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The Real Score about Perimenopause and Weight Gain

Editor's Note: This article has been recently updated with latest information and research studies.

Most women dread menopause. It’s often associated with mood swings, hot flashes, and weight gain. It’s mostly seen as a disease with its own set of symptoms.

However, menopause is a natural part of womanhood. More than a physical process that involves hormonal changes, it is a period of transition where you go from caring for others to caring for yourself. Women in their 20s and 30s typically care for other people. These may be their children, spouses, parents, or even coworkers if they hold key positions in the companies they either own or work for. When they reach their 40s, their bodies tell them to slow down and focus on themselves.

Menopause is your body’s way of telling you that you’re in the next stage of your evolution as a woman. Your hormones communicate this message to your whole body. Your reproductive system shuts down. Your child-bearing and child-rearing years are over. It’s time for you to take care of yourself and be your own woman!

If you see menopause as a disease or as something dreadful, you will miss this angle. You won’t see menopause for what it truly is —a transformative experience that every woman goes through. This lack of understanding may lead to anger, frustration, and stress. Thus, to pass through this stage of evolution with less pain and stress, you must stop seeing menopause as a disease and start seeing it as a phase in your life. Keep on reading and discover more interesting information on perimenopause and weight gain.

What is Perimenopause?

Menopause is a term that we’re all familiar with for a very long time. We all know that it’s the time when a woman ceases to menstruate and bear children. On the other hand, perimenopause is a fairly new term. From all the research I’ve done, I’ve found that it has existed for only about 30 years in medical literature. It literally means “near menopause.” It’s the phase in which the body prepares to become non-reproductive.

In previous generations, fewer women experienced the symptoms we now associate with perimenopause. In more recent years, more and more women experience discomfort during this period so much so that the medical community had to come up with a new term for this condition.

Every Woman Experiences Perimenopause and Menopause Differently

You might have observed an older woman who was going through menopause and thought that you would have to deal with the same problems that she had. That’s not necessarily the case.

Some women gain weight. Some have a really hard time with hot flushes. Some have trouble sleeping. Some deal with emotional issues such as anxiety. Some have sexual dysfunction. Notice that I kept saying “some” but not “all.” Every female body reacts differently as it goes through this phase.

Again, this gives us a reason to look at menopause (and also perimenopause), not as a disease, but simply as a phase in our lives. If it were a disease, we would all have the same symptoms. Your perception regarding menopause has a huge part to play in how you approach it, and seeing it in the light of truth helps you overcome any negative emotion you may have about it.

Another reason why we experience perimenopause differently is that our health statuses vary to some degree. Your ability to endure stress and to adapt to change may not be the same as mine. However, our ability to adapt change and endure stress depends on our overall health and physical strength. Thus, the healthier you are going into perimenopause, the fewer symptoms you will have.

Why Do Perimenopausal Women Gain Weight?

Some women blame their weight gain on the “inevitable” slowing down of their metabolism once they go through perimenopause. However, in my experience as a clinical nutritionist, I’ve found that the apparent slowing down of my patients’ metabolism isn’t really due to their age. It’s largely caused by their inability to adapt and cope with change, which causes physical and emotional stress. Stress, as you probably know, causes weight gain.

There’s another type of stress that could be causing weight gain among perimenopausal women. This is referred to as glycemic stress.This happens when we eat too much carbs. When our blood sugar spikes too frequently, it can lead to insulin resistance and high blood sugar. Insulin resistance is a pathological condition in which your cells no longer respond to insulin.In response to this condition, your pancreas keeps producing more insulin, thus raising your blood insulin level. That’s how a person develops diabetes.

Now, excess blood sugar gets stored as fat. A high blood insulin level has an effect on estrogen and progesterone. It also affects your bone health. It could also lead to sleep issues, sugar cravings, fatigue, mood swings, and a host of other health conditions.

Emotional stress can also induce glycemic stress. How? It kicks your body’s fight-or-flight response into high gear. One of the things that your body does when it perceives a threat, real or otherwise, is that it releases more insulin into your blood stream so you’ll have the energy to either fight or flee. As I have just discussed above, excess insulin in the blood has adverse effects on your body.

