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Can you lose weight if you are perimenopausel?

By Anonymous October 16, 2009 - 11:17am
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I walk. I do Tai Chi. I watch my portions. I average between 1200 and 1500 calories per day and I cannot lose a single pound. I eat lots of vegetables. I eat better today than I ever did in my entire life and I cannot lose weight.

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Awesome question, Missy. And you are right -- that happens to all of us. In fact, one of our EmpowHer writers just recently did a post about it. It has good questions and tips about just this thing:


Since this is your first physical in several years, there will be a lot of basics. Basic lab tests, medical history, etc. On the form where you fill out your medical history, there may be a place there to write down what you are in for. Don't just put "physical." Put "physical, weight issues, perimenopause, hormone questions, thyroid questions," like that. This will tell the nurse or nurse practitioner and the doctor that you have several things on your mind, and it'll help you focus before you're inside the examining room.

Then, when the doctor meets with you, just tell your story in detail. It doesn't have to be long. You can start just how you started here -- that you are active and eat well, but cannot lose weight, and that in addition to the regular annual Pap smear and mammogram, you would like to be tested for underlying conditions that could be contributing to this. Say that you would like information about your hormone levels and your thyroid levels in addition to your cholesterol, etc.

Do not be afraid to take a small notebook in with you to take notes. Many women do it. And in fact it may help the doctor slow down and explain things more when she or he sees that you are taking notes.

And even if you are not interested in HRT, knowing whether your hormone levels are off may help you know what's going on in your lack of ability to lose weight.

After showing the doctor your food and exercise diary, you might ask if a referral to a nutritionist would be of any value. A nutritionist might be able to analyze your diet with more detail.

You won't get the results back for a few days. When the office calls with your results, be ready with pen and paper. Write down the levels. That will let you read over the information later when you're off the phone and do research if you need to. You can always call the office back with questions later.

After your appointment, you can also come back here and write about your experience and what they are testing for. We can give you an idea of what questions to ask next when you get your results.

Good job on making an appointment. And when all the results are in, don't hesitate to ask for a copy of your records. It helps if you switch doctors later on.

October 21, 2009 - 9:52am
HERWriter Guide

Dear Anon

Thanks for your question and welcome!

Yes, most people can lose weight if they are perimenopausal. In fact, many women perimenopausal by about age 38. They may still have clockwork periods, still have babies, still feel great and not have weight issues, but they are perimenopausal nonetheless.

For an active person, your calorie intake is quite low. If you are actively exercising, eating very healthfully, eat small portions and only consume a maximum of 1500 calories a day, you may have an underlying health issue that's causing this.

I have a couple of questions for you. Eventually our metabolisms slow down, especially at 40 and beyond so weight gain is often a result of this. How old are you? And how much weight do you need to lose? Are you very heavy or just a few pounds over where you'd like to be?

You may have a problem with your thyroid that is causing your body to retain weight.
I think all round blood work should be done, to check your hormones, particularly your thyroid. It may not be working correctly and medication can remedy this and allow your body to function properly again.

Have you had a check up in this area?

October 16, 2009 - 11:48am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Susan Cody)

I am 49 years old. Pretty close to turning 50. I am starting with a new doctor and have my first physical scheduled next month. One of the things that I have been doing is tracking my foods and exercise on a daily basis. I currently weigh about 181lbs and I am 5"5" tall. I would like to get down to about 150lbs. I have suspected that there may be an underlying issue that is preventing me from losing weight and I do plan on discussing this with my doctor next month. I am open to any suggestions.

October 16, 2009 - 1:49pm
(reply to Anonymous)


Congratulations on eating so well and being so active!!! I am in awe. And tracking your foods and exercise is awesome. I hope you plan to take that tracking to your doctor when you go!

I agree with Susan C about having all your blood levels checked, for your hormones (estrogen, progesterone and testosterone) and your thyroid levels (T3, T4 and TSH). Your doctor may also test your cholesterol and blood sugar to make sure all is well there.

I am wondering if you weight is spread fairly evenly throughout your body, or if it's more around your midsection? If it's the latter, you are not alone. Extra weight seems to land in our midsection in perimenopause and menopause, for a few reasons. Here are a couple of threads that discuss this:




Does any of that sound like your weight issues? Or does it seem like yours are different?

October 19, 2009 - 8:39am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Diane Porter)

Hi Diane,
Missy here. Most of my weight is in my midsection. I have been doing a lot of reading since I figured out that I was most likely perimenopausal. I do plan on taking my information to my doctor when I go next month because I really do believe that I should be losing some weight with my activities. The only time I actually lost a few pounds was when I fasted because of having a colonoscopy. I have no plans to continue fasting in order to lose weight. I figure the best I can do right now is maintain and wait till I have my physical. Thanks for responding.

October 19, 2009 - 3:34pm
(reply to Anonymous)

Hi, Missy!

I LOVE your attitude. You are living a healthy life, and you're going to talk to your doctor instead of freaking out. I'm glad you have an appointment next month. Go armed with a list of specific questions, in case you get the "This just happens around perimenopause and there's not much we can do about it " answer! We are all individuals and we all go through perimenopause and menopause, and by golly there ARE things we can do about it. (Imagine if a man went to a doctor and said he had erectile dysfunction and the doctor said, it just happens, there's nothing much to do about it! That would never happen!)

You're doing everything right. Please update us after your appointment and let us know what you learn!

October 20, 2009 - 9:59am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Diane Porter)

Are there specific questions that I should be asking? I guess I am like most people when it comes to doctors. I get there and get nervous and forget to ask or am not sure what to ask. This will be my first real doctor appointment in several years. I already know that I am not interested in HRT because I have a family history with cancer and do not want to put myself in a higher risk category.

I really appreciate all of the feedback. My closest friend is years away from this experience and really cannot relate.


October 20, 2009 - 2:27pm
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