Navigating weight gain in menopause

Menopause, a natural phase of a woman's life, often brings about changes that extend beyond hot flashes and mood swings. One significant aspect that many women grapple with is weight management. Understanding the intricate interplay between hormones, particularly oestrogen, and its impact on energy metabolism and fat distribution is crucial in formulating effective strategies for weight loss during menopause.


Oestrogen, a key player in women's reproductive health, influences various metabolic processes, including energy metabolism and glucose management. One of its roles is regulating glucose transport hormones, affecting how our bodies utilise energy.

As oestrogen levels first fluctuate and then decline during menopause, there is a noticeable shift in fat distribution, with a tendency for increased abdominal fat deposition. This redistribution occurs as oestrogen favours fat disposition in areas such as the breasts and hips.

Furthermore, the drop in oestrogen levels can lead to an increase in appetite and a decrease in energy levels, partly due to the decreased stimulation of oestrogen receptors in mitochondria, the energy powerhouses of cells. This can really impact exercise capacity and further cravings, leading to weight gain.

Moreover, the decline in oestrogen levels correlates with a decrease in adiponectin, a hormone secreted by fat cells that promotes fat burning. This decline further contributes to the challenge of weight management during menopause. However, despite these hormonal changes, there are strategies that women can employ to navigate weight loss effectively.

One crucial aspect to address is insulin resistance, which often accompanies menopausal weight gain. Insulin resistance hampers the body's ability to regulate blood sugar levels efficiently, leading to weight gain, particularly around the abdomen. Including specific nutraceuticals in the diet can help improve insulin sensitivity. Chromium, omega-3 fatty acids, and berberine are known to enhance insulin sensitivity, thereby aiding in weight management efforts.

In addition to nutraceuticals, incorporating vitamin B12-rich foods into the diet can support energy production, alleviating some of the fatigue commonly experienced during menopause. Vitamin B12 plays a crucial role in the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats, providing the body with the energy it needs to function optimally.

Furthermore, magnesium is essential for healthy glucose metabolism and insulin action. Incorporating magnesium-rich foods such as leafy greens, nuts, and seeds can help support overall metabolic health during menopause.

Addressing appetite regulation is also paramount in achieving weight loss goals during menopause. 5-hydroxytryptophan (5HTP) is a precursor to serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood and appetite. Supplementing with 5HTP may help modulate appetite and improve mood, supporting weight management efforts.

Lastly, increasing dietary fibre intake can promote gut health and aid in weight management. Fibre-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains not only keep you feeling full for longer but also support digestive health, contributing to overall well-being during menopause.

In conclusion, navigating weight management during menopause requires a comprehensive approach that considers the hormonal changes occurring in the body. By focusing on improving insulin sensitivity, supporting energy production, modulating appetite, and promoting gut health through targeted nutritional strategies, women can effectively manage their weight and maintain optimal health during this transformative phase of life.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Nutritionist Resource are reviewed by our editorial team.

Share this article with a friend
London, W1S 1HP
Written by Lucia Stansbie, Registered Nutritional Therapist, Dip CNM, mBANT, mCNHC
London, W1S 1HP

Lucia Stansbie is the founder of Food Power Nutrition.
Lucia is a BANT and CNHC registered Nutritional Therapist and member of the Royal Society of Medicine.

Show comments

Find a nutritionist dealing with Menopause

All nutrition professionals are verified

All nutrition professionals are verified