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Weight Gain
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The association between weight gain in midlife and later life and menopause is oft-debated in healthcare circles. Some believe that weight gain experienced around the time of menopause is cause by aging and the overall slowing of metabolism. Others believe that the decrease in hormones and changes in hormone balances that come with menopause are the most significant factors of weight gain. It is safe to assume that combination of factors, both general factors and hormonal changes due to menopause, contribute to weight gain at this time.

A common weight change in menopausal women is where they carry their weight. Weight often moves to the hips and abdomen. The waist often thickens, muscle mass is lost, the breasts may lose fat and fat tissue elsewhere may increase. Because your metabolism is slowing as you age, your body no longer needs as much food as you once ate—it takes longer to burn the same amount of calories. If you are in a high-risk bracket for overweight or obesity, this time in your life is especially important for weight management. The best way to manage your weight in menopause is through exercise, which will also help to strengthen your bones. Discuss this with your doctor, especially if you are underweight or at risk for developing an eating disorder. Keep in mind that much of the weight shifts and thickening of the waist during menopause and midlife are natural processes of aging—ways of your body accommodating to its changing needs. It is okay to gain a little weight, or to fill out in your tummy or hips. The right amount of nutrients and a healthy, balanced diet are essential to preventing health complications at this time in your life. Now is not the time for risky fad diets or to develop disordered eating habits.

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