Menopause, it’s one of those words. It’s one of those words that we whisper only to our closest friends, yet it’s one of the most frustrating topics that many of my clients face. It’s a word that no one really wants to talk about, but if you’re a woman, it’s an inevitable part of life that all women will face…..
Menopause has lots of lovely “perks” (note sarcasm here) that leave us feeling, well, less than thrilled with our bodies. One of the most difficult changes that we have to deal with is possible weight gain or at least difficulty losing weight. But all is not lost. Your daily health habits play a key role in helping you manage your body and the changes that it’s going through now and throughout your life!
Starting at around the age of 35, we start to lose about a 1/2 pound to a pound of muscle every year IF we aren’t actively trying to replace it. Fewer muscles result in a slower metabolism which results in possible weight gain.
The bottom line is, less movement means fewer calories burned daily.
We may also be consuming more calories through unhealthy habits we’ve picked up along the way (cue the #COVID20 or our “weekend” wine consumption that snuck into our “weekday” wine consumption).
Also during pre-menopause (the calm before the full-blown menopausal storm), the drop in estrogen means that our bodies start to store more fat around the belly area. Lovely! So what can you do about it? Here are 5 tips to help you glide through menopause gracefully:
1. Keep active. You’ve got to put in the effort to exercise, get out there and walk, spin, bike, run, etc and do it daily! Our bodies were meant to be in motion.
2. If you haven’t already, start strength training. This will boost your metabolism, strengthen your muscles and ultimately help you burn more fat. Lifting weights also helps with increasing your bone density and keeping your joints moving properly, both of which are so important as we age. Plus, the dopamine that we get when we train our muscles or exercise will create those feel-good hormones to keep us exercising and feeling great emotionally!
3. Eat protein at every meal. This will keep you fuller longer and support your body in repairing and building more muscle. Muscle burns more calories than fat.
4. Eat more real food, mostly plants. Get rid of processed foods and eat more food that doesn’t come from a box. With fluctuating hormones already in the works, eating processed foods will cause inflammation and amplify those menopausal symptoms.
5. Watch portion sizes. When menopause kicks in, we probably aren’t eating those last chicken nuggets that our toddlers left on their plates anymore, but we may be putting much more than necessary on our own plates for what our bodies really need. Use the palm method when it comes to portion sizes (DM me if you want more info on that.)
And don’t be afraid to ask for a doggy bag at the restaurant. Portion sizes there are sometimes enough for three people. No wonder the world is having trouble with weight gain.
With hormones like estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone fluctuating, and ultimately decreasing, good daily health habits are going to be the key to helping you manage your weight. Creating healthy habits and consistency are the keys to a beautiful life even through menopause.