Weight gain in menopause

AnneMA

Cathlete
Wondering if any other ladies out there have been surprised by their weight gain during menopause. My ob/gyn who is a couple years older than me, told me what to expect and even said, you'll gain some weight in your midsection and that's just the way it is, you can't really keep it from happening. I remember thinking to myself, that it wouldn't happen to me. I'm active and fit and eat healthfully. I'm 52 years old, 5'3" and I've been the same weight of about 105 my whole life and have never had a weight issue or fluctuated more than a pound or so.

Well, it happened. Been lucky enough to be gliding through menopause, except for the 4 lbs worth of weight has appeared on my hips and lower ab area. Granted, it's not the end of the world and I've donated the pants and jeans that just don't fit comfortably anymore and have purchased a size up. Don't look as good in a swim suit as I'd like, but I'll get over it. Anyone else have this experience? If so, did you attempt to change your workouts/food, etc. in order to get rid of it? Were you successful?
 

jamie vaughn

Cathlete
ME TOO!!!!:mad: and I'm only 47 in perimenopause. The only thing I found that helped was cutting out sugar as much as possible and the weight came off, even around the belly. But as soon as any sugar was back in the mix it all came back. Changing my workouts didn't really make a difference for me. I've also been taking black cohosh for a few months not realizing it can potentially cause weight gain so I've stopped that and will see what happens. I hope you find something that works for you.
 

lioness

Cathlete
I am 52 and will be 53 next month. I eat really good about 90% of the time. I don't eat processed foods. My main diet is chicken, salmon, veggies, fruit, eggs, almonds and some complex carbs. I have a cheat meal once a week.

I noticed more weight around my mid section in April/May of this year and decided to reduce my intake of cheese (it's probably the only thing left in my diet to cut out or reduce). I cut out my cheese stick at lunch and reduced the amount of cheese I ate overall. I also concentrated on doing heavy weight work. Not only isolation moves but using med balls, kettlebells, etc. for every workout (except when I run). It seems to be doing the trick. My clothes are fitting better and I feel like I've lost weight. I don't own a scale (I weight myself at mom's every once in a while) but I feel more lean and my midsection feels like it's getting back to normal. YIPPEE!!!

The only other advice would be to check your portions as well. Sometimes they can get out of hand.
 
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pugw

Cathlete
I agree that any excess wt since menopause shows up first in my waistline. I also agree that it could probably be eliminated with a very clean diet. I don't see me sporting a six pack any time soon. ;)
 

sme702

Cathlete
I have been in menopause for 10 years now at the age of 45. (Add a few years prior to that for the 'perimenopause' phase). So for 12 years I have fought weight gain in my midsection! It is true what the others say - diet helps tremendously! I have ate 'clean' now for about 5 months, a true clean with no 'white' stuff - sugar, flour, dairy, also alcohol. It HAS made a huge difference in wt gain, bloat, and overall health with increased muscle definition. Of course I'm not perfect and I do have a cheat meal once weekly :)
 

AnneMA

Cathlete
Based on these replies so far, it sounds like I need to make changes on the nutritional side. I think because I could always eat what I wanted, I am more loosey goosey with sugar, butter, etc. than maybe people who have had to watch their weight. I guess all bets are off now, ha. I know I could do better in reducing sugar for sure.
 

twinkletoes129

Cathlete
Yes, AnneMa, all bets are off now. And you really have to focus on tightening your diet up and eating clean with a low carb diet (no white sugars or white anything, and any carbs you do eat should be complex), major portion control, and for me the key is making my last meal of the day the lightest meal. I call it my "snack" meal. And that does the trick for me. And for me no snacking, the only time I break that rule is for little pieces of veggies. If I snack I tend to go overboard about it and not have self-control, as now with menopause approaching I have more of a ravenous appetite. I'm not necessarily hungry its just that I LOVE and crave food more now. But if I stick to this even that will eventually dissapate. And I'm back to my good tiny size that I'm used to. I will then have 1 or 2 cheat days a week on the weekends. One being better and I really try not to go overboard about it. Say add a nice full restaurant meal with a dessert. Or a day where I include a dessert. Here's sample meal plan that I have Mon to Friday:

