It can seem like weight gain in perimenopause, menopause and beyond just happens for no reason, right? You wake up one morning and you are 10lbs heavier and then it just keeps on coming. But this doesn’t have to be our new normal. There are things we can do beyond dietary changes. In this blog (or video if you prefer), we delve into non-food-related tips that can ditch the menopausal weight gain.
Say Goodbye to Menopausal Weight Gain
Tip 1: Prioritise Your Sleep
Gone are the days of ‘sleep is for wimps’. Sleep is the most healing thing we can do and it’s free and at this time of life we want to be prioritising it.
When we don’t get good quality sleep i.e., between 7-9 hours a night, with 2-hours of deep sleep, it creates a host of issues with other hunger-related hormones.
For example, when we don’t sleep we become temporarily resistant to insulin, that is we end up on the blood sugar roller coaster and end up craving sugar and carbohydrates. Poor sleep also leads to an imbalance in our hunger hormones – so we don’t get the message we have had enough to eat. And a lack of sleep inhibits the production of Human Growth Hormone which is involved with fat burning.
There is a direct correlation between a lack of sleep and weight gain. But in menopause, sleep can become problematic, so if you are struggling read this blog next.
Tip 2: Drink more water
Most of us, myself included, are chronically dehydrated. Dehydration will show up as hunger so you will overeat when not drinking enough. Research shows that drinking water can increase your resting energy expenditure, and there is some evidence to suggest drinking water before a meal can reduce calorie consumption. So, fill those water bottles – just make sure it’s not a plastic bottle because we don’t want those toxins clogging up fat cells.
Tip 3: Exercise
Our exercise needs to change as we hit menopause. We are no longer suited to long endurance sessions, heavy cross sessions and lots of intense cardio – these create stress in the body and excess stress in menopause leads to belly fat. Instead, we want to focus on strength training. With the loss of oestrogen, we store more fat and become less efficient at building muscle. We want more muscle mass because it burns more calories at rest. Plus having more muscle mass improves insulin sensitivity, it’s joint protective, helps with brain fog, protects against osteoporosis, promotes testosterone and libido, and can be protective against many chronic diseases.
In addition to strength training, we want to be getting our steps in every day. Again, walking helps with insulin sensitivity – it’s one of the best activities for metabolic health. So, if nothing else, just try to get your daily steps in.
And I would add to this, think about general daily movement – shopping, cleaning, doing the washing, walking around whilst talking on the phone – this kind of movement accounts for 15% of daily energy expenditure. And we know that sitting is inflammatory – they say that sitting is the new smoking, so if you are like me and sit a lot during the day, set yourself a timer and get up and move your body every hour. We want to get that daily movement in for both weight loss and overall health and wellbeing.
Managing weight during menopause requires a multifaceted approach that goes beyond food choices. And it is certainly so much more than ‘eat less and exercise more’. It’s about creating hormonal harmony first. If you are looking for support in this area, check out my 4-month, 1:1 Empowered Menopause Programme. It might just be the thing you are looking for.
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