Home ยป 6 best Tips to Manage Menopause and Perimenopause Weight Gain

6 best Tips to Manage Menopause and Perimenopause Weight Gain

On average, a woman will gain 10 pounds or more during the menopause and perimenopause, but navigating this stage of your life doesn’t necessarily mean surrendering yourself to unwanted weight gain. Louise Donohue, an expert in women’s health and founder of Blossom Wellness, has penned this article to help you manage your weight during perimenopause and menopause, providing six practical ideas on how to minimise unwanted gain during these stages.

Despite what your personal trainer or even some doctors may tell you, weight gain during perimenopause and menopause is affected by more than just diet or lack of exercise; In fact, there are quite a few factors that contribute to it! The basic equation of the energy we take in (by food and drink) and the energy we expend (through movement and exercise) is, truthfully, oversimplified too often by too many.

You’re up against a range of elements that you might be unaware of or quick to overlook; as such, this article explores just some of the steps you can take to help shift some of that unwanted weight.

Before we begin, it’s worth mentioning that this is a non-exhaustive list, and that your unique circumstances should also be considered. When in doubt, speak with your GP!

 

Eat more protein

Protein is known as providing the “building blocks” for our bodies, and everything new or repaired in our bodies is powered by protein. More than this, protein helps you to feel fuller for longer, which is an especially important feeling for women to have first thing in the morning.

Having a diet that is high in protein will help maintain your muscle mass, which will keep your metabolism functioning more efficiently, balance your hormones and improve your menopause symptoms. Ultimately, this will help keep fat at bay!

 

Perimenopause Weight Gain

 

Eat three meals a day

While you will want to add protein to your diet to avoid overeating, you still need to be eating at least three meals a day, every single day. Your diet plays a key role during perimenopause and menopause, and your female hormones (estrogen and progesterone) are very sensitive to your insulin levels; meaning the food we eat and the times you eat them. 

Eating three meals a day at regular intervals is one of the best ways to help your hormones find their rhythm and be more steady.

Many of the women I’ve coached to achieve their fitness, lifestyle and well-being goals were going through perimenopause or menopause, and a common theme that I noticed between most of these women were irregular eating habits. Women tend to restrict in some way or another, which can actually the opposite effect of what they are looking for.

When they changed their approach and began eating three healthy meals every single day, their lives changed. They either lost weight or their weight was much more manageable, and their menopause experience improved.

 

Fill your plate with voluminous vegetables

It is a no brainer, vegetables give you a bang for your buck! Not only are they packed with vitamins, minerals and fibre that optimise our health, but they’re also sources of carbohydrates that give you energy.

You don’t need to cut carbs, but filling half of your plate with vegetables means nourishing your body with nutrients as well as phytoestrogens, which naturally mimic estrogen and potentially help improve estrogen balance and reduce menopause symptoms. 

Vegetables have great nutritional content while being lower in calories, and it’s this that makes them what’s known as “voluminous food”. Voluminous foods make you feel full, whilst also giving your body an injection of goodness and avoiding too many calories, which is exactly what we want!

Filling your plate half full with voluminous veggies at every meal (and doing so continuously – no cheating!) will pay dividends in the long run.

 

Move!

An important part of maintaining weight during menopause is movement. But I’m not talking about general movement – I’m not even talking about going to the gym or a running club. We’re not discussing deliberate exercise here, but rather the unconscious movement we do all day, every day. Walking around the house, fidgeting, walking to the shops and back, doing gardening and so on. That’s what I mean when I talk about movement.

Pop on your lab coat, because here’s where things get a little more scienc-y.

There are four key factors that affect how much energy you burn day to day (your Total Daily Energy Expenditure):

  • Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (EAT)
  • TEF (Thermic Effect of Food)
  • NEAT (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis)
  • BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate)

That may not make a lot of sense, but it’s the NEAT part of your total daily energy expenditure we’re interested in. NEAT is daily movement, not purposeful exercise, and increasing your daily movement burns more energy (calories) and keeps your metabolism running more efficiently. 

 

Try resistance training

It’s often overlooked by women, but resistance training is the unsung hero of menopause! If you take one piece of advice from this article, it should be that if you aren’t already doing any resistance training, you need to be. It is a game-changer!

If you suspect you’re perimenopausal, or perhaps have already got a diagnosis of menopause, then you’re already starting to lose muscle mass. Scientific research continues to tell us that during the menopause life stages there is an increase in fat mass and a decrease in muscle mass. Resistance training is the absolute best tool to combat that.

Not only this, you will burn calories for longer when you mix resistance training with cardio style exercises, then just cardio alone. So by adding some resistance training into your routine, you’ll find better balance with controlling your weight and also future-proofing your health long-term.

 

Before You Go

Before you go, I want to take this opportunity to remind you that losing weight during menopause isn’t about shedding the pounds as fast as possible. The key to losing weight during this time (and in fact any time)  is making changes to your lifestyle and every day routine. 

As you grow into the perimenopause and menopause life stages, you need to evolve with your body. Weight loss is harder and takes longer during this time, but that doesn’t mean you can’t achieve it.

 

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