Ways To Lose Weight After Menopause
Menopause refers to the change in a womans life when her menstrual cycles cease, and she is no longer fertile . As normal hormone production continues to decline during perimenopause and menopause, a variety of troublesome symptoms may start to occur, including hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, and more.
But no side-effect of menopause is more frustrating than weight gain. Eventually the hot flashes and mood fluctuations will go away but most women are stuck for the rest of their lives with the unwanted weight gain that accompanies menopause.
And weight gain is much more than just a cosmetic issue! Weight gain not only dramatically decreases a womans self-esteem, it also can significantly increase her risk for virtually every major chronic disease, including: heart disease, stroke, Type 2 Diabetes, high blood pressure, and even cancer.
In this article Austin, TX menopause and hormone expert Dr. Ruthie Harper explains what causes weight gain during menopause and how you can effectively prevent new weight gain and lose those unwanted pounds.
How To Lose Weight During Menopause
3 minute read
You might be slipping on a form-fitting dress or trying to button your favorite pair of jeans when it hits you: Youve put on some weight.
Given your age and the fact that menopause is likely approaching or maybe youve recently gone through the transition you may assume some changes to your shape are inevitable. Still, who wants to see their waistline expand? You may resolve to change your diet and exercise more, but still, you wonder: Is it even possible to lose weight during menopause?
The good news is that, yes, a menopausal woman can absolutely lose weight. It wont necessarily be easy , but you certainly have the power to ditch those unwanted pounds if theyre messing with your healthy weight or self-image.
Can Weight Changes During Menopause Be Prevented
Most women gain weight as they age, but there are things you can do to minimize weight gain during menopause. Weight gain is not a guarantee. If you are vigilant about healthy eating and focus on an active lifestyle, you can avoid those excess pounds that can creep up.
Preventing weight gain in the first place is much easier than trying to lose the pounds once they have been gained. However, the following tips will help you both prevent weight gain and lose weight.
Don’t Miss: Menopause After Tubal Ligation
Ways To Lose Weight During Menopause
1. Increase Your Activity
Activity is fundamental when it comes to losing weight. To put it simply: just get out and move. Aerobic activity helps you lose weight and maintain a healthy number on the scale.
Activities that increase your muscle mass will help your body burn calories more efficiently, such as swimming, cycling or running. Resistance training is important too. Strength training with weights will help reduce body fat, increase muscle, and offer additional benefits like less physical pain and a better feeling overall.
How much activity do you need to reach your goals? The recommended amount of moderate aerobic activity is at least 150 minutes a week or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity. The best way to get the most from your activity and boost your intensity is through high-intensity interval training where you alternate between intense periods of physical activity and recovery periods.
2. Lower Your Food Intake
The needs of our bodies change as we get older. Once we hit our 50s, we do not need as many calories as we did in previous decades. When you lower your calories, do not compromise nutritional value instead, make smart choices when it comes to food. Fruits, vegetables and whole grains will sustain you.
Even though joint pain isn’t the first symptom you think of with menopause, it can still happen. Here’s how joint pain and menopause are related.
3. Cut Down on Sugar
4. Hydrate Properly
5. Build Your Support Network
Prioritize Exerciseincluding Strength Training
“To counteract the decrease in lean body muscle mass, it is important to include weight training two days per week, in addition to meeting minimum guidelines for moderate physical activity of 150 minutes per week. The increase in muscle mass not only helps with appearance, it helps to maintain metabolic rate and help improve insulin sensitivity, reducing risk for type 2 diabetes,” says Dr. Mittal.
Lifting weights will not make you bulky but instead will increase the number of calories burned at rest, which will make losing and maintaining weight loss much easier. Cardio exercise alone could lead to loss of muscle. If you don’t use it, you lose it.
Recommended Reading: Tubal Ligation Early Menopause
Give Your Body The Rest It Needs
This is a good rule for any happy and healthy routine, but especially during menopause when your hormones and moods fluctuate, difficult to manage on a bad nights sleep.
Getting enough sleep helps to manage these hormones.18
Plus, not getting enough sleep can increase your appetite and decrease your ability to resist unhealthy snacks, so sleep is an important weapon in your fight against menopause weight gain.
Adjust Your Coping Strategies And Address Your Stress Levels To Help Reduce Weight Gain
If your fat is making you feel stressed or vice versa for that matter dont disregard that link. There is a stress-fat connection, Peeke says. If you walk around completely stressed all the time, your cortisol levels will increase, and that will make it easy for you to deposit fat deep inside the belly.
