Weight Loss After Menopause

After menopause, many women gain weight due to hormonal changes, which take place in the body, most notably a reduction in oestrogen levels. Lower levels of oestrogen affect your ability to burn fat by slowing the metabolism and they may also contrite to differences in the way fat is stored in the body. Weight gain can be harmful, especially if you are already overweight; being overweight increases your risk of heart disease, some forms of cancer and diabetes. Many women also feel less confident when they gain weight and this can lead to low self-esteem and a greater risk of depression.

If you want to lose weight after menopause, here are some useful tips:

  • Exercise: exercise is really important both before and after menopause and it has many benefits for women who have gone through menopause. Not only does exercise help to burn calories, which prevents weight gain; it also helps to strengthen your bones, which can help to reduce the risk of osteoporosis and reduce stress, which can help to prevent sleep disturbance and insomnia. Ideally, you should try to exercise 5 times per week for around 30 minutes each time; this relates to moderate exercise, which increases your heart rate and doesn't have to include anything intense; you can do anything from playing tennis or golf to doing a dance class, going for a walk or even doing your supermarket shopping or housework. Exercising also helps to speed up your metabolism, which will help to prevent weight gain in the future.
  • Eating healthily: weight gain often boils down to a simple equation, which balances the number of calories you consume with the number you use or burn; if you take in more than you use, you will put on weight. While hormonal changes can make it easier to put on weight, diet is the main contributing factor to weight gain. If you want to lose weight, try to stick to a healthy eating plan that carefully controls your calorie intake, while also ensuring that you get all the nutrients you need. Try to avoid fad diets, which prevent you from eating certain food groups or types of food; they may make you lose a lot of weight quickly, but they're usually not very good for you and you're much more likely to put weight on again. Try to cook at home, rather than going for ready meals or fast food and keep a food diary (or use an app) to help to control how many calories and how much salt, sugar and saturated fat you consume.

If you're worried about weight gain, don't hesitate to see your GP; they can advise you about suitable exercises and types of physical activity and they can also provide you with diet plans and healthy eating tips.

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