Gaining weight during or after your menopausal years is normal – very normal. Most women gain an average of 1.5 pounds for each year of menopause, which lasts 7 to 10 years.
But with that said, just because it’s normal does not mean you can dismiss that extra 10 to 15 pounds as nothing to worry about. Weight gain after menopause is associated with increased risks of diabetes, certain cancers, and heart disease.
Men, before you run off, I’ve got news for you… Menopause isn’t the only culprit causing this weight gain, and the other one affects you too. That’s simply the aging process itself.
As we get older, many of us lose muscle mass and increase overall body fat. That change slows the body’s metabolism, making it harder to keep weight off, especially if you don’t exercise regularly.
In fact, I’m not one to count calories, but research shows that you need 200 fewer calories per day at this time in your life than you did in your 30s and 40s. And to make matters worse, none of the recommendations out there are targeted to people 50+, so it’s very easy to continue eating the same way you have for years and gain weight.
With that said, if you’ve noticed excess weight around your midsection – as opposed to your hips and thighs – menopausal changes may be the bigger culprit.
During perimenopause – the period of time when hormones change and menstruation becomes unpredictable – progesterone declines and estrogen is erratic, before it tapers off with menopause.
Research indicates that when estrogen spikes during those years, weight gain occurs easily. What happens is that this excess fat is more likely to be stored in the belly, as opposed to the hips and thighs as it is from puberty until perimenopause.
While women may only gain an average of 5 pounds during perimenopause, it’s noticeably different because of where the fat is stored. Clothes fit differently, changes in your figure occur, and it’s harder to take the weight off.
This is why I hear from so many women around this time who tell me they are doing everything right – eating well, exercising, drinking plenty of water – and yet, they have still gained weight.
Genetics also play a role in all of this. If your mom or grandmothers added weight during or after menopause, you are more likely to do the same.
So the question is, what do you do about it? It’s so frustrating, especially for women who have taken such good care of themselves.
Well today, we’ll talk about the best things you can do to prevent future weight gain and lose weight associated with menopause.
Before I get to my recommendations for taking off menopause weight gain, here’s what I DON’T want you to do… diet! Too many women notice this change happening and they are understandably upset by it, so they cut calories big time.
Here’s why that’s a bad idea. Restricting calories will further deplete muscle mass, slowing the metabolism even more. Your body literally thinks you are starving, so it starts conserving all of the fat it can. It makes it HARDER – not easier – to lose weight, while simultaneously making your muscles weaker and bones more susceptible to osteoporosis.
Instead, think long term. If you’ve gained a couple of pounds in the last month, rather than dieting for the next month to lose it right away, focus on overall changes that will set you up for success over the years. Fluctuations happen, but the overall trend for most women during these years is toward weight gain unless you do something to prevent it.
Switch Up Your Exercise Routine
Working out will not only burn more calories, it will also help you sleep better, which is a key to weight loss. Aim for 150 minutes spread throughout the week of moderate to vigorous exercise, including some strength training to prevent muscle loss.
Give your Digestion a Boost!
Because the metabolism is housed in the digestive system, it’s essential that you keep it running smoothly. If you are not taking a good quality probiotic and digestive enzyme already, it’s a good idea to add that in during perimenopause. Alkamind Daily Greens will also support healthy digestion.
Eat High Fiber But Low Grain
You want to eat as much natural fiber as possible from fruits and vegetables, as well as seeds and beans. But when many people hear high fiber, they think of all of the bread and junk food that advertises fiber on the label. You want to avoid all of that.
Carbohydrates and grains increase belly fat storage, which is the opposite of what you are aiming for. If you’re eating a diet that consists mostly of veggies, you will get plenty of fiber, so focus on that and not foods that claim to be high fiber.
Create Good Sleep Habits
It can be difficult to sleep well during and after menopause. But sleep is so important, not just for losing weight, but for overall health. And research shows that women who get less sleep have higher levels of hunger hormones and are more likely to be overweight.
So do what you can to set up good sleep habits. Keep phones and screens out of the bedroom and avoid blue light before bed, use noise and light-blockers to prevent waking up during the night, and give yourself 8 hours to rest.
Stay Away From Soy
Research shows that soy not only puts you at greater risk for developing certain types of cancer (even post-menopause), it also does not help menopausal symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats. This applies to edamame, soy sauce, soy milk, and supplements containing soy – anything with soy puts your hormone health at risk.
Even a few drinks per week increases your chances of gaining weight and making it harder to lose weight. Find other ways to relax and unwind at the end of a long day – do some stretching and deep breathing, have your partner give you a massage, make something new in the kitchen, or take a walk and enjoy the evening outdoors.
Eat Plant-Based Protein
The natural loss of muscle mass with age is real. It’s a major contributor to weight gain. By age 80, the average woman has lost HALF of her muscle mass!
Because of that, it’s important that you get plenty of protein. But not just any protein! Fish and plant-based sources are far better choices, especially as you get older, so aim for several servings a day – or around 60 grams of protein – of nuts, seeds, nut milks, quinoa, beans, and lentils.
You also might want to add in order to aid muscle retention when you work out.
Plus, it’s delicious. Fitness Magazine called it “a superfood lover’s dream.” And Shape Magazine listed it in their “Top 10 Plant-Based Protein Powders That Don’t Taste Like Dirt.”
So try it today! You can buy one jar or Subscribe & Save 15% today!
GET OFF YOUR ACID!