Menopause – it’s an inevitability for every woman no matter whether you like it or not. It can be a turbulent time for any woman in a physical, mental, and emotional way. One thing that you will probably notice (whether you are currently going through it, or have already gone through it) is that you are having a tougher time losing weight.
Losing some unwanted pounds can be a difficult process at any age, but it’s made even tougher after you hit the “Big M.” Fortunately, there are changes that you can make to your lifestyle that can help combat this increasingly difficult goal.
How to Lose Weight After Menopause
It is not just in your head that it is becoming tougher to lose some weight or maintain a normal weight. It has been scientifically studied that it is a physical fact of life for women at that age. It is said that women gain, on average, around 1.5 pounds per year in their 50’s, 60’s, and beyond. This is because of a drop in estrogen levels, which in turn sets leptin and ghrelin (hormones that can control your hunger, or increase your appetite) into an imbalance.
Beyond the physiological reasons for the weight gain, the increased stress during this difficult time, as well as sleep problems, thyroid issues, and medications that may become necessary during that period can further contribute to weight gain.
However, it is possible to maintain a healthy weight. It will take discipline and commitment – but that is true for anyone of any age and gender that is finding it difficult to lose weight. If you are in this stage of your life and want to shed some unwanted pounds, the following diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes can put you on a path to success.
You may think of doing resistance training as something that only younger, more buff people partake in, but it is a healthy form of exercise for anyone of any age. Due to the lower levels of estrogen during and after menopause, it is harder to build and maintain muscle mass. By incorporating weight lifting into your exercise routine, you can prevent muscle loss and give a boost to your metabolism. Muscle helps to burn fat, as they are metabolically active, so you will burn more fat calories the higher muscle composition you have in your body. Try to add weight training, even if at a moderate amount, two to three times per week.
I have talked about high-intensity interval training elsewhere on this site, and I can’t recommend it enough to really boost your metabolism and burn excess fat. It has been shown to be a more effective way of burning fat than a slower, more controlled pace of exercise such as walking or jogging. The principle of it is to split up your aerobic exercise into intervals of a slower pace and higher pace, varying speeds throughout. Try to add this to your day for 30 minutes. If that proves to be too much and you find yourself out of breath, start at 15 or 20 minutes and work your way up in length and intensity.
Get More Protein in Your Diet
Echoing what was said in the first tip, muscle helps to burn more fat, and protein is the building block of muscle. While it is important at an older age to make sure you are consuming enough fruits and vegetables and fibers to keep your digestive system in check, be sure to add more protein to your diet as well. It can help you build muscle as well as make you feel full much quicker and stave off cravings for unhealthy snacks. Try to get at least 20 grams of protein in every meal.
Keep an Eye on Your Calories
Because your metabolism slows down in your older age, you will need to cut down on the number of calories you eat (if all other things stay constant) if you want to maintain or lose weight. It is estimated that you should be eating around 200 fewer calories per day after menopause to make up for this hormonal change that lowers your metabolism. Exercise can help you burn more calories, but exercise alone will not combat the lowered metabolism. Attacking it with a lower calorie diet can help create a caloric deficit that leads to weight loss.
Drink Plenty of Water
Water can make you feel full much more quickly, which is why I recommend drinking a tall glass of water before a meal to avoid overeating. Also, as you get older, our body’s signals that we are thirsty become less reliable and we forget to drink the amount of water we need. Try to keep track of how many glasses of water you drink per day – you may be surprised to find that you aren’t drinking as much as you should. Also, since our bodies are mostly made up of water, it is a crucial part of your diet to make sure all systems (particularly digestive) are functioning at their best.
Eat Your Fruits and Veggies
This is important at any age, but especially during and after menopause. It has been shown that eating fruits and vegetables can help alleviate the symptoms (such as hot flashes and sweating) that come with menopause. They are also full of fiber which helps to keep your digestive system in check. Plain and simple, they are part of a healthy diet no matter what your age!
Consider Diet Pills
A lot of weight gained during and after menopause has to do with a decrease in your metabolism and difficulty with appetite control. Diet pills are made to exactly combat those two issues, with ingredients that can give your metabolism a boost and help to curb your appetite. A couple that I recommend taking a look at include PhenQ (discussed here) and Phen24 (more info here).
While hormonal changes may make it more difficult to lose weight after menopause, IT IS POSSIBLE. Implement the above changes into your diet and exercise routine, follow them diligently, and you should be able to lose the weight and keep it off.