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Question: I started the menopause last year, and have since put on quite a lot of weight, especially in the abdominal area. I used to be skinny and young. I know I am getting older and that's fine, but I don't want the puffy face of the muffin top. Is there anything you can do about this? Please help!

Hi reader, and thanks for mailing us! I'm in no position to answer your question from personal experience, as I'm still very far from the menopause. I am sure that the weight gain that is sometimes associated with the menopause is among the most annoying symptoms, though hot flashes don't sound very pleasant either, and I am sure mood swings are not nice to deal with for those around you. But after those temporary things goes away, does your weight disappear, too?

Menopause weight gain is caused by a combination of things. The biggest factors is probably a sharp decrease in your estrogen levels. Muscles tissue, too, tends to weaken a bit with age something that is often related to being less physically active. But even active women who exercise regularly and who have changed nothing else in their life can see the pounds pile on, because of those annoying hormonal changes. So, what can you do about this? Well, try some of these:

  • Did you know that post-menopausal women actually need fewer calories to sustain themselves? Try eating less, or foods with fewer calories. In this weather, salads and lots of raw foods may be the answer for you. Boost your fiber intake too.
  • Exercise more often than you did before. Aerobic workouts are good for your metabolism, while weight training (which you can easily do at home if you like!) keep those muscles strong. Don't forget ab crunches.
  • Don't starve yourself for weight loss, because crash diets are bad news in the long run.
  • Accept your new body, as long as you stay healthy. Sometimes, you can't fight those changes. Make sure to buy a few new, flattering outfits.

Hope that helps some. Let us know how you get on.

Olivia

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