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The Impact of Thyroid on Weight for Menopausal Women

Thyroid

Today, we’ll explore the link between the thyroid and menopause.

Our bodies change in many ways as we get older, and for many women entering menopause, this can be difficult. While it’s still very possible to live a healthy, happy life well into your golden years, it’s important to know how the body’s processes change during menopause. 

By understanding how the thyroid impacts weight in menopause, Superwomen like you can implement the most effective exercise, nutrition, and mindset strategies. 

Additionally, the different symptoms produced by too much or too little thyroid activity are very similar to those experienced as women enter menopause. 

What is the Thyroid?

This gland produces hormones that impact many bodily functions. It’s located in the front of the throat. It produces thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) which are required for all cells in your body. The hormones impact the metabolism of your cells. Too much thyroid activity will cause cells to work faster than normal, and too little will slow down your cells and organs. 

Estrogen and Thyroid Function 

Estrogen, the primary sex hormone of women, has an impact on the thyroid. During menopause, estrogen levels drop significantly. The lower estrogen levels impact thyroid function and can lead to similar symptoms and as an underactive thyroid. Symptoms that overlap between menopause and underactive thyroid include:

  • Hot flashes
  • Moodiness
  • Changes in menstruation or libido
  • Forgetfulness
  • Weight changes

Thyroid Problems and Menopause 

While dropping estrogen in menopause affects the thyroid, pre-existing thyroid problems can also exacerbate the complications of menopause. For example, hyperthyroidism, or overactive thyroid, is connected with osteoporosis or bone density loss. Osteoporosis is already a complication of menopause. Hyperthyroidism in menopausal women may exacerbate osteoporosis. 

The Thyroid and Weight Gain in Menopause 

The thyroid is essential for regulating your body’s metabolism. It controls how efficiently your body is able to burn calories. When it is underactive, metabolism slows down and you will not burn calories as quickly. This is why hypothyroidism is associated with weight gain. 

The lack of estrogen in menopause slows the thyroid and thus metabolism. Part of the reason so many women experience weight gain during menopause is that their thyroid activity changes. It is possible to manage weight loss during a hyperactive state albeit it will impact the speed of progress. 

Most of the extra weight gained in hypothyroid individuals is due to excess accumulation of salt and water. Massive weight gain is rarely associated with hypothyroidism. In general, 5-10 pounds of body weight may be attributable to the thyroid, depending on the severity of the hypothyroidism. Finally, if weight gain is the only symptom of hypothyroidism that is present, it is less likely that the weight gain is solely due to the thyroid”. ~American Thyroid Association~  

Risks of Weight Gain During Menopause 

Gaining weight during menopause can have health implications. Menopausal weight gain commonly occurs around the midsection, which can increase the risk of:

  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Breathing issues
  • Certain types of cancer (colon, endometrial, and breast).

How to Prevent Weight Gain After Menopause

As the body changes, we must also adapt to keep it healthy. Many women are concerned about battling weight gain during and after menopause. There is no secret method to preventing menopause weight gain, instead, you should focus on basic exercise and nutrition principles. 

Move More

When metabolism slows, you will burn calories slower. Moving is important for keeping off excess weight. Health professionals recommend moderate aerobic activity for at least 150 minutes a week, or vigorous aerobic activity for 75 minutes per week. Strength training should be done at least twice a week as well. 

Incorporate more movement into your daily activities. Some ways to do this are:

  • Walk or bike to nearby stores.
  • Park in the back of the parking lot so you walk further. 
  • Try standing at your desk for part of the day. 
  • Take a walk during lunch. 
  • Play outside with kids, grandchildren, or pets. 
  • Garden. 
  • Do something active while watching TV, like stretching. 
  1. Build Muscle 

  2. Reduce Calorie Intake

  3. Limit Sweets

Start Your Body Transformation 

Yes, your body changes as a result of menopause. But you can still live a fit, fantastic life as the Superwoman you are! JOC Coaching helps Superwomen just like you live their healthiest happiest lives through nutrition, exercise, and mindset training. We help clients reduce body fat, boost energy, and increase their confidence! Join the body academy today to start your body transformation. 

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