Concerned about menopause and weight gain? Afraid that extra weight will be permanent? Blame the hormones (again) and the advancing years - a double whammy for women.
On average, women gain about 10-15 pounds during the perimenopause years, at about 1-2 pounds a year. The change in weight is slow but steady. And before you know it, you are buying clothes one size up.
There are things you can do! Following are 9 easy diet changes for losing weight during menopause.
No, they are not the latest fad diet, just some practical tips to help you with weight loss or even better - prevent the pounds from sticking to you in the first place.
Even better, it doesn't have to be an "all or nothing" approach. It is better if you tackle menopause and weight gain from several fronts. In addition to these diet changes:
All this will help you with losing weight during menopause and beyond.
Menopause weight gain settles around the middle - especially around the belly and hips: the dreaded "muffin top". As you will see, there are specific reasons why the extra weight grows right where you don't want it.
Just keep the magic number 35 in mind. A waistline of 35 inches (or 89 cm) and over is when you will enter the danger zone and risk serious health consequences in the long run.
Have you ever wondered why a little bowl of ice cream, that weights hardly anything, immediately results in gaining 2 pounds extra the next day? It seems that way doesn't it?
So what can you do about menopause and weight gain without going on one useless diet after the other? Well, it really doesn't have to be so difficult. Depending on your current diet you may get away with little changes that have a big impact.
1. First of all, avoid processed foods as much as possible. If you read the ingredients list, you will find that most contain things that are bad for you (and a lot of things you can't even pronounce). A rule of thumb - the more ingredients listed, the further away it is from the natural food source.
Fast food and highly processed foods are not the way for losing weight during menopause. Fats and carbs in processed foods are usually the worst kind and lead to more food cravings plus increased storage of fat in the liver. This is what is causing the middle age spread.
2. There are so many great semi-prepared foods nowadays that make it possible to quickly fix the food yourself. Chicken, fish or even steak don't take long to fix. Add a salad or some veggies (pre-cut) and you have a great dinner.
3. Another idea is to prepare things on the weekend and put them in the freezer or fridge for the week. It is possible to have a healthy dinner on the table in 20 min. with some planning. Cut-up veggies stay fresh for about a week in little baggies and are ready to grab for lunch or a snack.
4. Look for snacks that are healthy, fight your menopause symptoms and help with losing weight during menopause. Edamame are delicious, soy nuts are crunchy and salty and both give you some extra phytoestrogen.
There are some new chips on the market that are made from beans and other vegetables. Just make sure they are not fried in trans-fats.
5. Grab a yoghurt for extra calcium if you crave something sweet. Calcium helps to lose weight and is good to fight osteoporosis.
6. Extra-dark chocolate gives you all sorts of great benefits (rich in antioxidants) and a little piece will satisfy your chocolate fix. It may take a while to get used to the stronger taste and to get away from the supersized candy bar, but the next time you get on the scale you will be happy.
Try the new dark chocolate covered pomegranates or acai berries. They are to die for- just don't eat the whole bag in one sitting! (Speaking from personal experience here.)
7. It is a lot easier to stay the course if you have healthy options available. Make it more difficult to get to the junk food by not having it around. If you have to go to the store to buy junk food, at least you will think twice about it.
8. If you are a soda pop fan, here is the bad news: menopause and weight loss means that now is the time to look for something else to drink. Even diet sodas are bad because for some yet undiscovered reasons they cause even worse weight gain than regular soda.
Additionally, the carbonation in the soda leaches out the calcium in the bones. Treat the soda like a desert - once in a while its okay but you will have to pay the price if you drink for your thirst.
9. Use green tea based beverages instead (just not the ones that have a ton of sugar in it!) Green tea has been linked to losing weight during menopause and beyond. And green tea contains flavonoids which are great for maintaining brain power.
In a nutshell: Look at what you are eating and begin to make those changes that are the easiest right away. Start reading the labels - that alone will probably make a difference in your diet. Do some planning and preparing, and over time you can gradually change your eating habits to healthier options.
When your body gets older, it can't handle the same amount of calories as it did when you where younger. As Dr. Oz is fond of saying: "You can't fight the biology of blubber!"
There are specific reasons that weight gain after menopause settles around the middle. Causes include hormone changes but also a slowing metabolism and emotional problems.
Many of the reasons are related and feed each other. We have a full article about the reason why menopause and weight gain happens at the same time here.
Weight gain is not a forgone conclusion when you start the change but it is getting more difficult to lose the pounds.
So if you think you could benefit from some supplements, the article about losing weight during menopause gives you a lot of information. It also talks about common sense lifestyle changes, the importance of exercises and tips to incorporate healthier foods into your diet.
There are many diets that are beneficial in menopause. Options range from several hormone balancing diets to choices to teach your body to stop craving sugar.
Because the liver plays such an important role in menopause and weight gain, we even included a liver diet in the article.
Many women find that they suffer from adrenal fatigue when they enter menopause. And weight gain is one of the consequences of an adrenal gland that gave up after a lifetime of stress. So if you suffer from adrenal fatigue, check out the adrenal diet.
You will find all of these diets and resources in the article Diet for Menopause.
It is easy to blame menopause for the weight gain. However, just because it is getting more difficult does not mean to give up. Small lifestyle changes such as increasing (or even starting) your exercise routine, becoming aware of what you eat and taking some herbal supplements to support your body will make you lose weight without following the latest diet craze.
Crash diets and wonder pills don't work but there are some smart supplements that will help your weight loss. Liposuction or other surgeries are not a good idea if you don't change what you eat - because the pounds (with their extended family) will just come back.
The Hotflash Era > Weight Gain