Perimenopause sudden weight gain happens because of a myriad of reasons. The most common one is hormonal imbalance.
Estrogen levels usually diminish at this stage. The result is insulin resistance (a condition where you have raised blood sugar due to a resistance to the hormone insulin). Eventually, you gain weight because insulin promotes fat storage. Most of this fat is stored in the belly area (visceral fat).
As you become perimenopausal, you also lose muscle mass. This is a consequence of aging. When you have less muscle mass, you burn fewer calories.
Additionally, this stage of life is characterized by erratic hormones that lead to a higher appetite. The weight gain also stems from less activity, medication, high stress, and metabolic changes.
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You can use the following strategies to target these causes:
How to Conquer Perimenopause Sudden Weight Gain
1. Reverse insulin resistance through intermittent fasting
As described earlier, insulin resistance can be caused by the reduction of estrogen in the body. This means that you will have an excess amount of sugar in your body if you become resistant.
One way of reversing this pattern and keeping your insulin low is through intermittent fasting.
Consider eating between 6 am to 6 pm. The rest of the time, go on a fast. This strategy reduces the amount of blood sugar in the body.
When done over time, it can reverse perimenopause insulin resistance, fat accumulation, and weight gain.
2. Build muscle mass through strength training
As you age and enter this phase of your life, your body is naturally inclined to lose muscle mass. That would reduce your metabolic rate and cause weight gain.
If you have strong muscles, you would keep burning calories even when not training. Consider adding strength training to your routine by doing bodyweight exercises or lifting weight.
Alternatively, you can follow the fat blaster sequence, which shows you the exact exercises you’ll do every day.
3. Try herbal supplements for appetite suppression
Perimenopause sudden weight gain often happens because of changes in digestive hormones.
In this study, it was shown that ghrelin, which is responsible for hunger, tends to increase around menopause. This means that women at this stage are likely to eat more.
If you constantly feel hungry and have a high amount of appetite, it may be a ghrelin imbalance. Consider taking herbal supplements like green tea or fenugreek as appetite suppressants.
4. Increase your activity level
While menopausal changes may not have reduced your activity levels, life responsibilities in your late 40s may have.
Usually, many perimenopausal women are overwhelmed with family and career responsibilities. A number of them are in the midst of a career transition, so it can be hard to make time for exercise.
However, these passive habits could be responsible for your sudden weight gain. Therefore, make a conscious effort to stay active. Walking is one of the best ways to get started. Use these strategies to burn more calories while walking.
5. Deal with sleep issues
Insomnia or poor quality sleep is common at this stage and may lead to perimenopause sudden weight gain.
This stems from the effect that sleep has on cortisol and ghrelin. Cortisol is responsible for glucose production while ghrelin stimulates appetite.
To ensure that these hormones get the repair that they need, regularize your sleep patterns. Go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time. Minimize exposure to stimuli just before or during sleep.
6. Minimize stress
In close association with the above, stress often leads to the release of the hormone cortisol. Cortisol, in turn, invokes a flight or fight response. This means that there’d be too much in your body thus causing imbalances and weight gain.
Spend time in nature and consider meditation. Enjoy reading good books and practice yoga. Be honest with the people around you and only commit to what you can handle comfortably.
7. Reduce food intake
While most of the weight you’ve gained is the result of your biology, your eating habits may be a contributing factor.
Eating less is an indispensable part of improving your weight. Consider reducing the foods you were eating by a quarter. As someone approaching your 50s, you have fewer demands for food, so take less of it.
8. Pay attention to the nutrients in the food
Fiber is an essential part of your weight loss journey. Switch to natural unprocessed foods because they’re loaded with fiber.
Proteins are important in this journey because they contribute towards muscle building, which as I explained earlier, helps in using energy and cutting down weight. Dairy, nuts, and legumes are ideal.
Fiber helps you to feel full so that you do not indulge in unhealthy snacking. Whole grains, fruits, and avocados are good sources. Salads should be a staple food in your repertoire.
9. Join a support group
One of the biggest challenges for people dealing with perimenopause sudden weight gain is a lack of support.
Getting the support of friends and family dramatically increases your chances of success. Even better, join a group of people trying to lose weight like you.
10. It could be your medication
Some women take medications like gabapentin and pregabalin to manage the symptoms of menopause.
The problem with these interventions is that they cause weight gain. Consult your doctor and ask them to discontinue that medication. Anything with a hormonal impact in your body should be treated with caution.
11. It may be the salt
On some occasions, a salt imbalance can lead to perimenopause sudden weight gain. This is because sodium has a significant role to play in managing the adrenal function.
You may be sodium deficient, so the way sugar is regulated in your system (due to the adrenal system) could change. Consider adding sea salt to your meals when you eat. Alternatively, you may put it in warm water and gurgle.
12. Avoid extreme dieting
If you have been trying new weight loss programs every now and then, this could be doing you more harm than good.
In this study, it was shown that extreme dieting, which is common in fad diets ruined participants’ metabolism. Their attempts made it that much harder to lose weight.
You could be doing more harm than good through your continuous diets.
Strive to make lifestyle changes in incremental quantities so that you can maintain those habits in the long run.
Anytime you introduce a new plan or practice into your exercise or eating regimen, always ask yourself whether you can sustain that habit forever.
The Bottom Line
Most of the reasons for perimenopause sudden weight gain are hormonal. You can conquer this phenomenon by dealing with the things that caused it.
Avoid stress and sleep well to reduce the stress hormone and insulin. Do strength training and start moving to restore lean muscle and increase energy expenditure.
Finally, take herbal tea and eliminate medication. Through these interventions, you can get back to your normal, pre-menopause weight.
If you’re too busy to do long workouts, do these short home workouts every morning burn fat all day long.