Perimenopausal / Menopausal Women Struggling
To Lose Weight And Dealing With Food Cravings
Dealing with an increasing waistline can be frustrating. For a lot of us, weight gain becomes an issue as we head into perimenopause or menopause. As much as 90% of us can experience weight gain.
What Causes It?
Losses in muscle mass cause our metabolism to slow down
We often become less active. Hormones fluctuate. This can mean we accumulate visceral fat (the ‘bad’ fat that surrounds our organs).
What Can We Do About It?
Maintaining (or even losing weight) during this time is possible if we put in place the following:
- Keep Blood Sugars Low And Stable: You can do this by eating foods that don’t affect blood sugar. When you control your blood sugar, you also control levels of the hormone insulin. Insulin is the fat storage hormone meaning that when levels are high, your body is in ‘fat storage mode’. When insulin is low you can burn fat.
- Make Sure You Eat Enough Protein: As women, we often don’t eat enough protein. This becomes SO important as we age to counteract the loss of muscle mass that we experience. Losses in muscle mass slow down our metabolism. It makes sense to eat more protein to maintain our muscle mass and metabolism as we head into menopause.
- Manage Stress: It is normal for stress to increase as we get older with increasing responsibilities. How we manage these stresses can impact on our ability to manage our weight. Cortisol is our stress hormone. Raised cortisol levels can be damaging for our health in many ways. Raised cortisol can also raise blood sugars. This sees our insulin levels rise and puts us into ‘fat storage mode’. Raised cortisol makes it likely the fat stored is the ’bad’ visceral fat. Managing stress with relaxation techniques can help. We can’t take away the stress, but we can change how we react to the stress.
- Limit Snacking/Treats: Metabolism can shift downwards during menopause. Those snacks and treats that you were once able to have may now be responsible for the weight gain. Focusing on keeping blood sugars low and stable will help to cut cravings and keep you fuller for longer.
- Introduce Time-Restricted Eating: Reducing your ‘eating window’ can help reduce insulin levels. When insulin is low, we can burn fat. A popular way to do this is 16:8 intermittent fasting. Here, you eat all your meals in an eight-hour window and ‘fast’ for 16 hours (remember you’ll be asleep for half of this!). This could look like having a late breakfast at 10am, lunch at 2pm and dinner at 6pm. Having an extended time where you are not eating allows for insulin levels to drop to allow fat burning.
There’s no question that hormones dominate during menopause. We experience not only the uncomfortable symptoms, but also changes in our health. Weight gain is often cited as the most frustrating and life changing aspect for women. Weight gain affects both physical health and mental health. With this additional weight gain can see confidence and self-esteem eroded, which impacts all areas of our life.
How has gaining weight affected your life?
Leave a comment below…
About The Author
Janine Waddell (BSc Dual Hons). Janine is a Nationally Recognised Nutritionist and founder of the Weight Gone 4 Good System.
Janine helps perimenopausal / menopausal women achieve their health and weight loss goals. She uses a combination of whole food nutrition, education, and support tools.
Clients lose weight easily, without feeling hungry, in a supported and nurtured environment. This provides a long term lifestyle change for improved health and wellbeing.
You can join a free Facebook support group How to Overcome Food Cravings
More information? https://www.weightgone4good.com/