Menopausal Weight Gain - Take Action!

Thousands of women experience menopausal weight gain, as their body shape alters and their weight creeps up and up, both during and after the menopause.


At least of two-thirds of menopausal women can expect to gain anything from 5-15 lb (2.25-6.8 kg) during this phase of their lives. And as the weight goes up, the body outline starts to swing more towards an apple shape, and metabolic rate dwindles by about 5% every decade.

The result...well, let's just say, it's not pretty. And the stats on women and obesity just keep on rising.

But if your middle is ballooning, don't sit there lamenting your fat belly. Definitely don't sit there, because you need to get active. You can beat menopausal weight gain, but it's down to you to get up and do it!

Make muscle

Mature woman using strength training machine

Here's an important and often overlooked fact that is vital to your understanding of menopausal weight gain and your bid to lose belly fat.

Maintaining - and increasing - muscle is vital to women during and after menopause.

From around 40, you are gradually but consistently losing muscle, all the more so if your lifestyle is inactive.

It's a slow but inexorable process - you lose around 225g (8oz) a year - and that loss adds up, so that by the age of 50 or so, you'll be carrying 2.25kg (5lb) less muscle than you had a decade earlier.

And what appears in place of that muscle? You guessed it - fat.

Plus that decline in muscle opens the way for more fat turning up on your body, simply because muscle burns far more calories than fat does, just through its very existence.

If you did nothing but sit still all day your body would still be merrily burning calories like this:

  • 450g (1 lb) fat burns a measly 8 calories a day
  • 450g (1 lb) muscle burns whopping 75 calories a day

So, the more muscle on your body, the more calories you can frazzle every day without any effort on your part and, as long as you're careful not to overeat, the more fat you can burn off! How to do it? Add strength training exercises to your routine.

What is an ideal weight?

There's really no such thing. If there were, then every 65-inch (165-cm) tall woman would weigh the same, regardless of whether she were 25 or 55. We know it's not true.

Bin your tables of ideal weight for height. They can't tell you what YOU should weigh, taking into account your natural build, whether you have heavy or slender bones, and your metabolism.

A more effective way to judge whether or not you need to lose some weight is to check your Body Mass Index or, simpler still, measure your waistline. The results will quickly tell you what you need to do.

Don't obsess about your weight

Menopausal weight gain is frustrating, but it's important not to get too hung up on the actual amount that you weigh. Leaping on and off the scales every day won't do you any favours.

Instead, you should be concentrating on losing FAT rather than simply losing WEIGHT. There's a profound difference, because if you exercise to improve the amount of muscle you carry, you'll be losing fat even while your overall weight may stay the same.

The good news is that even when the scales don't shift straight away, your body starts to alter. Each 450g (1 lb) of fat occupies a mere fifth of the space taken up by the same weight of fat, so your body will look sleeker before your weight starts to drop. Calculate your body fat before you start, and you'll be able to measure your progress.

How to beat menopausal weight gain

There's plenty more information on this site to help you, but here in a nutshell is what you need to do:

  • Increase the amount of aerobic exercise in your life.Experiment with different types of aerobic exercise. If you do nothing else, take a 30-minute brisk walk each day.
  • Find a way of exercising that really turns you on, and do more of it. Walking, swimming, salsa dancing, riding your bike... Add more enjoyable activities to your daily routine. Exercise helps beat depression too.
  • If your life is very sedentary, look for at least one active leisure pastime that takes you away from the tv or computer and gets you moving.
  • Stop dieting. Going on and off slimming diets wreaks havoc with your metabolic rate, and encourages your body to store fat against the next time you decide to drastically reduce your calorie intake. Instead, change your eating habits gradually, cutting out unhealthier items and adding more fruit and veg and high fiber foods. Find information on healthy diet books here.
  • Add weight training to your exercise routine and start building up that wonderful muscle.

You can handle menopausal weight gain, if you make up your mind to do it. And this site is here to help you, every step of the way.

Go back to the top of Menopausal Weight Gain - Take Action!. Or visit the Home Page of Beat Menopause Weight Gain.

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Facts about Menopause

"Muscle is a miracle tissue and can impact your body and your spirit in a life-preserving way, especially as you traverse the menopausal passage."

Health fitness instructor, author and fitness expert Judith Sherman-Wolin


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