Emotional stress can also cause you to overeat. Many women use food to relieve stress and soothe themselves. This behavior is commonly known as emotional eating. If you find yourself turning to food whenever you’re stressed, I have a free resource on my blog that can help you stop emotional eating in four easy steps.

How to Prevent Weight Gain During Perimenopause?

Like I mentioned above, a woman’s metabolism slows down during perimenopause, not because it’s part of her aging process, but because perhaps she can’t adapt to the changes she has to go through as she enters the next phase of her life.

I’m about to share some tips that will help you take control of your weight and your life as you go through perimenopause and menopause. I hope you will follow them because they will be of tremendous help to you.

1. Change your perception about perimenopause(and also menopause). Stop seeing it as a disease or a syndrome. It’s a normal phase in every woman’s life. It’s the time in your life in which you need to shift your focus back to yourself.

2. Develop new relationships as a woman—not as a partner, a worker, or a mother. Also, nurture the relationship that you have with yourself, focusing on self-care and improvement. This is the time for you to do things that are in your best interest, such as changing your diet for the better, getting enough exercise, changing your thought patterns and mindset so that you have a positive outlook in life. Make time to do the things you need to do to be healthier.

3. Maintain a normal blood sugar and insulin level. Don’t worry. This doesn’t have to be complicated or difficult. Just follow these tips:

  • Eat real food. Eliminate* processed food from your diet.
  • Reduce* your carb intake. Avoid refined carbs such as pasta, grains, sugar, etc.
  • Increase* your fat intake, but make sure you consume healthy fat such as olive oil, butter, and avocado.
  • Eat six cups of vegetables per day.
  • Eat a healthy amount of protein three times per day. A healthy serving of protein is about the size of your palm.

If you need help correcting your diet, I have a program that will help you ensure that you’re eating the right kinds of food. It will also help you overcome food cravings, manage stress, sleep better, and achieve total health.

4. Eliminate* the stressors in your life. Do you have a relationship that no longer serves you? It’s time to let it go! Are people around you not ready to evolve with you? Let them be and let them go. If you’re in a negative frame of mind, change your thoughts as soon as possible because your own thoughts can cause you a lot of stress.

5. Get moving! Your body is made to move, so get some exercise. Find a type of exercise that you like doing, something that gives you joy and doesn’t cause you any pain. It may be as simple as taking a 20-minute walk. You can also go to the gym or dance.

How do you stop gaining weight during perimenopause?

As you have seen, it is possible to stop gaining weight during perimenopause. One of the most important things you can do is eat a healthy diet, one that is rich in fresh fruits and vegetables. You should also maintain an adequate intake of water, as dehydration can actually favor the weight gain process. Eliminate* stress and work on relaxation, as chronic stress can help gain a few pounds. Last, but not least, you should get active. Physical activity is one of the most efficient weapons against the weight gain process, regardless of your age. Practice a sport that you like and it will not feel difficult at all.

Conclusion

If you’re going through perimenopause, you should realize that there is nothing wrong with you. All women go through this process. It’s simply your body’s way of telling you that you’re on the next stage of your evolution and that it’s time for you to take better care of yourself. Learn to manage your eating habits and your lifestyle so you don’t gain weight. Be as healthy as you can be, and you will have fewer perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms.

Menopause is a normal part of a woman’s life. However, most women dread it. They often associate it with mood swings, hot flashes, and weight gain. It’s mostly regarded as a disease or a condition with its own set of symptoms. This misunderstanding causes undue emotional stress and negative emotions to those who are going through this phase.

This article discusses what menopause and perimenopause really are. It also delves into the topic of perimenopausal weight gain and offers helpful tips to avoid it. It seeks to help women understand perimenopause and menopause so that they can continue to live healthy, satisfying lives even while going through this transformative but challenging milestone.

As you have seen, there is a strong connection between perimenopause and weight gain – you need to be aware of such changes and take the necessary steps to avoid gaining weight.

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