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At Slimming World, we understand that everyone’s experience of menopause is different. If you’re worried about menopause weight gain, we can help you to achieve your dream weight – and manage your symptoms along the way*.  

How to avoid menopause weight gain 

Evidence shows that eating healthily and exercising regularly can help to manage menopause symptoms, sustain lean muscle, maintain our metabolism, prevent menopause weight gain and support weight loss at this time in life.  

When you join Slimming World, you get all the tools and support you need to follow a healthy, balanced diet through our Food Optimising plan and gradually increase your levels of activity. We’ll help you to lose weight and maintain that weight loss long-term for ongoing health benefits. 

Listen out for our menopause and weight podcast on 5th February

How to lose menopause weight 

If you’re worried about menopause weight loss being more difficult, rest assured that the Slimming World Food Optimising plan is an effective, simple-to-follow way to lose weight – and it works for everyone. In our recent survey of 2,472 members who were either going through the perimenopause or who had already experienced the menopause, 79% said that they’d successfully lost weight by following our plan.

Read more about our menopause research here

Do we recommend a menopause diet plan? 

A healthy, balanced diet is important at every stage of life, and our flexible Food Optimising plan makes it easy to get the nutrients you need while still enjoying the foods that you love. There are some foods that can be especially helpful in supporting your health and managing your symptoms during menopause, and they’re all very much a part of our plan. They include: 

  • calcium-rich foods, such as milk and yogurt, to future-proof your bones 
  • oily fish and small amounts of other foods containing healthy fats (such as nuts, seeds and olive oil) to support your heart health 
  • foods rich in phytoestrogens, such as tofu and soya, which can help to alleviate certain symptoms for some women if eaten regularly and in sufficient quantities  

Can hormone changes cause menopause weight gain?  

The perimenopause and menopause are linked to a drop in reproductive hormones as women get older, and that can influence where we store body fat. Slimming World dietitian Jennifer Kent explains: 

 “Before the menopause, women generally store fat around their hips, legs and bottom, whereas afterwards, they may carry more weight around their waist due to changing hormones. This shift can influence a woman’s perception of her weight, even if the scales remain the same. Although weight tends to increase in both women (and men) with age, the good news is evidence suggests that weight gain is unlikely to occur as a direct result of the menopause.” 

So why do so many women find they have a menopause weight gain?  

Research suggests that our muscle mass reduces during the menopause (most likely due to those hormonal changes) and as we age, we tend to be less active. This means our metabolism can slow and we burn fewer calories. And that’s before we get onto the impact the symptoms can have! Whatever challenges you face during menopause, we can help you to maintain the weight that you want. 

Your menopause symptoms and how Slimming World helps 

Although everyone’s symptoms are different, many can have an impact on our weight – or bring new challenges when you’re Food Optimising and trying to be active.  

Sue Sykes lost 9st

Slimming World member Sue Sykes found that losing weight helped her to manage her menopause symptoms. She says: 

“Aged 49 and weighing more than 20st, I was starting to go through the menopause and experiencing up to 20 hot flushes a day. On top of that, I’d started to experience mood swings and I felt permanently sluggish. I decided to join Slimming World and since then I’ve lost a total of 9st and now weigh a healthy 11st 1lb. I still have the occasional hot flush, but my menopause symptoms are so much better and I have loads more energy.”

Read Sue’s story here

Disrupted sleep  

Lack of (or poor quality) sleep can affect the hormones that regulate our appetite. This can lead us to choose less healthy foods and ditch our exercise plans, both of which have a knock-on effect on our weight… which can then affect our sleep.  

More for members: Our Snooze more, lose more article is full of advice for a better night’s sleep – including tired-day tactics to prevent pressing pause on your weight loss. 

Mood changes 

Some women experience emotional changes, linked to fluctuating hormone levels.  

We all know that how we feel can have a big influence on our appetite and our food and drink choices. With a few smart Slimming World swaps, you can tuck into those comforting meals like mac ’n’ cheese, sausage and mash, and steak and chips. And if it’s sweet treats you fancy, the flexibility of Food Optimising means… yes you can!  

Slimming World Consultant Sharon Robinson was concerned about mood swings and cravings sending her off track – but she lost 5st 7lbs during the menopause. She says: “At one point, I started craving chocolate and biscuits and gained half a stone in a few weeks. It was demoralising at first. Then I switched to sweet foods that fitted more easily into the Slimming World plan – things like Food Optimising puds, Hi-fi bars, sugar-free jellies and fat-free flavoured yogurts, and it became more manageable. It’s easy to fall into a cycle of broken sleep, comfort eating and low mood. Trust me, though, with a little careful planning, you can break out of it.” 

Joint aches, pains and stiffness 

Even though it seems counter-intuitive when we’re feeling achy, moving more helps to keep our joints lubricated and healthy, which in turn can reduce pain and stiffness. Any movement is beneficial, no matter how small – and Slimming World’s unique Body Magic activity programme will help you to get fitter at a pace that suits you. Lower-impact activities like yoga, walking, swimming and cycling, which are gentler on your joints, can be great options.  

Keep on moving! 

The science shows that being physically active can help reduce the severity of other menopause symptoms, too. Maintaining an active lifestyle – or becoming more active – during the menopause also:  

  • preserves muscle mass (which can help to maintain metabolic rate) 
  • supports bone health 
  • reduces the risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart disease 
  • improves sleep 
  • eases stress  
  • improves mental wellbeing 

Anything that gets you moving more, more often is a positive step in the right direction – and we’ll support you all the way to a fitter, healthier lifestyle and all the brilliant benefits that will bring. 

More for members: Click here for activity workouts that are suitable for all abilities, including seated exercises.  

More help for weight loss in menopause 

Slimming World members will find a full list of foods and extra advice on managing the menopause through diet and exercise in this article. 

Our 7-day menopause menu 

We’ve put together a special meal plan, packed with foods that can support your health and help manage symptoms during menopause. Slimming World members can get this menu here. 

*If your symptoms are affecting your day-to-day life, talk to your doctor about the support and medical treatments available. Talking things through with your GP will help you find the right, personalised approach for you.  

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