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While entering menopause may seem like a challenging phase of life, it doesn't have to be viewed negatively. Instead, it can serve as an opportunity to embark on a journey of self-motivation and healthy changes, aiming to become the best version of oneself.

The lifestyle modifications made during middle age can have a lasting impact, contributing to overall well-being as we age. Adopting a balanced, nutritious diet and incorporating regular exercise can not only mitigate the risk of diseases but also aid in weight management.

What is Menopause?

Menopause, a natural stage in a woman's life occurring typically between the ages of 45 and 55, results from a decline in estrogen levels, leading to the cessation of egg release and menstrual periods. The transitional period preceding menopause is known as perimenopause, marked by various hormonal shifts that manifest as menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes, night sweats, anxiety, brain fog, joint pain, and weight gain.

Weight Gain & Reducing Calories

Caloric needs undergo a change with age, with an estimated 200 fewer calories required daily at 65 compared to the age of 45. This reduction stems from factors like the gradual loss of muscle mass, known as sarcopenia, occurring at approximately 8% per decade after 40.

Muscle, being more metabolically active than fat, influences energy expenditure. Additionally, decreased physical activity in older age further contributes to lower calorie requirements. Failure to adjust calorie intake accordingly may lead to fat storage and weight gain, exacerbated by stress-related comfort eating.

Menopause also alters the distribution of weight gain, shifting from the hips and thighs to the abdominal area due to declining estrogen levels. This change results in an apple-shaped body rather than the pre-menopausal pear shape, potentially increasing the risk of cholesterol elevation and heart disease.

Despite the challenges posed by perimenopause and aging, there is hope for managing weight gain through lifestyle adjustments. Implementing the following ideas can be beneficial:

  1. Scale down serving sizes to align with lower calorie needs while meeting recommended nutrient targets.

  2. Choose whole foods over heavily processed options to regain control over nutritional intake.

  3. Reduce alcohol consumption, as alcoholic drinks contribute calories without significant nutritional value.

  4. Limit caffeine intake, as it may worsen symptoms such as hot flushes and exacerbate stress-induced comfort eating.

  5. Address stress through relaxation techniques like walking, bathing, or meditation, minimising the impact of cortisol on abdominal fat storage.

  6. Seek support from partners, family, and friends to share experiences and explore potential medical treatments with a healthcare professional.

  7. Prioritise regular exercise, incorporating both cardio and resistance training to boost calorie burn, preserve muscle mass, and enhance overall well-being.

Embracing these lifestyle changes can empower women to navigate menopause with resilience and maintain a healthy, confident lifestyle.


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