Aging and Menopause: Why Women Gain Belly Fat in Midlife?

 by Dr. Steve Hruby, D.C.
Reviewed by Dr. Steve Hruby, D.C.

SuperHumans are the toughest, fittest, healthiest and happiest human beings on this planet. My mission is to help you realize your superhuman potential and learn how to live a long, happy and healthy life.

  Fact Checked
 by Rhealyn Tropia, RMT
Reviewed by Rhealyn Tropia, RMT

I’m a content organizer, fact-checker and super mom who ensures content is medically-reviewed, highly accurate, and engaging. My passion is organizing information and ensuring the facts are presented in a manner that is interesting and easy to understand.

why women gain midlife

Menopause is the time when a woman stops ovulating. It happens somewhere between the age of 45-55. As women become older, certain biological changes take place. These changes include slow metabolism, decrease in muscle mass, drop in estrogen level, and a lot more. All these factors somewhere contribute to weight gain around the time of menopause.

But menopause weight gain isn’t something that’s certain to happen. We can manage it by paying attention to a healthy diet, proper exercise, and an active lifestyle.

Why women gain midlife is the most popular question that grabs the attention of millions. It’s one of the most discussed topics among women and needs to be answered with proper information.

Scroll down to learn more!

Understanding Middle-aged Weight Gain

During menopause, women may be more prone to gain weight in the midsection than hips and thighs as a result of hormonal changes. But hormonal change alone isn’t always the reason for menopausal weight gain. Instead, age, along with lifestyle and genetic factors, is often related to weight gain.

For instance, even though fat tends to rise with aging, muscle mass normally decreases. Your body consumes calories more slowly when you have less muscular mass (metabolism). The maintenance of a healthy weight may become more difficult as a result. You’re likely to put on weight if you keep eating the same things you always do and don’t boost your physical activity.

Weight gain during menopause can also be influenced by genetic factors. You’re likely to do the same if your parents or other close relatives are overweight in the midsection. Yet other elements include inactivity, poor eating habits, and insufficient sleep. People, who don’t get enough sleep, tend to eat more calories and snack more frequently.

How Much Weight Gain in Middle Age Is Normal?

Since everybody is different, there’s no right or incorrect response.

You may anticipate a gain of around 5–15 pounds if you’re a woman, whose weight has been constant for the majority of adult life, who eats consistently and doesn’t overexert yourself. Some women acquire weight more gradually and steadily than others, gaining 5 to 10 pounds in a year in some cases.

But, if you have been yo-yo dieting, limiting your diet, or exercising excessively, you’re probably unaware of your body’s normal weight, or “set point,” therefore the weight shift in your body may be higher.

What Can I Do To Prevent Middle-age Weight Gain?

Increase Protein Intake

Since protein is essential for maintaining muscular mass, you need more protein as you get older.

salmon as source of protein

Doctor’s Detox Diet: The ultimate weight loss experts claim that starting in middle age, you require 10% more protein than you did at your young age.

An added benefit: Foods heavy in protein provide a higher metabolic boost than foods high in fat or carbs. Compared to 5% for fat and carbohydrates, protein-rich foods can help you burn up to 30 percent of the calories on your plate as you bite, chew, swallow, and digest them.

Reduce Stress

Cortisol, a stress hormone, has been linked to an increase in belly fat. Additionally, for endocrinologists, midlife can be stressful. According to a study, ongoing stress can impact how well your body reacts to the hormone insulin, which regulates your blood sugar.

Your body will produce less cortisol if you can reduce the amount of stress in your everyday life.

Get Quality Sleep

Your hunger increases, when you don’t get enough sleep. In research, involving 68,000 women, those who got five hours or less of sleep every night gained 2.5 pounds more than those who got seven hours of sleep.

Try and Become More Stout

Even while you’re at rest, the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn. Most experts claim that at the age of 40, muscle mass starts to decline. Strength training is beneficial to avoid this. Maintaining your muscle weight can be made simpler by keeping your muscles strong.

Purify Your Diet

It’s true that not changing your eating habits will have negative effects.

According to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, those who ate foods with the highest levels of refinement (such as white bread, cookies, sugar, and cakes) developed belly fat significantly more than those who got the same number of calories from foods with lower levels of refinement.

Menopause Weight Loss Tips

Menopause weight gain can’t be stopped or reversed by any miraculous method. Keep your weight-control strategies simple:

happy woman doing exercises in the gym

Physical Exercise

You may lose extra weight and keep it off through physical activity, such as cardiovascular exercise and strength training. Gaining muscle causes your body to burn calories more effectively, which makes it simpler to maintain a healthy weight.

