“I do not eat at all anymore and yet my weight increases,” say many women in the transition. Arriving during the transition, it seems insurmountable. Something that you have to ‘deal with’. But is that also true? And why does your weight increase during that period? We asked Care for Women specialist Catherine van Heest for her.
How is it that many women arrive at the transition?
Care For Women specialist Catherine van Heest: “It is a combination of factors. In the transition you keep functioning on the same level, but your body changes. You literally need fewer calories. If you continue to eat and exercise the same, your weight will increase. And hormonal fluctuations then do not work. Mood swings ensure that you have a tendency to eat more. And if you feel rotten, you will crash faster on the couch than you cycle to the gym. “
“But there are more factors. As you age, your muscle mass decreases. Muscles require the most energy. If you have fewer muscles and you do not exercise anymore, then you burn less and you arrive automatically. That also has to do with the ratio of calories you take to you and the calories you burn. Finally, the estrogen content slowly decreases: estrogen is no longer produced from the ovaries. The adipose tissue is so thoughtful to take over, but then you have to have fat. The body is therefore inclined to hold more fat, so that you can produce more estrogen. “
An estrogen decrease can also be caused by stress. The transition and stress does not sound like a good combination?
“That’s right. If you look at the transition as a whole, I would almost say that it is more important to reduce stress compared to a change in your movement and diet. It is a very annoying component. Why? The adrenal glands ensure that estrogen can be produced in the adipose tissue. But the adrenal glands also make the stress hormone adrenalin. The adipose tissue then says: ‘I can not do everything’. Either, if women are stressed, the adipose tissue makes less estrogen. That means more complaints. “
During the transition the kilos will also stick to other parts of the body. What’s up with that?
“Fat is often in the upper legs of women. During the transition the fat cells move to the abdomen, waist and breasts. It also has to do with the hormone ratio. Hormones are in balance with each other. If you have less estrogen on the one hand, then you have relatively more male hormones. And where does fat usually sit with the men? At the belly. Our figure therefore changes slightly more towards the man. “
How dangerous is weight gain during the transition?
“Weight gain is always something you should take seriously. As I have just said, during the menopausal period, fat is mainly in the abdomen, waist and breasts. Especially belly fat can cause problems later in life. The risk of lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease is increasing. It is therefore important to deal with this seriously. Fortunately, there is much to do against weight gain in the transition. And by that I do not mean a crash diet. It involves small, simple exercises and tips. “
What is an important tip to prevent weight gain?
“Hold muscle mass. As you grow older, you lose muscle mass. That’s part of it. But this results in extra weight: you move less, but eat the same thing. Muscle mass is very important. So try to move more: go to a gym or fitness center. But golfing is also good, if you keep moving. You do not have to become a bodybuilder, but you have to realize that muscles break down and become thinner. “
Arrived through the transition? 8 tips from Catherine van Heest
- Take the complaints seriously. There is still a small taboo on the transition. Many women see it as something that goes with it. But the complaints can be remedied. Life is still too beautiful?
- Feel good, cheerful, confident. Otherwise, a different lifestyle does not make sense. Try to solve the complaints. That gives you a feeling of well-being and you can handle everything better emotionally.
- Keep a food diary. This way you will soon find out whether you do not grab a cookie during a mood change.
- Take a pedometer. That is an easy way to know if you are moving enough per day.
- Drink wine from a port glass. Do you like red wine? The calories can then tick a lot. Choose a port glass. You can still drink a full glass of wine, but you end up with fewer calories.
- Think about a crash diet. A diet is a good start, but not a crash diet. Remember: crashing is for a short period, it is ultimately a healthy diet. It is wise to discuss this with an expert.
- Reduce stress. A lot of stress? Try to reduce this by, for example, meditation or yoga exercises.
- Watch your food. Reduce coffee, soft drinks, alcohol, flour products (white flour).
Care for Women is an organization that specializes in women and hormones, such as the transition.