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Menopause and Weight Gain: Myths and Facts

What are the myths and facts concerning menopause and weight gain? This is a time during every woman’s life when having the facts is important, so that the right decisions and choices can be made. Some of the myths are debunked, and the facts given so that you understand exactly what will happen, and what does not have to occur.

Myth: All women gain weight during menopause

Fact: Every woman is different, and a weight gain may or may not happen at any time of your life. Most research shows that the biggest time for weight gain is between the ages of thirty-five and fifty-five, and while some women may be going through the change of life at this time some women do not experience this until their sixties. Some women lose weight, some gain it, and some do not experience any weight change at all.

Myth: A change in my body composition during this time means I will definitely gain weight

Fact: It is a fact that during middle age women tend to change in their body composition, and in some cases fat may replace muscle. This does not have to mean a necessary increase of weight though, and with a healthy diet and regular exercise you can prevent any weight gain or muscle loss. Exercise to keep your muscles healthy is important, otherwise you could end up with fat instead. Muscle tissue requires more calories to sustain, keeping you at a stable and healthy weight. A healthy diet high in nutrients but low in calories will also prevent you from gaining weight during this time.

Myth: Hormone Replacement Therapy during menopause will cause me to gain weight

Fact: Hormone Replacement Therapy, or HRT as many call it, is the use of artificial hormones to replace those no longer being produced by your body. Many women are scared to take these medications because of the myth that they cause a weight gain. These drugs do have some side effects and risks associated with them, but a weight gain is not one of them.

Menopause does not have to mean gaining weight, becoming inactive, or feeling unattractive. What many women believe that putting on a weight associated with the change of life may actually be a symptom of lifestyle choices or changes that have caused you to gain weight. Some women experience psychological problems like depression caused by the physical changes that aging brings. This emotional disturbance can cause some women to eat more, or to indulge in comfort foods to feel better. This may contribute to a weight increase because of the poor food choices and excessive calories, but this gain cannot be placed on your hormone production slowing down. In middle age you may see a drop in your normal metabolic rate, but regular exercise will normally correct this. Many women today find that the change brings them greater freedom, without any weight gain to hold them back or keep them on the sidelines of life. If you do start to notice a small weight gain discuss this with your doctor.