Most consultants would agree that the best way to shed weight at menopause is to scale back your calorie consumption and enhance the quantity of exercise. On a simplistic level, that is certainly true. Though most of us already know this, it is still not straightforward to drop pounds!
Cause of Weight Gain Before, During and After Menopause
Menopause signifies the end of a woman’s ability to reproduce as her reproductive system can no longer do so, thus the cessation of the menstrual cycle. Menopause can be a distressful time for some women, for it goes along with quite uncomfortable symptoms such as mood swings, hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, and thinning of hair, to name a few.
Apart from these, weight gain is one of the things that most women face, which can happen even during pre-menopause. Weight gain and menopause are related because of the many changes that happen to a woman’s body, and the causes for which are as follows:
- Hormonal changes: During pre-menopause and menopause, a specific hormone called estrogen rapidly decreases. The ovaries mainly produce this hormone, but fat cells can also create this hormone in small amounts. Because the ovaries have reduced their estrogen production, the body will compensate for this by getting it from the fat cells. The body will convert large amounts of calories to fat to produce more estrogen, causing weight gain.
- Stress: Hormonal imbalance is not the sole reason for weight gain during menopause. The stress hormone cortisol can also cause the body to store excess fats, which also contributes to weight gain.
- Lack of Physical Activity: Due to the symptoms brought about by menopause, some women experience fatigue while others feel weak at most times; thus, the presence of physical activity is decreased, and with this, weight gain may happen.
- Other factors: Other factors contributing to weight gain in menopause are slow metabolism, genetics, and insulin resistance.
How Can You Lose Weight During Menopause?
Any diets which promise rapid weight loss are just not sustainable within the long term. These so-called “crash” or “fad” diets may appear to present a quick outcome. However, any “loss” is mainly water and will likely be shortly regained once a standard consuming sample is re-established.
During menopause, the physique needs to be fed nutritious meals, which can assist preserve bone power and contribute to total nicely-being. It’s very harmful to contemplate diets that exclude main food groups comparable to carbs or fat, and diets that advocate consuming solely prepared-made, prepackaged foods are costly and sometimes of low nutritional value.
Related: How To Lose Weight For A Woman?
The perfect diet to shed pounds throughout menopause is a healthy consuming plan which supplies a steady, sustainable weight loss. It should satisfy the appetite with nutritious, wholesome foods that give a nicely-being. It should help raise the metabolism, helping burn calories even when at rest.
It ought to present vitality to enable a daily train routine to be maintained. Most significantly, it should be in the form of a supported, structured plan which supplies you the opportunity to be in control by planning your meals. Finally, it should give visible results for all your efforts!
Avoiding Weight Gain During Menopause
Here are all the tips you need to save you from unnecessary menopause weight gain:
| Healthy lifestyle
That is perhaps the most effective way of avoiding weight gain during menopause. A healthy lifestyle combines having a balanced diet, engaging in regular exercise, and managing stress levels. They not only help prevent weight gain, but they help in managing menopause symptoms too.
| Avoid the intake of excess calories
If you are taking in more calories than what your body needs, chances are you will gain weight as the excess calories will not be used by your body for energy but rather be stored in the body as fat.
| Starving one’s self is not the answer
Some women think that avoiding weight gain is by starving themselves. Not only is starving unhealthy, but it does not help as it only slows down metabolism, which can further cause weight gain during menopause.
| Lower stress levels by getting enough sleep
Lowering stress levels is crucial in avoiding weight gain during menopause. You can do this by getting enough rest and sleep, especially at night where the body recharges and repairs itself in preparation for the next day. Stress techniques may also be used, such as meditation. Furthermore, it is advisable to limit caffeine and alcohol intake to keep off weight gain during menopause.
| Maintain well-hydrated as this helps with appetite management
| Eat a nicely balanced low-fat eating regimen
| Begin/sustain with an exercise routine that includes some aerobic elements
| Exercise portion control
| Reduce overall calorie consumption by around 10%
There may be such a plan that takes all of the guesswork away and gives you all the tools. However, you have to follow these tips to drop some weight throughout menopause safely and effectively. Just imagine the distinction, although for those who take action today to drop extra pounds during menopause. In a year, your body could be leaner and healthier, and you will be doing all the right things to guard yourself against diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, and breast cancer.
Postmenopausal Women And Dieting
This study undertaken by the University of Illinois has concluded that postmenopausal women who are dieting to lose weight but want to avoid losing muscle as they lose fat would be best choosing a more protein-rich diet for weight loss.
Protein contains amino acids which are the building blocks for muscles. Adding protein throughout the day helps control appetite and calorie intake and makes it easier for dieters to lose more weight.
Following this type of diet keeps a better proportion of body composition to the amount of fat relative to muscle. Scientists arrived at this conclusion as they studied how a woman’s body composition (fat close to muscle) relates to physical function.
Older women who diet can risk losing muscle as well as fat. That can affect strength, balance, and everyday tasks, such as climbing stairs and getting up from a chair.
Related: Weight Loss For Women Over 35
And worse still, for older people losing muscle and fat when dieting can make them prone to such accidents as tripping downstairs or even a fall in the bath. The study was over a period of 6 months, with 31 healthy postmenopausal obese women who were divided into two groups.
Each group followed a 1,400-calorie weight-loss diet. One group had a powdered whey protein in the morning and afternoon or evening; the other received a placebo that contained carbohydrates.
