Menopause is a stressful time in every womans life. There are so many changes we need to adapt to. Not only do our bodies go through significant changes, but our moods and emotions go
through the wringer, too. Contrary to what some people believe, menopause is not only about ovaries. It affects our whole bodies, including our brains. Women in menopause often experience
trouble with sleeping and lower serotonin levels. This usually impacts our mood and emotional state. Additionally, as reproductive hormones decline, our metabolism slows down and we lose muscle. That is the main reason of weight gain in menopause.But it doesn't have to be that way! Of course, entering menopause signals a natural transition into our senior years, so some changes are inevitable. However, you can do lots of things to keep yourself in shape and maintain your quality of life. Knowing why you gain weight in menopause will help you introduce positive changes and habits and lead your best life!
Lack of sleep has a negative impact at all stages of our lives not having enough sleep is always a bad idea. During a good nights sleep, our bodies relax and renew. We wash away daily stresses and troubles and allow ourselves to reset and start fresh in the morning. However, in menopause, the adverse effects of the lack of sleep become even more pronounced. Our bodies need even more time to recuperate and recover.
Studies show that women can gain even 3-4 pounds a week due to the lack of sleep. Insulin and cortisol have higher levels which cause us to gain belly fat that is difficult to get rid of. What's more, the lack of sleep can lead to heart issues, depression, and anxiety problems.That's why fixing your sleep routine is as important (if not more critical) as going to the gym. Of course, with hot flushes, night sweats, and pain in your joints, this task can feel overwhelming.
Luckily, there are plenty of ways to minimize the effects of menopause on your sleep schedule - from natural formulas and teas to relaxation techniques and meditation.
Muscle loss is one of the main reasons why we gain weight in menopause together with ageing and menopause, there comes muscle loss, too. But how does it affect our weight gain? Well, it's a natural process that happens to everyone. With age, our metabolism slows down, and our bodies find it harder to burn calories and loose fat. For women, this process especially accelerates during and after menopause. It affects our mitochondrial cells, where fat burning and energy production occur. Luckily, with the right exercise, you can easily counteract this process. The key is to use the workout routines that work best for women over forty. Our bodies change with time, and doing the same routine at the gym isn't the way to go. Instead, focus on easy ways to stay active in the right way - from simple walking to the workout regime that will suit your needs.
Low vitamin D levels
Our skin is one of our largest organs, and it's vital in producing vitamin D. And estrogen level is critical in this process. So, when estrogen levels drop, it negatively impacts the amount of this
valuable vitamin in our body. Vitamin D levels are essential for our health for many reasons, especially in menopause. For example, vitamin D:
- Reduces hot flushes and brain fog or memory loss common in menopause
- Reduces fat storage in your body and prevents you from gaining weight in menopause
- Produces calcium that helps our muscles and bones stay strong and pain-free
- Affects the production of other hormones such as melatonin or serotonin (and thus our sleep and mood).
Because of all these, it's a good idea to check your vitamin D levels and discuss how you can increase them with your doctor.
High-stress levels do us no favors in menopause - Now, balancing all the different aspects of your life can be challenging at all life stages. Life is unpredictable, and there are a lot of situations that can cause us stress. It's a thin line to walk - be kind to yourself, but at the same time, don't kill yourself with too much kindness. While there are some things you can't avoid feeling anxious and worried about, you can try and reduce stress in your life as much as possible. From changing your frame of mind when it comes to life challenges to finding ways to relax, many things can help you combat the stress in your day-to-day life. Discover new hobbies and activities you'll enjoy and spend time with people you love. Eliminate all sources of stress you can and try out some helpful techniques such as breathing exercises, yoga, or meditation. This is especially important in menopause. Apart from eating when you're stressed, it can also affect your body weight in a roundabout way! Our bodies can't fight stress as effectively as before, so too much of it causes trouble with our cortisol levels. Then cortisol affects our sleep patterns, and as we've mentioned before, lack of sleep causes your insulin levels to stay high. As a result of this vicious circle, you'll have difficulty burning fat during the nighttime.
Aging and lifestyle - Last but not least, embrace the changes but balance them with a healthy and active lifestyle. Most people (menopause or not) gain weight as they age, and it's normal. And while your age shouldn't determine how you feel about your body, there's no reason to avoid doing what's best for you. We're not talking about extreme dieting and spending day in, day out in the gym!On the contrary, moderation and choosing the right things are the key. Make your meals smaller and introduce more fruit, vegetables, and healthy foods into your diet. Stay physically active but choose the activities you enjoy - from walking to aerobics or pilates. This will help you keep your weight gain in check and improve your life overall.
Final thoughts - Menopause is a significant event in a woman's life. It affects us in many ways that we don't enjoy, including gaining weight. However, knowing the causes of weight gain will help you face the situation calmly and counteract it. Although lack of sleep, vitamin D, and hormonal changes can cause weight gain in menopause, you can fight them in various ways. What's best, making
one change is likely to lead to other positive changes, too! So, don't hesitate to embrace our tips and lead your best life!
Author - Jassica Mendez