabetes. Eating oily, fatty, and salty foods is also risky for your major organs. Including those in your daily intake may cause cardiovascular, digestive, and endocrine disorders.
4. Don't overeat.
The calories that you gain from what you eat are essential for producing energy. However, if you don't burn all those calories, they'll be stored as fats. If you're not physically active, overeating may not be the best option for you. Without any means of burning calories, overeating can lead to obesity and other health issues. Therefore, only eat what you can eat and avoid binge-eating to prevent the long-term consequences of overconsumption.
5. Choose a low-carb diet.
Foods rich in carbohydrates are packed with calories. The more you eat carbs, the more calories you consume. Unfortunately, failure to burn those extra calories can lead to weight gain. If you're not physically active enough to lose those extra pounds you have gained, it would be better to focus on a low-carb diet to prevent excessive weight gain. To achieve this type of diet, you must limit your carbohydrate consumption by minimizing your dairy, grain, and starchy food intake.
6. Keep alcohol off-limits.
If alcohol drinking has been your habit since your younger years, you may want to minimize your liquor consumption after menopause. Most alcoholic beverages are rich in carbohydrates and empty calories. Drinking alcohol can also affect your liver, a significant organ that deals with fat metabolism. By damaging your liver with alcohol, you are encouraging excess fat storage, and so you gain weight. Hence, alcohol consumption must be minimized or avoided as much as possible to prevent obesity and other unfortunate repercussions in the future.
7. Have adequate sleep.
Sleep is strongly linked with weight management. Studies have found that sleeping affects the regulation of the hunger hormones ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin makes you feel hungry, while leptin makes you feel full. Inadequate sleep does not only make you feel weary, but it can also increase your ghrelin levels. This hormonal imbalance elevates your appetite, resulting in overeating. Thus, to stabilize your hunger hormones, enjoy sleeping for six to eight hours at nighttime.
Another way to prevent the dramatic increase of ghrelin levels is to avoid sugary food intake and increase your protein consumption instead. By doing so, you can control your appetite without risking your health. Therefore, don't deprive yourself of a good night's sleep and avoid unhealthy foods if you want to keep your body in shape.
Gain New Insights Instead of Gaining Weight.
Controlling your diet and improving your lifestyle must not only be done for weight management, but they are also essential in keeping your mind and body healthy. Gaining weight isn't the only threat that one could face after menopause. You may suffer from other health-related problems, such as cardiovascular diseases, postmenopausal depression, skin aging, and even hair loss. By keeping yourself healthy, you'll be able to enjoy your golden years with happiness and fulfillment in life.
Beat Postmenopausal Hair Loss.
Weight gain isn't the only problem you might face after your menopausal journey, for you may also be at risk of suffering from postmenopausal hair loss. To prevent this from happening, always use the best hair growth products. Use the best shampoo and conditioner to keep your hair thicker and make you look ten years younger.