1. BREAKFAST: Green Smoothie
• baby spinach or chard or kale or lettuce, baby carrots, sometimes cucumber or celery, sprouted ground flax seed, spirulina (for protein and iron), camu camu (for vitamin C to absorb the iron), open some probiotic capsules in it, sometimes I add royal jelly in honey (but if I'm really trying to lose I don't include it) some berries (I try to use ONLY berries as their low glycemic, and only a VERY little bit, IF I really want to bring down my weight fast I don't include berries at all), whey protein powder (I try for unflavored with no sugar added, sometimes I've used flavoured with Sucralose but the artificial sweetener causes me to have an insatiable need to EAT! horrible, or I try Optimum Nutrition's Natural Whey which is flavoured with sugar but it's at 3g and is very negligible, can barely taste the sweetness OR Costco's Whey though flavoured and with sucralose it's such a light dusting that I can handle it).
• this is a minimal carb meal

2. LUNCH: Half of a Small Beef Burritto
• has all the veggies in there and I pass on the rice.
• this is a minimal carb meal

3. DINNER: Small Slice of Frittatta with a tiny salad OR Tomato soup with 1 slice of Multigrain Toast
• the Frittatta made up of a base of eggs with tuna, diced onions, diced orange pepper, baby spinach, chopped tomatoes and sometimes some cheese and milk or 10% cream
• the Frittata meal is a no carb meal
• the Tomato soup meal is a carb meal because of the bread but low enough for me with just 1 slice

I don't try to go no carb as I don't think that's healthy over time and my body needs a bit of carb for fuel. But I do try to be wise about my carb choices. I rarely do potatoes or sweet potatoes as that's HIGH glycemic and my body KNOWS it!! lol!

If I keep to this meal plan from Monday to Friday I'm golden. My weight is perfect which is willowy, my muscles cut and buff, and my little tummy is practically almost pre-peri trim and buff. Then I can cheat "mildly" on the weekend and be fine. If I cheat with desserts 3 days in a row, I'm screwed!! :confused: If only 1 to 2 days (2 days is still pushing it for me) I'm golden!! :D I hope this helps!
 

AnneMA

Cathlete
Wowsers, thank for the great input. I'm vegetarian and also gluten free. Vegetarian by choice, gluten free because of a thyroid condition. So, I do tend to avoid some of the problem foods as a matter of course, but I also tend to have dessert type food more often than I should. I also eat sweet potatoes, for example, which I should back off of now due to the sugar. I love fruit, which is good, but also sugar. I think the few pounds that I gained was a nice slap of reality and now I need to buckle down.
 

michefit

Cathlete
Yes, AnneMa, all bets are off now. And you really have to focus on tightening your diet up and eating clean with a low carb diet (no white sugars or white anything, and any carbs you do eat should be complex), major portion control, and for me the key is making my last meal of the day the lightest meal. I call it my "snack" meal. And that does the trick for me. And for me no snacking, the only time I break that rule is for little pieces of veggies. If I snack I tend to go overboard about it and not have self-control, as now with menopause approaching I have more of a ravenous appetite. I'm not necessarily hungry its just that I LOVE and crave food more now. But if I stick to this even that will eventually dissapate. And I'm back to my good tiny size that I'm used to. I will then have 1 or 2 cheat days a week on the weekends. One being better and I really try not to go overboard about it. Say add a nice full restaurant meal with a dessert. Or a day where I include a dessert. Here's sample meal plan that I have Mon to Friday:

1. BREAKFAST: Green Smoothie
• baby spinach or chard or kale or lettuce, baby carrots, sometimes cucumber or celery, sprouted ground flax seed, spirulina (for protein and iron), camu camu (for vitamin C to absorb the iron), open some probiotic capsules in it, sometimes I add royal jelly in honey (but if I'm really trying to lose I don't include it) some berries (I try to use ONLY berries as their low glycemic, and only a VERY little bit, IF I really want to bring down my weight fast I don't include berries at all), whey protein powder (I try for unflavored with no sugar added, sometimes I've used flavoured with Sucralose but the artificial sweetener causes me to have an insatiable need to EAT! horrible, or I try Optimum Nutrition's Natural Whey which is flavoured with sugar but it's at 3g and is very negligible, can barely taste the sweetness OR Costco's Whey though flavoured and with sucralose it's such a light dusting that I can handle it).
• this is a minimal carb meal

2. LUNCH: Half of a Small Beef Burritto
• has all the veggies in there and I pass on the rice.
• this is a minimal carb meal

3. DINNER: Small Slice of Frittatta with a tiny salad OR Tomato soup with 1 slice of Multigrain Toast
• the Frittatta made up of a base of eggs with tuna, diced onions, diced orange pepper, baby spinach, chopped tomatoes and sometimes some cheese and milk or 10% cream
• the Frittata meal is a no carb meal
• the Tomato soup meal is a carb meal because of the bread but low enough for me with just 1 slice

I don't try to go no carb as I don't think that's healthy over time and my body needs a bit of carb for fuel. But I do try to be wise about my carb choices. I rarely do potatoes or sweet potatoes as that's HIGH glycemic and my body KNOWS it!! lol!

