Weight Loss and Menopause

WEIGHT LOSS AND MENOPAUSE
The average age of menopause is 51. However, menopause can span from as early as a woman’s 30’s to mid-60’s. There are different variations of menopausal experiences and symptoms range from mild to severe. Many women suffer from these various symptoms of menopause, but one of the biggest concerns is commonly around weight loss and menopause.

LET’S FIRST LOOK AT WEIGHT GAIN DURING MENOPAUSE
Our bodies change a great deal before and during menopause and we start to feel very uncomfortable from the symptoms of it. There are several symptoms that women can feel including the following:

– weight gain
– hot flashes
– night sweats
– osteoporosis
– fatigue
– urinary problems
– insomnia
– hair loss
– problems with focusing and learning
– reduced sex drive
– dry skin
– anxiety
– irritability
– moodiness
– vaginal dryness

WHY DO WE GAIN WEIGHT DURING MENOPAUSE IN THE FIRST PLACE?
There are several reasons we can experience weight gain during menopause. Some of the reasons include the following:

1. Increased insulin resistance –  When consuming a lot of carbs and sugary foods, our bodies receive a sugar “rush”. To regulate the sugar, the pancreas kicks in to assist by secreting insulin. If this continues, our bodies can become insulin resistant.

 

2. Hormone fluctuations – Estrogen is a very important hormone in the body that stimulates growth of tissues, affects neurotransmitters in the brain,  and many other functions throughout the body. When there is either a decrease or increase in estrogen, it can increase fat storage in the body.

3. Loss of muscle mass –  We start to lose muscle mass because of lack of physical activity, age, and hormonal changes.

Inadequate Sleep

4. Inadequate sleep – Lack of sleep disrupts the daily fluctuation in appetite hormones that regulate the appetite. Therefore, people who get adequate sleep,  tend to eat fewer calories. The proper amount of sleep in 7 – 9 hours per night.

5. Body fluid  – Fluid retention in the body can be from many things including medical conditions, medications, or salt. Therefore, it is a good idea to monitor your salt intake.

It is recommended that individuals consume no more than 2,300 mg. of sodium per day by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. They also suggest there are certain groups who should be limited to 1,500 mg. per day.

WHAT IS YOUR NEXT MOVE?
Because of all the changes happening to our bodies during this time, we can become depressed and upset about our body changes – especially around the weight gain. When the pounds start to pack on, there are decisions to be made. We can just give in to the changes of our body …..or…..we can fight back!

What are you going to do?

WEIGHT LOSS AND MENOPAUSE….WHAT CAN BE DONE?
As we have discussed, weight gain during the menopausal years can be problematic making weight loss one of the biggest challenges for women over 50. What can we do to lose weight?

While it may take more effort on our part, there are things we can do to get going in the right direction:

Stabilize Blood Sugar

1. Stabilize Blood Sugar – To stabilize your blood sugar throughout the day, there are a few things you can do:

> Consume healthy foods:
– vegetables
– legumes
– fruits (best to stick with fresh berries and those fruits you can hold whole in your hand)
– whole grains
– nuts
– seeds

> Eat a healthy snack in between main meals.

> Don’t skip meals – especially breakfast.

> Stay away from refined carbohydrates, sugars and artificial sweeteners.

2. Identify Your Ideal Weight – In speaking with your health professional, discuss your ideal weight and BMI (Body Mass Index). Once you determine where you need to be, you’ll have a better feel of how to get there.

3. Exercise More – If you target 30 minutes of aerobic exercise for five days a week in a lower intensity exercise, you can gradually work your way up to more high intensity exercises.

> Walking is a great way to start. Along with walking, keep in mind interval training is a great way to burn even more calories. For an interval walk, walk a few minutes at your normal pace, then walk an even faster pace for a minute, then walk your regular pace again. Do this several times throughout the duration of your walk.

> YogaYoga is another great option for exercise. As you will see here, there are yoga positions that can alleviate symptoms of menopause as well as osteoporosis.

> Weight Training – Consider building up muscle mass by doing strength training at least twice per week. This will increase muscle mass and decrease fat.

