The Truth About Menopause & Weight Gain
Let’s face it, getting older isn’t fun. However, it beats the alternative — thus making it important to know how best to care for your body as you gracefully age. When women turn 40, 41, and so on, they go through some notable changes: hello the start of menopause (oftentimes called perimenopause)!
There’s nothing to feel ashamed of, and the more you’re prepared for the changes your body is going through the more you’ll be able to embrace them.
By definition, menopause may mean the end of monthly menstruation, but that’s far from the only side effect women experience as they age. While age may only be a number, it might be time to start paying a bit more attention to the number on the scale.
As you get older, you may notice unintentional weight gain despite no serious changes in your diet or exercise routine. Unfortunately, this is normal. As estrogen levels decrease and the body’s metabolism naturally slows down, your body begins to store fat. During perimenopause and menopause, your cells store fat cells easier and are slower to release them.
Although women typically store fat in their hips and thighs during much of their adulthood, the loss of estrogen dictates an increase in fat storage around the abdominal region. The fat in this area, however, often gets stored as visceral fat. Unlike subcutaneous fat (the type you can pinch and poke at) visceral fat is fat that is stored in the abdominal cavity and surrounds the vital organs. It can increase the risk of a number of diseases including diabetes type 2, heart disease, and numerous other chronic health conditions.
One of the lesser-known culprits of weight gain that can be attributed to decreased estrogen is disrupted sleep. Poor sleep can increase the levels of cortisone produced (the stress hormone) and has been linked with weight gain. Additionally, lack of sleep can increase the appetite, so it’s important to pay attention to your sleeping patterns, too.
While this weight gain is normal, it’s not inevitable. Prepare for this change by finding a regular exercise routine that works for you and incorporates both cardio and weight training: this one-two punch will help to keep off the extra pounds. Another no-brainer tip? Try paying a bit more attention to your diet and focusing on a healthy routine that incorporates both fruits and vegetables. This is a great way to plan for the changes your body is going through and also improve overall health.
You can’t beat Father Time or menopause, but you can certainly prepare for it. At La Follette, we’re here to help you live your best life and be your best self. That starts with your health. Whether you’re currently going through perimenopause or menopause, or simply want to look ahead, our doctors are here to help and guide you. For the best OBGYN care in Greenbrae, California give us a call (415) 461-1949.