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That’s a common complaint of women going through the menopause transition. Metabolism gets slower with age (many men get a beer belly in their 30s) and women in perimenopause tend to accumulate fat around the middle, even if their weight doesn’t go up. It’s a combination of decreased estrogen, decreased energy, and sometimes sleep difficulties around the change. The most important thing is that you do your best to avoid weight gain.
Eat smarter and exercise smarter.
Eat less carbs, drink water not sugary drinks (pop, lattes, cocktails), avoid processed foods (pretty much everything that comes in a box), and eat lots of vegetables, fruits, legumes, fish, lean meat (chicken and turkey, no beef), grains, and nuts.
There’s one word: “MOVE”, that you must remember and practice EVERY DAY. So, exercise at least 5 days a week, 30 minutes per day. Avoid injuries by cross-training and target the middle section, the core of your body, with proper resistance weight exercises to get rid of the muffin-top.
My journey through perimenopause was very much like any other woman’s, a combination of more bread than needed, less activity due to injury, fatigue, and inability to go to the gym, and one day I couldn’t fit into a beloved dress. That set me in motion to prove I could reverse the weight gain and, dare I dream, slim my waistline.
I did it!
Here’s how I did it:
- Reduced carbs – Now I eat less bread, pasta, and rice (once a week or less), most meals are meat-free, with intermittent fasting—for me no eating from 7PM to 9AM.
- Proper exercise – I hired a trainer and focused on balance, core strength, and muscle building because more muscle means higher metabolism and healthier bones.
- Enough sleep – I try to get 8 to 9 hours of sleep per night. If you wake up in the middle of the night, which I do at least once a night with a hot flash, don’t look at the clock, don’t turn the light on, don’t think about ANYTHING except your breath and you’ll fall back asleep within minutes. Because I follow this advice every night I cannot remember staying awake in the middle of the night tossing and turning…..
Watch Dr. Annette Santoro, OB/GYN Chair of the University of Colorado School of Medicine, talk about weight gain in menopause in this NAMS video.