For some women, perimenopausal weight gain can be hard to shift, not to mention mentally challenging to deal with.

You may find you're eating and exercising the same as before but simply not shifting or maintaining your usual weight.   

Super frustrating to feel like you're just not getting anywhere...

We know it’s something so many peri women are challenged with, and something we get asked about alot, so please don’t feel alone, it can be an extremely challenging time (to say the least!).

The first order of business with weight gain and perimenopause is to get a firm understanding of what exactly is going on with our bodies.

Your Metabolism in Perimenopause

As we age our basal metabolic rate decreases by about one to two percent per decade after the age of 20.

Then, as we hit perimenopause our muscle mass naturally starts to decrease. 

As muscle burns more energy than fat, it’s really important for perimenopausal women to maintain muscle mass by exercising daily, incorporating weight lifting.

Another delightful side to perimenopause is that we start to store fat differently; instead of around our hips and thighs, it shifts to around our middles.

Abdominal fat increases the chances of insulin resistance which can then lead to diabetes (not to mention making perimenopausal symptoms worse).

High levels of circulating insulin causes your body to store fat. Find out more here about insulin resistance here .

The final and important factor to note is that your gut integrity is also changing with the reduction of oestrogen.  If your gut health isn’t great, it can contribute to weight gain.  So we wholly recommend you focus on maintaining good gut health as you go through peri.

With all that said, the hard truth is as we age, we simply don’t have as much leeway as we did in our 20’s.

As we navigate through perimenopause we have to think more about how we fuel our bodies and choose foods that will nourish and support us.

BUT even though we have all the above going on, if we change our daily habits it will have a huge impact on maintaining your weight through perimenopause. Now is a time when diet is really important.

A diet high in fresh fruit and vegetables, quality protein, healthy fats and avoiding ultra processed foods will go a long way in reducing peri symptoms and maintaining weight. If you want to learn more about what to eat in peri, read all about it here.

Top Tips to Boost your Metabolism in Perimenopause:

  1. The most important one is daily movement Incidental daily movement is more important than sitting at a desk all week and flogging yourself at the gym three times a week. 

    If we lead a sedentary lifestyle our metabolism will slow down. It can be a walk, taking the stairs rather than the lift, a little dance around the lounge... anything that brings you joy.  A fitness tracker to count steps is a great way to monitor your daily movement: aim for 10,000 steps a day. 

  2. Reduce your stress levels.  Midlife can be a time of juggling family, work and many other responsibilities. With continual stress levels, Cortisol will tell your brain to store more fat so find ways to manage your stress levels.

    Also a Magnesium Glycinate supplement works well to reduce perimenopause mood symptoms.

  3. Do not starve yourself.  Fad diets slow down your metabolism. As soon as you start eating normally again, your metabolism will be slower and you will put the weight back on and more.

  4. Work on building your muscle mass. Don’t be scared of lifting weights. It doesn’t mean lifting 20kg and doing yourself an injury: 500g or 1kg will have an impact. The important thing about weights is getting your technique right to avoid any injuries.

    Support your muscle building efforts with SheBANG!'s Peri Protein blends developed by our Clinical Nutritionist with added KSM-66 Ashwagandha specifically for women going through perimenopause.

  5. Sleep is such an important time for resting and digesting. If you improve the quality of your sleep it will help in maintaining your weight.  Perimenopause is a time of sleep disturbances and can be challenging. But it's important to do what you can to try and get the best nights recharge as you can. Learn more about getting better sleep in perimenopause here.
  6. Drink plenty of water every single day.  So simple yet profoundly impactful on your experience of peri. Every single cell in your body needs water to function. Remember we are 60% water. Making sure you have enough water will help optimise your metabolism and also help with clearer cognition too.

  7. Take SheBANG!'s Peri Protein POWders with clinically tested adaptogen KSM-66 Ashwagandha in your morning smoothie or other delicious delights to help give your metabolism the boost it needs through the perimenopause years.

    Find out more here.

To make sure you are in optimal health, now's also a good time to check in with your GP and have a health check.

Ask for your thyroid and cortisol hormone levels to be checked. If they're out of whack they could be contributing to weight gain. It’s also a good time to discuss with your GP if they think you could have insulin resistance - another factor that might be causing issues. 

So remember, overall, it's what you do everyday that will have the greatest impact, not what you do three times a week.

Changing habits can be hard, especially as we get older and more set in our ways.

Changing one or two small habits at a time works best until they feel normal and then work from there.

Also have realistic goals and low expectations so the pressure doesn't overwhelm you.

It's important to remember that our bodies are changing whether we like it or not so we need to learn to embrace our 40 plus year old bodies. 

It’s not about getting our 20 year old bodies back but making sure we are in a healthy weight range to reduce perimenopause and menopause symptoms and prevent chronic disease in our next life chapter. 



March 16, 2022 — Angela Greely

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