As your hormones begin to change – like a decrease production of estrogen, progesterone, DHEA and testosterone – your body begins to store fat in places it hadn’t before – like your mid-section.
But hormone changes are the only reason you gain weight during menopause. Other factors like age, lifestyle, eating habits and genetics play a role, too.
Here are some tips to lose weight (fat ) during menopause:
1. Lift weights – This helps slow muscle atrophy that is natural with aging and increases testosterone and growth hormones. You can even see a gain in muscle, which is burns more calories at rest and takes up less space than fat.
Also lifting weights is necessary for improving bone mineral loss and fighting osteopenia/porosis.
2. Get your gut in order – While this is true for everyone because your gut is your health, your immunity, your second brain, it will help with preventing weight gain during menopause. According to an article in Science Direct, when your gut micro-biome is out of whack and imbalanced, circulating levels of estrogen are reduced because the “One of the principal regulators of circulating estrogens is the gut microbiome.”
Do this by:
1. Skipping refined sugar and alcohol
2. Eating fiber through plants – i.e. eat your veggies and leafy greens. Side note: Chia seeds in smoothies, shakes, meatloaf and salads is an easy way to increase fiber, plant protein and healthy fats.
3. Eat pre-biotic foods to help feed the “good bacteria” – asparagus, dandelion greens, garlic, onions, leeks, greenish bananas
4. Eliminating foods that irritate your belly! – common culprits are dairy, wheat, soy, low quality fats and oils like canola and vegetable and caffeine.
5. Drinking apple cider vinegar (mixed with water) – to help balance the pH of your gut
3. Manage your stress – Reduce the flight or flight response.
1. Get outside and into the sun or in the woods or wherever you can get into nature.
2.Get a massage or rub your own feet while listening to classical music (proven to stimulate the rest and digest system).
3.Get spiritual – i.e. pray or go to your place of worship
4.Practice gratitude – spend some time writing in a journal.
4. Eat the right amount of food for you – calories still add up even if they come from healthy walnuts or avocados. This is especially true if you are NOT lifting weights. As you get older your muscles will atrophy and you don’t need as many calories as you used too. If you eat the same portion sizes as you did when you were 20 years old and you don’t exercise/lift weights – you’ll gain fat.
5. Eat lean protein – This macro-nutrient continues to be a tough one for many of the women I meet, but embrace it because it will help you feel energetic, grow the muscle you are working to build through lifting weights and make you feel satisfied with your meals. Also, during the peri and menopausal years, your body doesn’t metabolize starchy carbohydrates like it used to so getting in protein will help balance this.
6. Prioritize sleep – It seems especially challenging to get enough sleep as you enter menopause and therefore all the more reason to prioritize it. Go to bed earlier, set your bedroom up for good sleep by keeping it dark, cool and without electronics. Try a cool shower before bed (not warm).
Give these 6 tips a try and you’ll have faster results than you thought possible!