I recently asked my newsletter recipients what their biggest concern was about the menopause and overwhelmingly, the response was WEIGHT GAIN. I wasn’t surprised as this is the number one issue the majority of my clients come to see me with.
Losing weight as we approach the menopause (otherwise known as perimenopause) isn’t easy but it is doable. Today I am sharing my top 3 tips to help stop your menopausal weight gain in it’s tracks.
It’s unfair but as we reach midlife the amount of calories we need on a daily basis reduces by about 200 calories, so that little snack here or extra bit of dinner there quickly adds up. Try to stick to three well balanced meals per day. Base your meals around nutrient dense wholefoods such as whole grains, fruit and vegetables, beans, nuts and pulses and you can’t go far wrong. Add to this a little seafood or lean meat, eggs and dairy and this provides a diet rich in protein and healthy fats which supports hormone production. Make sure you try new recipes that excite you, it’s important that you look forward to your meals so you don’t fall back on unhealthier recipes. A great tip is to prepare some vegetables at the beginning of the week, so it’s easy to go to the fridge and top up your meals with plenty of goodness.
Reduce your Carbohydrate Intake
There is a direct correlation between lowering oestrogen and insulin resistance which contributes towards weight gain. This is exacerbated by a high carbohydrate, high sugar diet. Focus on reducing bread, pasta and rice (your cooked serving should be no bigger than your fist) and avoid fruit juices and smoothies, even your homemade version that you think is good for you. Try out some alternatives such as quinoa, pearl barley, or fill up with beans and pulses. These are also great sources of fibre, which is important to prevent constipation.
An extremely important aspect of this is managing your alcohol consumption. Even if you are completely on top of your diet, you can blow this out of the water by drinking half a bottle of wine every night.
It’s really worth noting here, that I say ‘lower carbohydrate’ not Keto, which can make some of your symptoms worse. You should be aiming for moderate consumption here and this is easily achievable by making the tweaks I’ve suggested in your daily diet
So underrated but so important! OK, I know this might be difficult due to other symptoms you may be experiencing but a few tweaks to your routine may help. Not eating too late, not drinking caffeine past 2 pm and better control of your blood sugar (see previous point) should help with this. Create a relaxing bedtime routine, turn off the television in the bedroom, take a cool shower and make sure you’re not checking your emails.
If you find you wake up at a regular time during the night, you may need a small snack an hour before bed. Nut butter and an oat cake would be a good choice to help see you through until the morning.
When we are tired we make poor food choices. The hormones that regulate hunger also become out of balance when we don’t get enough sleep. This drives us to consume more high fat, high sugar foods, meaning that you are fighting a losing battle. Better sleep should lead you to gain better control of cravings and your appetite.
Weight gain is a common issue for menopausal women, so please don’t feel you are alone. Knowing you can modify your diet helps you regain some control and puts you on the road to feeling like yourself again. Use this as an opportunity to change your mindset around food and create a lifestyle that doesn’t involve diets.
If you enjoyed reading this, you may also find this post on Time Restricted Eating useful. For more information on how how I can help you please use my contact form below ensuring you leave a contact number and email address.