All bodies are different and there are many factors that interfere with each person’s physical condition. However, a healthy weight is the weight that makes you feel comfortable and strong and it’s within the recommended BMI range. Maintaining a healthy weight is also important to reduce the risk of certain health conditions (1).
Why can maintaining a healthy weight in menopause become a challenge?
Menopause means big changes. It is not just the end of your periods, the drop in oestrogen and progesterone levels can also be linked to weight gain and fat accumulation around the abdomen, hips, and thighs (2).
This does not happen overnight; the weight is gained gradually(3). However, there are other causes, such as ageing, which leads to a loss of muscle mass and an increase in fat. This in turn slows down the rate at which the body uses calories (so-called metabolism) (2).
In addition to the hormonal factor, there are changes during the menopause that can cause weight gain, including (3):
- Prolonged period of stress.
- Sleep disorders.
- Changes in family structure.
- Stopping smoking
- Frequent drinking.
- Medication such as antidepressants.
Recommendations for maintaining a healthy weight during menopause
Between the ages of 40 and 50, even if you continue with the same level of physical activity and eating habits, you are likely to gain weight (2). This is because several factors influence weight gain. Therefore, the best way to achieve weight reduction or to maintain an appropriate weight is to make lifestyle changes. We recommend the following (3, 4):
To achieve a healthy weight, increase your physical activity
To avoid gaining weight once you have reached menopause, you should increase the amount of physical activity you do. To do this, we recommend (3,4):
- Exercise regularly: try to include weight-bearing leg activities or weight-bearing routines such as walking, running, or dancing.
- Complete 30 minutes of exercise five times per week.
- Strength training can help prevent muscle loss. Do it twice a week, supplementing the rest of the days with aerobic exercise.
Eat a balanced diet
As for your diet, we recommend (3,5):
- Talk to a doctor or nutritionist before taking nutritional supplements or making a change in your diet.
- Eat a balanced diet: when you reach the age of 50, you need to cut at least 200 calories per day.
- Avoid additional sources of calories that do not provide nutrition, such as sugary drinks and soft drinks.
- Avoid extremely low intake to produce weight loss, as these decrease muscle mass and slow metabolism.
- The Mediterranean diet is a good option for maintaining a healthy weight. It also reduces waist circumference and the likelihood of developing certain diseases (5).
- Consider vegan and vegetarian diets, as they are good options for achieving a healthy weight. They also help to reduce symptoms such as hot flushes (5).
- It is also advised to consume quality protein, including dairy products and soluble fibre (5).
- Consume green tea; it can help burn fat (5).
In addition to exercise and control of your diet, you can consider these recommendations (4, 5):
- Avoid drinking alcohol.
- Do not smoke.
- Keep to a sleep routine and get enough sleep.
- Try psychotherapy, which reduces insomnia, stress and thus helps to avoid weight gain.
- Try acupuncture (research has shown that it improves nocturnal symptoms and may also increase oestrogen levels, which improves sleep and metabolism).
- Find a hobby that gives you a way to relieve stress.
- Remember the importance of vaccinations, being healthy helps you to maintain a healthy weight.
- Practice relaxing activities such as yoga, tai chi or meditation.
In conclusion, taking an interest in a healthy lifestyle will lead you to maintain a healthy weight. To find out what your ideal weight is, there are weight calculators that can help you determine if you need to lose weight.
- Medical News Today. How much should I weigh for my height and age? BMI calculator and cha. [Internet] 2021 [cited 2023 Jan 30]. Available from: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323446
- Mayo Clinic. Menopause weight gain: Stop the middle age spread. [Internet. United States. 2021[cited 2023 Jan 30]. Available from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/womens-health/in-depth/menopause-weight-gain/art-20046058
- Healthline. Weight Gain and Menopause. [Internet] 2017[cited 2023 Jan 30]. Available from: https://www.healthline.com/health/menopause/weight-gain#tips
- National Health System. Menopause – Things you can do. [Internet]. United Kingdom. 2022 [cited 2023 Jan 30]. Available from: https://www-nhs-uk.translate.goog/conditions/menopause/things-you-can-do/?_x_tr_sl=en&_x_tr_tl=es&_x_tr_hl=es&_x_tr_pto=sc
- Healthline. Tips for Losing Weight Around Menopause (and Keeping It Off). [Internet] 2021 [cited 2023 Jan 30]. Available from: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/lose-weight-in-menopause#diet-plans-to-try