Many women report that they find losing weight around the time of menopause incredibly difficult. Menopause is a natural biological process in a woman’s life when she ceases to have menstrual periods. It is typically accompanied by hormonal changes, particularly a decrease in estrogen levels. These hormonal changes can contribute to weight gain or make weight loss more difficult. But never fear! It is possible to lose weight at this time – in a future blog we will talk about how we can overcome these challenges. But first, let us look at the reasons that weight loss is challenging around menopause:

  1. Slowing metabolism: As women age, their metabolism naturally slows down. This decrease in metabolic rate means that the body burns fewer calories at rest, making it harder to create a calorie deficit necessary for weight loss.
  2. Redistribution of fat: During menopause, there is a tendency for fat to be redistributed from the hips and thighs to the abdomen. This change in fat distribution is influenced by hormonal fluctuations and can make it more challenging to lose weight, especially around the midsection. This increases the risk of certain health conditions like Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
  3. Muscle loss: Aging, coupled with hormonal changes during menopause, can lead to a loss of muscle mass. Since muscle burns more calories than fat, a decrease in muscle mass can further contributes to a slower metabolism and can hinder weight loss efforts.
  4. Increased appetite and cravings: Hormonal fluctuations can cause an increase in appetite and cravings, particularly for carbohydrates and sugary foods. This can make it harder to adhere to a calorie-restricted diet and maintain a healthy eating pattern.
  5. Insulin resistance: Estrogen plays a role in regulating insulin, the hormone that helps regulate blood sugar levels. During menopause, with declining estrogen levels, insulin sensitivity may decrease, leading to insulin resistance. Insulin resistance can make it more difficult for the body to process carbohydrates effectively, leading to weight gain.
  1. Emotional and psychological factors: Menopause can be accompanied by various emotional and psychological changes, such as mood swings, anxiety, and stress. Emotional factors can influence eating behaviours, leading to emotional eating and difficulty sticking to a weight loss plan.

It is important to note that while weight loss may be more challenging during menopause, it is not impossible. It may require some adjustments to diet, exercise routine, and lifestyle habits. And when lifestyle changes are not enough, there are weight loss medications available that override some of the hormonal chaos that occurs around this time. This makes it easier to both lose weight and keep to a healthy weight at this difficult time. At Alevia Medical Weight Loss, our doctors understand the hormonal and physiological changes that drive weight gain and will put together a personalised treatment plan that manages these challenges. Do not lose hope – we are here to help!

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