What Can I Do About Menopause Weight Gain?

June 14, 2022 3:02 pm Published by

menopause weight gain

Women going through perimenopause and entering menopause experience a number of health-related changes. One common complaint? Menopause weight gain.

Weight gain after menopause is common for a number of reasons, including changing hormone levels, diminishing muscle mass and decreased physical activity in some women. In fact, it’s common to gain a pound or two each year after menopause.

But the fact that it’s common doesn’t mean it has to be your reality. There are steps you can take to keep the extra pounds off during the menopause transition.

Why Menopause Can Lead to Weight Gain

Menopause, which happens when a woman’s menstrual cycle stops, is associated with a rapid decrease in estrogen in the body. Decreased estrogen levels cause many of the symptoms people associate with menopause, such as hot flashes or trouble sleeping.

That’s because estrogen regulates many different bodily functions, including how the body stores fat. When estrogen levels dip following menopause, women may struggle with increased belly fat and have difficulties maintaining a normal weight overall.

Aging in general can also make it more difficult to maintain a healthy weight. That’s because we lose muscle mass as we get older, which is often replaced by fatty tissue.

How to Maintain a Healthy Weight After Menopause

If you find yourself gaining weight following menopause, you may wonder how to avoid it. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution, but healthy lifestyle habits are where you should begin.

At any stage of life, but especially as a menopausal woman, it’s important to focus on habits that help keep your body functioning at its best. That includes getting at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week as recommended by health experts, eating a balanced diet focused on fruits and vegetables, prioritizing quality sleep and finding healthy ways to limit stress.

You may wonder what sleep and stress have to do with weight. Well, there’s a noted connection between a lack of sleep and weight gain—and it can become more difficult to get enough sleep during perimenopause if you experience hot flashes and night sweats. Practice good sleep hygiene by establishing a nighttime routine, keeping the bedroom cool and dark and keeping electronics out of the bedroom.

Stress is also associated with weight gain. When you’re experiencing excess stress or are chronically stressed, your body is under intense pressure, which can cause your metabolism to go haywire. You’re also much more likely to turn to unhealthy eating habits when stressed or anxious. That’s why it’s important to find meaningful ways to handle the stress in your life, such as exercise, meditation or hobbies.

What about that pesky belly fat? You’ve probably heard at some point before that you can’t spot-treat parts of the body, and that’s true for menopause-related belly fat, too. To promote weight loss throughout the body and tone muscle, build an exercise routine that includes both cardiovascular exercise (such as walking, jogging or swimming) and strength training (such as lifting weights or performing bodyweight exercises).

What to Eat After Menopause

If you’ve already been eating a healthy diet, that’s great! But if not, it’s not too late to make meaningful changes.

Follow the basics of a balanced, heart-healthy diet: fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables, add a small serving of lean protein and eat plenty of whole grains.

You can also add in some foods that can be beneficial while you experience menopause symptoms. Aim for a couple servings of fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines) each week, which contain omega-3 fatty acids, and consider eating low-fat dairy products, such as milk and yogurt, for a healthy dose of calcium and vitamin D, which protect bone mass.


Have a question or concern about your health after menopause? Magnolia Regional Health Center provides women’s health services for women of every age and stage of life.

Magnolia Women’s Center
3714 Hwy 72 W.
Corinth, MS 38834
(662) 293-1575

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This post was written by Magnolia Regional Health Center