After reaching a certain age, every woman starts experiencing menopause. The side effects are many and, unfortunately, rather unpleasant. We have all heard about the features following this phenomenon, such as mood swings, heat flashes, but most of all- a menopausal gain of weight. Metabolism starts to change, and women are more likely to gain weight even if they are genetically not prone to it. This is very hard for some women to accept. Especially those ones who have never had weight problems before. The bad news is that this weight locates mostly in your abdominal area, around your stomach, and it is extremely stubborn and hard to get rid of. Not only that it bothers women, but increased weight in this area can be a great health hazard. It can cause an insulin increase and heart diseases.
Why is this the situation?
There are several factors included in this process, some of which include hormone fluctuations (drastic change of estrogen levels), loss of muscle mass, inadequate sleeping during the menopause and increased insulin resistance.
All of these factors combined make the weight accumulate and very hard to get rid of.
This doesn’t mean you get to be chubby for the rest of your life. This only means the prior eating and exercising habits will need to change. You may find some previous dietary and exercise habits to be completely useless now. This may require some adjustments and lots of patience, but in the end, it is not impossible to lose this weight.
You need to create a Negative Energy Balance
As simple as it sounds, creating a calorie deficit is not that easy to accomplish, especially if you put your focus on cutting the calories. This way you can seriously increase the loss of lean muscle, which will have a drop in metabolic rate as a result. Since your metabolism is already slowed down due to your age, this is not such a smart idea.
Instead, try cutting the portions in half or applying a special type of diet. Here are some dies that were shown to be effective during the menopause.
Vegetarian and vegan diets have shown to be effective when it comes to the weight loss. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to cut out all the meat and animal products. Cutting red meat and processed meat products can be a great improvement to your health. Also putting more fish and seafood into your diet can be helpful with the weight loss. There is no need to cut out milk and egg products too. But escaping heavy creamed and high on fat milk products can be an asset.
Cut out the sugar
This is the most important part of altering diet during the menopause. Since the insulin levels drop during the menopause, it is harder for your body to process sugar. And if you have never paid attention to food labels and ingredients, you will be surprised on how many products contain sugar. Cutting out the sweets and processed sugar will be a great health benefit whatsoever. Try switching to more fruit, home-made sweets and veggie cookies. You will get to love them.
Double the workout
The thing is, you will definitely need more exercise than before. Depending on your genetics, body structure and previous workout habits, this amount varies. With between 2 and 3 hours of exercise per week, you can expect some results. This is, of course, just a start. After some time, try increasing the workout time to 4 or more hours per week.
Of course, the amount of working hours is less important then what you actually spend them doing. Try choosing the training that will suit your gains. There are several options, like cardio, weightlifting and strength training.
Cardio is the first line of defence against gaining weight and starting the weight loss process.
Cardio helps you burn calories as well as protect you from other health issues that arise when reaching the menopause, such as heart disease and osteoporosis.
For example, biking is the perfectly elegant form of cardio for women. You can burn up to 400 calories for an hour. It strengthens your lower body, legs, hips and glutes. This also suits ladies of all ages, since biking is very gentle on your back, knees and ankles.
You can cycle on a road, mountain trail or at your home. If you are more of a practical woman, you can opt for one of electric bikes suited for fitness. They are easily transportable and super convenient. Not to mention them being great transportation means.
This is the great way to restore some of the muscle you have been loosing and to burn calories at the same time. Without the muscle mass, it’s much harder to lose weight. So weightlifting during menopause a couple of times a week can be a great asset to your workout. If you have never done this before, make sure you learn the proper way of doing it. Healing also takes time at this age, so you would want to prevent all the injuries that you can.
Over time, you will make your own strategy and the right approach to the weight problem. Every metabolism is different, so don’t feel discouraged if some general advice does not apply to you. Just embrace the patience and results will come for sure.