Ah, menopause. A time in a woman's life when everything seems to be changing. Hot flashes, mood swings, and worst of all - weight gain. As someone who's currently going through this stage of life, I can attest to the frustration of not being able to shed those extra pounds as easily as I used to. But why is weight loss during menopause so tough? And is there anything we can do to make it easier? Let's explore.
1. Hormonal Changes and Metabolic Slowdown: A major reason for weight gain during menopause is due to hormonal changes in the body. As estrogen levels decrease, metabolism slows down, making it more difficult to burn calories. This means that even if you're doing everything right - exercising regularly and eating healthy - you may still struggle to lose weight. To combat this, it's important to focus on strength training and building muscle, which can help increase metabolism.
2. Increased Stress and Emotional Eating: Menopause can also be a particularly stressful time in a woman's life. Dealing with the physical symptoms, as well as the emotional changes that come with this transition, can lead to increased stress levels. And when we're stressed, many of us turn to food for comfort. Emotional eating can be a major obstacle to weight loss during menopause. To combat this, it's important to find healthy ways to cope with stress, such as engaging in regular exercise, meditation, or talking to a therapist. Check out our blog to learn more about Meditation and Breathwork. Taking care of your mental health is just as important as taking care of your physical health.
3. Lack of Sleep: Another challenge during menopause is the difficulty of getting a good night's sleep. Hot flashes, night sweats, and other symptoms can disrupt sleep, which can then lead to weight gain. When we're sleep-deprived, our bodies produce more of the hunger hormone, ghrelin, which can cause us to eat more than we need to. Additionally, lack of sleep can lead to increased cortisol levels, which can also contribute to weight gain. Looking for more tips? Check out Why Can’t I Sleep: 5 Possible Reasons.
4. Changes in Exercise Needs: As we age, our bodies change, and our exercise needs may change as well. During menopause, many women find that high-impact exercises are no longer comfortable or even possible. It's important to find exercise that works for you and your body. Walking, swimming, yoga, and Pilates are all great options that are gentle on the joints but still effective for weight loss. Additionally, incorporating more movement into your daily routine, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, can also help increase your daily level of activity.
5. Eating Habits: One of the biggest factors in weight loss during menopause is diet. As we age, our calorie needs decrease, but many women don't adjust their diet accordingly. This can lead to overeating and weight gain. Focus on portion control, eating whole, nutrient-dense foods, and limiting processed and sugary foods. We took a deep dive into this topic in our blog Top 6 Reasons You’re Not Losing Weight.
6. Gut Health: Did you know that menopause can disrupt the gut microbiome? That’s right, gut microbiome disruption contributes to many symptoms we associate with menopause, including weight gain, and more. A growing body of research explores this very topic. A study in the journal Menopause asked the question: Menopause, the gut microbiome, and weight gain: correlation or causation? Researchers encourage women to improve metabolic health during the menopause transition via the gut microbiome. Click here to learn more about Menopause and Gut Health. Eating a gut-friendly diet that contains plenty of fiber, prebiotics, and fermented foods rich in probiotics and savvy supplementation can help the beneficial bacteria in your gut to thrive.
What’s the right digestive support strategy for your transition to menopause? Visit our Digestive Support page and take a 2-minute quiz to find your digestive solution. Or contact our Customer Service Team, who can answer your questions seven days a week at firstname.lastname@example.org or M-F from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at (800) 940-1972.