Have you been struggling with stubborn weight gain?
If so, you’re not alone, and it’s likely not you – it’s perimenopause.
For many women maintaining their weight becomes increasingly more challenging especially as they near and enter their 40s.
This stage of life often brings a number of different lifestyle changes, and along with those an increased midline.
During perimenopause the body goes through a number of hormonal fluctuations that can take a toll on your metabolism and body composition. Women entering into their 40s and 50s are impacted by these body changes, sometimes in a way that can negatively influence their self-image and self-esteem.
The good news is – we’re in this together, and there are some healthy, practical and effective methods to manage perimenopausal weight gain related to hormone fluctuations and metabolic deficiencies.
Read on to discover:
- What is perimenopausal weight gain?
- Why does perimenopausal weight gain happen?
- How to manage perimenopausal weight gain
Let’s dive in!
What is perimenopausal weight gain?
Perimenopause begins during our late 30s and early 40s, and it can bring with it changes to the body’s appearance and functioning.
Perimenopause and menopause impact many aspects of a woman’s health.
Women may experience:
- Changes in thyroid function which can affect metabolism
- Increase in visceral fat accumulation in and around the abdomen (and organs)
- Glucose intolerance and reduced insulin sensitivity
- Fluctuating moods and mental health
- Irregular periods and hot flashes
- Hair loss and even unwanted hair growth (on our chins, for example)
- Bowel and digestive issues
- Sleep disruptions
- Joint inflammation, stiffness and pain
Ultimately – perimenopausal weight gain is a byproduct of the many hormonal and energy changes that come along with bodily transformation.
Decreased metabolism, lack of energy, fatigue and tiredness, stiffness and bloating – all of these perimenopausal symptoms can combine together, making it very hard to get out and get exercise.
The bottom line is that during perimenopause, we have reached an age at which our bodies need us to play a more active role in maintaining our daily health, and that starts with understanding what is happening and why.
Why does perimenopausal weight gain happen?
Weight gain is a common occurrence during perimenopause.
It’s important to understand that perimenopausal weight gain is not solely a result of overeating or a lack of exercise, but rather a biological response to changing hormones.
As we age, our metabolism slows down, which means we’re not digesting food as quickly or as effectively as we did in our younger years.
Hormonal changes during perimenopause, such as decreased estrogen, is the body’s natural process to pump the fertility brakes – you can still get pregnant during perimenopause, but your reproductive organs are slowing down and becoming less fertile.
Low testosterone, which begins to drop after age 30, can lead to an inability to build muscle mass, lose weight and decreased energy levels. Other side effects of low testosterone include: low mood, low libido and decreased bone density.
These hormonal changes can also affect metabolism, appetite regulation and fat redistribution, as subcutaneous fat (that is, the fat that is stored beneath your skin) becomes abdominal fat, which can also be called visceral fat (which is, the fat that is packed around your vital organs).
A decrease in metabolism, combined with a decrease in energy and feelings of fatigue, can lead to less physical activity and exercise – creating a recipe for packing on the pounds.
The good news is, there are ways to help your body respond to these fluctuating hormones and effectively manage perimenopausal weight gain.
A wider waistline comes with increased risks
Although bodily changes and weight gain are a common experience while aging, there are a number of motivating factors for why you should strive to manage the amount of weight you gain.
Excessive weight gain can have an impact on self-esteem, long-term health, and sex drive in many women during the perimenopausal and menopausal years, and beyond.
In fact, excess weight, particularly around the abdominal area, is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer. By managing weight gain, you can be proactive in protecting your long-term health and reduce your risk for developing these conditions.
Taking control of perimenopausal weight gain helps to promote healthy aging, including better joint health, vitality and longevity.
How to manage perimenopausal weight gain
Managing perimenopausal weight gain can improve the quality of your life, boost your confidence and even minimize the hormonal imbalances that may exacerbate perimenopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, mood swings, and disrupted sleep.
Ultimately the best way to manage perimenopausal weight gain is through a holistic approach that includes:
- Healthy, active lifestyle
- Conscious food consumption
- Hormone balancing practices
- Supplements to reduce symptoms
Engaging in regular physical activity is key to managing weight during perimenopause, and it brings other benefits including lower stress levels, improved mood, and better sleep. Incorporate a combination of cardiovascular exercises such as walking, jogging or swimming. As cortisol levels rise during perimenopause, it is okay to focus on movement that is less taxing on the body, such as walking, yoga, or pilates. To really lose visceral fat, we also want to encourage NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis), which is essentially just moving as much as possible throughout the day.
Strength training exercises not only help to boost your metabolism, they also counteract the natural muscle loss that occurs during perimenopause. Incorporate weight lifting or resistance bands into your routine at least three times weekly to reduce muscle loss and improve bone health.
Strike balance with your nutrition
A balanced and nutritious diet is crucial for weight management during perimenopause.
Due to a drop in estrogen levels, women in perimenopause can’t process sugars (or foods that turn into sugars) nearly as well.
It’s important to:
- Focus on getting fiber from foods like chia, vegetables, and beans
- Add in more protein in each meal
- Consume a variety of vegetables throughout the day
- Significantly reduce or eliminate alcohol to protect the gut microbiome and promote healthy sleep
- Reduce caffeine intake to promote better sleep
- Avoid or limit processed foods, sugary snacks and drinks that offer little nutritional value
- Pay attention to portion sizes and practice mindful eating to foster a healthy relationship with food
By reducing refined carbohydrates, sugar, and alcohol, and eating more whole foods, women can significantly reduce disease risk. This diet has been shown to be beneficial for the prevention of cardiovascular disease, dementia and diabetes. Weight loss and perimenopausal symptom control is an added benefit.
Get sufficient sleep and manage stress
Quality sleep and reduced stress levels are critical to supporting hormone regulation, your metabolism, and overall well-being.
Find stress management techniques like meditation, deep breathing, yoga or journaling and create a relaxing bedtime routine to lower stress levels and increase your chances of having a restorative sleep each night.
See also: How to Sleep Better at Night
Take supplements designed for perimenopausal women
While a balanced diet and multivitamin may have cut it in your younger years, perimenopause is a life stage during which your body can benefit from a clinically designed supplement stack created to support the unique needs of your body during this stage of life.
Not all supplement stacks are created equal, and the best brands will design their supplement system around specific health needs or goals – i.e. for men, for menopausal women, for weight training.
Here at Revivele, we’ve created our Essentials line of supplements to target the unique health needs of women in perimenopause and menopause, with a special focus on preventing the diseases that disproportionately affect women.
For example, our supplement system includes the ingredients berberine (which helps to manage weight loss and improve blood sugar levels) and inositol (which is a type of sugar found in the body, and is sometimes referred to as vitamin B8, even though it’s not a vitamin).
Working together – and combined with healthy eating habits and an active lifestyle – berberine and inositol can help with:
- Increased insulin productivity in the body to break down fats and sugars
- Fats distributed away from the abdomen and spread more healthily
throughout the body
- Higher energy levels and improved metabolism and digestion
- More balanced hormones
It’s important to talk to your doctor if you’re considering adding a supplement to your daily routine, and all women should be empowered to raise any health concerns – menopause related or not – to their family physician.
Looking to learn more about women’s health and wellness?
Learn more and get updates on the release of our Essentials supplement system by
Also – consider ordering a copy of Dr. Desai’s book, Lady Parts – a female-focused book of well-researched facts about your body.
Join our mailing list to be the first to know when Essentials by Revivele is available.