Melinda Guisao – December 23, 2019
The unwelcomed visitor ‘weight gain’ has been a struggle for women for quite some time, and it is hard to pinpoint the exact reason for midlife weight gain when women go through so many different changes in life.
Even though you may have maintained the same diet and workout routine for years, no need to be embarrassed or feel alone in this battle, according to JoAnn V. Pinkerton, MD, 2018, “weight gain during midlife is common, and about two-thirds of women ages 40 to 59 and nearly three-quarters of women older than 60 are overweight . On average, midlife women gain 1.5 pounds (0.7 kg) per year.” 1.5lbs here and 1.5lbs there add up. Why should you be concerned? Obesity increases the risk of chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes, cancer, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and heart disease (Pinkerton, 2018). Not to mention, the emotional effects that weight gain can have on self-image, sexual disengagement, or how a woman feels with her romantic partner. If you take the time to understand the factors leading to weight gain and shifts in body composition, you can better modify your lifestyle and combat or prevent menacing weight gain.
People tend to automatically assume that the midlife weight gain struggle is because of menopause; however, Dr. Pinkerton, 2018, as well as research by the International Menopause Society, explains that midlife weight gain “is due to age rather than menopause or changing hormones” One must also consider their lifestyle as they get older, you are probably doing a lot more sitting than you used to in your younger days, as well as having less physical activity. When you combine less physical activity and loss of muscle mass (that comes with age), weight gain is bound to start to be your best friend.
One thing good ole menopause does bless you with, is “loss of estrogen [which] leads to a shift of fat to the midsection [along with] …night sweats, sleep disturbance, and problems with mood  and may affect a woman’s ability to adhere to a healthy diet and regular exercise program” (Pinkerton, 2018). Research by the International Menopause Society also found “the hormonal changes of menopause often affect where this extra fat is stored,” for example, the abdominal region – “the waist rather than the thighs and hips” (Hailes, 2017).
The biggest thing to understand here is, you are not as young as you used to be, the same lifestyle choices, in areas of diet and exercise, you made back then, when you were a spring chicken, will not work the same as you age. Pay attention to your lifestyle choices and be reasonable in your weight-loss goals and expectations.
Of course, we all know that cutting calories is important, but adding exercise can help you lower your overall weight and give your body the favorable results around your waist that you are looking to achieve. Dr. Pinkerton, 2018, says “30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days per week…” is recommended and to remember, “drastic changes in diet are probably not sustainable.” Even if you are not getting the perfect body you are looking for, increasing physical activity can help fight abdominal obesity and can decrease the risk of diabetes, cancer, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and heart disease. So either way, you are winning!
Remember, you are not alone in dealing with the midlife weight gain struggle, so to help you stay motivated, active, and make the road to a healthier lifestyle more fun, grab a friend to take on the journey with you! Choose a healthier lifestyle of eating and exercise and get active and stay ACTIVE!
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Hailes, J. (2017, October 08). Midlife weight gain: What’s going on. JeanHailes.org. Retrieved December 23, 2019, from https://jeanhailes.org.au/news/midlife-weight-gain-whats-really-going-on
Pinkerton, MD, J. (2018, January 23). Midlife weight gain—Sound familiar? You’re not alone. Menopause.org. Retrieved December 23, 2019, from https://www.menopause.org/for-women/menopause-take-time-to-think-about-it/consumers/2018/01/23/midlife-weight-gain-sound-familiar-you-re-not-alone
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