Menopausal weight gain - any advice?

18 messages
09/07/2013 at 09:32

When I started running around four years ago I was 10st and fairly rapidly lost around 1st as I trained for my first half marathon.  Hurray!  Four years later I'm still running regularly and hard with 8 half marathons under my belt and two more plannedf for later this year but I started with menopausal symptoms in January (I'm 54) and the weight has just piled on in the last six months and I'm now 10 1/2 st. with it all lodged firmly around my middle. 

I've always been fairly 'curvy' from the neck to the hips, with a very generous chest but now it's just silly  -  skinny legs, skinny bottom, skinny arms and a big roll of fat where my waist used to be!

I haven't changed my diet at all, I eat really healthily, cook most evening meals from scratch and I don't even like sweet things so the perils of the chunky kitkat are easily avoidable!  I don't really fall into the trap of thinking 'oh I'm a runner so I can eat what I like' although I do have the odd swig of Ribena during the long run but not much.

I don't mind getting older (it's better than the alternative) but none of my clothes fit and you can't improve your speed if you're lugging 20 odd lbs of fat around.  Any advice or even explanations?



12/07/2013 at 10:02

Clearly just me then!  Haha 

seren nos    pirate
12/07/2013 at 10:24

sory lilytoo......I'm waitingfor that stage of my life........and have no clues or advice to help you.........

Hope you can get it sussed

13/07/2013 at 15:07

Couldn't have put it better myself, you're fat because you eat too much, simple.

15/07/2013 at 11:32

the menopause causes a step change becsuse the femsle reproductive system uses approx 300 cals per day and when that is switched off or removed it can contribute to quick and unexplained weight gain

That makes absolute sense!  Happier now I can see a reason to it.

I've always been the annoying sort of person that makes 'you're fat because you eat deep fried mars bars with a wooden spoon, duh...' noises when people complain because I've always known that if I eat less then I lose weight and if I eat too much then I put it on but I was struggling with the (seemingly) illogical 'well I'm eating exactly the same and exercising just as much but I'm putting fat on....'

The idea of my own little internal combustion egine actually shutting a part down and not needing as much fuel makes perfect sense and it's a b*gger but I'll just have to eat at least 300 calories a day fewer!

Thanks all

15/07/2013 at 19:48

Lily may also be worth checking you haven't got an under active thyroid, as that is common enough with age and will lead to weight gain through reduced metabolic rate.

Your GP cancheck it easily enoUgh

15/07/2013 at 20:25 48 and wondering how im goin to handle the changes. I have been reading a lot lately about teaching your body to burn fat for fuel instead of glycogen....I think at first its a bit uncomfortable because you run on empty. Anyway I really recommend having a read about it. Sarah.

16/07/2013 at 08:48

Hi K9 and Sarah  -  thanks for these suggestions, I'll check them both out.  I'd been wondering about running on empty and whether that would kick start something.  I'll report back (after my holiday when I fully intend to eat and drink as much as the human body can hold.....)!

20/07/2013 at 11:31

Ha ha...have fun...keep in touch.

20/07/2013 at 11:36

Sarah, can you recommend any sites for info on teaching your body to burn fat?  Ta

07/08/2013 at 19:39

You could also try having a day per week of no carbs - needs some careful planning and depends if you eat fish/poultry etc as to the ease of the change. It's similar to running on empty which is useful to try. It's surprising which fruit and veg contain carbs and how many carbs we actually eat which we really don't need (even if we do run!).

Try a run on an empty stomach - if you've not done it before just a short few miles and then see how you feel? I tend to run anything up to 6 - 7 miles on empty, and have once done 10 but not a great run so tend to have a small snack beforehand on a longer run.

Sorry for the delay in response only just browsing now - too busy running!!

Good luck!

09/08/2013 at 21:36

I think adding weight training should help - we lose muscle around that stage of life and this will slow down metabolism. It is possible to overcome apparently:

26/10/2013 at 18:00

Hi all

Just been googling things like 'performance and menopause' and arrived here. The weight is def going on, despite really eating well (I always have) and no more than usual but put it down to the fact I'm not traiing as much because I'm so bloody sluggish.

Have had a big few years with marathons and ironman and lots of long distance ow swimming so argueably I need a rest but TBH I've never had a problem resting and getting enough recovery. In the last four years I've had a very easy 6 months each year. 

So the recent lack of being able to make my legs move on runs (say over the last four months), slow recovery, legs feeling like I've run a marathon after six miles... horrendous. REally been getting me down.  

At least now it seems that for some of us, lack of performance and energy really is a thing.

I'm 51 and have been rumbling along with the menopausal thing for a couple of years and thought I was getting away with it quite lightly and was actually feeling a bit smug because i thought my exercising and healthy eating was helping.  Hahaha! Pride before a fall!

27/10/2013 at 19:20

I am with you ladies I'm 53 and getting older is a real bummer isn't it.  However  I've managed to drop a few pounds to under 10st now at 5'6"and recovered a 28" waist, and amazingly scored PBs at four distances this year so it isn't all bad and there is hope.  Not easy and I've had to change a lot of things I've been doing for years but this is what has worked for me so far:

1. Weight training sessions 3x weekly - big weights low reps to build muscle (train like a bloke basically including deadlifts squats and pull-ups);

2. More shorter interval training rather than longer slower cardio-intense runs

3. Fasted training / intermittent fasting - a couple of times a week I don't eat anything substantial until the afternoon.

4. Only two main meals a day with fewer carbs especially grain/sugar and cooked from scratch; drop "vegetable oils" (except olive) in favour of more animal fat and protein.  Needing fewer calories means every one has to count nutritionally.

5. Bio-identical hormone replacement (topical progesterone cream) - I'm not sure about this but am giving it a go and it has helped with hot flushes.

6. Vitamin D3 supplementation - 3x RDA

YMMV and it may not work for everyone but after plenty of experimentation I've found that if I continue in this way 80/20% of the time then I can enjoy a few cheats and maintain my weight as it is.  I've also found Mark Sisson's overall approach to health quite useful (google website if interested).

Good luck all.








30/10/2013 at 12:57

NW4: Would you care to elaborate on your obviously well-considered comment?


30/10/2013 at 13:03

Non-Runner - thanks - what fab suggestions.  I had also decided to go back to do some weight training. Haven't done it for a year or so since my last ironman.

I've started a blog on this and would like to offer suggestions for practical changes that people have made rather than it being just me having a good old moan.  If you're interested it's:




Edited: 30/10/2013 at 14:46
30/10/2013 at 16:34

Not there yet but commiserations as I do think about it.  I understand that change in metabolism can be quite sudden so always thought that upping exercise, reducing calories (perhaps turning to a more vegan diet) and increasing strength training (so as to raise resting metabolic rate, or Basal Metabolic Rate) is key.  Good luck.  

30/10/2013 at 16:36

By the way, I moved to California two years ago and it is inspirational to see the number of masters/seniors/super seniors running well out here.  Many adopt a more vegan diet and are very very active but also cross train constantly.  Crossfit, for example, is huge out here and is a bit like weight training with gymnastics so gives you the benefit of strength training in a fluid movement.  They are obviously doing something right anyway so it has been encouraging to see that age needn't mean it all goes pear shaped! 

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