If I keep to this meal plan from Monday to Friday I'm golden. My weight is perfect which is willowy, my muscles cut and buff, and my little tummy is practically almost pre-peri trim and buff. Then I can cheat "mildly" on the weekend and be fine. If I cheat with desserts 3 days in a row, I'm screwed!! :confused: If only 1 to 2 days (2 days is still pushing it for me) I'm golden!! :D I hope this helps!
I say WOW too - I am 41 and am realizing I have to stick to a strict diet as well to stay lean. Do you happen to know how many calories this plan is? What do you consider a cheat meal? I know exactly what you mean about keeping things simple - as soon as I eat anything rich or calorie dense - I crave those foods and have a hard time weaning myself off. It takes tremendous discipline to stick to a meal plan. I am finding now in the summer it is so difficult with all the family events and occasions going on to keep the diet in check. I like you plan and may try it...
 

maddiesmum

Cathlete
Wowsers, thank for the great input. I'm vegetarian and also gluten free. Vegetarian by choice, gluten free because of a thyroid condition. So, I do tend to avoid some of the problem foods as a matter of course, but I also tend to have dessert type food more often than I should. I also eat sweet potatoes, for example, which I should back off of now due to the sugar. I love fruit, which is good, but also sugar. I think the few pounds that I gained was a nice slap of reality and now I need to buckle down.


Anne:

I wouldn't rush to exclude fruit from your diet. It will supply a healthy source of natural sweetness that will help curb the sweet tooth and make cutting out cakes/cookies.ice cream etc a lot easier. Fruit = fibre, vitamins and minerals.

Clare
 

JeanneMarie

Cathlete
I think it's important to point out that everybody's experience with menopause is different. I did not have to change anything in my diet and my body composition and weight has not changed. I am 57 and went through menopause about 4 years ago.

I continue to do the workouts I've always done (mainly Cathe) and I run 4-5 miles a day.

It doesn't have to be all doom and gloom. And you don't always have to alter your eating so drastically that it becomes almost impossible to enjoy yourself. Personally if I don't have some sugar (mainly fruit as I'm not a cake/pie/cookie/ice ceam lover) and some fats, I don't have enough energy to do my workouts and run. Not only that, I would stay hungry. Twinkletoes, I am so glad you found what works for you, and it's great that you shared what you eat, but to be honest I would be a starving maniac if that's all I ate. I can't even begin to imagine eating like that the rest of my life. Again, my hat is off to you for finding what works and sticking with it. :D

So much of what we experience going through menopause is genetic. I think doing what works for you is great, but I also think that everybody needs to realize that our bodies are all different and what works for one won't necessarily be what another person needs. Those of you not yet going through menopause... no need to fear it. Go into it with the idea that you are going to breeze through it and hopefully you will. Good luck to all!
 

AnneMA

Cathlete
Excellent point. And, let me say that menopause has not been an issue for me except for this one thing. I have been gliding through it, knock on wood. And, in the scheme of things going on in this world, 3 extra pounds is such a nothing. So, I agree, women who haven't been through it yet, don't fear it. And, I love not having a period. :)

It's nice to hear what others experiences are and to apply what might work and what you think you can live with. I know I can cut down on my sugar and still enjoy my life. I could not deny myself everything though, like a cocktail or a dessert, because I would not be a happy girl.
 

JeanneMarie

Cathlete
Excellent point. And, let me say that menopause has not been an issue for me except for this one thing. I have been gliding through it, knock on wood. And, in the scheme of things going on in this world, 3 extra pounds is such a nothing. So, I agree, women who haven't been through it yet, don't fear it. And, I love not having a period. :)

It's nice to hear what others experiences are and to apply what might work and what you think you can live with. I know I can cut down on my sugar and still enjoy my life. I could not deny myself everything though, like a cocktail or a dessert, because I would not be a happy girl.
Yes Anne! I agree! I don't deny myself treats either. I just moderate how much of the treat I eat. If I want a dessert, I get it but only eat a little bit. I enjoy a cocktail every Saturday night on our night out, but only one. I love a lemon drop martini, but I find that I am dehydrated the next morning and often have a headache. Both of those things get in the way of my running and working out, so I don't have cocktails any other time.
 

