The Mysteries Surrounding Weight Gain and Menopause
There are many mysteries surrounding menopause, including weight gain. If you are concerned about the rate at which your metabolism slows and how to off-set the side effects that accompany Menopause learn what our expert contributor and Author of Female Fat Loss Over 40, Shawna Kaminski, says regarding weight gain and Menopause. She provides us with a very informative Q and A designed to guide us through these uncertain times.
Top 5 Questions About Menopause and Fitness
I get a lot of questions from my fitness clients. Since we all tend to experience similar issues, I thought it would be helpful to address five of the most common questions I get.
Q: When a women reaches menopause, is it really harder to lose weight?
A: Although more of a commitment is needed as we age, it’s always possible to lose weight at this age. Proper diet as well as more intensity in your workout is needed. This doesn’t mean you have to train longer; your workouts just need to be more intense.
Q: What’s happening with hormones that may affect weight gain?
A: As women age, their ovaries produce less estrogen. Therefore the body tries to find a way to continue the estrogen production by converting calories to fat cells which can actually produce the estrogen your body is looking for. If you rely on a low fat and high carbohydrate diet heavy on refined and processed foods, your body may become more insulin resistant. When this happens, whenever you eat carbohydrates, your body is more likely to turn those calories into fat as opposed to using those calories for energy.
Q: Is menopause the reason for weight gain?
A: No, menopause can’t be solely blamed for weight gained within this age group. What’s often the culprit is the sedentary lifestyle that occurs in the decade prior to menopause. Your body is slowing trading muscle for fat. Muscle is metabolically active calorie burning tissue… fat is just “dead weight”. So as you lose muscle, you’ll get fatter eating less food and this is why many complain that they are eating less and still gaining weight. It just seems to catch up with you and is noticed in our forties.
Q: Does metabolism actually slow down at menopause?
A: Since sedentary men at this age can also experience a similar gain in weight and slow down in metabolism, it’s not menopause per se that’s the reason for a tanking metabolism. Studies show that for those that are sedentary, there can be a 1-2% loss of lean muscle mass per decade – or 10-15 lbs that is replaced by fat. Having a higher fat to muscle ratio will result in a slower metabolism. So it’s important to remain active throughout your 30’s to prevent the loss of lean muscle mass.
Q: What’s the best way to slow down or reverse this process?
A: Start resistance training immediately! – You’d be surprised to hear that body weight only training is one of the safest and most effective ways to increase and maintain muscle mass in women in this age category. By adding and maintaining muscle, you will preserve and even elevate your metabolism as you age. And don’t think for a minute that you’ll get that overly developed muscular look-if only adding muscle was that easy. A woman’s hormonal make up is not such that this is even possible. Lift weights and lift as heavy as you can and you’ll still only add modest amounts of this good stuff.
For even more helpful information that will guide you through Menopause read Ann Sandretto’s book, Dear Menopause, Bring it On! As Shawna stated in her review of Ann’s book, “It’s chalk full of knowledge and practical advice that women can take action on TODAY. This book is full of hope as it dis-spells many myths surrounding menopause.” Thank you, Shawna!