Losing weight during menopause is not inevitable. With healthy eating habits and an active lifestyle, you can minimize menopause weight gain.
Every woman experiences menopause (the point when ovulation and menstruation stop completely) as they age. This biological change brings many changes for women, putting on some extra pounds is at the top of the list. A sudden drop in estrogen levels, less active metabolism, aging, and stress can contribute to menopause weight gain. Besides hormonal fluctuations, some lifestyle changes can cause weight gain around the time menopause hits.
Once you hit this biological process, your body starts to redistribute its fat and accumulate more fat around the belly. When your body is going through this transitional phase, it is important to learn how to avoid menopause weight gain and which dietary and lifestyle changes can benefit you during this transition.
Menopause and Weight Gain – What’s the Connection?
Several factors play a role in weight gain around menopause, including:
- Hormone fluctuations
- Poor sleep
- Loss of muscle mass
- Increased insulin resistance
- Natural aging processes
There is no one-size-fits-all formula for preventing post menopause weight gain. If you maintain healthy dietary habits and follow a weight loss meal plan, you will notice a positive change in your body. Here are some strategies that help women lose extra weight during menopause.
1. Get Enough Protein
As you age, your body starts to lose muscle mass that can cause an increase in body fat. The ability to burn more calories also drops as time passes. It is recommended to increase your protein intake during and after you hit menopause. Because protein helps you maintain muscle mass, so always make sure your diet is filled with healthy protein recipes. Here are some protein recipes that you can add to your diet to get a healthy dose of protein.
2. Add Fiber-Rich Foods to Your Diet
Consuming high-fiber foods can help you shed extra pounds without much effort. Fiber-rich foods are healthy and satisfying; they keep your stomach full, feed gut-friendly bacteria, and promote weight loss. Incorporating high-fiber foods into your diet can also lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels, improve digestion, and prevent constipation.
Here is a list of fiber-rich foods that you should eat during and after menopause to promote weight loss.
- Brussels Sprouts
- Chia seeds
- Sweet potatoes
- Split peas
- Kidney beans
3. Increase Your Dairy Intake
Do you know dairy products can encourage weight loss? Adding more dairy products to your diet is a healthy decision to increase muscle mass and lose body fat. Dairy products such as yogurt, milk, and nonfat cheese are rich in calcium. Several studies have shown that calcium deficiency can lead to greater fat mass and increased appetite. So, increase your dairy food intake to get more calcium to promote weight loss.
4. Eat Fewer Calories
During and after menopause, the rate at which your body burns calories during rest drops significantly. Since your body can’t burn more calories as it used to, it is better to eat less to lose weight. Though it sounds too tempting to follow a low-calorie diet, it is easier said than done. But the problem with a low-calorie diet is that it will increase the loss of lean muscle mass and affect your metabolic rate that will make it hard to lose belly fat. Insufficient calorie intake can also cause bone loss and increase the risk of osteoporosis. So, it is advised to reduce your portion size to decrease your calorie intake. Eating mindfully and eliminating unhealthy snacks from your diet is the easiest way to cut back on calories.
5. Take Time for Workout
Being physically active is the key to staying healthy and promoting weight loss. Aerobic exercises, strength training, can help you shed extra pounds, build muscle, and prevent age-related muscle loss. When your body is involved in different physical activities, your muscles gain mass and your body will start burning more calories, which makes it easier to lose weight. Some moderate aerobic exercises such as brisk walking, jogging, cycling or any other strength training exercise can reduce body fat in menopausal women. So, do muscle-strengthening activities to lose weight, meet your desired fitness goals and stay in shape.
6. Make Some Healthy Dietary Changes
To lose weight, you need to follow a healthy diet plan that is full of nutrient-dense foods, including vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean protein. Mediterranean diet, keto diet, paleo diet, Atkins diet, Pritikin diet, and sugar-detox diet are a few popular diet types that you can follow to lose weight. No matter which diet type you follow, what matters most is, it includes protein, fiber, healthy fats, carbs, vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, and other vital nutrients your body needs for proper functioning.
It is highly recommended to avoid processed foods such as white bread, pastries, processed meats, foods with added oil, and sugar-sweetened beverages. Eliminating unhealthy, processed foods from your diet and focusing on the healthful eating plan can help you avoid menopause weight gain.
7. Mindful Eating
It is another effective way to promote menopause weight loss. Mindful eating can help you reduce food intake and prevent eating related to emotional stress. It is suggested to eat slowly and avoid eating in front of the television.
8. Get Enough Sleep
Believe it or not, getting adequate sleep is vital for maintaining a healthy weight. Some studies have shown that irregular sleep patterns can affect metabolic health, cardiac rhythms, appetite hormones, body fat composition, and energy expenditure. Keep in mind that lack of sleep can cause an imbalance in hunger and satiety hormone which increases your food intake and cause your body to store more fat in your belly area. Therefore, it is important to focus on getting high-quality sleep to keep your hunger and fullness hormone under control and prevent menopause-related weight gain.
Healthy Diets that Encourage Menopause Weight Loss
Changing your diet is one of the best ways to lose weight and improve your overall health.
Low-carb diet is the most popular weight-loss diet that curb your appetite, boost your metabolism, and increase your muscle mass. Keto diet, Atkins diet, and low-carb, high-fat diet are a few examples of the low-carb diet.
Some keto recipes you can try to lose weight during menopause.
The Paleo Diet
This diet is focused on eating fruits, vegetables, whole foods, nuts, seeds, and lean meats. When you are following a paleo diet, the consumption of processed foods, grains, sugar and high-fat cheese are restricted. To lose belly fat during and after menopause, you can try a paleo diet that can provide you all the essential nutrition your body needs and reduce the risk of several diseases, such as high cholesterol, and sugar levels, obesity and heart problems.
The Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean diet can help peri and post-menopausal women to lose weight. The diet is focused on eating fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, seafood, eggs, and dairy products. The diet restricts refined and processed foods, added sugar, and trans-fat.
A plant-based diet or vegetarian diet is effective for weight loss. The diet is full of fiber that helps you feel full for longer and reduce your calorie intake. The vegetarian diet restricts animal-derived products such as dairy, gelatin, albumin, whey, and honey.
Benefits of Following Menopause Weight Loss Tips
By following a healthy diet plan and exercise, you can control weight gain during and after menopause. Besides promoting weight loss, these menopause weight loss tips also offer the following benefits:
- Improve bone and joint health and lower the risk of osteoporosis
- Improve digestion and regularize bowel movements
- Improve mood and relieve depression and anxiety
- Increase your muscle mass
- Improve your overall health
To Sum Things Up
Losing weight during menopause can be challenging. With diligent efforts and following some menopause weight loss tips, you can better manage your post menopause weight gain and keep it off. If your body is accumulating more abdominal fat during this transition period, don’t worry. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and following some healthy dietary habits can help you win the menopause weight loss battle.