DIET AND FITNESS:

How to Lose Weight After
Menopause-A Comprehensive
Review
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February 22, 2010, last updated February 15, 2013

By Muireann Prendergast, Contributing Columnist and Susan
Callahan, Associate Editor


HOW TO BEAT THE MIDDLE-AGE SPREAD

Are you post-menopausal? Have you noticed a steady weight
gain since your periods stopped? Then read on. Many
women, some of whom never have had weight problems in
their 20s and 30s, struggle with what is often referred to as
“the middle-aged spread” after menopause.

A 2008 Mayo Clinic report suggests that the issue generally
begins to arise in the premenopausal period with women
gaining on average a pound a year during this time with the
problem escalating afterwards. Moreover, this weight, which
generally accumulates around the hip and thigh area, is
generally hard to shift.

A 2003 study carried out by researchers at Oregon Health
and Science University in Portland (OHSU) suggests that
12% more women are overweight during this period of their
lives than in their teens, 20s and 30’s. (Read more about the
ideal weight for women of different heights.)


WHAT IS THE MIDDLE-AGE SPREAD?


Do hormones cause weight gain after menopause? This 2003
OHSU report suggests that the decrease in ovarian hormones
after menopause is an important factor in this weight gain.
These hormones, chiefly estrogen and progesterone,
diminish once the body stops producing eggs.

When Oregon researchers studied monkeys with such
reductions in their hormone levels, they noted that their
appetite increased up to 67%.  This appetite spike caused ra
5% average increase in body weight gain over the 6 week
study. Researches believe that this is an important discovery
for women as, reproductively speaking, humans and moneys
are similar.

However, the 2008 Mayo Clinic report reminds us that the
culprit for weight gain after Menopause might not be
altogether hormone-based and that there are lifestyle
changes during this period that might also be a factor in
weight gain. The report suggests that during the midlife
period people are generally much more sedentary, eating
more and exercising less. The report however does also
remind us that during the midlife period we have less muscle
than fat and as a result a
slower metabolism as muscle burns
more calories than fat.


10 WAYS TO BATTLE THE MIDDLE-AGE SPREAD

























There are a number of ways to battle  midlife weight gain.
Weight gain is more than an aesthetic issue. It's a serious
health concern.  Those who gain weight after menopause
are more prone to illnesses such as breast cancer than their
slimmer counterparts. This is borne out by a 2006 report
carried out by researchers at Harvard Medical School report
and published in the Journal of the American Medical
Association (JAMA) which found that women who gained
wait during and after menopause are at a significantly
greater risk for breast cancer.

1. A BALANCED DIET
Oregon researchers conclude that while postmenopausal
weight gain is difficult to shift, this can be achieved through
the old fashioned approach of a healthy, balanced, high
fiber, low calorie, diet.

2. WATCH PORTION SIZE
Along with watching food quality, it is critical to watch the
quantity of food consumed, if you are weight watching. Keep
portions small.

3. EXERCISE REGULARLY
While the midlife period may be more sedentary, as people
enter retirement and children have grown up, it is important
that regular exercise be incorporated into the new lifestyle.
Daily walks are not only enjoyable, but an effective way of
keeping down the pounds. They also help build up some of
the muscle that is depleted during the midlife period

4. CUT DOWN ON ALCOHOL
A study published by the journal Menopause in 1997 found a
link between alcohol and increased fatty tissue after
Menopause. It’s a good idea to cut down on your alcohol
units if you are worried about weight gain.

5. DRINK WATER
Water is not only an effective way to keep the body hydrated
and healthy but many studies have shown that it can also
suppress the appetite and reduce the need to indulge in food
cravings.

6. KEEP A FOOD DIARY
A 2008 study carried out by researchers at Kaiser
Permanente's Center for Health Research in Portland,
Oregon, over 6 months found that those who kept a food
diary lost twice as much weight as those who did not. The
study suggests that such a diary makes people more
accountable for what they consume.

7. PRACTICE YOGA
A 2005 study led by researchers at the Fred Hutchinson
Cancer Research Centre in Seattle found that yoga can be an
effective way to reduce weight in middle age. The study
concluded that those who practiced yoga regularly gained
three fewer pounds than non-practitioners over the ten
years between 45 and 55 years.

8. EAT LEAN BEEF
A 2008 study carried out at the University of Illinois at
Urbana-Champaign found that lean beef is an effective way
to shed weight during the mid life years. 24 overweight
women eating between 9 to 10 ounces of beef on a 1700
calorie a day diet lost more fat and less muscle than those
consuming the same number of calories but less protein.

9. SLEEP WELL
Does losing sleep after menopause cause weight gain? Many
women suffer from insomnia after menopause. A 2006 study
carried out at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland,
Ohio, found that participants who slept 5 hours a night were
32% more likely to experience a weight gain of 33 pounds
or more and 15% more likely to be obese over the course of
the 16 year old study, compared with those who slept 7
hours a night on average. Lack of sleep is said to reduce the
body’s capacity to metabolize carbohydrates resulting in
weight gain.

10. RELAX
Numerous studies have found that the over-production the
stress hormone "
cortisol" can trigger the accumulation of fat
around the stomach area. Perform whatever activity relaxes
you most regularly, be it reading a book or going for a long
walk. (Read more about the release of
stress hormones and
natural remedies that help to manage this problem.)

[Update:
During menopause, the amount of stress hormones such as
cortisol increases and remains detectable in the fat around
your abdomen, studies show. A 2012 study from Yamagata
University School of Medicine in Japan found that post
menopausal women had "significantly" higher levels of
cortisol as compared with pre-menopausal women.]

Related:
Foods That Shrink Your Waist/ Does It Matter When You
Eat? /  Stop Overeating with These Tips/ Why Your Waist
Size Matters to Your Health / Fast Walkers Live Longer
/
What to Eat for Great Eye Health / How to Exercise At
Home to Lose Weight /How Much Is Too Much Salt? /Sugar-
The Disease Connection / Are Diet Sodas Bad for Your
Health? / Ideal Breakfast for Diabetics / Ideal Breakfast for
Arthritis /Healing Foods Links / / Foods That Lower
Cholesterol/ VLDL-The Other Cholesterol/ Foods That
Reduce Blood Pressure

Index of Articles on
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Snoring Linked to
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How to Stop Bad Breath

BRAIN HEALTH



DIETS AND FITNESS

HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH
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INFLAMMATION INSIDE
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WHY WE GO SOFT IN THE
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>VEGETARIAN RECIPES


MY HEART ATTACK

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