Story by: Joyce Retz on January 2, 2019
Is she experiencing what we all fear — midlife midsection spread? Doesn’t that happen only to women who have had babies? Or women in menopause?
“As a woman gets older, she might notice that maintaining her usual weight becomes more challenging, especially around the time of menopause,” said Jeanne M. Thompson, M.D., internal medicine. “Hormonal changes might make her more likely to gain weight around the abdomen, and these changes can start happening years before menopause.”
Women can take steps to limit weight gain, though. Remaining active is key. You’ll naturally lose muscle mass, so you won’t need as many calories in your diet.
“If you continue to eat as you always have and don’t increase physical activity, you’ll likely gain weight,” Dr. Thompson said.
Hormone changes also can affect sleep, and studies show that not getting enough sleep leads to more snacking and more calories consumed.
Find out more about bariatric surgery or a medically guided weight loss plan.
Men aren’t exempt from midsection spread. In middle age, metabolism slows, muscle mass decreases and testosterone levels go down — all contributing to weight gain.
“Just like women, men also must make changes to their diet and activity level as they age,” Dr. Thompson said. “Men and women should also do regular weight training to raise their resting metabolic rate. A pound of muscle burns at least two times more calories at rest than a pound of fat.”
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