Why am I gaining weight in my midsection even though I’m eating the same way I always did? I always ate healthy and didn’t worry too much about gaining weight, but after 40 everything’s changed.

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Q: Why am I gaining weight in my midsection even though I’m eating the same way I always did? I always ate healthy and didn’t worry too much about gaining weight, but after 40 everything’s changed.

July 3, 2014

The hormonal changes happening before and during menopause might make you more likely to gain weight, especially around the abdomen area. Hormonal changes alone don’t necessarily trigger weight gain – there are other things going on during your 40s and 50s. Weight gain is usually influenced by aging, lifestyle and genetics. It is common as we age to have less muscle mass and more fat. The loss of muscle mass decreases the rate at which your body burns calories. If you continue to eat as you always did and don’t increase your physical activity, you’re likely to start gaining weight.

Genetics might play a role on where you carry your weight. If your parents or close relatives carry extra weight around the abdomen, chances are you will, too. Sometimes, life changes will contribute to weight gain. Stressors like children leaving for college, new career, divorce, or caring for older relatives can contribute to midlife weight gain.

The good news is you can move more, eat smarter and seek support from women going through the same changes. Thirty minutes of daily exercise, eating fewer calories and more lean sources of protein, and surrounding yourself with loved ones who support your healthy habits are important steps in maintaining your good health and finding your balance in midlife.

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