Monday, January 9, 2012

Weight gain during Menopause

What is the cause of weight gain during menopause?

Many women gain weight during menopause, but this does not mean that it cannot be prevented. To minimize the weight gain during menopause, two important factors are important 1) is your diet and 2) is your activity level.

However, as one gets older maintaining the weight one had during the younger years is a lot more difficult. In fact many women complain that the most significant weight gain often occurs in the years just prior to menopause. Fortunately this weight gain is not inevitable. Women who are motivated and determined can alter this course by paying attention to their diet and increasing their activity level.

What is the reason for this weight gain during menopause?

It is believed that the major reason for the weight gain during menopause is related to the hormonal changes. This weight gain is much more common around the abdomen rather than on the thighs and hips. However, experts believe that hormonal changes are not the major factor related to weight gain, but instead the weight gain may also be related to certain genetic factors, diet and the lifestyle.

It is possible that with menopause there are many other physiological changes that increase fatigue and lower the desire to exercise. Depression is one such factor and may influence the weight gain. It is also well known that with advancing age, muscle mass is lost and the body composition shifts more towards fat gain. If nothing is done, then weight gain is obvious.

In some women, weight gain may be related to genetic factors. If anyone else in the family or close relatives have weight gain during menopause then it is likely that you will develop a similar body change. Other contributory factors that lead to weight gain during menopause may be divorce, interpersonal relationships, and children leaving home or death of a family member or spouse. For most people, weigh gain occurs simply because the individual momentarily lets go off the body. By the time it is realized that weight gain has occurred, it is often very difficult to reverse it.

Does weight gain during menopause have medical implications?

Weight gain at any age is harmful to the body. Weight gain during menopause increase levels of lipids like cholesterol, which increase risk of heart disease and stroke. Other medical problems related to weight gain include development of type 2 diabetes mellitus and high blood pressure. There is a lot of evidence which reveals that excess weight also increases the risk of several cancers like breast and colon. There is newer evidence showing that even a weight gain of 2 kilograms at menopause can lead to an increased risk of breast cancer.

How can I prevent weight gain that occurs during menopause?

Unfortunately there is no easy way to prevent weight gain at any age. There are no drugs, spices or herbs that can prevent the weight gain. If you do not want to gain weight, then follow this simple principles:

Perform some type of physical activity. While many people recommend a particular exercise, this is not absolutely necessary. Just walking for 30-45 minutes twice a day 4-5 times a week is helpful. Of course the more active you are, the more likely you are to prevent weight gain. If you are motivated you can even start strength training, which helps burn calories a lot faster. Strength training can be performed 2-3 times a week interspaced with some type of aerobic activity.

Besides being active, one should also eat less. It is easy to add calories with advancing age and thus it is important to consume less. This does not mean starving but watching what one eats. The foods selected should be healthier and contain the essential vitamins, minerals and protein. Skipping meals is not recommended as it usually leads to overeating later on.

Losing weight requires motivation and dedication and thus, for most people some type of emotional support is beneficial. This means surrounding oneself with friends and family members who can help one continue the exercise and dietary changes.

It is important to understand that losing weight requires a permanent change in life style. To make sure that it works, the life style changes must be positive and one must like the exercises. Constant changes in diet and variety of exercises helps relieve boredom and prevent relapse into a sedentary life style.

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