Managing the menopause and weight loss | Slimming World Blog

Every woman’s experience of the menopause is unique. While you might experience new challenges to your weight loss during perimenopause and menopause, Slimming World can support you to achieve your dream target weight while managing your symptoms.

Menopause weight loss questions, answered

Weight and hormone changes… what’s going on? 

The perimenopause and the menopause itself are linked to a drop in reproductive hormones as women get older, and that can influence where we store body fat.

“Before the menopause, women generally store body fat around their hips, legs and bottom, whereas after, they may carry more weight around their waist, due to changing hormones,” says Slimming World dietitian Jennifer Kent. “This shift can influence a woman’s perception of her weight, even if the scales have remained the same. Although weight tends to increase in both women (and men) with age, the good news is evidence suggests that weight gain is unlikely to occur as a direct result of the menopause.”

So why do so many women experience menopause weight gain?

Research suggests that our muscle mass reduces during the menopause (most likely due to those hormonal changes) and as we age, we tend to be less active. This means our metabolism can slow and we burn fewer calories – which can cause us to gain weight. And that’s before we get on to the impact the symptoms can have!

Reassuringly, evidence shows that eating a healthy, balanced diet (Food Optimising), and maintaining an active lifestyle (Body Magic) can help manage symptoms, sustain lean muscle, maintain our metabolism, prevent weight gain and support weight loss during menopause.

Your menopause symptoms and how Slimming World helps

Although everyone’s menopause symptoms are different, many can have an impact on our weight loss – or bring new challenges when you’re Food Optimising and trying to be active.

Disrupted sleep  during menopause

Lack of (or poor quality) sleep can affect the hormones that regulate appetite. This can lead us to choose less healthy foods and press pause on our activity plans, both of which have a knock-on effect on our weight… which can then affect our sleep.

More for members: Our Snooze more, Lose more article is full of advice for a better night’s sleep – including tired-day tactics to prevent pressing pause on your weight loss 

Mood changes during menopause

Some women experience emotional changes, linked to fluctuating hormone levels.

We all know that how we feel can have a big influence on our appetite and our food and drink choices. With a few smart Slimming World swaps, you can tuck into those comforting meals like mac ‘n’ cheese, sausage and mash and steak and chips. And if it’s sweet treats you fancy, the flexibility of Food Optimising means… yes, you can!

Slimming World Consultant Sharon Robinson was concerned about mood swings and cravings sending her off track – but she lost 5st 7lbs during the menopause. She says: “At one point, I started craving chocolate and biscuits, and gained half a stone in a few weeks. It was demoralising at first. Then I switched to sweet foods that fitted more easily into the Slimming World plan, things like sugar-free jellies and fat-free flavoured yogurts, and it became more manageable. It’s easy to fall into a cycle of broken sleep, comfort eating and low mood. Trust me, though, with a little careful planning, you can break out of it.’”

Joint aches, pains and stiffness

Even though it seems counter-intuitive when we’re feeling stiff and achy, moving more helps to keep our joints lubricated and healthy, which in turn can reduce pain and stiffness. Any movement is beneficial, no matter how small – and Slimming World’s unique Body Magic activity programme will help you to get active, at the pace that suits you. You could consider lower-impact activities like yoga, walking, swimming and cycling, which are gentler on your joints.

Staying active during menopause

Research shows that being physically active can help reduce the severity of other menopause symptoms, too. Maintaining an active lifestyle – or becoming more active – during the menopause also:

Anything that gets you moving more, more often is a positive step in the right direction – and we will support you all the way to a more active lifestyle and all the brilliant benefits that brings.

Healthy diet during menopause

A healthy, balanced diet is important at every stage of life, and our flexible Food Optimising plan makes it easy to get the nutrients you need while still enjoying the foods that you love. There are some foods that can be especially helpful in supporting your health and managing your symptoms during menopause. These include:

Menopause weight loss support at Slimming World

Find out more on our member website

Slimming World members can find a full list of foods, plus extra tips for managing the menopause through diet and exercise, in this article. 

Try our 7-day menopause menu

We’ve put together a special menu, packed with foods that can support your health and help manage symptoms during the menopause. Slimming World members can find this menu here. 

If your symptoms are affecting your day-to-day life, talk to your doctor about the support and medical treatments available. Talking things through with your GP will help you identify a personalised approach for you. When you’re ready, we’ll be waiting to support you through this often challenging life-stage, to help you feel healthy and confident as you experience menopause.

Free 7-day eating plan

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