How to prevent weight gain from menopause

Mumbai, Sept. 3 -- Those going through menopause may have noticed a few extra pounds around their waist lately. There is no need to worry though, because you are definitely not alone.

One the most noticeable symptoms of menopause seems to be weight gain and a change in the overall shape of your body. This weight gain is expected and is absolutely normal.About 90 per cent of menopausal women are prone to gain some weight between the ages of 35 and 55. It is caused by shifts in your hormones, and not your eating habits.

You begin to put on weight around your abdomen instead of around your hips, thighs, and rear. People commonly refer to this as an apple-shaped body.Blame it on hormones.You may get irritated and unhappy because you're eating and exercising well, but still can't seem to maintain your weight. As you enter the early stages of menopause, maintaining weight becomes more and more difficult, and losing weight becomes almost impossible. This is because of the fluctuation in your hormones.

They have a direct impact on your appetite, metabolism, and fat storage. No matter what you do, fluctuating estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and androgen levels will fight you all the way.

What to do:

It is important to accept this weight gain as inevitable. It is regulated by your body, and helps prepare you against osteoporosis and other illnesses. Focus on being healthy and active, not trying to fit into your old clothes.

Here are a few tips to help you out on the way:

Cut out junk. Indulge in fruits and vegetables instead of chocolates and restaurant meals.

Avoid crash diets. Starvation will only cause your metabolism to slow down, causing you to gain more weight later. Consult a nutritionist who can help you to rebalance your hormone with the help of food and nutrients.

Don't lose large amounts of weight. Being very thin can lead to an increased chance of developing osteoporosis.

Limit your intake of caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol. These can exacerbate water retention.

Remain active. Do aerobics to increase your metabolism and burn fat.

Ensure intake of calcium and D3 to prevent body ache, hair loss, and bone degeneration.

When hungry, snack on low fat freshly set curd or a bowl of thin dal. These are rich in calcium and have a low glycemic index. They keep your bones strong.

Eat spinach often. It is packed with antioxidants, fibre, magnesium, calcium and vitamin K. Spinach also lowers risk of cataract, stroke, heart disease, memory loss and Alzheimer's disease. Cook it with garlic and tomato or use it raw in your salad.

Dr Anjali Mukerjee is a nutritionist and the founder of Health Total, a nutrition counselling centre.

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.