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Understanding Menopausal Weight Gain

June 25th, 2014

Diet and exercise alone can’t always control menopausal weight gain.

Many women seem to get caught off guard by the 10 to 15 extra pounds that suddenly appear around their midsections just before or during menopause. Typically, they have not changed their diet or fitness habits at all, yet the weight appears nonetheless. If this scenario sounds familiar, don’t torture yourself with starvation diets or nonstop exercise in an attempt to shed the weight. While improving your diet and exercising more are obviously helpful aids to weight loss, for menopausal women these steps alone may not be enough. In order to lose the weight, you may also need hormone therapy to balance your changing body chemistry.

Causes of Menopausal Weight Gain

Menopausal weight gain is caused by hormonal decline, pure and simple. Here are the key hormones involved in the process:

Estrogen: As estrogen production in the ovaries declines during menopause, the body starts looking for new sources of this vital hormone. Fat cells can actually produce estrogen, so by converting more calories to fat, the body can get the estrogen it craves.

Progesterone: When progesterone levels fall, women experience bloating and water retention that exacerbate that “muffin top” effect of excess weight around the waistline.

Testosterone: Testosterone affects the body’s ability to build muscle mass. With less muscle mass, the body burns fewer calories and a diet that was previously sufficient to maintain a certain weight may no longer be effective.

Thyroid: When thyroid production decreases, the body’s metabolic rate slows down. This results in fewer calories burned and difficulty keeping off weight.

Cortisol: Sometimes, cortisol levels can get out of control in women before and during menopause. When the body gets too much of this stress hormone, it responds by going into “emergency” mode, storing all the calories it can as fat.

Weight Gain Isn’t Just a Cosmetic Issue

While American women do tend to be very body-conscious, even if you are not overly concerned about your appearance, you should be concerned about menopausal weight gain. This excess weight can put you at increased risk for many different health problems, such as diabetes, heart attack, and stroke.

Get the Right Treatment

The good news is that you don’t have to struggle to shed those extra pounds all on your own. Renew Woman™ can help you create a treatment program that accounts for your unique body chemistry and nutritional needs, so that you can lose weight without resorting to dangerous diet plans. The first step is to connect with a Renew Woman™ doctor in your local area for lab testing of all your vital hormones. Based on your lab results and on any other menopausal symptoms you may be experiencing, we can then recommend various treatment options to help bring all your hormones into balance. We can also provide virtual personal training to help you create a safe exercise plan and virtual nutrition counseling to help you plan a healthy diet including any vitamin or mineral supplements you may need to stay healthy after menopause.

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