Most women notice that along with menopause comes some unwanted weight, particularly on the stomach, hips and thighs. Unfortunately this is Nature’s way of making sure that your declining oestrogen levels are getting topped up by switching production to the fat cells.
No matter how much you exercise, or how healthily you eat, it is very hard to avoid putting on those extra pounds but there are some simple ways to manage your weight at menopause.
1. Get oestrogen dominance under control as oestrogen is produced in the fat cells you want to make sure that it is not being produced in excess. Rebalancing with bioidentical natural progesterone will help keep it under control, and as progesterone is also a diuretic that can help with that bloated stomach too.
2. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep because you burn calories when you sleep, so the less of it you get the more calories get stored in your body. Also, when tired we tend to go for a ‘quick fix’ of something comforting which is usually carbohydrate, fat and sugar none of which help lose us weight. These foods are high in calories but they affect your bloods sugar levels and then can leave you feeling tired, irritable, anxious and reaching for the next fix.
3. Eat little and often as your body can cope better with several small meals throughout the day, not a couple of large ones. This is the best way of keeping your blood sugar levels stable and studies show that people who eat 4-5 meals or snacks a day are better able to control their appetite and weight. Stick to a Mediterranean style diet for healthy weight loss with fresh wholefoods, vegetables, fruit, salads, nuts, and seeds.
4. Drink plenty of water because often, though you think you are hungry, you might actually just be thirsty because the majority of us simply do not drink enough water. Your body needs fluid to perform many of its functions, but strangely enough if you drink too little you can actually end up with fluid retention as your body is holding on to whatever it can get to work efficiently. Your body does not need fluids that actually make it work harder, such as fizzy sugar laden drinks and alcohol, so stick to plain water wherever you can.
5. Reduce your alcohol intake as it can be a major obstacle when trying to lose weight. Although there are certain drinks, such as red wine, that have been some health benefits generally it is a good idea to really cut down. The problem is that alcohol upsets blood sugar levels, depletes nutrients, causes liver problems, aggravates the gut, lowers immunity and, if you’re trying to lose weight, it is not good news as it increases hunger and cravings for junk foods.
6. Understanding why you eat is crucial, as menopause certainly can be an absolute rollercoaster in terms of your emotions. If it is emotion, rather than physical hunger, that triggers your eating then it will really help you to tackle this in order to lose weight. The simplest method is to keep a food diary; noting down what you eat and why you are are eating it, for instance are you angry, sad, upset? You may find it simpler to talk this through with someone like a counsellor or a therapist who specialises in this area.
Tackling hormone imbalance, having a healthy diet and finding some enjoyable exercise you can regularly commit to will all contribute to weight loss. It may not be instant, but for safe weight loss slowly is definitely better so avoid those ‘crash diets’ too.