Eat Less Sugar And White Flour
White sugar and white flour are two of the biggest food culprits for insulin-level spikes. If you reduce or eliminate them, you may be able to more easily lose weight after menopause and prevent fat storage around the abdomen.
“Eating a diet high in simple carbohydrates-sugar and white-flour foods-leads to weight gain,” Goldberg says. “Also, remember that alcohol is sugar and leads to weight gain.” Instead of a bagel for breakfast, she suggests oatmeal and berries. Instead of a grilled chicken sandwich, move that protein to a bed of greens for a salad.
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A Drop In Estrogen Levels
Changes in levels estrogen contribute to weight gain.
Estrogen is one of the primary sex hormones in females. It plays a role in:
- physical sex characteristics
- regulating cholesterol levels
During menopause, estrogen levels dip substantially.
Low estrogen during menopause does not directly cause weight gain, but it may lead to increases in total body fat and abdominal fat. Doctors associate excess weight during middle age with heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Hormone replacement therapy may reduce the tendency to gain abdominal fat.
How Changes In Hormones Affect Metabolism
During perimenopause, progesterone levels decline slowly and steadily, while estrogen levels fluctuate greatly from day to day and even within the same day.
In the early part of perimenopause, the ovaries often produce extremely high amounts of estrogen. This is due to impaired feedback signals between the ovaries, hypothalamus, and pituitary gland .
Later in perimenopause, when menstrual cycles become more irregular, the ovaries produce very little estrogen. They produce even less during menopause.
Some studies suggest that high estrogen levels may promote fat gain. This is because high estrogen levels are associated with weight gain and higher body fat during the reproductive years .
From puberty until perimenopause, women tend to store fat in their hips and thighs as subcutaneous fat. Although it can be hard to lose, this type of fat doesnt increase disease risk very much.
However, during menopause, low estrogen levels promote fat storage in the belly area as visceral fat, which is linked to insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other health problems .
Changes in hormone levels during the menopausal transition may lead to fat gain and an increased risk of several diseases.
However, some gain more weight. This appears to be particularly true for women who are already overweight or have obesity.
Weight gain may also occur as part of aging, regardless of hormone changes.
During the study, women gained belly fat and lost muscle mass .
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Level Up Your Sleep Game
In addition to helping you wake up energized and refreshed, high-quality sleep supports long-term weight management, according to a 2017 literature review in the journal Sleep Medicine Clinics. Even if you cant avoid every hot flash, creating a consistent bedtime routine and setting up your sleep environment can help optimize your ZZZs. About an hour before youd like to be snoozing, try winding down by dimming the lights, taking a bath, and/or cracking open a good book. If you have control of a thermostat, adjust your bedroom temperature to about 65°F, a thermal sweet spot that seems to keep sleepers comfortably warm without overheating. Your beds comfort factor matters, tooif your mattress feels lumpy or your pillows are flat as pancakes, some upgrades might be in order.
The Truth About Weight Gain During Menopause
The change. Kinda sounds like a low-budget horror film, doesnt it? But lets skip the suspense: All were talking about here is menopause, a normal phase of adult life marked by a predictable pattern of hormonal shiftsand for some people, shifts on the scale, as well.
Like many aspects of aging, menopause has long been stigmatized . And the lack of open dialogue means many people get stuck with unanswered questions about their health during this phase of life. Menopause can feel like someone changed the rules of your body and forgot to tell you, says Stephanie S. Faubion, MD, director for Mayo Clinic’s Center for Women’s Health and medical director for The North American Menopause Society.
In this article, well take a closer look at the topic of menopausal weight gain, a big source of confusion for many. One comprehensive review of research on midlife women found that subjects gained an average of 1.5 pounds each year throughout their 40s and 50s. Why does this happen? And is weight gain during menopause a foregone conclusion? Read on for a science-backed guide to how menopause may affect your weight and metabolism, along with compassionate expert advice for supporting your health during this stage of life.
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Why You Gain Weight During Menopause
Symptoms associated with menopause can start as early as four years before your last period and persist for an additional four years or longer. While many symptoms eventually subside as your body adjusts to hormonal changes, menopausal weight gain can make a permanent change in your long-term well-being.;
Understanding why menopausal weight gain occurs is key to taking control and maintaining good health in this new phase of life. The menopause specialists at Ovation Wellness in Madison, Mississippi, provide the guidance and support women need to remain healthy and adjust to their changing bodies. The professional and caring staff members help you find the strategies and treatments necessary to address your symptoms and establish long-term well-being.
