Skin changes are not the only ones women are concerned about as they get older. Losing or maintaining normal weight is also harder with aging due to a variety of reasons. Women usually gain a few pounds when transitioning through menopause, with the midsection (around the abdomen) being the most commonly affected area.

Can You Prevent Weight Gain During and After Menopause

Menopause and weight gain

The hormonal fluctuations during menopause might cause you to gain weight, especially on your belly. Estrogen levels decrease after menopause and this can cause excess fat to be stored around the abdominal area instead of on your hips and thighs. This can lead to love handles or a muffin top, as well as an apple body shape. 

Do take note, however, that hormonal changes are not the only ones to blame for your weight gain. Other things that can contribute to weight gain during menopause include:

  • Aging – Muscle mass decreases with age, which can then slow your metabolism. This can lead to weight gain or make it more challenging for you to maintain your ideal weight. This is especially true if you don’t exercise or have a poor diet.
  • Menopause symptoms – In many cases, the signs and symptoms of menopause (low mood, hot flashes, poor sleep and night sweats, body aches) might also make it more difficult for you to maintain healthier habits. 
  • Genes and family history – If parents or other close relatives carry excess weight around the abdominal area, you are likely to do the same. It is said that obesity and overweight tend to run in families, with genes playing a role. They may also affect the amount of fat you store and the area on your body you carry excess fat. 
  • Other lifestyle factors – These include poor diet, lack of physical activity, inadequate sleep, and chronic stress. Life and work pressures also play a role and may cause health and wellness to fall by the wayside. These things can contribute to weight gain not only during menopause but also in other stages of life. 

Preventing weight gain during and after menopause

Get moving

Regular physical activity helps reduce weight and maintain your ideal weight. It can also reduce your risk of certain diseases, as well as help you manage menopause symptoms. It is recommended to exercise most (if not all) days of the week. And in order to lose weight, you need to combine it with a balanced diet or low-calorie intake.

Experts recommend getting at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic exercise (brisk walking, easy jogging) or 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity (jogging/running, hiking, cycling 10 mph or faster). Strength training at least twice a week can also help manage your weight.

If you have certain health conditions that prevent you from following the recommended amount or intensity of exercise, talk to your doctor about it. They might recommend other activities or help you design a fitness program according to your fitness level. 

Eat less

With aging or extra weight, you cannot continue to eat as you used to. It is important to watch your portion sizes and pay attention to what you’re putting in your body. Fill your diet with whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and fiber, and limit your consumption of processed foods and red meat.

Eating a healthy diet or a low-carb one can help you lose weight. Crash diets are never a good idea, as they exclude multiple food groups to achieve rapid weight loss. They are also not sustainable and may cause you to go back to unhealthy eating habits. If you need help in losing weight, talk to your physician or a dietician. 

Mind your sweet tooth or habit

Sugary treats tend to be high in empty calories, which can derail weight loss efforts. Added sugars are usually found in candies, baked goods, and sweetened beverages such as soft drinks, energy drinks, and fruit juices. Consuming lots of them can cause you to put on excess body fat and increase your risk of certain diseases. 

It is okay to have a sugary snack occasionally, but don’t give in to your cravings every time. It is also best not to stock candy, cookies, and other sugary foods at your home. Keep fruits as a substitute for these treats. You can also benefit from sweetening foods yourself like starting with an unsweetened iced tea and then adding your own sweetener.

Further reading: Sweet Danger: How Sugar Affects Your Skin

Commit to other positive lifestyle changes

Limit your alcohol consumption, as such beverages only add extra calories to your diet and raise your risk of gaining weight. Too much alcohol can also disrupt your sleep, dehydrate your skin, and worsen menopause symptoms.

You also need to prioritize sleep, as a lack of it can lead to eating more or making unhealthy food choices. It is worth noting that sleep allows your body to recuperate and repair daytime damage, which can help fight signs of aging. Inadequate sleep messes not with just your energy levels and productivity, but also your skin and overall appearance. 

Can non-invasive fat reduction help?

Yes. Fat freezing and similar procedures can help reduce the appearance of excess fat. They use heating or cooling and do not involve cuts or needles, so there is no scarring or longer recovery time to worry about. They work well alongside healthy habits and in reducing stubborn pockets of fats that are resistant to diet and exercise.

The thing with non-invasive fat reduction procedures is that they expose fat cells to hot or cold temperatures, triggering apoptosis or natural cell death. This causes the treated fat cells to die naturally, as well as cleared through the lymphatic system and processed as waste in the liver.

These procedures are ideal for treating pinchable fat bulges in the belly, arms, back, thighs, and under the chin. The treated fat cells are gone for good and will not migrate to other areas of the body. Results, however, are not immediate, as you need to wait for the lymphatic system to break down the fat after the procedure. 

Just do take note that such procedures are not weight loss treatments or substitute for diet and exercise. You will also need to maintain a healthy lifestyle, as you are likely to gain weight (and for the remaining fat cells to grow and expand) if you continue to eat more or exercise less after your fat reduction procedure. 

Schedule a consultation and body assessment 

Do you need help in reducing excess body fat or sculpting your figure? Cutis Medical Laser Clinics in Singapore has several body contouring procedures that can give you an advantage in achieving your fitness goals faster. Contact us today to learn more or book a consultation and body assessment with our aesthetic doctor

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