When it comes to Menopause, for many women, losing weight is one of the biggest difficulties. Whilst your body is trying to work out the hormone changes, menopause causes many symptoms that can make everyday life harder to cope with.

Many of these symptoms can be why losing weight and keeping it off is such a hard task. In this case, it isn't always about taking in fewer calories or exercising more; it can be caused by disrupted sleep patterns, hormone imbalance or even anxiety.


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Menopause & The Symptoms

Menopause is something that all women will experience in life. According to the NHS, "it is a natural part of ageing that usually occurs between 45 and 55 years of age, as a woman's oestrogen levels decline", and a decline in oestrogen can lead to increased fat storage. In the UK, most women reach menopause at 51, but this doesn't apply to every woman. Some women can experience menopause before they reach 40. If you are suffering from symptoms, check in with your GP; most of them will be able to find out if what you are experiencing is menopause.

The first sign that you are experiencing menopause will be a change in the pattern of your periods before they stop altogether. Most women will experience symptoms both during and after their period's end. These include hot flushes, vaginal dryness, difficulty sleeping, anxiety and problems with memory and concentration.

These symptoms can negatively affect a lot of women's everyday life, and as a side effect of these symptoms, they may make losing weight or keeping weight off more difficult.

Losing Weight During the Menopause

two older women jogging together outside

If you are experiencing menopause and are finding it difficult to lose weight, don't panic. Whilst it can be frustrating, many women are going through the same experience. Difficulty losing weight is not a direct side effect but is more a side effect of the symptoms.

Many people will tell you that to lose weight, all you need to do is take in fewer calories and exercise more. Whilst this may be the main basis of weight loss, many things can interrupt your progress and make losing weight that little bit harder.

Sleep

older woman in bed struggling to sleep

If you are suffering from difficulty sleeping during menopause, this can greatly impact weight loss. A lack of sleep can affect your metabolism, meaning that your dieting isn't as effective and makes you feel hungry more often, which can lead to snacking and overeating.

However, with difficulty sleeping being a side effect of menopause, losing weight becomes much harder. Exercising during the day can be a good way to try and fix this, and we don't mean exercise to lose weight. Exercising can help improve sleep for the simple reason being that it tires you out. That doesn't mean you need to run a marathon every day, but by exercising a bit more each day, it can burn up more energy and leave you feeling more tired when it comes to going to bed.

This isn't going to improve every night of sleep, but the more good sleep you have, the more balanced your metabolism will be, meaning weight loss will be a little easier.

Anxiety/Low Mood

Losing weight is also about your mindset. If you aren't in a positive place mentally, you might find it harder to keep yourself on track and motivated to lose weight. Exercising and eating healthily can help with this. Exercise has been proven to help with anxiety and mood as it releases endorphins known to help relieve feelings of anxiety.

Choosing healthier options at meal and snack times has a similar effect. We've all been there, choosing the unhealthy option when we're stressed or feeling down in the hopes it will make us feel better, and it does, but only for a little while. Unhealthy food options can cause the body to feel lethargic, resulting in a spiral of eating unhealthy options as you think it will make you feel better. Choosing healthier foods and snacks can improve your mood mentally and help your body feel better as it isn't being filled with bad fats and sugars.

By eating healthier and exercising more, your body will start to feel better and help relieve anxiety. With an improved mood comes an improved view of your weight loss. If you feel down, you might pass on that workout or eat that chocolate bar, and later feel worse as you know it will affect all of your hard work. So make yourself go for that run or pick up the fruit instead, and the effort will pay off, physically and mentally.

Can You Lose Weight During Menopause?

So if you think you've reached that point in life, try and stay positive. Menopause can affect life for a long time, and there will be highs and lows. Losing weight can be difficult at the best of times without your body making it harder. But remember, just because the weight might not be going down, that doesn't mean eating healthier and exercising more should stop. You are still helping your body and making a positive change. Progress may be slow, but it is still progress, and you will get there.

If you need more help and guidance, speak to your GP. There are treatments that can help manage menopause such as HRT. Check the NHS website, too, as they will always have the most up to date information.


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Before beginning any exercise or nutrition program, consult your physician, doctor or other professional. This is especially important for individuals over the age of 35 or persons with pre-existing health problems. Exercise.co.uk assumes no responsibility for personal injury or property damage sustained using our advice.

If you experience dizziness, nausea, chest pain, or any other abnormal symptoms, stop the workout at once and consult a physician or doctor immediately.