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Menopause and weight gain: What are your options?

weight gain
Find out how to combat weight gain during menopause


During menopause, it may be easy to dismiss weight gain and just put it down to being part and parcel of ‘getting older’.

But weight gain and menopause often go together – partially because the likes of declining oestrogen levels and age-related reduction in muscle mass can lead to excess weight. Less muscle, for example, means your metabolism will slow – so you’ll actually need fewer calories. If you don’t reduce your calorie intake, you’ll store more fat than you did in your 20s and 30s.

Many women say that menopausal weight gain, in particular, affects their abdomen – sometimes called a ‘middle-aged spread’.

Thankfully there are options you can help take to take better control of your hormones and stay fit and healthy.

Firstly, here are some signs to look out for:

  • Weight gain despite not eating more
  • Drinking coffee or alcohol daily
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Fatigue or low energy
  • Heavy periods
  • Mood swings
  • Brain fog
  • Digestive issues such as bloating or gas
  • Generally a ‘sensitive’ stomach
  • Constipation or sluggish bowel movements (2-3 times per week)

At KeyForHer, we don’t think that gaining weight is just about appearances or being able to fit into a certain size. However, it’s important to consider all the way that excess weight impacts our wellbeing. In fact, gaining weight can additionally cause:

  • Less energy
  • Disrupted sleep
  • Bloating
  • Intense food cravings
  • Worsening mental clarity
  • Skin breakouts

The good thing is that by focusing on your hormonal health during perimenopause and menopause you can also lose weight and feel better physically and mentally.

Ways to tackle menopausal weight gain:

Rather than thinking about what you need to eliminate from your diet, focus on what to include. Load meals with vegetables and snack occasionally on fruit. Stay full and satisfied with healthy proteins. This means that even if you don’t immediately cut out any of the unhealthy stuff – munching on more fruit, veg, lean meat, soy, and fish is a great first step. That and gradual changes are easier to stick to.

Try new foods. It’s easy to get caught in a cycle of eating the same meals. Our taste buds and preferences change over time too – so challenge yourself to regularly try one new healthy meal or food. Look up lower-calorie meals and snacks online and make something different one day a week.

Change can be hard and getting used to new meals, foods, or dietary habits can take time – so stick to your goals no matter how small. Remind yourself of why you’re trying to eat more healthily and try to make small, manageable improvements every week.

Make sure you’re getting enough sleep. When you’re tired you’ll be more inclined to snack more and consume more calories. That and staying up later – maybe in front of the TV – is a perfect scenario for munching and snacking. 

Chat to your family and friends. Tell them that you’re prioritising your weight and being healthy. Try to meet up with people for a walk and a coffee rather than automatically for meals or drinks. You want your loved ones to support your efforts and help you to increase your physical activity rather than tempting you to stick to old habits.

KeyForHer supplements can also help – because the blend of vitamins and minerals helps you regulate cravings, sleep better, and stay on top of your mood.

If you are looking to read more on menopause health, check out our post on what causes early menopause. This will help you recognise the signs early.

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