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What Is Perimenopause & How It Can Affect Your Weight | Truweight

Perimenopause is a transition that starts taking place a few years before menopause. During this time, the ovaries start making less estrogen.

It usually starts when a woman is in her 40s, but in some cases, it can start as early as 30s as well.

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It lasts until menopause kicks in, when ovaries stop releasing eggs. The drop in production of estrogen decreases during the last two years before menopause. They start experiencing menopause symptoms as well.

Duration of Menopause

In most cases, it lasts for an average time of 4 years, but in some cases, it may only last for a few months or continue for 10 years.

The condition ends when a woman stops having her periods for straight 12 months.

Symptoms of Menopause

Women may experience some of these symptoms during the menopause.

  • Tenderness of the breasts
  • Painful premenstrual syndrome
  • Low sex drive
  • Fatigue
  • Irregular periods
  • Dryness in the vaginal area or discomfort during sex
  • Little urination while coughing or sneezing
  • Frequent urination
  • Trouble during sleeping
  • Mood swings

Perimenopause and Weight Gain

Various reasons contribute to weight gain during perimenopause.  The extra kilos are very easy to gain and require a lot of efforts to lose. Even if you exercise a lot and go on diets frequently, it gets difficult to lose weight.

Weight gain during menopause is a very common phenomenon and takes place in 80 percent of the women who are going through this. Perimenopause is a phase in life when your body is going through some major changes, and it is beyond your control. It gets really stressful if you are gaining weight and finding difficult to lose it.

The matter of fact is weight gain due to this condition is totally different. This is the reason why it requires a different mechanism. The first thing to do is to understand what is causing this weight gain.

Unexplained Weight Gain during Perimenopause

1. Storage of Body Fat

Almost every woman experiences Perimenopause. Changing estrogen levels is one of the major reasons behind it. During this time, the estrogen levels fluctuate a lot and fall in comparison to other hormones.

The body starts struggling due to changes in the estrogen levels, and it becomes difficult for the body to maintain other hormones at normal levels.

Studies have suggested that lowering estrogen level during menopause is responsible for increased fat storage, weight gain and even, obesity and related metabolic disorders if remain unchecked [1]

2. Belly Fat

Belly fat is the most common thing that happens during this time. If you are under stress or have high blood sugar, it will only add to the problem. With the mood alteration owing to hormonal imbalance, the stress level also increases which results in fat deposition, especially around the belly area.

Dr. Elissa S. Epel, Ph.D., Yale psychology department, conducted a study and concluded that bad moods and higher stress levels due to cortisol hormone is responsible for fat accumulation centrally around organs [2] This becomes difficult for the body to cope up and creates an imbalance between sex hormones and fat deposition.

3. Bad Food choices

Your previous food choices will surely impact you during this time. The bad food choices are responsible for the emergence of many physiological issues like hormonal imbalance, glucose intolerance, and ultimately, the weight gain. The unhealthy consumption of packaged foods laced with excess salt, sugar, and additives causes fluctuation in the hormonal levels.

Also, excess sugar intake is directly connected with blood sugar levels and insulin levels. High intake of processed food will result in insulin resistance. This insulin resistance will then convert calories or excess glucose in your body into fat. As a result, causing weight gain. 

4. Weight Loss strategies can do more harm than good

Perimenopause creates an imbalance in the hormones which results in weight gain. Just following some in-trend diet plan or plan prescribed by an unauthorized, so-called dietitian, have the potential to make things worse. This will cause more harm than good.

Also, try not to give physical stress to your body as it is already struggling with hormone stress and imbalance in sex hormones.

How to Reduce Perimenopausal Weight Gain

As it is mentioned above, you need to understand that your body will not lose weight unless your imbalance hormone gets restored.

This cannot be done by cutting on carbohydrates or doing more exercise.

1. An anxious mind can make problems worse for you  

Try to listen to your symptoms as these are indicators. Accept the truth that the body is changing. Spend time and energy looking after your health, and you can tackle the difficulties without stress.

2. Try to keep yourself healthy both

Mentally as well as physically. This can solve your problem to some extent. Many women don’t exercise regularly, and this may be the right time to start gradually. Indulge in light exercises and also include weight-bearing exercise. Brisk Walking is a great idea and cycling, as well as swimming, is also good for your heart.

Yoga or meditation is a good medium to soothe your mind and imparting relief from stress amidst strengthening your will-power and thoughts.

Middle-aged woman cycling
Middle-aged woman cycling

3. Dieting and nutrition

Try to identify the nutrition that is deficient in your body. Consult a nutritionist or a doctor and get some necessary tests done. Blood tests show that your body can be deficient in vitamin B12 which gives your body energy.

Include a good amount of protein from plant and animal sources, omega-3 fats from nuts and seeds, micronutrients like vitamins and minerals, which correct and regulate the hormonal level.

Thus, helpful in reducing the weight that happens during perimenopause and menopause.

4. Quit smoking

It is the right time do so as smoking will do more harm than good to your body. As per the study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, it is seen that heavy smokers tend to have more weight than the light smokers as they opt for behavior that favors weight gain [3].

Also, inflammation caused due to smoking can lead to the production of free radicals which in turn cause oxidative stress. This is also the contributing factor for weight gain.

5. Take a good night’s sleep

Develop a habit of sleeping early. Make your bedroom a relaxed space where you can feel comfortable and sleep blissfully. Keep phones and TV outside your bedroom so that it doesn’t create a problem for you to sleep.

Taking a bath before sleeping can also soothe your body and help you sleep comfortably. It will be a good idea if you will cut on caffeine and instead go for a cup of green tea. You will soon realize the difference on your own.

Doing some natural therapy can also prove helpful. It will bring your mind at peace. Try doing yoga, meditation, or acupuncture as it helps in releasing stress.

Conclusion

You have to understand that Perimenopause is a gradual process. One can only make necessary changes to their lifestyle rather take the stress and feel anxious about it. Accept your body changes and try the above tips.

Consult our expert Truweight Nutritionist for more. The first Health consultation is on us. Click here to avail.