jamie vaughn

Cathlete
[QUOTE=JeanneMarie). to be honest I would be a starving maniac if that's all I ate. I can't even begin to imagine eating like that the rest of my life. Again, my hat is off to you for finding what works and sticking with it. :D

Oh thank goodness someone else feels this way as I assumed I must look like I'm eating for two with my current intake! I eat fairly "clean" but have 2 snacks during the day in between meals and have to have my fruit and greek yogurt as part of dinner so that i don't feel the urge to dive into an entire red velvet cake! Ok i'm exaggerating, i wouldn't eat the whole cake....:eek:
 

Justinef

Cathlete
A friend-of-mine-who-is-an-endocrinologist, once told me that menopause only affects weight distribution and rate of muscle catabolism. In itself, it doesn't alter our metabolism. HOWEVER, as we age and get stiffer, we tend to move less in general, even though we don't notice. In other words we become less twitchy, and get much calmer, generally due to us starting to 'cease up'.

The friend said the best thing we could do was yoga / stretching / foam rollering to loosen our joints, and weight lifting to offset the muscle catabolism.

(Obviously our metabolism changes as we lose or gain muscle, but this is a by-product of menopause.)

Fat is more obvious around the middle, plus a loss of muscle alters our body composition, leading to that middle-age spread.

Weights, yoga plus some cardio for a healthy heart - perfect.
 

desertambrosia

Cathlete
When I went through menopause a couple of autoimmune diseases reared their ugly head. One being Hashimoto's Hypothyroid. It seemed like it happened overnight. I looked in the mirror one morning and didn't recognize myself. With the help of an excellent endocrinologist I'm back to my lean mean self. Eating a mostly Paleo diet has helped immensely. Some women glide through menopause, others take two steps forward and one step back. When it's all over, it's wonderful.:D
 

AnneMA

Cathlete
I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's also about two years ago. It was discovered through bloodwork that my internist had me do, but I never had any symptoms. I'm on a low dose of Synthroid and she's asked me to back off of gluten. I get my annual labs done on Friday, so I'll be curious to see if my thyroid numbers have improved any.
 

Swimmer

Cathlete
I think it's important to point out that everybody's experience with menopause is different. ...

It doesn't have to be all doom and gloom. And you don't always have to alter your eating so drastically that it becomes almost impossible to enjoy yourself. Personally if I don't have some sugar (mainly fruit as I'm not a cake/pie/cookie/ice ceam lover) and some fats, I don't have enough energy to do my workouts and run. Not only that, I would stay hungry. Twinkletoes, I am so glad you found what works for you, and it's great that you shared what you eat, but to be honest I would be a starving maniac if that's all I ate. I can't even begin to imagine eating like that the rest of my life. Again, my hat is off to you for finding what works and sticking with it. :D

So much of what we experience going through menopause is genetic. I think doing what works for you is great, but I also think that everybody needs to realize that our bodies are all different and what works for one won't necessarily be what another person needs. Those of you not yet going through menopause... no need to fear it. Go into it with the idea that you are going to breeze through it and hopefully you will. Good luck to all!
Agree---my body needs the nutrients and carbs to fuel my workouts. I would be a cranky, starving, lightheaded manic if that was all I ate, plus I'd be giving up foods I enjoy (food is one of life's sensual pleasures---moderation is the key for me).

At this point in my life, I'm most concerned with being healthy and strong. Maintaining my bone mass, muscle mass, keeping my heart strong, and eating healthy are my goals. By focusing on those and not sweating the small stuff, I've not gained any weight.
 

fit44

Cathlete
I would have to agree with Jeanne, it's not all bad. You have to find what works for you.
I'm going through menopause and have gained weight, couldn't stay asleep for more than 4 hours at a time, moody, brain fog, tired all the time.
For fat loss, keto has been the answer for me. I have carb refeeds once or twice a week, (for several reasons), but I have to say, I feel incredible in ketosis. I have so much more energy staying in ketosis. I don't feel deprived because the foods on a keto diet are very rich, and the carb refeeds make it a very easy lifestyle. I can literally have my cake and eat it too!:cool: I just have to plan for it. ;)

I'm loosely following carb-backloading/carb nite and Happy Hormones.
I tried so many things to get the fat to budge, and this was the answer for me.
I am also taking bioidentical transdermal hormones, which has cured my insomnia.

Here is more on carb-backloading if anyone is interested.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dXDEPc38y08
 

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