Menopause is a natural process that comes at the end of a women’s reproductive phase. While it’s a normal part of aging, it can also bring with it a range of uncomfortable symptoms, including hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, and sleep disturbances.
Some women may resort to pharmaceutical menopause treatments such as hormone therapy. Others prefer natural remedies that can help alleviate menopausal symptoms without the potential side effects of medication.
In this article, we explore some of the most effective and natural ways for managing menopause weight gain, from dietary changes to herbal supplements.
Understanding Metabolism During Menopause
Our metabolism progressively slows down as we age which can make it more difficult to maintain a healthy weight in our later years.
Estrogen plays a key role in metabolism. During perimenopause and menopause, hormonal changes lead to a decline in estrogen which can further slow metabolism. This can result in menopausal weight gain and an increased risk for metabolic disorders.
Effects of Declining Estrogen Levels
Estrogen helps regulate insulin sensitivity which is important for maintaining healthy blood sugar levels. It also regulates lipid metabolism, affecting our cholesterol levels and cardiovascular health.
As women go through menopause, their dropping estrogen levels disrupt these functions and put them at risk for conditions such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Research has also shown that menopausal women have lower resting metabolic rates than premenopausal women. Resting metabolic rate (RMR) refers to the number of calories the body burns while at rest to maintain basic bodily functions such as breathing and circulating blood. A lower RMR means the body burns fewer calories at rest, which can make it more difficult to lose pounds or maintain a healthy weight.
Weight management is a common concern for women going through menopause. During this time, gaining weight and an increase in abdominal fat are common. This typically makes your body type look heavier around the midsection (pear-shaped) and can result in body image issues in some women.
Weight gain during menopause can thus have emotional and psychological effects, such as decreased self-esteem and increased stress. However, there are natural ways to manage weight during menopause.
Here are some of the most effective strategies for weight management, from menopause diets to exercise and stress management techniques. We also provide practical tips to help women navigate this time with confidence and ease.
Before starting any diet, exercise regimen, or supplements consult your healthcare provider to be sure it is the right fit for you.
Go on a Menopause Diet
There are a variety of tools at your fingertips such as fitness apps and online consultations with dietitians. While some of these may be genuine and safe to use, it’s important to know the fundamentals of a menopause diet so you can easily pick foods to eat or avoid.
Focus On Whole Foods
Eating a diet rich in whole, nutritious foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins can help support overall health. Food free from additives and other chemical preservatives helps maintain the natural hormone balance in the body which is in a state of change.
Avoid Processed Foods
Foods high in added sugars and saturated fat can contribute to inflammation and weight gain. They also cause a sudden spike in blood sugar which is harmful as women are already vulnerable to insulin-related disorders during this time.
Choose Low-GI Foods
By choosing low glycemic index (GI) foods, women can support stable blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of metabolic disorders such as type 2 diabetes.
Food with low GI includes non-starchy vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and most fruits. High-GI food that should be eaten in limited quantities includes white bread, sugary drinks, and processed snacks.
Get Enough Protein
Protein is essential for bone and muscle health as well as for building and repairing tissues. It can also keep you feeling full and satisfied. Aim to include protein-rich foods such as lean meats, fish, eggs, and legumes in your diet. Red meat is not recommended as it is not good for the heart.
Prioritize Healthy Fats
Including healthy fats in your diet can help reduce inflammation and support heart health. Focus on food like avocados, nuts, seeds, and fatty fish (omega 3).
Drinking enough water can help alleviate menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats. Aim to drink at least eight glasses of water a day.
Talk to Your Healthcare Provider
If you have specific concerns about your diet and menopause, it's always a good idea to talk to your healthcare provider. They can offer personalized advice and help ensure you are getting the nutrients you need.
Exercise can help manage and maintain weight, uplift your mood, and alleviate menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, and insulin dysregulation. Choosing the right type of exercise is important as some forms of exercise may be more effective than others when it comes to managing menopause symptoms.
Building muscle through strength training can help boost metabolism and prevent weight gain which are popular goals among menopausal women. Resistance training can also help support bone health which may be especially important since women who begin exercising usually experience a decline in their estrogen levels.
Cardiovascular exercises, such as brisk walking, jogging, or cycling, can help improve cardiovascular health, boost mood, and reduce stress. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise on most days of the week.
Yoga and Pilates
Yoga and Pilates can help improve flexibility, balance, and posture. They can also help alleviate stress and promote relaxation. Certain yoga poses, such as the bridge pose, can also help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles which can weaken during menopause.
High-intensity Interval Training
HIIT (High-intensity interval training) has been shown to be particularly effective for weight management and cardiovascular health. However, it may not be suitable for everyone, particularly those with joint pain and other health concerns.
For some women, herbal supplements for menopause significantly reduce menopause-related symptoms and discomfort. Many women have attested to the effectiveness of this type of menopause treatment. Black cohosh and red clover, for instance, may be particularly useful in strengthening bones and reducing the severity of hot flashes.
Transitions™ has been a favorite among women since its launch. It is an exquisite blend of botanicals and nutrients (including black cohosh, chaste tree, and eleuthero root) to help support a woman during perimenopause and menopause. Not only does it help calm hot flashes, mood swings, and other associated menopausal discomforts, but it also supports natural hormonal balance, positive mood, a healthy stress response, and breast health.*
Menopause can be intense but with the right tools and knowledge, you can continue to enjoy life as before. With guidance from your healthcare provider, a healthy diet, exercise, and help from supplements for menopause, you can thrive and readily adapt to the changes in your body.