Weight loss after menopause – an impossible dream? 18



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If you’ve experienced weight gain with menopause, you may believe that losing excess weight will now be impossible for you.

However, clinical research shows that women in their 50s, 60s and beyond are able to lose weight after menopause – although there are some challenges to keep in mind.

The first challenge for weight management after menopause is that your energy expenditure (the number of kilojoules your body burns) tends to be less after menopause than before menopause. This means that you need to eat less than you did in your 20s or 30s in order to prevent and reverse weight gain.

Research has shown that the main reason for this is that women are less physically active after menopause than before menopause, on average. This can be brought on by the fatigue that some women experience at the time of peri menopause. It can also be due to the fact that many women around the age of menopause and beyond are extremely busy. Often times they are still looking after children that are yet to leave the nest, while also caring for ageing parents and juggling work and community commitments.

Knowing that reduced physical activity is a major contributor to weight gain with menopause is a good thing, because it can help you to know what you need to do to tackle menopausal weight gain head on (i.e. by being more active). Indeed, research has shown that women who maintain or increase their level of physical activity during menopause and beyond tend to come out the other end without gaining weight, waist circumference or body fat.

One way to make the time you need to look after yourself through physical activity can be to put yourself higher on your priority list of things to do. I know many women that are so busy looking after everyone else that dancing, walking, swimming, or other physical activities they enjoy pass by the wayside, and their wellbeing is suffering for it. It makes no sense, because when your wellbeing suffers, you can’t look after others as effectively as you can when you feel on top of the world.

Besides physical activity, another equally important way to address menopause-induced weight gain is to re-visit what you’re eating and how much. Another challenge for weight management after menopause is that many women fall into the trap of eating the same amount after menopause as before menopause, mostly out of habit. This is a major contributor to menopause-induced weight gain. However, eating less after menopause doesn’t mean you have to go hungry. As my colleague Alice Gibson, Accredited Practicing Dietitian, always says, “It’s about Skill Power, not Will Power!” Alice has shown that by making nutritious food choices, including plenty of vegetables, fruits and adequate (not excessive) protein, and by being aware of portion sizes, it is possible to lose weight after menopause while still getting enjoyment out of food.

In order to better understand and overcome the challenges for weight loss in post-menopausal women, Alice and our team at the University of Sydney are currently seeking post-menopausal women aged 45-65 years for a clinical weight loss trial. This trial involves a free weight loss program for 12 months to help post-menopausal women to lose excess weight and learn how to keep it off.


For more information, please e-mail our team on [email protected], or visit: http://sydney.edu.au/medicine/research/units/boden/clinical-trials.php#tempo

By Associate Professor Amanda Salis

The University of Sydney, Boden Institute of Obesity, Nutrition, Exercise & Eating Disorders

Guest Contributor

  1. Darn! I wanted magic – eat less, exercise more. They keep telling me that!

    1 REPLY
    • yes I was hoping for a magic wand too !
      I’m guessing chocolate and my glass of red wine is off the menu too!
      It doesn’t seem fair that it takes an awful lot more energy to get rid of those kilo’s gained than the energy to eat the food in the first place

  2. It’s not just eating less but eating right. They say that nutrition 80% exercise 10% genetics 10%

  3. The 5:2 diet was the only way I was able to get to a healthy weight! Not a fad diet and so easy to follow long term to maintain your weight, along with a healthy diet and exercise.

    2 REPLY
    • I’m with you, Meg. The 5:2 Diet has been the only diet I’ve found easy to stick with on a long term basis & I’ve lost 10kg & feel fab!

    • Me too Meg I’ve lost 6 kg on this and still going with regular exercise and it is recommended by Doctors, best way to lose weight and still be able to enjoy my weekends lol

  4. I eat half what I use to eat and exercise. Still 7 kgs heavier than I use to be. I complained to my surgeon after I had a bowel cancer op and he said – “you could have more to worry about”. Clear of cancer after 8 years. He was right!!!

  5. Makes me a bit cross. I exercise more than I use to, eat less and have cut my alcohol consumption by three quarters over the last few months. (Can’t remember how often I have been told about that one!!!) Nothing changes!!!

  6. Im the same. Keep trying. Got told by my bowel.and liver surgeons the same. If that was all i had to worry about. At least im here. So now i try to watch what i eat and yum enjoy it. Look at men they dont worry. Come on girls were beautiful

  7. Seriously everyone … Sugar free , dairy free and Juice for over a year .. Have lost weight and feel really well !

  8. I in my 60s im having what I like now because I cannot have it once im gone . If I die tomorrow I die happy and content and I bet u have a fully tummy . I know it will kill me one day but love my food more

  9. I realised a while back that I needed to eat far less from 50 onwards. I now eat meals on a small plate and increased lean meat but fats and carbs are limited. Feel really good and wearing clothes that are 20 years old at times as I buy quality

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