woman standing on scales

How to manage weight during menopause?

02 Jun 2023 • 12 min read


If you’re here because you’re worried about gaining weight during menopause, let’s start with one thing—it’s a completely natural transition in life, and although there are ways to manage or lose this weight, be kind to yourself about any weight gain.

Weight gain during menopause is highly individual, affected by your genetics, hormones, diet, and lifestyle, but averages at between 2-5 pounds.

If you find yourself gaining weight during menopause, here’s everything you need to know about why this happens and 9 ways you can support post-menopausal weight loss.

What is menopause?

The menopause is a natural part of aging where a woman gradually has less and less periods until they stop altogether.

When this occurs, a woman is no longer able to get pregnant naturally and may also experience other symptoms, such as hot flashes.

This process often takes place between 45-55 years of age as a woman's oestrogen levels decline.1

Why is there weight gain during menopause?

There are a number of reasons why people are prone to weight gain during menopause:

  • Decreasing muscle mass

As a result of age, a common decrease in exercise, and fluctuating hormones, many people lose muscle mass during this transition, which increases the appearance of any weight gain.

  • Fluctuating hormones

In the perimenopausal phase—the stage that occurs before true menopause—hormones fluctuate between high and low levels before they decline during menopause.

Both high and low levels of oestrogen have been linked to increase fat storage.2

  • Heightened insulin resistance

People naturally become more resistant to insulin as they age, which is linked to an increased difficulty in weight loss.3

  • Lack of sleep

Some people also have difficulties sleeping during the menopause, which is linked to weight gain through a decreased ability to manage hormones and appetite.4

How common is weight gain during menopause?

Menopause weight gain is very common, although there are multiple factors that may affect how much weight a woman gains if they do gain weight at all.

These include:

  • Aging
  • Genetics
  • Hormones
  • Lifestyle, such as diet and exercise

Some have estimated that people gain about 2–5 pounds in the perimenopausal transition, the pre-menopause phase where eostrogen levels in the body begin to fluctuate significantly ahead of decreasing.5

However, in the same way that a person’s individual lifestyle and genetics affect menopause and weight gain, the duration and severity of each woman’s menopause is also especially individual.

Can menopause cause high blood pressure?

It can definitely influence it. This is because oestrogen has a key role in our bodies, as it allows our blood vessels to increase in size so that blood can flow easily. As well as this, it also helps to keep cholesterol levels down.6

So since oestrogen levels decrease during menopause, it may make it harder for your body to increase the size of blood vessels and potentially restrict blood flow, causing higher blood pressure than normal.6

How can I stop menopause weight gain?

Controlling your weight, or even losing weight during menopause, is certainly possible. Although the results vary greatly by person, depending on genetics, diet, and lifestyle. But don’t worry, we’ll soon give you 9 ways to lose weight during menopause.


  • Menopause is a phase of transition in a woman’s life when they stop having periods and can no longer get pregnant.
  • Menopause weight gain may occur for multiple reasons, including an increased difficulty in weight loss, less exercise, and increased cravings for unhealthy food.
  • The amount of weight gained during menopause varies from person to person, but averages at 2-5 pounds.
  • You can stop and even lose menopause weight, but should also be kind to yourself—weight gain can be a natural effect of growing older.
  • The hormonal changes during menopause may increase your risk of high blood pressure.

9 best ways for losing weight after menopause

Here are 9 top tips to help you lose weight while you're experiencing the fluctuations of menopause.

Reduce carbs


Get more fibre in your diet


Add more soya to your diet


Try the best exercises for menopause weight loss


Give your body the rest it needs


Try the best diets for menopause weight loss


Drink enough water


Try acupuncture


Hormone replacement therapy


Unexplained weight loss during menopause?

If you’re feeling the complete opposite to the above, and have actually experienced unexpected menopause weight loss, you’re not alone!

During the start of menopause, a woman’s ability to gain fat doubles while her lean muscle mass decreases.32

However, muscle weighs more than fat, so if your body’s level of fat remains stable while your muscle decreases, you may see unexpected weight loss.

The final say

Did you know there were so many ways to support menopause and weight loss? Well, now you do!

Not only did we share 9 ways to manage your weight during menopause, but you also now understand why weight gain is so common during this phase of life and that you’re not alone — it’s completely normal.

For more interesting articles you might like, try “Natural remedies for menopause symptoms,” and, if you’re wondering whether men can also suffer from hot flushes, read “Hot flushes in men.”





Author: Bhupesh PanchalSenior Regulatory Affairs Associate

Joined Holland & Barrett: Apr 2019

Masters Degree in Toxicology and BSc Hons in Medical Biochemistry

Bhupesh started his career as a Clinical Toxicologist for Public Health England, advising healthcare professionals all around the country on how to manage clinical cases of adverse exposure to supplements, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, industrial chemicals and agricultural products.

After 7 years in this role and a further year working as a drug safety officer in the pharmaceutical industry, Bhupesh joined Holland & Barrett as a Senior Regulatory Affairs Associate in 2019.

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