When my mother hit the age of 40, she was proud. It was an achievement, especially with her youthful skin and spritely walk. Friends often mistook her to be my elder sister! Then her mid-40s arrived and she was no longer keen on discussing her wrinkle-free skin, as she was busy wondering why she was piling on pounds after pounds. I remember my mother was never fat in her youth, so getting a tummy after 40 was something that she couldn’t bear and it devastated her. This prompted me to find her help and I began researching. What I found was that weight gain after 40 in women is very common.
Why Women Gain Weight After 40?
Here are the 10 reasons why my mother and many women like her have gained weight after the age of 40:
1. Hormonal Imbalance:
This is the most obvious reason why women start gaining weight after the age of 40. This is the peri-menopause stage when the ovaries reduce their production of estrogen. With reduced estrogen, the body tends to retain fat, so that it can maintain normal hormonal balance and this leads to weight gain.
2. Reduced Levels of Progesterone:
As women approach menopause, the body reduces the production of progesterone. While reduced levels of progesterone do not cause you to gain fat, they contribute to bloating and water retention which add to your weight and give you a shock when you weigh yourself.
3. Increased Appetite:
Thanks to the changes in your hormone levels, you will end up with an increased appetite and hunger. This will cause you to eat more than normal and as we all know, overeating is one of the main reasons for weight gain.
One of the banes of aging is slower metabolism. Unfortunately every single woman will face this problem. Once the metabolism slows down, your body will burn fewer calories and you will end up accumulating unwanted fat around your waist. Now you know why you have that jelly belly!
5. Insulin Resistance:
After crossing 40, if your diet consists of white sugar and processed foods, your body cells will become resistant to insulin. This causes your body to store fat, resulting in weight gain. Of course, this is something to worry about as insulin resistance leads to Type 2 diabetes.
When women cross their 40s, they have to cope with more stress. They are worried about their kids, retirement and possibly health. When you are stressed, your adrenal glands will produce cortisol to combat the stress. Unfortunately, while your body is able to cope with stress, cortisol prevents weight loss, so most efforts to lose those extra pounds go in vain!
7. Your Body Composition:
Just being a woman is one of the main reasons for piling weight after 40. As women near menopause, they lose muscle mass but retain body fat. Initially, you will not notice a difference in your weight, but as the body loses more muscle mass, the basal metabolism slows down. And bang – you start gaining fat all over your body, resulting in weight gain.
8. Lack of Appropriate Physical Activity:
Most women, after crossing 40, do not indulge in intensive physical activity that can help them burn calories and reduce their body fat. Because of lower intensity exercises and physical activities, women put on weight like never before. This is another strong reason of weight gain after 40 in women.
9. Poor Eating Habits:
As mentioned earlier, once women cross the age of 40, their lives become more complicated. They worry about work, aging parents and kids. They are busy managing different aspects of their lives and many women tend to skip meals or do not pay attention to what they are eating. As a result, they overeat or consume larger portions that normally cause them to put on weight at the blink of an eye.
Many women end up with health problems after the age of 40 and start taking prescription medications. There are several prescription medications that cause people to put on weight. These include anti-depressants and corticosteroids.
These are the top 10 reasons why women gain weight after 40. In my mother’s case, it was lack of physical activity and hormonal imbalance. What are your reasons?
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