4. Exercise Eating Healthier – We have already discussed the types of foods you should eat. There are other things to consider when it comes to our foods:

> Exercise portion control – to know portion sizes, see the chart below:

Portion Sizes Chart - Weight Loss and Menopause
                                                    Portion Sizes Chart  

> Bake, broil or grill foods instead of frying
> Consume unsaturated fats over saturated fats (Read my article “Weight Loss” for more fats information.)

5.  Get Adequate Amounts of Sleep – At the top of the page, it was discussed that weight gain is in part, caused from inadequate amounts of sleep. Therefore, try your best to ensure you get the proper amount of sleep each night. It will make a difference on your scale.

6. Drink Water  – Drinking water and avoiding soft drinks and sugary juices is the best thing to do for your body. While you may feel water can be pretty bland, there are things you can do to boost it up with flavor. (Read my article “Weight Loss” for flavored water recipes.)

Mindfulness Eating Benefits

7. Try Mindfulness Eating – We should look at not only what we consume, but how we consume our food. One benefit is there is less chance of gaining weight because we are not overeating by slowly savoring our food. Read the very enlightening article  “Mindfulness Eating Benefits” written by guest author, Ariel Harris, for additional weight-conscious benefits.

FINAL FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Going through menopause may be a very difficult time in our lives. However, there are things we can do to lose weight during that time. It is not all doom and gloom as we are trying to watch our waistline. It will take a bit more effort to shed those extra pounds, but it is not impossible to do if we are mindful.

What are some of your favorite weight loss exercises?

 


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8 thoughts on “Weight Loss and Menopause

  1. Hi, Yvette,

    Addressing my issue of being menopausal is a great struggle for me. I have most of the symptoms that you say. I can totally relate to this.

    I refuse to go to the doctors, so I am always looking for ways to help me combat all my issues. I don’t really have anybody to talk to about this as I lost my sweet Mom and I could have shared this with her. I now can’t and I am such a private person too. My struggles are immense. Trying to keep on top of my own self – sleep wise and body wise, etc. and of course, my temper fluctuates.

    It seems to me I have found some body I could totally trust and share my experiences with. Some body I can ask for info, too. Yes, I know you are not a doctor for this kind of thing but it seems you could offer some real great support.

    Thank you for sharing this. I have now kept your site in my favourites bar. I am now an avid follower.

    Thank you so much.

    Regards Deborah 😉

    1. Deborah, I am so very happy you have found some of the answers you need while on your journey. You are right – I am not a doctor – however, it sometimes just takes knowing where to go to get some answers from those that know what you are going through to make you feel better. Yes, please do come back to my site for more information and please subscribe so you can get your posts by email. Once again, thank you for stopping by and have a healthy day.

  2. Hi Yvette,
    I really enjoyed reading your article on Weight Loss and Menopause. You defined the various hormonal changes that comes with menopause, including several measures we can take to address many of these issues, from eating right to exercising. This is a very informative article. I shall visit again to see what your next article will address.
    Great job!

    1. Thank you for visiting my site and for your comments. I am very happy to hear the article was helpful to you. Once you know and understand all that is going on with your body during menopause, the better you will feel about the changes. Now that I realize just how much my body is really affected, I am not as worried. Yes, please do visit again. I look forward to seeing you.

  3. Hello Yvette, thank you For writing this article. When walking, I include lunges. This way you are using your own body weight when you don’t have any weights to walk with. Your article has added some ideas for more physical activities. Thank you again..

    1. Welcome back, Edie! I am glad I was able to give you some additional walking ideas. What you are doing with your walking is great. Thank you for sharing that. Keep up the great work! Have a healthy day and weekend.

  4. Hello Yvette, this is such a comprehensive article for truly finding ways to deal with a difficult time hormonally.
    I was so impressed with all the tips. And so touched you used my article. So many thanks.
    As one who is way beyond menopause, it is still frustrating to me to deal with how much harder it is to lose weight. But because of you and this blog, I am no longer worried about it. I just come to this site and see everything I need to know.Great job! Thank you so much, in peace and gratitude, ariel

    1. Ariel, thank you for visiting my site and for the very kind words. I am so happy you found the information to be helpful. When I wrote this blog, I knew I had to include your article because it fit in so well. Thank you so much for being a guest author on my site. You are an amazing writing and it was truly an honor to work with you. Wishing you a lifetime of healthy living.

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