Menopause and weight gain

After 40, many of us watch our bodies put on extra weight. Indeed, on average, our bodies gain a pound a year when we are in our 40s.


Sonia Chartier

15 October 2014

Many women go on extreme diets to fight this. However, these are often ineffective, because diet is not the only culprit behind weight gain during menopause.  The weight gained during menopause is also more apparent: instead of being distributed throughout the body, it is held in the belly area, and once it settles in, it is difficult to lose.

Why the weight gain?

The hormonal changes women experience during menopause cause food to be processed differently. Physiological metabolism (the speed at which the body burns calories) decreases, which means the body stores more calories than it burns. The situation is made worse by lower energy expenditure (less physical activity, less exercise). On average, women burn 100 to 200 fewer calories every day during menopause.

When menopause begins, cortisol production increases, especially in women experiencing stress. And when cortisol levels are high, the body stores fat… in the belly.

Small steps

Many women are waging a battle against weight gain. Here are a few tips to help you stop the pounds from piling on and staying on:

  • Diet is very important
    • Opt for a balanced, protein-rich diet. Protein helps you maintain a healthy weight, because it stabilizes blood sugar levels and makes you feel full.
    • Eat fewer starchy vegetables and choose fruits that are low in sugar, like pears and berries.
    • Eat up to 30 g of dietary fibre every day. This will regulate blood sugar and bring ghrelin levels as low as 25%; this hormone, produced by the stomach, stimulates appetite.[1]
    • Extreme diets are hard on the body. They may help you lose a lot of weight, but you are likely to gain it all back and then some. Basically, when all is said and done, you’ll have even more extra pounds to deal with. A balanced diet is a far more effective and healthy option.
  • Stay strong!
    Toned muscles burn more calories. Muscle mass gradually decreases with menopause and is replaced by fat. Strengthening your muscles is a more effective way to maintain a healthy weight than a strict diet. Furthermore, muscle-building burns calories for up to two hours after the workout. Maintaining muscle mass is important if you want to stop your metabolism from slowing down.
  • Exercise
    Exercise is the best way to burn calories. Swimming, biking and walking are great activities. 
  • Plant-based remedies
    Many women consider plant-based remedies to help them lose weight. It is important to remember that plant-based remedies cannot lose the weight for you; they can only help you stick to a controlled, low-calorie diet.
  • Whey: A super food!
    A healthy digestive system is very important for weight loss. Molkosan aids digestion and it is a great source of organic minerals, and the more nutrients we get from our food, the less hungry we feel!

Remember that weight gain can have a profound effect on your health and lifestyle. Extra pounds and difficulty losing weight can also be symptoms of an underlying health problem, such as low thyroid function, which should be treated by a doctor.


[1] St-Pierre DH, Rabasa-Lhoret R et al. Fiber intake predicts ghrelin levels in overweight and obese postmenopausal women, Eur J Endocrinol. 2009 Jul;161(1):65-72.

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