Menopause: the time that marks the end of a woman’s menstrual cycle. The ovaries stop producing eggs. As a result, there is a decrease in estrogen and progesterone. It is usually diagnosed after 1 year without a menstrual period. Average age in the US is 51 years old. Common symptoms include hot flashes, sleep disturbances, night sweats, mood changes, and decreased libido.
Perimenopause: typically occurs 3-5 years before menopause. Estrogen and progesterone levels begin to fluctuate. Many begin to experience menopause symptoms.
As a result, blood glucose rises and the body makes more insulin to try to get the cells to take up glucose. Elevated insulin leads to trouble losing weight and many will report it easier to gain weight. There is also an inability to burn fat thereby leading to abdominal fat accumulation. Insulin resistance may also disrupt appetite to favor sugar cravings and increased appetite.
Hot flashes and night sweats lead to disrupted sleep. Many will be tired in the morning; unmotivated to get tasks done let alone go for that walk. The lack of concentration, memory issues and inability to focus are often described as brain fog.
Although there is a loss of muscle mass that is naturally a part of aging, it is compounded with a drop in estrogen. This loss of muscle mass leads to a drop in the metabolic rate. With the body burning fewer calories, weight gain ensues.
If you are experiencing one or more of the above symptoms associated with menopause – do not lose hope. It is possible to lose weight during menopause with the right medical guidance.