A More Protein-rich Diet Can Give Better Physical Function
Both groups included light exercise (walking and stretching) within the study. They were also given diet education examples of healthy daily menus and a scale to measure portion size.
Before and after the study, the women were assessed for strength, balance, plus the ability to perform simple physical tasks such as walking 50 feet, standing up five times from a chair, and lifting a book 12 inches above shoulder height.
The study found that women’s strength decreased as weight decreased in both groups. But women, who received a more protein-rich diet from the powdered whey protein supplement, increased the amount of muscle relative to fat loss giving them improved beneficial effects on balance and performance.
The research also found that women who ate a more protein-rich diet lost 3.9 percent more weight and had a relatively 5.8 percent more thigh muscle volume than women who did not.
In essence, if women have lost some lean mass in their legs by carrying less weight, the effect will be better physical function and mobility.
Protein And Cutting Calories
The conclusion is that postmenopausal women wanting to lose weight would find a more protein-rich diet more protective of their muscle, helping reduce the negative effects on muscle mass by maintaining more muscle relative to the amount of fat lost.
Unfortunately, protein can be lost, especially when cutting calories if you are dieting to lose weight. It’s important to remember that protein contains amino acids, which are the building blocks for muscles and assist with hormone regulation.
The other benefits of eating a more protein-rich diet throughout the day are to keep blood sugar more stable and help keep the metabolism high.
What Are The Best Protein Sources?
Protein is essential but so are carbohydrates, fats, and total calories. For a more protein-rich diet, include lean and low-fat protein sources at every meal as part of a calorie-controlled diet.
It would be best if you also stocked up on ‘smart carbs’ such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, along with healthy fats like nuts, seeds, olives, oils, fish, and avocado, as not all protein is created equal.
Be sure to look for nutrient-rich protein sources and lower in fat and calories; beans, soy, low-fat dairy, and lean meats. Although some meats contain high amounts of protein, always consider how much-saturated fat is in your choice.
For example, one serving of steak can contain up to 75% of your saturated fat for the day! If you’re on the go, there are lots of protein and energy bars to choose from to add protein to your diet each day to either replace meals or as a nutritious snack.
However, be aware that many snack bars are disguised as healthy snacks. Try these snack bars; they will fill you up without breaking the calorie bank.
What Are Our Daily Protein Requirements?
Daily protein requirements can be complicated because the amount we need changes with age. The Recommended Nutrient intake (RDAs), or Recommended Daily Amounts), advise the following daily intakes:
- Males between 19 and 49 years old need 55.5g
- Women between 19 and 49 years old need 45.0g
- Males that are 50 years old or above need 53.3g
- Women that are 50 years old or above need 46.5g
There are two critical exceptions: pregnant women, who need 51g of protein a day, and breastfeeding women, who need 53-56g daily. Always check with your doctor before adding large amounts of protein to your diet.
Balancing Your Diet
The bottom line is there’s no need to go overboard on protein and eat it to the exclusion of everything else. Avoiding fruits and whole grains means you’re missing out on healthy fiber, vitamins, minerals, and other phytonutrients.
It’s also important to pay attention to the types of protein in your diet. Vegetable protein sources, such as beans, nuts, and whole grains, are excellent additions to your diet.
Related: Moms Fat Loss Tips
Plus, the best animal protein choices are fish and poultry. But if you are partial to red meat, such as beef, pork, or lamb, always choose the leanest cuts. Choosing plant-based high-protein foods that are low in saturated fat will help the waistline and the heart.
A Low-fat Diet Could Ease Menopause Symptoms
But for women that are going through menopause and suffering the symptoms of hot flushes and night sweats and are looking to lose weight could benefit from a low-fat diet that is high in fruit and vegetables. A recent study shows that women on a diet low in fat and high in fruit, vegetables, and whole grains can reduce or eliminate menopause symptoms that include hot flushes and night sweats; you can find out more information about the study in the Menopause Journal.
The Health Initiative study took in 17,473 women who were not taking hormone replacement therapy and had lost 10 pounds or 10 percent of their baseline body weight. Since most women tend to gain weight with age, weight loss or weight prevention following a low-fat diet may offer a better approach to help eliminate those hot flushes and night sweats associated with menopause that can affect some women.
The reasons for the link are not fully understood, plus the goal of the study was not to lose weight but to reduce fat intake while at the same time increasing fruit, vegetable, and whole-grain intake. What has been found is that participants taking part in the study who had been part of the diet intervention lost an average of 4.5 pounds after one year.
Menopausal And Postmenopausal Weight Maintenance
All this data has suggested that weight loss and maintaining that weight loss can have the most health benefits in this group of women. However, there are ramifications to even partial weight regain back to their original weight.
Specifically, this group of women is associated with increased cardiometabolic risk (refers to their chances of having diabetes, heart disease, or stroke.) It’s not all bad news; women who continued to lose weight or maintained weight loss sustained and improved their cardiometabolic profile.
This new data has highlighted the need for further research to help remove the barriers to long-term weight loss success for these older women. The bottom line for older overweight women’s weight is that weight maintenance is as important as weight loss, focusing on a permanent diet and lifestyle change.
- Hysterectomy: purpose, procedure, benefits, risks & recovery. Cleveland Clinic. 2021.
- National Institute of Aging. What Is Menopause? National Institute of Health. 2021.
- Premature and early menopause: causes, diagnosis, and treatment. Cleveland Clinic. 2019.
- Hot flashes: what can i do? National Institute on Aging. 2021.
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