Menopause is a stressful and confusing transition for every woman. The imbalance of hormones has severe effects on physical and mental health. From hot flushes that make a goodnight’s sleep a distant dream to mood swings that make every day difficult to handle, women are certainly fragile and exhausted during this period. Another symptom that is inevitable for women during this phase is weight gain.
Almost all women go through weight gain due to fluctuating hormones that can be hard to keep in control. The extra fats tend to collect around the belly, and it could increase the risk of developing chronic ailments such as diabetes in the future. If you are worried about the belly fat piling up during this stage, then use these five simple tips that can help you get rid of the tough build-up easily.
1. Say yes to small but healthy portions
Menopause is a time when oestrogen levels in your body drop. Your metabolism is low at this phase. So you need to put more effort into losing weight, primarily through a healthy diet. Prepare small portions rather than what you would usually have.
Switch your dish for a smaller one and snack healthy even if you must feel the urge to munch something in between. Try to make a gradual transition while you cut your meal size as a dramatic change increases the chance of failure to stick to the portion size. You can try and stick to three square meals a day instead of going for small meals every few hours for better weight management.
Fats are essential to keep your taste buds happy, so you don’t have to forgo every bit of fat to stay in shape. Instead, analyze the type of fat you consume to ensure you aren’t putting on weight due to your eating habits. Vegetable sources are the healthiest form of fats, such as nuts, olives. You can include them in your diet. But again, be careful to keep your calorie intake in check. Even healthy sources of fat contribute to calories, therefore, track how many calories you eat regularly to keep in check.
2. Make healthy lifestyle choices
Simple changes you make in your everyday life can have a huge impact on your weight management journey during this period. Start with your eating habits. Try to stick to home-cooked meals and cut down on take-outs and restaurant visits. Outside eating habits contribute to a lot of weight gain through unnecessary calories, which you can easily avoid by preparing simple and healthy meals at home.
Dining out also increases the chances of consuming alcohol, which greatly contributes to weight gain, especially in the abdominal area. Keep your alcohol intake in check and try to relish just a few sips, even if you have an urge to drink.
Stress management plays a vital role in keeping you in shape. Hormonal changes and several factors, including the pressure at work or home, could lead to chronic problems such as depression. These ailments can have a severe impact on your weight, which may be challenging to shed. Look for methods to keep your stress levels at check.
3. Schedule more exercises
Midlife weight gain can be slightly more challenging to shed with your regular workouts. Many women complain that despite exercising regularly, they seem to have a difficult time controlling the weight gain during this phase. The best way is to increase vigorous fat-burning exercises in your regimen that focus on the entire body. Choose resistance training or strength training exercises that offer high-intensity bursts to burn the excess fat deposits in your body. Choose activities that emphasize training and strengthening several muscle groups, including your hips, abdomen, thighs, shoulders, arms, chest, back. Mix your weekly workout schedules with moderate and high-intensity training to bid goodbye to the love handles.
The importance of high-intensity workout lies in the fact that your body has poor metabolism now and requires more push than before to burn the same level of fat. Increasing the intensity of your routine activities can support your body to not just stay in shape but also make your muscles stronger. Lifting weight can be beneficial for women during menopause for weight management. Choose brief periods of high-intensity workouts with enough recovery period for visible results.
4. Increase your physical activity
Spending more time to keep your body in motion can burn enough calories for healthy weight management during menopause. Make small tweaks to your everyday choices to include more physical activity. For example, try to take the stairs as much as possible as opposed to choosing the lift. Sitting for prolonged periods can lead to the concentration of abdominal fat and increase the risk of developing heart diseases and diabetes. Try to stand whenever possible, and move around. Choose to walk to your nearby store instead of taking your car. You can also choose activities such as biking, which burns enough calories regularly.
Try to include activities such as hiking, swimming, running in your regular schedule. You can also go for aerobic exercises that can burn the fat deposits in your body easily. The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that including at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activities every week paired with muscle strengthening exercises can be most beneficial for women to stay fit and healthy during this period.
Yoga can also have a lasting impact on keeping your weight in check. It can provide the levels of muscle strengthening and training required, along with relaxation, all of which can help you manage the weight gain. I got into Kundalini Yoga last year, click here to learn more about it.
5. Get enough rest
Most of us tend to underestimate the power of proper rest when it comes to shedding the extra fat. Insomnia is one of the most common problems women suffer from during menopause that could also elevate the weight gain issue. Getting enough rest is imperative to your body, especially with age. It is necessary to keep your energy levels high that keeps you refreshed and ready to face the day. Lack of sleep can impact several hormones in the body that can make it almost difficult to lose weight, no matter your efforts towards it. Click here to read 5 surprising connections between sleep and menopause.
Try to have an early meal and keep a buffer of at least two hours before you go to bed. Indulge in calming activities such as listening to soothing music before you go to bed instead of stimulating activities. Keep your sleeping environment comfortable to ensure you do not feel disturbed while you are asleep because of hot flashes or night sweats. Try to maintain a soothing light setting or complete darkness inside the room. Make sure you enjoy at least seven hours of proper sleep for a refreshing day ahead.
These simple steps can be extremely effective to curb weight gain during menopause with ease. The changes during menopause may be difficult to adjust immediately. If you’d like more information, watch this video I made with menopause dietitian Nigel Denby about weight management during menopause.
Be patient and focus on leading a happy and healthy life rather than stressing on the numbers on the scale. Keep in mind that your physical and mental wellness should always take priority above everything else.