The Upshot: Can You Lose Weight During Menopause
Maintaining a healthy weight before and after the change is totally possible. Just because youre going through menopause doesnt mean you have to gain weight, Dr. Zeszutek reaffirms. Lifestyle tweaks such as prioritizing sleep and stress management, eating plenty of lean protein, and adding strength training to your fitness routine can help keep you healthy in multiple ways after menopauseon and off the scale.
Megan McMorris is a writer based in Portland, Oregon. Shes written for Real Simple, Every Day With Rachael Ray, Readers Digest, Glamour, and Prevention, among others.
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Can You Lose Weight During Menopause
Losing weight may be more challenging during the transition to menopause, but some eating patterns may be better than others. Ward suggested that the best way to lose weight during menopause likely involves eating higher levels of protein and lower levels of carbohydrates than the Mediterranean and DASH plans. In one large observational study from the Womens Health Initiative, a long-term national health study and government program, women who closely followed the reduced carbohydrate eating plan were at a decreased risk for postmenopausal weight gain. On the other hand, a low-fat diet, which was about 60% carbohydrate, seemed to promote weight gain among these women.
Ward explained that unlike traditional eating plans, including those designed for weight loss, her books menopause diet encompasses multiple pillars, including a plant-based eating plan with more protein and less carbohydrates, a focus on meal timing, calorie control and regular exercise. Its a satisfying and enjoyable way to eat, she said, adding that nothing is off-limits. You dont have to worry about having dinner and drinks with friends, going on vacation or having to follow an unrealistically restrictive plan for the rest of your life. That said, she noted, if you want to lose weight during menopause, you should probably be consuming the minimum amount of added sugars, highly refined grains and alcohol.
What Is Menopause Exactly
First things first: Menopause refers to the life stage when a person is no longer menstruating. It officially begins 12 months after you get your final period, which generally happens between the ages of 45 and 55. Menopause can also occur with surgery that removes the ovaries, a procedure commonly performed with hysterectomy.
For menopause that happens with aging, the two- to eight-year period leading up to that milestone is known as perimenopause. This phase is marked by declines in levels of ovarian hormones and, for many people, the start of some noticeable symptoms and changes, including with respect to weight.
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About Weight Gain During Menopause
Weight gain takes place when body mass increases, whether as a result of fat deposits, additional muscle tissue, or excess fluid. However, weight gain associated with menopause typically increases fat around the abdomen.
On average, women gain between 12 and 15 pounds between the ages of 45 and 55, when menopause typically occurs. This extra weight generally does not evenly distribute itself throughout a woman’s body, but instead accumulates around the abdomen. Read below to learn the common symptoms associated with weight gain during menopause.
Change Your Eating Habits For Good
“I put on over three stone after menopause and a complete hysterectomy. I went low carb two years ago and I’m now slimmer than I have ever been. You just have to eat real foods, not CRAP .”
Exercise is highly important, but changing your diet is crucial to shifting those pounds in menopausal women. When it comes to weight gain and menopause, what you eat can make all the difference. In fact, a shift in our food choices can help with a multitude of health issues. It’s also worth remembering that certain foods can help to;relieve symptoms;of menopause. You can find more menopause diet tips here.
If you find that you feel tired, bloated or generally lacking in energy more often than not, it could be time for a change to switch to a healthy diet. While the key is always ‘everything in moderation’, it’s important that you do your research and select your food choices carefully, especially if you have diabetes or suffer from a specific health condition.;
There are lots of tips and tricks you can try to adopt healthier habits. Start by weighing your food to better understand portion sizes, or follow the NHS’s Eat Well guide, which tells you exactly how much of each food group you should be eating per day.
If you don’t know where to get started, there’s inspiration aplenty on our recipe section, where you can search our library for delicious healthy meals , and share your own. Bon appétit!
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What Is The Best Diet For Menopause
The Mediterranean diet, popular in Greece and Italy,; is a diet rich in vegetables, fruit, fish, and olive oil. The Mediterranean diet includes rare red meat consumption, which helps to reduce saturated fat. The plant proteins increase antioxidants.;
The;Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health reports that the Mediterranean diet is excellent for heart health, blood pressure, brain health, and weight loss. And, it just so happens it may decrease menopausal symptoms, too.
The traditional Mediterranean diet is void of processed foods like refined carbohydrates and integrates healthy fats, says Trista Best, RD, a registered dietitian at Balance One Supplements. Both of these characteristics are excellent for women going through menopause because it is naturally anti-inflammatory and loaded with beneficial nutrients.;
Does Menopause Mean I Will Start Putting On Weight
Hormonal changes during menopause can cause weight to gravitate to your middle. If youre finding that your midriff spare tyre is trying to escape from under your clothes, dont start browsing for bigger dress sizes just yet. We explain why it happens and the practical steps you can take to keep yourself healthy.
