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By the time you have hit your mid-to-late 40s, you probably noticed that instead of just having an occasional mood swing or hot flash, your favorite pair of jeans are beginning to feel a bit snugger. It is not your imagination.
On average, a woman will gain about four and a half pounds when she begins that part of her life called menopause during her 40s. Unfortunately this is something that won’t slow down, either. A woman will continue to pack on around a pound and a half every year during their 50s and 60s.
The reason this happens is because we lose muscle mass as we age. Because muscles burn more calories than fat, your metabolism will slow down, and this causes you to start putting on weight. Beginning around the age of 30 you lose about a half pound of muscle every year. That number will rise to about one pound by the time you are 50.
As you go through menopause, you might notice that even though the number on the scale might not be rising a lot but the weight you have gained will accumulate around your waist. This leaves you looking like you have a beer belly. During menopause the ovaries will stop producing estrogen. The only place that it gets generated is in the fat cells of the abdomen. Because of this, your body will naturally begin to store fat in this area trying to get estrogen. This is why some people call the stomach the third ovary.
This fat is called visceral fat and is toxic. It produces the stress hormone cortisol and inflammatory proteins called cytokines. These chemicals cause your body to produce more insulin that ramps up the appetite but cause fat to be stored in fat cells. This causes you to gain even more weight around your waist and could cause you to become resistant to insulin. This is the main factor that causes type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Yes, this sounds horrible, but there are ways you can reverse the upward spiral of your scale. Here are a few ways how:
If you live a rather sedentary life, begin exercising. Find a program that will help you to shed the pounds. It can also help with some menopausal symptoms like hot flashes. If you are active, crank things up some. The easiest way to achieve this is by doing some high-intensity interval training. This is when you do short periods of intense physical exercise along with longer recovery times. Postmenopausal women who do just ten minutes of HIIT five times each week could lose two times as much weight when compared to women who do traditional exercises such as walking. If you already walk every day or so, just add a few hills into your routine.

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