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Throughout their lives, women tend to gain weight for different reasons – for example, pregnancy, hormone imbalances, menopause.

Pregnancy Weight Gain:

Is it possible to lose weight and regain your figure after having a baby?
Yes, it is! Having a baby does not mean you have to be fat. Lots of new moms regain their pre-pregnancy figure within 8-12 months. True, it takes time for your body to get back to normal, but don't despair. Eat properly, get active and let nature do the rest.

Don't rush out and start dieting after the birth
If you are not breast-feeding then don't rush out and start dieting. Instead, for the first three months or so after the birth, concentrate on healthy eating, and develop your own exercise plan. Then, when your body has begun to recover and when your period has returned to normal, start following a healthy, low fat weight-loss plan and you will lose weight just as easily as the next person.

How long before you reach your pre-pregnancy weight?
If your weight gain during pregnancy was no more than the recommended 22- 30 pounds, you should be able to return to your pre-pregnancy weight within about 8 months. This may sound slow, but you really can't lose weight much faster and stay healthy at the same time.

Middle age weight gain:

Have you noticed a few extra pounds padding your waistline? You may be in the throes of midlife expansion — a familiar complaint among women in their 40s and 50s. During this time either you gain weight or you find that maintaining your usual weight has somehow become more difficult. You also discover that the weight you gain tends to accumulate around your abdomen, rather than your hips and thighs.

But you don't have to accept weight gain as inevitable. Take steps to prevent weight gain before it starts. And if you've already begun adding to your waistline, it's never too late to reverse course through proper diet and exercise.

Causes of middle age weight gain

For most women, increases and shifts in weight begin during perimenopause — the years leading up to menopause. On average, women gain about a pound a year during this time.

But changing hormone levels associated with menopause aren't necessarily the cause of weight gain. Aging and lifestyle factors play a big role in your changing body composition, including:

  • Exercising less. Menopausal women tend to exercise less than other women, which can lead to weight gain.
  • Eating more. Eating more means you'll take in more calories, which are converted to fat if you don't burn them for energy.
  • Burning fewer calories. The number of calories you need for energy decreases as you age because aging promotes the replacement of muscle with fat. Muscle burns more calories than fat does. When your body composition shifts to more fat and less muscle, your metabolism slows down.

Genetic factors may play a role in weight gain as well. If your parents and other close relatives carry extra weight around the abdomen, you may be predisposed to do so, too.

Weight gain can also have serious implications for your health. Excess weight increases your risk of high cholesterol, high blood pressure and insulin resistance, which can lead to type 2 diabetes. These factors also put you at increased risk of heart disease and stroke.

There's also evidence that weight gain during the menopausal years increases breast cancer risk. Women who gain in excess of 20 pounds after menopause increase their breast cancer risk by nearly 20 percent. But women who lose weight after menopause can reduce their risk of breast cancer by that much and more — women who lose 20 pounds after menopause reduce their breast cancer risk by as much as 23 percent. Even smaller amounts of weight loss after menopause lead to a modest risk reduction.

What you can do to prevent or reverse weight gain

There's no magic formula for avoiding weight gain as you get older or losing weight at any age or stage of life. The strategies for maintaining a healthy weight at any age remain the same: Watch what you eat and get moving.

If you feel you need help managing your weight loss, Dr. Melissa George located here in our clinic is a member of the Center for Medical Weight Loss and would be happy to help you get on the right track.


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