Diet and Women (cont.)

Menopause and hormones

Women have more body fat throughout their lives as compared to men. After menopause, women generally gain weight. Research is still conflicting as to whether this is due solely to menopause or solely to age (because men also typically gain weight as they become older), or perhaps a combination of age and menopause.

When women are taking hormone therapy, they are just as likely to gain weight as women taking a sugar pill (placebo). This means that the hormones are not causing the weight gain but rather that menopause itself, in conjunction with age, is likely to be responsible. It is not Ms. W. J.'s imagination that she is heavier than she has ever been during this menopause period. This is very common.

What about personal losses?

Ms. W. J. has suffered a major loss with the death of her mother. Weight gain commonly occurs after emotionally traumatic events. A woman with significant stress in her life should not pick that time to try to lose weight but should focus on eating a balanced, nutritious diet to maintain her strength and fitness. Successful weight loss requires a large amount of energy that she may not have after a traumatic event or loss. This can be too much for her to expect of herself and may lead to additional disappointment. The same goes for a woman with untreated depression. She needs to be sure to discuss any symptoms of depression and begin treating them before she makes serious efforts at weight loss. That way, she can avoid failure in losing the weight and achieve an overall healthier state.

Ms. W. J. needs to confirm that she doesn't have depression that began after the death of her mother, which may require special treatment. Many women don't realize that weight gain can actually be a symptom of a clinical depression.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/9/2014

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