1. Your weight gain is rapid
Rapid and unintentional weight gain could be something that is easily managed by your doctor, or it could be a serious health warning. For example, if the weight gain is a side effect of a medication you have switched to recently, your doctor may be able to prescribe an alternative.
However, rapid weight gain could also be serious and require urgent medical attention.
If you have additional symptoms to rapid weight gain, such as fever, sweating, skin sensitivity, shortness of breath, swollen feet, heart palpitations, vision problems or other abnormal symptoms, see your doctor pronto.
2. You’re experiencing physical changes such as hot flushes, lethargy, poor concentration
Our hormones are chemicals that regulate many of our bodily functions, from how much fat we store to reproduction and menopause, our hunger, stress levels, mood, concentration, sleep and more.
Hormonal changes during the middle years may be even more pronounced, slowing down the metabolism, causing weight gain and possibly other conditions.
Some of these are normal, and some are not – and could indicate a serious health condition.
Common hormonal changes and conditions that affect women after the age of 45 include:
Menopause occurs when our estrogen levels decline, typically between the ages of 45 and 55. The bonus is there are no more periods. The downside is many experience weight gain before, during and after menopause. And, in addition, menopause affects our body shape and composition, our fat accumulation and fat distribution, with weight gain typically occurring around the tummy and hips.
And being overweight or having obesity can lead to a host of other medical conditions such as cardiovascular disease and more.
Other menopause symptoms typically include hot flushes, insomnia, memory problems and reduced libido.
Speak to your doctor, who can help you manage symptoms, rule out other health issues and help you manage your weight and health.
• Underactive thyroid.
If your weight gain is accompanied by fatigue, you could have an underactive thyroid, also known as hypothyroidism, which commonly affects women over 60.
It’s the thyroid’s job to provide energy to our organs and regulate our heart rate and digestive system, amongst other things. But if the thyroid gland isn’t producing enough of the thyroid hormone, the body slows down, weight gain occurs and a host of other possible side-effects may present too, such as depression, constipation, feeling abnormally cold and fatigue.
An underactive thyroid is usually treated with daily hormone-replacement tablets. Speak to your doctor for the best course of action.
Other hormonal conditions that can cause weight gain include an insulin imbalance (affects blood sugar levels, hunger, metabolism and more), leptin resistance (the hormone that makes you feel full), higher levels of ghrelin (the hunger-stimulating hormone), an increase in the stress hormone cortisol and more.
See your GP who can investigate and often perform a simple blood test to identify hormone related conditions.
When we age our body changes composition, we distribute fat differently, lose muscle mass and often do less physical activity. And many of us eat and drink the same kilojoules as we did before! Speak to your doctor about healthy weight loss and management. Your doctor can help you create a personalised plan that fits with your lifestyle and will support you in achieving your weight loss goals. Head to https://cansciencetaketheweightoff.com/ for more information to kick start your health.
3. Your weight gain appears puffy
Fluid retention typically causes the limbs, feet, hands, tummy and face to look puffy or swollen. This fluid retention can translate into weight gain as the fluid accumulates in the body.
Some medications can cause fluid retention. Other causes of fluid retention are common and nothing to be concerned about. For example, if you stand for a long period of time you may experience swollen ankles.
However, fluid retention can also be serious and indicate serious diseases, such as heart or kidney disease.
If you have experienced rapid, slow or periodic weight gain, speak to your doctor. Weight gain can not only cause other medical conditions, but it can affect your confidence and lead to anxiety issues, depression, social isolation and a host of other problems. Your doctor can put you on the right plan for healthy weight loss management and health.
The average female adult (depending on age, build, muscle, body and other factors) requires around 8000kJ per day. But if you are burning less kilojoules through physical activity than you are eating or drinking, the excess kilojoules will be stored as fat.