"For many women, menopause is a roller coaster ride of hot flushes, insomnia, night sweats, mood swings, heightened anxiety, panic attacks, dry and itchy skin and weight gain. Medically, menopause is when a woman goes without menstrual periods for 12 consecutive months and it usually occurs in women between the ages of 45 and 55.Though weight gain, especially around the belly, is a significant side-effect of menopause, you can avoid it by eating healthy and exercising regularly. Here are five steps to help you avoid weight gain during this period.The most effective way to avoid piling on those extra pounds during menopause is to move more. The American Academy of Medicine recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise every week. Pick up a physical activity you love aerobics, Zumba, yoga, swimming, kickboxing or whatever catches your fancy. If you don"t like hitting the gym, try to get in at least 10,000 steps every day and include two to three days of weight training per week in your regular schedule.Exercise is just one half of the weight-loss equation, and the other half is on your plate. Eating a healthy diet rich in nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and fiber can help you burn more calories and keep your metabolism functioning at optimum levels. Eliminate sugary drinks, high-fat and other processed foods from your diet.The body starts losing muscle density around age 40, and strength training can help protect your muscles. Besides cardio, include weight training in your exercise schedule. There are plenty of free fitness apps that can help you track your exercise routine."