How Do I Avoid Weight Gain During Menopause?

As someone who hosts a health, fitness, and weight-loss podcast, I get a lot of questions from women. A big question lately has been, “How do I lose weight through menopause?” Now, I’m no expert in this subject! I wanted to chat with someone who is, so I got in touch with OBGYN Kimberly Russell, MD, at The Christ Hospital Health Network. 

Dr. Russell and I got a chance to chat about some of the questions that my podcast listeners had sent me – specifically about weight-loss during menopause

When answering the question, “It seems like I got thick in the middle when that was never an issue before. Is this related to menopause?” Dr. Russell says, “The answer is yes. That’s almost a textbook symptom that women can have. The average amount of weight gain is actually five pounds, which doesn’t sound like that much but that’s average. But a lot of it is central, and it’s basically because of metabolic changes that happen. So, as our estrogen levels fall, there are some physiologic things that happen that increase our fat and muscle ratio. Basically, it’s harder to have muscle bulk and it’s easier to have fat bulk, and where we gain our fat tends to be in our mid region. Because we have less muscle and more fat, we don’t need as many calories to maintain weight. So, that’s why people will have some weight gain.” 

Another question from a listener was, “Are certain foods better or worse during menopause?” Dr. Russell says, “There are certainly some better ones. Another thing we haven’t talked much about yet is bone changes that can happen in menopause. With decreased estrogen, you can have some bone turnover and some bone loss that we see more commonly, and there’s an accelerated bone loss in the first few years of menopause. So you really want to eat foods that are rich in calcium. All the dairy is a good idea, and some nuts are high in calcium. Increasing your calcium intake is really, really important for bone health.”

The full discussion can be seen/heard in the video and on my Pound This podcast. Some of the other questions discussed were:

Is this affecting my metabolism? Losing weight seems to take forever and diets that used to work don’t seem to work anymore? What can I do? What are tips for more energy during menopause? And, what are natural ways to limit symptoms? 

To sum up what I learned from this discussion: it basically boils down to a healthy lifestyle. Eating well and moving your body properly can decrease symptoms of menopause and increase your overall quality of life. 

Looking to learn more about menopause? Check out our Let's Talk women's health video series!

​You may have heard radio personality, Amanda Valentine, on B-105's Afternoon Show on weekdays from 3-7 p.m. She also publishes a blog titled Pound This. Amanda has struggled with weight issues her entire life, but in 2012 she started her weight loss journey and now she's lost over 100 pounds. What started as a three-month New Year's resolution challenge with co-workers has evolved into a passion for healthy living. As a paid partner of The Christ Hospital Health Network, Amanda is excited to share her healthy living tips, tricks, and information with Healthspirations.