How to Lose Weight after Menopause
As we age, hormonal changes can lead to gradual and stubborn weight gain. Unfortunately, during menopause you may discover that the diet and exercise regimens that worked earlier in life no longer produce lasting results. There are many factors at play in when it comes to menopause-induced weight fluctuations, and a multi-pronged approach is usually needed to drop the unwanted pounds.
Understanding menopause symptoms
Menopause occurs for most women as they enter their early 50s, although some may experience menopausal symptoms as much as a decade earlier in a phase of life called perimenopause. As hormones begin to fluctuate, you may experience:
- A decrease in muscle mass
- Insomnia (a contributing factor in weight gain)
- Less resistance to insulin (making it harder to lose weight)
- Increased belly fat
Getting the scale to move
During menopause, studies have shown that simply cutting calories is rarely enough to produce significant or lasting weight loss results. Still, certain dietary guidelines may be beneficial, based on your individual lifestyle and metabolism. Some dietary plans that have shown promise include:
Embark on a low-carb meal plan. Cutting out breads and sweets has long been a staple of weight loss plans. Research indicates that limiting carbohydrate intake helps target weight gain, especially in menopause-induced belly fat. Look for diets that emphasize a Mediterranean-style meal plan and watch belly fat melt away.
Eat your veggies. Women who choose a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle after menopause have been shown to enjoy notable weight loss results and improved health. Keep in mind it’s important to work with a healthcare provider to develop a meal plan that is balanced and contains adequate levels of protein and other nutrients should you decide to cut meat and/or dairy products from your diet.
Get moving. Not only will regular exercise help you manage your weight, it can improve your sleep patterns, prevent muscle and bone loss and balance your moods. Consider a combination of cardio and weight training to beat mid-life bulge.
Manage stress levels. Finding positive ways to deal with stress is important throughout your life, but it’s especially important during the menopausal years when risk factors for heart disease and stroke are at their peak. Stress-reducing practices like yoga and meditation have proven to be beneficial. Your doctor can also recommend specific supplements that may help manage stress symptoms.
Managing your weight after menopause is a common concern and while it’s tempting to focus on losing excess pounds, health experts emphasize that pursuing healthy habits and maintaining a balanced lifestyle can work wonders when it comes to minimizing excess pounds and feeling great at any age or stage of life.