Cortisol, known as the stress hormone, stimulates the liver to increase production and release of blood sugar and helps the body convert fats, proteins, and carbohydrates into usable energy. As part of the bodys fight or flight response, cortisol is released during stressful times to give your body a natural energy boost, but when cortisol levels are constantly high because of chronic stress, these same effects may result in insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
To reduce stress and belly fat, employ quick and simple techniques to help calm you down.
How To Whittle Your Middle
Not sure how to start? Follow these three tips to use the power of your mind to tackle your muffin top.
Work your whole body. The magic formula for blasting body fat is combining cardio, weight lifting, and core work. The trick with the cardio is to do intervals — alternating high- and low-intensity bursts within one workout — and work up to burning 400 calories per workout, four to five times a week. Weight train twice a week, either at home or at the gym, and do yoga or Pilates to trim that core.
Visualize your reward.Close your eyes and see yourself without the bigger belly. What do you look like? What are you wearing? How much lighter do you feel? Do this daily. Without a goal in mind, you will be stuck doing technical tasks that might feel meaningless.
Combine discipline with self-love. Sure, you need discipline to drag yourself out of bed for that early morning exercise class. But the stronger your self-love and respect, the more you’ll see that discipline as one route to realizing your dreams.
Hormonal Causes Of Weight Gain After Menopause
Menopause results in rapid changes in a womans reproductive / sex hormone levels, including estrogen and testosterone. And these hormones play a key role in how the body both burns calories and stores fat.
During menopause estrogen levels decline, which decreases the rate with which the body burns and converts stored energy . Simply put, low estrogen levels slow down the metabolism, which increases fat storage on the body.
Additionally, lower estrogen levels result in less fat breakdown, which results in further fat accumulation and weight gain. And, if the balance between estrogen and testosterone gets out of balance, an excess of androgens can increase the risk of obesity.
Finally, to compound the problem, the levels of the hormone leptin which signal the brain to feel full after eating also drop. So, women actually do feel hungrier as a result of menopause, which leads to eating more.
Frustratingly, in addition to weight gain, fat distribution also shifts in the perimenopausal woman as well. So, waist circumference also increases disproportionately in women after menopause at a greater rate.
Also Check: What Helps With Dizziness During Menopause
Avoid Excess Consumption Especially Snacks Nuts Alcohol And Keto Treats
When metabolism slows during menopause, even consuming slightly more than you need can add to weight struggles. While a low-carb diet can help you keep consumption in check by reducing cravings and increasing satiety between meals, you can still go overboard on keto-approved foods.28
Paying attention to food and drinks that contain little nutrition and/or lots of calories is important for women in menopause. That means be careful with keto desserts, fat bombs, bulletproof coffee, MCT oil, alcohol, low-carb fruits, and nuts. If youre really struggling, try eliminating dairy, such as eating lots of cheese and cream. Understanding hunger signals helps control excess consumption, too.
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.
You May Like: Causes Of Hot Flashes Besides Menopause
Losing Abdominal Fat In A Postmenopausal Woman: Analyzing Your Lifestyle Habits
The best way to regain a flat stomach at menopause and dislodge abdominal fat is to start by analyzing your lifestyle habits. Do you tend to snack outside of meals?
Do you use it often, whether for gluttony or simply because you do not yet feel the feeling of satiety? Do you have an unbalanced and disorganized diet? If the answer to all these questions is yes, a food rebalancing is necessary.
Do not hesitate in this case to be followed by a specialist in dietetics. The latter will help you regain good eating habits.
Menopause, I swell a lot: What is the best sport to lose belly?
It would be best to remain physically active to lose abdominal fat during menopause additionally, you must have a balanced diet.
Avoid a sedentary lifestyle as much as possible by regularly practicing a sport you love. In addition to maintaining your muscle mass and preserving your skeletal density, maintaining a particular physical shape will allow you to sculpt your figure. To lose belly, muscle-building exercises such as abs or sheathing are recommended.
Is it possible to lose weight at menopause?
Whether to avoid gaining weight during menopause or lose weight, there are some tips to help you do it.
How to avoid gaining weight through diet during menopause?
To not gain weight during menopause, one recommendation to follow is eating better and balanced. Thus, fill up on vitamins and minerals by favoring fruits and vegetables.
Why Exercise Is Important Now
Losing excess weight may be a top priority, but there are so many positive effects of exercise for menopausal women. Remember the long list of unwanted symptoms? It is essential to understand that movement can reduce the severity and frequency of several symptoms. Exercise is known to cause the release of endorphins , promote peaceful sleep, regulate hormone levels, and boost libido.
Yet the most significant contributions exercise can make is the relief of stress. High levels of stress can cause weight gain, hot flashes, and anxiety. Exercise has been found to lower the level of stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. Quality of life can improve significantly during these challenging years by exercising regularly and at a higher level of intensity than what youre used to.
