Understanding Weight Changes During Perimenopause: A Frustrating Reality and How to Find Solutions

“My clothes are tighter, my fave jeans won’t zip, and the scale seems to be creeping up for no reason. This weight gain is out of control!”

Sound familiar? If you’re aged 35 and over, you’ve entered the zone of perimenopause, and you’re not alone. Hormonal fluctuations can turn weight management into a daily battle. But before you throw those jeans out the window, let’s unpack this and find ways to reclaim your power over your body.

Perimenopause: The Hormone Rollercoaster

Perimenopause is the messy, unpredictable stage before menopause. Think of it as the hormonal version of a wild amusement park ride. If you’re not sure you’re in this phase, you’ll want to stay tuned as there’s a whole series on upcoming content catered for you…

So, what’s going on with weight during this time? Those wild hormone shifts, particularly in oestrogen, progesterone, and cortisol, can wreak havoc on your metabolism, fat storage, and even your emotions.

Hormones and Your Weight: The Frustrating Trio

  • Oestrogen: The Metabolic Mischief-Maker
    Oestrogen, the conductor of your reproductive symphony, loves to mess with your metabolism. Declining levels mean your body might forget how to blaze through calories. Plus, oestrogen dictates where fat likes to hang out. While it typically favours those curvy hips and thighs, a drop in oestrogen sends it straight to your midsection.
  • Progesterone: The Bloat Bandit
    Progesterone, another key player, acts as a natural diuretic. When it dips, your body can hold on to water like a sponge, leaving you feeling bloated and heavier even if the scale hasn’t changed dramatically. This sneaky hormone also messes with sleep, and poor sleep can further throw off your hunger hormones.
    But this is one of my fave hormones, so I promise it’s not all bad – we’ve just got to get it working for you!
  • Cortisol: The Belly Fat Kingpin
    Stress, a constant companion for many women in perimenopause, amps up cortisol production. This stress hormone triggers cravings (especially for sugar and carbs!), promotes stubborn belly fat storage, and can even break down muscle tissue – your secret weapon for a speedy metabolism.

Let’s Not Forget the Emotional Toll

Weight changes in perimenopause trigger a cascade of emotions. Societal pressure to look a certain way and the bombardment of ‘perfect’ bodies on social media can chip away at our self-esteem. We might feel ashamed or frustrated that our bodies seem to be changing overnight. Remember, you’re not alone, and these feelings are valid. I did a post on just this recently, you can see it here.

Solutions: There’s Hope!

While you can’t completely stop the hormonal rollercoaster, you can take charge! Here’s where we focus:

  • Balanced Carbohydrates + Higher Protein Powerhouse: The Key to Balanced Energy and Sustainable Results
    Make these your new BFFs! Protein keeps you feeling full for longer and helps preserve muscle mass for a revved-up metabolism. Many women mistakenly associate any change in carbohydrate intake with restrictive fad diets. That’s why I focus on balanced carbohydrates. By balancing beneficial carbs you can stabilise your blood sugar, taming cravings and helping balance hormones. When you combine balanced carbohydrates with quality protein, you create a powerful duo for weight management, long-lasting energy, and overall well-being.
  • Move That Body: Exercise isn’t just about burning calories; it’s essential for stress reduction, better sleep, and keeping your metabolism humming. Aim for a mix of strength training (crucial for preserving muscle!) and cardiovascular exercise.
  • Stress Management is Key: When cortisol is high, weight management suffers. Find stress-busters that work for you – yoga, meditation, a walk in nature, or a relaxing bath.
  • Sleep, the Miracle Worker: Aim for 7-8 hours of quality sleep. Consistent sleep helps with hormone balance, cravings, and mood.

Beyond the Basics

  • Watch for Health Risks: Perimenopause increases your risk of osteoporosis, heart disease, and metabolic issues. Healthy eating, regular exercise, and discussing any concerns with us during your next consult is essential.
  • Natural Support: It’s not all pills and potions, as a functional medicine practitioner, I much prefer to educate my clients about the magic of food as medicine, to learn more on how you can best support your body during this exciting transition (I promise it’s not all doom and gloom, it can be AMAZING!) – let’s talk!

You Are Not Alone, and I Am Here to Help

Navigating perimenopause and weight changes can be overwhelming, but you have the power to manage this transition. Want personalised guidance? Book a free health chat with me and let’s create a strategy to help you feel your best!

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Hi, I'm Megyn

Imagine a reproductive medicine specialist and a nutritional biochemist rolled into one—yep, that’s me! 
What makes my approach unique?
I merge cutting-edge medical insights with holistic nutrition and an innovative ‘food as medicine’ strategy.
Your goal? Realistic, long-term solutions that go beyond temporary fixes. We’ll dive deep to understand your unique hormonal and reproductive needs, then tailor a bespoke plan that nourishes
you in every way.
Trust me, we’re not just aiming for short-term wins here; we’re building a toolkit for lifelong success. Ready to change your health narrative?