While weight gain is not directly related to menopause, women gain an average of 4.5 pounds during perimenopause. Our metabolism slows and our bodies begin to burn fat at a reduced rate. A healthy diet and moderate exercise can help prevent unwanted weight gain. Maintaining a healthy weight during midlife can ensure good health and prevent many chronic diseases.
Fat accumulation around the midsection happens more easily in later life due to hormone and metabolism changes. Excess belly fat (waist circumference >88 cm) is associated with certain health risks, including cardiovascular disease and certain types of dementia. Regular exercise and a healthy diet are effective ways to reduce the accumulation of fat in the midsection.
The Canada’s Food Guide website offers several tools that can help women maintain a healthy weight. The enhanced, interactive website, My Food Guide, helps you personalize nutrition information according to your age, sex, and food preferences. It also includes culturally relevant foods from a variety of ethnic cuisines. You can use this tool to build a customized plan for healthy choices in both nutrition and physical activity after menopause.
Also on the Canada Food Guide website is My Food Guide Servings Tracker, a tool developed by Dietitians of Canada to provide even more detailed nutritional information and guidance for you as you make healthy changes in both your eating and physical activity. The tool helps you keep track of the amount and type of food you eat each day and makes compares your intake to current recommendations. Statistically, people trying to lose weight who use a dietary log will lose twice as much weight as those who do not keep track of their food intake. There are also many smartphone apps that can help you track your dietary intake.
If you’re having trouble managing your weight, talk to a health care provider familiar with your health and medical history.