Also Check: What Causes Hot Flashes Besides Menopause
No Matter What Your Body Looks Like Now You Need To Think About How You Got There Life Is A War
With stress from trying to balance career and family, going through pregnancy and childbirth, unfortunate events such as loss of a loved one, or dealing with other very difficult issues, we are only human and can only do so much and can only handle things the best we can. Stress can cause bad eating habits as a way of dealing with it, leading to weight gain. Remember that you have been through a lot, so thank yourself for pulling through.
Now its time to care for yourself and put you FIRST. You deserve it.
Get Hormonal Support
There are natural, healthy, supplements out there that can support your hormone levels, which may help you prevent or get rid of that stubborn menopausal muffin top.
I personally love and recommend BioTrust Ageless Body. Research found that the super nutrients in their formula reduce cortisol levels over 6 times lower. PLUS, it rolled back up to 17 years of degenerative cellular aging, and improved skin and sleep .
Get Social Support
Its not easy to eat healthy and exercise when no one else is doing it around you. Call up a friend or convince your partner to join you.
Add More Soya To Your Diet
Did you know that thanks to soya isoflavones, plant-based chemicals known as phytoestrogen, soya foods are often beneficial to women going through menopause?
This is because soya isoflavones work as a weak form of oestrogen in the body, helping to reduce the symptoms of menopause like hot flashes.10
They also support weight loss goals as theyre low in fat, high in protein, and soybeans, tofu, and tempeh are known for having the highest isoflavone content.11
Don’t Miss: Does Menopause Cause Dizzy Spells
Strength Training In Menopause
As your estrogen levels lower in perimenopause and menopause, your muscle mass is also going to decline. This loss of muscle mass is known as sarcopenia and its common in menopausal women . With the loss of muscle, your body fat will get higher which will make it more likely youll get stubborn belly fat .
Starting a weight training routine is going to be of the utmost importance if your goal is to get rid of your menopot belly. Even if youre dieting you still wont be able to fully get rid of your belly as long as your muscle mass keeps declining. Aerobic exercise is also important lifting weights with major muscle groups is what youll need for muscle gains and fat loss.
Eating a higher amount of protein is going to be key to building more lean muscle. If you have trouble meeting your daily protein requirements try drinking a daily low-carb protein shake.
Getting serious about lifting weights is the best thing you can do to combat the redistribution of fat to your belly. And as your hormones change with menopause its going to only become more and more important. This doesnt mean you have to start a hardcore bodybuilding workout routine but you need to get on a weight training plan fast. Some of my favorite strength training exercises include push-ups, squats, pull-ups, lunges, shoulder presses and step-ups.
Diet for Menopausal Belly
Update Your Healthy Sleep Strategies To Rest Better And Fight Weight Gain
Insomnia is an extremely common symptom of perimenopause, which is the period of time when womens bodies transition toward their final menstrual cycle. And according to the North American Menopause Society, that transition phase can last for four to eight years. All that time spent waking up unrefreshed means youre probably feeling too exhausted to head out for a workout, too. Its imperative to get sleep as you get older, says Peeke. One of the things that truly helps combat the menopot is high-quality sleep.
Inadequate sleep impacts our hunger hormones, ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin and leptin become dysfunctional when you dont get enough sleep, so good luck trying to lose weight if you dont fix that problem, says Peeke.
Palumbo says that you should close your kitchen and brush your teeth by 7 p.m. This will keep you from eating late, which can keep you from getting restful slumber and cause you to pack on the pounds. You shouldnt be eating before you sleep, because it will interrupt your sleep, she says.
Aim for a minimum of seven hours of shut-eye, although this varies from person to person and over time. Keep your bedroom cool to offset hot flashes and night sweats, and turn off all glowing screens for at least an hour before you want to fall asleep. If you really cant fathom doing that, wear amber-lensed glasses to counteract the sleep-disrupting effects of blue light, or see if your device has an amber light setting, says Peeke.
You May Like: Early Menopause After Tubal Ligation
First What Is Menopause
Menopause marks the end of a womans menstrual cycles. It is defined as a full 12 months without a menstrual period for women over the age of 40.2 While the average age in North America is around 52, the hormonal changes can start in a womans early 40s and last into her 60s.3
Research shows that the timing of menopause is a complex mix of genetics, ethnicity, geography, socio-economic status, and lifestyle factors. 4
The symptoms of menopause are well known: hot flashes, night sweats, mood changes, brain fog, headache, disrupted sleep, vaginal dryness, bloating, and more. Unfortunately, weight gain and increased body fat, especially around the abdomen, are very common complaints.5
Its estimated that most women, without changing anything in their diet or lifestyle, gain an average of 2 to 5 pounds during the menopausal transition. However, some gain much more than this.6