Weight Gain During the Menopausal Years

by : Francine Cook

Menopause is a time of a number of changes in a woman's body. It marks the end of the childbearing years, but the beginning of an adventure into a new phase in life. In menopause, all of the care you took to treat your body well in previous years will pay off: your strong bones and muscles will now keep you healthy in your middle years.

During menopause you are very likely to gain weight, regardless of whether or not you have carefully managed your weight before. This is a natural part of this step of your life as your body decreases its need for calorie intake. Quite a few women are distressed by this, though, and are looking for a way to combat this menopausal weight gain

Though weight loss is never easy, it is more challenging when you are facing menopause as well. Don't assume that this means you can't do it though. By focusing on healthy eating, and not on starving, you provide yourself with the nutrients that your body needs. As long as you are eating a proper diet, and not just counting calories, then your body should take care of itself and the weight should correct itself naturally.

Maintaining muscle mass after menopause will help prevent weight gain. Each year after their thirties, women tend to loose one third of a pound of muscle per year. By increasing and/or maintaining muscle mass, a woman is able to better metabolize her food. This in turn will keep a woman at a healthy weight.

Whether you are menopausal or not, there is a proven relationship between weight gain and the presence of stress. The relationship of stress to unwanted weight gain may in fact be even more significant after menopause. The good news is that regular exercise, in addition to benefiting good health in general, addresses both issues. Exercise is known to help reduce stress, and because it increases metabolism, calories are burned which helps control weight.

Although you might not want to gain five to ten extra pounds, it might actually be beneficial to your health if you are a menopausal woman. As long as you are still within the recommended weight range for your size, that few extra pounds may reduce some of the symptoms associated with the hormonal changes your body is undergoing. While it is never a good idea to eat unhealthy and become obese, menopause might be a good time to take a break from your diet and just enjoy being yourself.