‘A good rule’ to avoid gaining weight at Christmas – menopause advice

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Senior nutritionist at Holland & Barrett, Alex Glover, explained: “If you are worried about gaining weight during menopause, particularly over the festive season, let’s start with one thing – weight gain during menopause is very common and although there are ways to manage or lose this weight, be kind to yourself about any weight gain as part of this natural process.”

The expert explained that weight gain during menopause “is highly individual and “some have estimated that people gain about two or five pounds in the perimenopausal transition”.

The pre-menopause phase is where oestrogen levels in the body begin to fluctuate significantly ahead of decreasing.

According to the nutritionist, there are a number of factors that influence weight gain during menopause, such as genetics, hormones, diet and lifestyle.

As a result of age, a common decrease in exercise, and fluctuating hormones, many people lose muscle mass during this transition, “which increases the appearance of any weight gain,” he explained.

Some women also have difficulties sleeping during menopause, which is linked to weight gain through a decreased ability to manage hormones and appetite.

The nutritionist explained that “controlling your weight, or even losing weight during menopause”, and especially during the festive period, “is certainly possible”. However, he warned that the results vary greatly by person, depending on genetics, diet, and lifestyle, and shared his top five tips to avoid gaining weight at Christmas.

Increase your fibre intake

Those going through menopause naturally become more resistant to insulin, which may make weight loss more difficult.

The nutritionist recommended: “If you’re struggling to lose weight, try increasing your fibre intake as fibre-rich foods have been shown to improve insulin sensitivity.

“If you’re not a fan of fibrous foods you can also get your recommended daily intake in the form of a fibre supplement.”

Eat more soya

Soya-based foods contain phytoestrogen, which acts like a weak form of oestrogen in the body, helping to reduce the symptoms of menopause like hot flashes.

They also support weight loss goals as they’re low in fat and high in protein. Mr Glover suggested trying soybeans, tofu or tempeh. “Or go completely vegan!” he said.

“In one study of postmenopausal people who switched to a vegan diet, results showed significant weight loss, while another study showed that vegans experienced less severe symptoms during perimenopause.”


Resistance and cardio training, in particular, helps promote weight loss and muscle mass retention.

Get enough rest

The nutritionist said that “this is a good rule for any happy and healthy routine, but especially during menopause when your hormones and moods fluctuate and can be difficult to manage on a bad night’s sleep”.

“Plus, not getting enough sleep can increase your appetite and decrease your ability to resist unhealthy snacks, so sleep is an important weapon in your fight against menopause weight gain.”

Consider HRT

A recent study by Holland & Barrett showed that 69 percent of women experiencing peri/menopause would prefer to manage their symptoms without HRT – opting for natural or lifestyle management.

However, those that are looking into it as an option may be interested to know that hormone replacement therapy “has been shown to support a loss of abdominal fat and improve insulin sensitivity during and after menopause, which as mentioned above is an important factor in weight loss,” the expert said.

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