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How Menopause Slows Your Metabolism

Menopause starts in three stages:

perimenopause, menopause, and post-menopause

Menopause happens in three stages – perimenopause, menopause, and post-menopause. During these three stages, hormone levels drop and/or fluctuate, and symptoms including hot flashes, insomnia, mood swings, and weight gain can happen. On average, menopause can last anywhere from 2-10 years – with symptoms prevalent throughout.

Because metabolism is affected by these hormonal changes, many women find that they begin to gain weight during this time. The metabolic process includes all of the biochemical reactions in your body that utilize things like nutrients and oxygen to create energy. There are many different factors that can impact how quickly or slowly your metabolism “works.” This metabolic rate is measured in calories.

In several animal studies, estrogen is linked to helping control body weight. Lab animals tend to eat more and be less physically active when they have lower estrogen. This reduced estrogen may lower the resting metabolic rate – or the rate at which the body converts energy when it is at rest and not exercising. It’s possible that the same thing happens in humans during menopause, when estrogen levels drop.

risks of lowered metabolism

When women are younger, the body tends to collect weight around the hips and thighs, called gynoid fat distribution. As menopause hits, women begin to gain weight around their midsection – weight that can be stubborn to shed. This redistribution can also affect pulmonary and cardiovascular health, increasing risk of strokes, heart attacks, and more.  More truncal fat than gynoid fat is thought to be worse for overall health.

Weight gain is associated with sleep apnea as well, which is a condition that makes it difficult to breathe deeply while sleeping and affects your quality of sleep. Rest is essential to many functions of the body – most notably immune system function, which can make you susceptible to illness.  Energy and cellular function are heavily dependent upon the detoxification that takes place during restful sleep. Hormone changes not only change weight, but also sleep patterns themselves.

Learn more about how to improve sleep during menopause by reading this helpful blog!

how to combat lowered

metabolism and weight gain

A lack of sleep can also contribute to weight gain. Avoid heavy meals and blue light screens in the evenings, and try to get between 7-9 hours of sleep each night. It is not cool or proof of being a hard-worker if you sleep less than 7 hours.  If your sleep doesn’t improve with basic sleep hygiene, consult a sleep specialist who may order a sleep study to treat any underlying causes of your insomnia.

Diversify your workout routine. Novelty can make exercise more enjoyable, so switch up your routine regularly. Try adding light weights when you’re out for a walk, or trying an exercise class or two at your local gym. Adding strength training to a cardio workout will help your body build more lean muscle mass, which in turn raises your resting metabolic rate – aka, the amount of calories you burn every day even without exercise.

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Well Theory: a Better Way to Wellness

a surgeon developed multi that’s different

Changing your diet is also a great way to introduce nutrient dense and lower calorie foods. A 2016 study found that a Mediterranean diet was effective in promoting long-term weight loss. Mediterranean diets are largely plant-based – high in healthy fats like olive oil; they feature low intake of red meat, and promote intake of whole grains, lean fish or poultry, and fruits and vegetables. It’s important to not simply cut calories, as bone loss happens more quickly as you get older, so you should continue to take in essential vitamins and minerals.  A diet is only helpful if you still eat and drink the necessary vitamins, minerals, collagens and other substances needed for proper cellular function.

“My goal is to help people age better, age fitter, and enjoy their old age. We’re all going to get old. You can’t stop that

Meredith Warner, MD

Our Bone & Joint Multivitamin was designed by orthopedic surgeon Dr. Meredith Warner according to the recommendations she makes to her own patients every day. Designed for surgical patients seeking to optimize their overall health, but ideal for sourcing all the essential vitamins and minerals you need for excellent connective tissue health, this multivitamin is a great option to ensure you’re filling gaps in your diet and to promote overall wellness at the same time.

Curate Your Wellness Regimen

There are many things you can do to lessen the symptoms of menopause, however, there are other changes that are simply a part of aging. At Well Theory, we’re dedicated to helping you age vibrantly – from our Herbal Kitchen cooking show, to our helpful resources, surgeon-designed products, and more. Consult with your physician about how you can create a plan to age with grace, and start living well today!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. Meredith Warner is the creator of Well Theory and The Healing Sole. She is a board-certified Orthopedic Surgeon and Air Force Veteran.

She is on a mission to disrupt traditional medicine practices and promote betterment physically, spiritually and mentally to many more people. She advocates for wellness and functional health over big pharma so more people can age vibrantly with more function and less pain.

At Well Theory, Our surgeon-designed products are FDA Registered and formulated to help people:

  • Manage the symptoms of musculoskeletal pain
  • Recover vibrantly from orthopedic related surgeries
  • Fill the gaps in our daily diets
  • Manage pain associated with inflammation

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