How to Manage Weight Gain During Menopause: A Practical Guide from Belmar Pharmacy

April 20, 2023

Dread getting on the scale? Not sure why the numbers are going up despite your best efforts to eat well and exercise? If you’re on the journey to menopause, weight gain can be one of the unwanted side effects.  

But here’s the trick: It might not be all about the calories you are consuming, especially if you’re going through this life event. Menopause comes with many physical and emotional changes — like hot flashes and mood swings — and it can also mean unwanted pounds. If you’re seeing an increase in your waistline, this doesn’t mean you need to go on one of those trendy diets you’ve seen on TikTok. 

If you experience weight gain that leads to discomfort, fatigue, or general upset, it’s worth learning about how your body may be changing, and this helpful info about weight management during menopause.  

What Causes Weight Gain During Menopause? 

Gaining weight during menopause isn’t necessarily calorie related; there are other factors at work. As we age, our bodies naturally produce fewer hormones like estrogen, which can cause our bodies to maintain a level of fat that is higher than previous years. 

Additionally, as we get older, our metabolism slows down, making it harder to burn off the foods we eat. So, although calories may not be directly responsible for weight gain, daily meals and exercise routines that have worked for the past 20 years may no longer be as effective. 

And finally, lifestyle factors such as exercising less or not getting enough sleep, can also contribute to weight gain during any phase of perimenopause and menopause.  

Get Real About Your Weight Management Goals 

When managing your weight during menopause, avoid the “get skinny quick” mentality. Instead of setting unrealistic goals for yourself that are hard, if not impossible, focus on creating a plan for wellness that helps you feel good inside and out. Instead of putting your changing body through the additional stressors of weight loss — which may feel uncomfortable and mentally exhausting — try to focus on the following: 

  • Healthy eating habits (not starvation diets) 
  • Exercise routines that are sustainable (think yoga, walking, strength training) 
  • Restful sleep every night (aim for 7-8 hours) 

In other words, don’t worry so much about losing those last few pounds. If it’s a challenge to manage body image frustrations, focus on opportunities for enhancing your wellness mindset. Create a long-term plan for your overall health during this time in your life. The bottom line is: Your body is unique, find what works for you. 

Talk to Your Doctor About Weight Management Solutions 

When lifestyle changes aren’t enough and your weight management struggles put you at increased health risk, it may be time to talk to your doctor about medications, like low-dose naltrexone (LDN) or oxytocin. A 2021 study revealed that naltrexone had a positive impact for many overweight participants.  

And supplementing with oxytocin can help with weight management by improving your emotional well-being. (Oxytocin is otherwise known as the “love hormone“.) How? Because depression, low self-esteem and self-anger can all play a part in weight loss issues. You are both your physical and mental states. Ensuring each is healthy and able to sustain your day-to-day life is key. 

If your prescriber determines LDN or oxytocin may be right for you, they can write a prescription you can fill at a compounding pharmacy like Belmar Pharmacy, which offers customized medications.  

Understanding what causes weight gain during menopause and focusing on creating a long-term plan for wellness, rather than quick fixes or crash diets, may help you take control of your health without sacrificing your sanity. So, skip those fad diets and embrace the menopausal journey ahead. 

Remember, menopause is just that — a journey — and you can get through it with a positive mindset and professional support. 

Dr. Angela DeRosa

DO, MBA, CPE Medical Director at Belmar Pharma Solutions & Founder of Hormonal Health Institute Dr. DeRosa built her career specializing in women's health and championing the need for a greater understanding for hormonal health, especially, as it pertains to menopausal women. In addition to being a respected, internationally recognized authority on women’s hormonal health, Dr. DeRosa understands the range of health issues women face leading up to and during menopause as she herself was in full-blown menopause by the age of 35. A hormonal health pioneer, her career has spanned over twenty years with experience including a practicing physician, best-selling author, and international speaker on women’s health issues (Read her LinkedIn bio). Angela is also super-fun, an avid cat lover, scratch golfer, boater, and bestie to many making her an ideal Wing Woman. Angela’s Wing Women Triple Play Q. If your life had a mantra what would it be? GO BIG OR GO HOME!!!   Always shoot for the stars, if you don’t succeed, you will likely go higher than most. Q If you were a color, what color would you be?  TANGERINE (HOT, ELECTRIC) ORANGE.  Fiery and brilliant. 😊 Not subtle but respectable. Q. What is your attitude about aging? We are all going to age, but I am not going quietly into the night. We should give our bodies the tools to stay optimized and healthy and then let God decide when my ticket is up. Angela lives in Scottsdale, spends time in TN near family, and travels as much as she can whenever she can.