The fact that most women gain weight in midlife is probably no surprise to you. In fact, I’d bet you’ve gained at least a couple extra pounds in your midsection over the past couple of years if you are entering or experiencing menopause. Why is that? Why is this such a common phenomenon?
- Loss of muscle tissue with age dramatically alters our resting metabolism, and we burn less calories at rest than before. This loss is called sarcopenia – and to battle it, we must make sure that we are doing resistance/muscle strengthening exercises regularly and getting enough quality protein in our diet. As we age, we also don’t burn as many calories as we did with the same exercise as we were younger – the aging process makes us less efficient.
- The decrease of estrogen seems to play a big factor in this mysterious weight gain. In animal studies, estrogen appears to help control body weight. With lower estrogen levels, lab animals tend to eat more and be less physically active. Reduced estrogen may also lower metabolic rate, the rate at which the body converts stored energy into working energy. Lack of estrogen may also cause the body to use starches and blood sugar less effectively, which would increase fat storage and make it harder to lose weight.
- The general stress of aging parents, raising children, and caring for others (while usually while neglecting our own self-care – the irony.). Then, pile on top the stress of 2020 – there is not ONE person that is not chronically stressed right now!
Surely there has to be a solution…
The “menopause middle” does NOT have to be your inevitable reality any longer!!
The Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN) found that women with increased physical activity are…
- Leaner – increased skeletal muscle mass and decreased fat mass
- Weigh less on average.
- Have less “central adiposity” (abdominal/belly fat) even after going through menopause and midlife changes compared to those with little or no physical activity
Let this be your wake up call – physical activity is absolutely essential for healthy aging and weight maintenance. If you are just getting started, no worries. I developed the Galveston Diet MOVE mini-course to aide with your fitness efforts. All workouts can be done from the comfort of your own home and require little to no equipment. Light dumbbells and bands are encouraged but not required by any means. This mini-course will educate you on the importance of physical activity, especially for women, as they enter and experience midlife and menopause. It will also provide you with a layout of the Galveston Diet HIIT exercises and an opportunity to create your own if you so desire. There are video demos and instructions of me doing each exercise.