Experts advise that engaging in moderate aerobic exercise, like brisk walking, or strenuous aerobic activity, like running, can work wonders for the majority of individuals.

Additionally, it’s always beneficial to perform weight training activities at least twice each week. You may need to increase your workout regimen if you wish to shed weight or achieve certain fitness objectives.

Dietary Modifications

You may require 200 fewer calories per day in your 50s than you need in your 30s and 40s to maintain your present weight, much alone shed more pounds.

Pay close attention to what you’re eating and drinking to save calories without sacrificing nutrients because caloric intakes and menopause share a deep relation. Increase your intake of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, especially food that is less processed and higher in fiber.

A plant-based lifestyle is often healthier than other choices. Good options include low-fat dairy products, seafood, soy, almonds, and legumes. Eat just little amounts of meat, such as chicken or red meat. Shortening, stick margarine, and butter should be replaced with oils like olive or vegetable oil.

Keep Records of Your Calories

Approximately 300 calories a day in the typical diet come from added sugars. These calories are mostly obtained from sugar-sweetened beverages such as sugary sodas, juices, energy drinks, flavored waters, and flavored coffee and tea, which account for around half of the total.

Other items that contribute to too much dietary sugar include candy, ice cream, cookies, pies, cakes, and doughnuts. Also, alcoholic beverages raise your chances of gaining weight by adding extra calories to your diet. Avoid these and you’ll be good to go.

Behavioral Assistance

Be in the company of loved ones and friends who will encourage your attempts to eat healthily and move more. Even better, work together to implement the adjustments to your way of life.

happy elderly women eating salad

Consider Intermittent Fasting

You consume fewer calories overall when you fast intermittently. A caloric deficit is required for weight reduction to take place. As a result of hormonal changes, age, poor sleep, as well as other circumstances, many women experience undesirable hormonal weight gain during menopause. Intermittent fasting can help postmenopausal women lose weight and maintain weight reduction.

Always keep in mind that to lose weight successfully at any point in your life, you must make long-term dietary and activity modifications. Commit to a healthier you by making lifestyle adjustments.


Why Do Women Gain Weight in Their Late 30S?

Women’s bodies start producing low estrogen symptoms in their late thirties or early forties as a result of the ovaries gradually producing less of it. This is an expected aspect of aging.

To partially compensate for the estrogen that’s being lost, the body needs to produce additional estrogen. The fat cells enlarge to serve as an additional supply of estrogen since women’s bodies are so lean and shrewd.

This adjustment may not be your favorite, but it’s safeguarding. According to research, this extra fat can enhance post-menopausal heart health. Only natural solutions for hormonal weight gain help because any form of artificial estrogen will deteriorate your body further.

What Causes Middle Age Weight Gain?

We will burn more calories if we have more muscular mass. Around age 30, we face a normal reduction in our muscle mass, this process is known as sarcopenia. Around age 40, this process becomes more pronounced. Our bodies will need fewer calories, our metabolic activity will slow, and the lost muscle will be replaced by fat unless we actively protect and increase that lean muscle mass.

white measuring tape

What Exercises Reduce Middle Age Spread?

Menopause HIIT workout is gaining traction among women who are transitioning into menopause. Benefits include enhancement of insulin sensitivity and a decrease in fasting blood sugar levels, both of which are good for general metabolic and cardiovascular health, particularly during the menopausal transition when blood sugar management can be challenging.

Additionally, it boosts the ability to burn fat, raises overall efficiency, and aids in managing visceral (deep belly) fat, which rises throughout menopause.

Why Do Females Gain Weight in a Relationship?

Researchers concluded that happy couples tend to put on weight because they lack the motivation to keep their weight in check when they aren’t alone. There’s a good probability that your spouse thinks you’re the one if they have also put on some weight.

Why Am I Getting Wider as I Age?

That’s mostly because as we become older, our muscle cells start to go. Younger muscle cells are easily regenerated when they sustain injury. The situation with older muscles is different.

Muscle stem cells can’t respond to aging or harm the same way they could when we were younger. The loss of muscle fiber and the inability of tissue to regenerate itself may also be due to declines in growth hormone, testosterone, and estrogen levels.


It can be easily concluded that even if a woman has a normal BM, she will likely gain weight in her midlife and have a larger propensity to develop visceral fat. The main idea here is about lifestyle interventions. They serve as the cornerstone of management and prevention.

Women in the perimenopausal stage who engage in regular exercise and reach menopause at a healthy weight are more likely to keep it off the following menopause. Estrogen maintenance reduces abdominal fat. So, incorporating those lifestyle changes will do only good for you and will help you be in better shape.

You can also try our product Gut Health Formula which might help you lose weight.

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