Menopause and Weight Gain: Why It Happens & How to Manage It

Menopause and Weight Gain: Why It Happens & How to Manage It

Menopause, a natural biological transition marking the end of a woman’s reproductive years, is often accompanied by a myriad of symptoms, including hot flashes, mood swings, and weight gain. While the cessation of menstrual cycles is the hallmark of menopause, the weight gain that often accompanies it can be perplexing and distressing for many women.

Understanding why menopause triggers weight gain and learning effective strategies to manage it is crucial for maintaining overall health and well-being during this transitional phase of life. Read on to learn more.

Understanding Menopause and Weight Gain

Menopause typically occurs in women between the ages of 45 and 55, although it can occur earlier or later. During this time, oestrogen production fluctuates, which may affect the individual’s insulin resistance. Reduced oestrogen levels can also cause fat to be stored at your waist instead of your hips and thighs.

Additionaly, ghrelin and leptin, hormones that regulate hunger, may be impacted by menopause. As such, menopause can affect an individual’s appetite, leading to weight gain.

That said, menopause itself is not necessarily the primary cause of weight gain. Factors such as ageing, genetics, and lifestyle patterns play a role in weight gain as well.

Managing Menopausal Weight Gain

While menopausal weight gain may seem inevitable, there are several strategies women can employ to manage their weight and promote overall health during this stage of life.

1. Prioritise Nutrition

A balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats is essential for managing weight during menopause.

Focus on portion control and mindful eating to avoid overeating and limit consumption of processed foods, sugary snacks, and high-fat meals. Incorporating foods rich in calcium and vitamin D can also support bone health, which becomes increasingly important as estrogen levels decline.

2. Stay Active

Regular physical activity is key to maintaining a healthy weight and offsetting the metabolic changes associated with menopause. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking, swimming, or cycling, each week, along with muscle-strengthening activities on two or more days per week.

Exercise not only burns calories but also helps preserve muscle mass, improve metabolism, and reduce stress.

3. Manage Stress

Chronic stress can contribute to weight gain by triggering the release of cortisol, a hormone associated with increased appetite and fat storage, particularly around the abdomen. Practice stress-reducing techniques such as meditation, yoga, deep breathing exercises, or spending time in nature to help manage stress levels and promote relaxation.

4. Get Adequate Sleep

When your sleep is poor, you’re more likely to make poor food choices and overeat.

On the other hand, quality sleep helps regulate hormones, control appetite, and support overall health. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night and establish a relaxing bedtime routine to promote restful sleep. Avoid caffeine and electronic devices before bedtime, and create a comfortable sleep environment free of distractions.

5. Seek Support

Navigating menopause and weight gain can be challenging, both physically and emotionally. Reach out to friends, family, or support groups for encouragement, advice, and camaraderie. Consulting with a healthcare professional, such as a doctor or registered dietitian, can also provide personalized guidance and support tailored to your individual needs and goals.


Menopause is a natural and inevitable stage of life for women, but it doesn’t have to mean resigning oneself to weight gain and diminished health. By understanding the hormonal changes that occur during menopause and adopting healthy lifestyle habits, women can effectively manage their weight and promote overall well-being during this transitional phase. With proper nutrition, regular exercise, stress management, adequate sleep, and support from healthcare professionals and loved ones, women can navigate menopause with confidence and vitality, embracing this new chapter of life with grace and resilience.

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