For menopausal and post-menopausal women, the topic of weight, loss and gain, can be very challenging. If you find yourself in this category, you might be starting to realize that that your body gaining weight in ways it never has before, even if you are still eating the same foods. It’s not uncommon for women over 50 to share stories about the negative effects menopause has had on their bodies, but fortunately, much research has been done in this area to help women lose weight after menopause.
Weight gain while you are in your menopause stage can be maddening, especially when you very well know you have been able to lead a moderately fit life before it sets in. The reason behind that noticeable weight gain that many experience upon reaching this stage is due to a couple of factors. One of which is the slowing down of metabolism as you get older. When it comes to Basal Metabolic Rate, energy expenditure typically decreases with age. The prime factor that contributes to weight gain during menopause, is the increased levels of two specific enzymes in the fat cells. Once this stage sets in, estrogen levels in the body typically fall, thus, causing these enzymes to be at greater levels. Essentially what they do is to manufacture fat in your body and store it, hence causing weight gain. On average, you might find yourself to have gained 10 to 15 pounds. You should check in with your doctor about your hormone and enzyme levels, for info on potential therapies and to fully understand what is going on with your body.
Researchers at the Mayo Clinic took a closer look at the phenomenon by comparing fat tissue in pre- and post-menopausal women of similar ages. At the cellular level, they found that two enzymes that work to synthesize and store fat were more active in the postmenopausal women, which the researchers attributed to drops in estrogen. Experts also say that decreases in metabolism mean that women gain an average of 10 pounds around menopause, but that they can lose weight through diet and exercise. – NY Times
Nonetheless, losing weight and getting fit is possible after menopause. Here are 4 things you should keep in mind.
Fruits, whole grains and vegetables scrape off the pounds
Eating for fat loss entails eating nutritious foods in the right amount. Healthy foods to eat include fruits, whole grains, beans, and vegetables. Using whole foods that are full of fiber and nutrients to replace the fast food, highly progressed food and junk food in your diet is a sure way to get those extra pounds scraped off little by little. To back this fact up, research has already been done, where postmenopausal women (17,000), were subjected to this type of healthy diet. Furthermore, the women were not subjected to use of any hormones during the study. At the end of the research, it was successfully concluded that a diet full of whole plant foods had a greater chance to play the role of weight reduction.
Lower Your Calories – Aim for a specific calorie goal per day
In addition to cleaning up your eating habits, counting calories and maintaining a lower calorie intake daily also augments your weight loss efforts. We are talking 1300-1600 calories a day for most people, depending on your health, fueling the body for workouts, etc. To begin, you have to start counting calories regularly. This means that you will check nutrition labels before eating any foods. For foods that do not have a label, such as fruit and vegetables, you can check the average calorie count via a mobile app or online websites that have already counted the calories for you. You’ll also want to invest in a good food scale. Simply keep track throughout the day and try to stay below or right on track with your goal calories. There are a number of free websites and mobile apps, like My Fitness Pal and SparkPeople.com, that can help you get started.
An older study, published in 2003, followed 535 women through menopause. About half of them were put on a 1,300-calorie a day diet and were assigned to burn 1,000 to 1,500 calories per week through exercise. Not surprisingly, the women who followed the diet and continued to exercise for five years were more likely than the others to have maintained their pre-menopausal weight and keep their younger waistlines. – Dr.Weil
Burn 1000 calories every week
As you check your recommended calorie intake, you also need to designate some of your time and fill it up with a set of exercises that are sure to get you burning at least 1000 calories every week. This ideally means that you will have to work hard and long enough to burn 200 of those calories in a single day. Exercising doesn’t have to necessarily mean you have to jog or cycle. There are many ways you can burn calories throughout the week that aren’t too strenuous for your body. Take time to do a bit of gardening for a couple of hours, hike a nature trail for roughly half an hour, go for a brisk walk for an hour and/or get on your treadmill (3mph) for half an hour. You can also engage in group activities like yoga, aerobics, water aerobics, Pilates, and more.
Visit nutritionists, exercise physiologists and psychologists
As you go on with your new-found postmenopausal weight loss strategy, it is advisable to also keep a close relationship between you and your nutritionist, exercise physiologist (or certified personal trainer), and psychologist to have an even deeper perspective of your situation, while learning about new things to integrate with what you already know. Your nutritionist and exercise physiologist can help you with your diet and exercise regimen and your psychologist can help you learn to love yourself no matter where you’re at weight wise, as well as help you cultivate characteristics like commitment and grit to push through the tough times.
Losing weight during the postmenopausal stage can be a frustrating undertaking if not taken seriously or if you do not commit to being consistent with helpful measures. At the same time, learning to come to some form of acceptance of your body’s changes as you grow older will help you feel more peaceful and happy. Everyone grows older and bodies do change. Do your part and let the rest fall where it may, as then you’ll be able to feel freedom and joy.