How to Maintain Weight During Menopause

Weight gain is common for women in the years leading up to menopause. Extra pounds can become a health risk by increasing the odds for potentially dangerous chronic conditions like; high cholesterol, hypertension and type 2 diabetes. Women who want to maintain weight during menopause may need to adapt to a changing body with modifications to diet and exercise that help them stay in top condition throughout the middle years of life.


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    Lower your daily caloric intake.
    • Studies have shown that women approaching the age of 50 need about 200 fewer calories, because the metabolism slows as the body ages. While cutting 200 daily calories may help prevent weight gain during menopause, additional calorie cutting may be necessary to actually shed excess pounds. As a general rule, one pound equals 3,500 calories. That means that to lose one pound, you must burn 3,500 calories more than you consume.
    • Consider the nutritional value of everything you put on your plate, so that every calorie you consume provides benefit. Menopausal women need to be particularly concerned about getting sufficient calcium, since they tend to lose bone density during the middle years. Lean dairy products like skim milk and low-fat cheese and yogurt will supply the necessary calcium without adding excess calories.
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    Add weight training to your daily exercise program.
    • Women in the menopausal years tend to lose muscle mass, which lowers your resting metabolic rate. This means that your body cannot burn calories as efficiently, leaving you more vulnerable to weight gain during menopause. Hormonal changes during this time of life can also impact your fat-to-muscle ratio. To increase lean muscle mass, add a strength training regimen to your workouts 2 or 3 times a week.
    • During menopause, women lose bone density, which puts them at a greater risk for osteoporosis. Strength training also strengthens bones and lessens the likelihood of fractures in the later years of life.
    • Strength training can be done with machines, free weights or even your body's own resistance. If you have never done strength training before, a few sessions with a personal trainer will help you customize a program for your specific needs and ensure you are performing the exercises correctly to get results and avoid injury.
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    Increase your aerobic activity.
    • While strength training is essential to build lean muscle mass and increase your metabolic rate, there is no substitute for cardiovascular exercise if you want to maintain or lose weight during menopause. Many health experts recommend that menopausal women commit to 45 to 60 minutes of aerobic activity, 4 or 5 times a week. Some examples might include brisk walking, bike riding, swimming and dancing.
    • Most women find that they become more sedentary as they age. In addition to a structured workout program, find other ways to incorporate physical activity into your day. A walk with friends, washing your car or spending time in your garden can all be ways to burn a few extra calories while participating in an activity you enjoy.
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    Talk to your doctor about a thyroid test.
    • Hypothyroidism is a common problem for women in the middle years of life. If you seem to be gaining weight despite a healthy, low-calorie diet and daily exercise program, an under-active thyroid may be the culprit. A simple blood test can help your doctor determine whether your thyroid is functioning normally.


  • Talk to your doctor before starting a workout program. Women who have underlying medical conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure may need to modify exercise to make it safe for their bodies.

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Categories: Women’s Health