Are you eating and exercising the same as before and struggling to stay the same weight?  Yep, we hear that! 


One thing we would like to mention before we get right into it, is that Acceptance is going to be your biggest friend as you transition through perimenopause.

As with all things there is balance. And with peri and weight gain, there should always be a balance between acceptance of our bodies changing: getting softer in places and showing the scars and signs of the life we've lived and everything else that goes with it - weight gain maybe being one of those things.

As we age, we may well gain some weight and whilst for some that can be confronting, it might be something that we can accept whilst also making nutritional choices that will support our bodies as we move through this huge physical, emotional and spiritual upheaval.

As you move through peri, you may notice a shift in your focus from the outer-you to the inner-you:  maybe the quality of your energy, how you feel, your inner thoughts, your experience of the world and people around you...

Anyway, we don't want to bang on about it!  But needed to be said ....

Let's get into it.

Here, Ange (SheBANG!'s Clinical Nutritionist) goes through here what's happening to help you understand the changes and how to combat perimenopausal weight gain.

Why am I gaining weight just because I've hit 40??

As we age there are a few things going on that increase our chances of gaining weight.

Naturally after 20, our basal metabolic rate decreases approximately 1-2% per decade. Your basal metabolic rate is the number of calories required to keep your body functioning while you are not doing any physical activity. So your body's requirement for daily calories naturally goes down.

The other big driver is as we go into menopause our body composition starts to shift because of hormonal changes, decreasing our muscle mass (muscle mass burns more calories than fat) and, if we gain weight, contributing to weight gain around our middle. Visceral fat around our middles can cause insulin resistance.

Insulin Resistance

Insulin resistance is a big topic in perimenopausal health, it can develop because of weight gain around our middles and when testosterone and androgen hormones are more dominant than oestrogen and progesterone.

As oestrogen and progesterone have anti-inflammatory and metabolism stimulating properties. Being perimenopausal and menopausal can put you at risk of insulin resistance.

When we eat, our digestive system breaks down our foods into glucose, amino acids and fatty acids. Insulin is the hormone that promotes the absorption of glucose (our main energy source) from the blood into the liver, fat and skeletal muscle cells to make us function.

When there is insulin resistance there is a build-up of blood glucose and the cells of our bodies don’t get the energy they need. Our brain then signals that we are still hungry, which can lead to weight gain.

The good news is that insulin resistance is reversible through diet and exercise.

🚩Untreated insulin resistance can lead to Type 2 Diabetes

🚩Insulin resistance can make perimenopause symptoms worse.

How can I take control of perimenopausal weight gain?

  1. MOVE DAILY - Keep movement up, to keep muscle mass up, to reduce weight gain around our middles and keep our metabolism fires going. If you lead a sedentary lifestyle your metabolism can slow down. 

  2. MANAGE STRESS - when we are stressed we release the stress hormone Cortisol which sends messages to our brain to store fuel, which makes us eat more. There are so many studies supporting yoga and meditations through perimenopause to reduce anxiety, better sleep and even reduce hot flashes. 

    Some really great tips here to reduce anxiety, get better sleep and reduce hot flashes.

    Our Peri Chai Latte is loaded with Magnesium which will help you with mood swings and anxiety.

  3. DON’T DIET - don’t starve yourself. They don’t work. All that happens is you slow down your metabolism and when you start eating properly again you will put the weight back on and more. 

    Instead, focus on improving your gut health Here's a great nutrition guide for perimenopause.

  4. LIFT WEIGHTS - Lifting weights helps you gain more muscle mass, and increases metabolism.

  5. INCREASE PROTEIN - to increase muscle mass and to keep you feeling fuller for longer. Our need for protein goes up as we hit peri, eat 1.2g of protein per kg of body weight daily.

    Find out more about perimenopausal protein requirements here.

  6. STAY HYDRATED - you need to stay optimally hydrated throughout the day to make sure your body has the water it needs to function at full throttle. We are 60% water and every cell in our body needs water to function. It’s such an easy way to boost your metabolism. 

  7. EAT HEALTHY FATS - (Oily fish, nuts and seeds, olive oil) - they keep you fuller for longer and they improve cellular functioning and cell-to-cell communication

  8. IMPROVE YOUR GUT HEALTH - drops in oestrogen can cause bad bacteria growth in the microbiome and this can also lead to “leaky gut” and gut inflammation which causes digestive issues and weight gain.

    Some great tips here to get your gut and biome tip-top to support your body through peri.

  9. SPICES - Certain spices can boost your metabolism by increasing your body temperature during digestion. Include in your meals/drinks: black pepper, ginger, chili peppers, cayenne and turmeric. We love turmeric. It's also great at reducing inflammation. Check out our Peri Chai Latte for a turmeric boost.

  10. SLEEP - Bad sleep can mess around with your metabolism and have you looking for sugar the next day. Trying to improve sleep will help with trying to balance your weight. 

    Our Peri Chai Latte will help you get a great night sleep.

  11. INSULIN RESISTANCE - if you have it, now's the time to reverse it. A great approach is a keto or low carb diet to get you started (though I would not recommend these as a long term strategy).

Let us know below if you have any questions? Love hearing from our peri sisters.

Other articles about perimenopause weight


    November 26, 2021 — Angela Greely

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