Weight gain and the menopause
We all know that menopause is not a good friend to the scale. Many women struggle with weight gain when menopause hits. Everyone reacts differently to weight gain. Yet it is difficult to lose the weight. We know of many diets that are available, one of which we’ll talk about today is intermittent fasting.
There are many reasons behind weight gain after menopause. Firstly, oestrogen. One form of oestrogen is called estradiol which decreases during menopause. This hormone helps regulate metabolism and body weight. Therefore, low levels of estradiol may lead to weight gain.
Secondly, tiredness and lack of sleep. Insomnia is one of the symptoms of menopause. Not sleeping and resting enough may lead to weak willed attitude towards unhealthy food. In fact, when we are tired we tend to eat more sugary foods, as our body is craving energy.
Last but not least, decrease in physical activity, due to many factors, like feeling tired, panic attack, fatigue. All the above make you understand why it is easier to gain weight than lose it during menopause.
What about dieting?
Many menopausal women search for help in different diets and different food approaches. It is important to say that a diet has one very important requirement: it needs to work for you. Not everyone can do fasting or Keto. The important thing is that the diet you choose works for you and that balances out nutrients and keeps you healthy, because this is a long term commitment.
If you are about to start a diet, spend some time asking yourself if you’re willing to commit to this specific diet for a long time. Then consider adding exercise to your diet. Not only will this help maintain your body strong by counteracting ageing muscle mass loss and osteoporosis, but also will keep you fit and will lift your mood. There are countless reasons to keep your body active. Here is a simple 7-minute exercise routine that can help you get started!
Eating hours and diet
Watching what you eat is important, but it’s also important to watch when you eat. In what sense? Many studies demonstrated, that there are hours in the day in which we are more likely to use calories more efficiently than other times. Why? Because of our circadian rhythm. Our circadian rhythm, is our natural internal body clock and it regulates important body functions. For example it regulates sleeping, but also digestion metabolism and appetite regulation.
Our body clock regulates most of our functions through secretion of certain hormones, physical activity and time of the day. Those hormones secretion could be altered by abnormal habits depending on times of the day. Many scientific studies demonstrated though, that our bodies do indeed prefer us to eat during daylight hours –this in sync with our circadian rhythm. Most of the studies showed in fact, that intentional disruption and night eating both caused changes to the secretion of many hormones regulating appetite, energy expenditure and glucose regulation.
What can bad eating habits cause?
Intentional disruption to our body clock could in theory can cause an increase in appetite but a decrease in energy level leading to eat more and move less. It has been demonstrated that we work better when we follow good sleeping habits and we listen to our body clock. Eating more in the evening does not encourage physical exercise the following day compared to people who ate during the day.
The so-called time-restricted feeding (known also as “intermittent fasting”) is a very popular approach to weight loss and is gaining more and more interest. Intermittent fasting is when people allow themselves to eat only within a specific timeframe during the day (for example over an 8 or 12-hour period).
Research shows that it seems to support weight loss by reducing calorie intake, likely due to the fact that there’s less time to eat. Intermittent fasting may also help the natural circadian rhythm by stopping late-night eating.
Intermittent fasting is a great long-term approach to dieting. There are different hours to eat depending on your schedule, for example if you must have your breakfast in the morning, you 12-hour eating window can be 8am-8pm. If you feel like you don’t have to have breakfast that early, you can try having an 8-hour windows from 10am-8pm. Research of course is essential before going into any sort of diet, and if needed ask for professional or medical help to make sure this diet is suitable for you.
Of course, miracles do not happen: if you keep eating unhealthy food while fasting this will not results in the weight loss you are hoping for. The first step is always to follow and healthy and balanced diet and then it is a good idea to start following our body cycle.