The Mid-40s Shift: Natural Solutions to Menopausal Weight Gain


When I was in my 30s, I remember hearing about “the shift” that happens in the 40s. My older friends would warn me, “your hormones go nutso, you can’t eat as much because everything sticks,” and, “you have to get more exercise but you’re just so tired all the time, it’s so much harder to keep fit.” 


Sure, I thought. As long as I stick to a healthy diet and daily exercise in some form or another, it’ll be okay. 


Then, it happened. Well I should say, it started happening. I began noticing those first telltale signs of “the shift.” While I’m four years into menopause now and not experiencing symptoms so much anymore, I’m unsure if that’s because I’ve adapted to the changes gracefully or because my hormones have mellowed out.


But this is how it went and to an extent, how it still is…


I was hungrier than before, and found I needed to eat smaller amounts more frequently. 


Now, food seems to stick more than it did in my 30s, perhaps due to changes in my metabolism as an effect of changing hormones. I notice that I carry my weight a bit more in my abdomen, butt, and thighs, and with the added insult of cellulite. 


It’s also harder to burn off than before and I tire more quickly. I crave all the stuff I know isn’t the most effective for my health. 


And sleep… well it comes and it goes, and with it my vital energy, but it has improved big time (especially since I regularly give myself Reiki).


I consider myself lucky, though. Several of my clients have had a pretty rough ride through menopause. For them, calling it “the shift” is wildly inaccurate. It’s more like “the massive upheaval of body, mind, and spirit.” Indeed, whatever the body is undergoing impacts the entire woman. 


So, what gives? Why does this shift happen and what can we do to relieve our suffering?


Menopause & Weight Gain


As progesterone declines during perimenopause––that time surrounding menopause––estrogen increases and massively fluctuates due to faulty feedback signaling between the ovaries, hypothalamus, and the pituitary gland (1). 


Studies suggest that rising and inconsistent levels of estrogen can cause weight gain, particularly in the abdominal region. As muscle mass decreases, fat increases. 


That doesn’t mean we can blame those extra pounds entirely on hormones though. Lifestyle, aging, and genes play a role too. However, by taking all those factors into account we can make changes that support our body’s best health. 


Eating a nutritious diet low in sugars, high in good fats and proteins, and optimized to support your daily energy requirements (ie. refraining from midnight snacking). 


Regular exercise, including cardio and weight bearing exercise. 


Sex––good sex that feeds not only the libido, but our spirit and connectedness to our partners too. 


Immersing yourself in creative outlets and activities that bring you joy, every day if you can.  


Getting a good night’s sleep is a critical factor too, although not always within our efforts to control (learn more about how to optimize sleep here)


While every woman must make changes that align with the needs of her body, alternative therapies like Reiki and hypnosis can help ease menopause symptoms in all women. 


Reiki is a Japanese healing system that works with the body’s energy lines and chakras to encourage the opening of blocked channels and help relieve excess energy. As vital energy flows through the body, it brings healing and balance.


Hypnosis too has been shown to help relieve symptoms of menopause, including weight gain. It works by inducing a state of relaxation naturally and safely. Learn more about how hypnosis can help during the hormonal shift


If you’re struggling with menopausal weight gain and looking for natural, alternative treatments, give me a call. I’m located in Durham Region, serving clients in Clarington and surrounding areas. I look forward to hearing from you. 


And hey––just a reminder that you’re doing your best every day, don’t forget to acknowledge that.




  1. Why Some Women Gain Weight Around Menopause