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Menopause Health Center

Keys to Weight Loss After Menopause

Fewer Desserts, Sugary Drinks Linked to Long-Term Weight Loss
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Some Eating Behaviors Weren’t Sustainable

Barone Gibbs speculates that strategies that led to short-term but not long-term weight loss, such as restricting fried foods and eating out less often, may be difficult to sustain.

Margery L. Gass, MD, who is executive director of the North American Menopause Society, tells WebMD that while weight gain is common among women in their 40s and 50s, menopause is not to blame. Gass is a professor of obstetrics at the University of Cincinnati.

“It happens to men as well as women,” she says. “For some reason, as we get older weight seems to redistribute to our middles. This is not good because fat in the abdomen increases [heart disease and stroke] risk.”

Eat Less, Exercise More to Avoid Weight Gain

Gass says that while weight gain is not inevitable, most middle-aged women need to eat less and exercise more than they once did to maintain their weight.

“Virtually all of my patients who have been successful tell me they have done this,” she says.

She notes that weight gain around the time of menopause is much less common in Japan than in the U.S., suggesting that Western eating patterns are largely to blame.

Women in Japan typically eat more fruits, vegetables, and fish, and less sugar, red meat, and fast food than women in the United States.

“Japanese women also live longer than women in any other country (an average of 88 years), and their healthier diets are a major reason for this,” Gass says.

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