How To Prevent Weight Gain During MenopausePosted: Jan 13 in Medical Weight Loss News, Weight Management Strategies by Dr. Lazarus
The menopause years pose many challenges with regards to weight management. As women transition in to menopause, there is often an increase in weight and a corresponding increase in central fat. But why does this happen? Some fascinating new studies have helped to shed light on this.
In one study, rats were randomized in to 2 groups: all had a surgical procedure, but one group had a sham surgery, the other had the ovaries removed (oophorectomy – we’ll call them OO rats). After surgery, their eating and exercise patterns were followed along with their weight.
Following surgery, the OO rats dropped their levels of spontaneous activity by 90%! This suggests that lower energy expenditure is a result of estrogen deficiency, not a result of aging. A similar study in cats showed that it was necessary to drop calories eaten by 33% to avoid gaining weight after oophorectomy. The weight gain and redistribution of fat centrally was largely due to decreased physical activity.
What can we learn from these studies? If you are not yet in menopause, now is the time to get active! Getting into habits of weight-bearing and resistance training NOW will help you continue those activities through menopause. Or, if you are already in menopause, adding weight-bearing and resistance type activities will help prevent the increase in central body fat while keeping your heart and bones strong at the same time! Interestingly, in these animal studies, estrogen replacement (with estradiol, but not with plant-based estrogens) resulted in near-complete recovery of previous levels of physical activity.