The weight gain slowly crept up on me and, without really knowing it, I was a stone heavier. I cant put it all down to hormones, as I was comfort eating due to stress and not sleeping. I felt out of control and it definitely affected my mental health
Its common sense that watching what you eat and increasing exercise helps keep your body healthy, but its not easy to put into practice at the best of times. You may find that menopause means its even harder due to fluctuating hormones and menopause symptoms.;
Women can gain up to 5lbs on average during menopause, which can dent your confidence and self-esteem. There are positive steps you can take without extreme dieting, whether you want to be more healthy, trim off a few pounds or lose a lot of weight. Find out more about the stages of menopause.;
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Stella offers personalised treatment plans during menopause.
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How To Stop Weight Gain During Menopause
Hormonal changes that occur during menopause often contribute to weight gain. Many studies have confirmed that menopausal and postmenopausal women are likely to gain weight and have larger midsections than women who have not gone through menopause. But the reason why this weight gain occurs is not clear.
One research study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology questions how different factors such as age, menopause, and lifestyle changes account for the weight gain often experienced by midlife women. They studied the activity levels of over 3,000 women across the country. They found that by remaining active, many prevented weight gain.
In another study where both men and women were studied over the course of 20 years, researchers found that those who maintained a very high level of physical activity experienced smaller increases in body mass index and waist circumference.
The Effects Of Menopausal Weight Gain
The impact of menopausal weight gain can affect more than your appearance. Being overweight at any age increases your risk of cardiovascular disease, a condition that causes almost 50% of deaths in women over age 50. This group of health conditions includes hypertension, stroke, myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure, and valvular heart disease.
Women who are overweight have an increased risk of high cholesterol, sleep disorders, and some cancers. Obesity is also a risk factor for dementia, urinary incontinence, and musculoskeletal disorders like osteoarthritis, all of which can affect your quality of life as you age.
Being overweight can also impact your appearance, self-esteem, physical competence, and how you interact with others. Depression and depressive symptoms are common psychosocial consequences of obesity.
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Foods To Eat During Menopause
A menopause diet plan involves a few key steps:
The following foods can help strengthen bones and relieve menopause symptoms:
If you find you cant take in enough of these nutrients through a healthy diet alone, a calcium and magnesium supplement may be beneficial during this time as well, says Best.
How Can You Lose Menopause Weight Gain
You can lose menopause weight gain the same way you can lose weight that isnt associated with menopause.
Restrict calories with a healthy diet. Exercise regularly, and aim for a combination of aerobic exercise to burn calories and strength training to build muscle. Prioritize your sleep.
Lastly, reduce stress. Stress can lead to things like overeating, excessive alcohol use, sleep disturbances, and other issues that can lead to weight gain.
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A Sample Day On A Menopause Diet
Heres what a day of eating on the menopause diet by Ward and Wright looks like. Since meal timing is important, snacks are ideally eaten before dinner.
- Breakfast: 1/2 cup of oats made with 1 cup of low-fat milk mixed with 2 teaspoons of almond butter and a small, sliced banana served with 1 scrambled or hard cooked egg and coffee with low-fat milk.
- Lunch: Tuna mixed with 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise layered with lettuce and tomato between toasted whole-wheat bread. Serve with sliced red peppers.
- Dinner: Salmon served with 1/2 cup of cooked whole-wheat pasta tossed with 1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil and roasted broccoli.
- Snacks: 1/2 cup each plain, nonfat Greek yogurt and berries ; 3 cups popcorn sprinkled with 1 tablespoon parmesan cheese.
Menopause Diet: Foods For Menopause
A menopause diet – which involves eating the right foods for menopause – can help to ease the menopause weight gain we all experience as we reach our mid-life.
So which are the right foods for menopause?
As is correct for anyone hoping to lose weight, a diet rich in fruit and vegetables and starchy fibres, such as brown rice and wholemeal bread, is always preferable.
According to the British Nutrition Foundation, women who are post-menopausal are also at an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, so keeping your heart healthy is imperative during and after the life stage. Post-menopausal women should avoid saturated fats, instead replacing them with things like olive and sunflower oils and spreads.
Oily fish should also be eaten twice a week, whilst salt intake should be kept to an absolute minimum. And of course, alcohol should not be consumed to excess – the NHS recommends no more than 14 units a week, with alcohol free days too.
To find out more about the food and supplements you should be taking during the menopause, .
But most importantly, it’s important to remember to love and accept your body as much as you can, even if you are working on improving your health in this way.
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