Weight loss & Menopause: A Story of Patience and Persistence

Weight Loss During Menopause

Weight loss can be frustrating at the best of times. But weight loss during or after menopause can seem like a never-ending uphill battle.  Here you are, trying your hardest and what are the results?

The bathroom scale hardly twitches despite all your efforts. 😒

Fact: weight usually comes off at a slower pace than during the ‘BM’ era. (Before Menopause). No matter what some articles mentioned in 2021. My own body proved that to me.

Before we continue, let’s rule out that you’ve started to eat and drink way more than before and are less active than in your younger years. (Both of these would cause weight issues).

A woman about to eat a huge cupcake

So what else might be going on?

1. The female hormonal system.

It’s the sneaky culprit that can play havoc with your weight. The downward shift of oestrogen during menopause plays a big role in our body’s metabolic balance. It’s a key player in metabolic regulation and it goes through significant fluctuations during this phase. And as levels gradually decline, it affects our body’s composition. Namely, it triggers a tendency to store fat, notably around the midsection.

2. Insulin Mayhem

Next, we’ll look at the hormone called Insulin. Over the years, our insulin becomes less effective in pushing carbs into cells for energy. Instead, it becomes a superstar in creating body fat mainly around the middle of the body.

This is called insulin resistance.  If left unattended, it can lead to all sorts of unwanted medical conditions such as abdominal obesity, high blood pressure and high blood sugar. Sometimes, as if that wasn’t enough, bad cholesterol and triglycerides can also be added to this group.

Before insulin resistance morphs into that cluster of unwanted conditions, we should change a couple of things.

  • Eat a low-fat diet. It helps your body to use up stored fat from within cells, making room for insulin to bring in carbohydrates. If there’s too much fat, insulin can’t do its job properly, and instead of using carbs for energy, your body stores them as extra body fat.
  • Another tip: eat moderate servings of carbs so your blood sugar levels don’t spike and insulin isn’t over-taxed. Request this free 3-day plan to get an idea of how to balance your meals.

3. Muscle mass reduction.

As we age, our muscle mass reduces naturally. By how much? This varies between individuals. But as a general rule each decade by around 3-5%. The annoying part is that some muscle loss occurs even if you engage in weight-bearing and resistance exercises.

The result is metabolic slowdown which means you gain faster and lose slower. 😡

TIP: keep working at retaining or even building your muscles because they can increase your metabolic rate. If you don’t, you’ll not only have a slower metabolism but you might end up with arms and legs that look and feel like limp noodles.

4. Past Dieting OOPSIES

If you’ve been a pro with ‘yo-yo dieting’ and used crash diets during your youth, you may have created a problem for yourself. Because that type of dieting can come back to haunt us. It can cause nutritional deficiencies PLUS a slowdown of metabolism that’s difficult to crank up later on.

Therefore, from now on use a safe and sensible calorie deficit so you don’t cause additional issues for yourself.

Stick with a healthy balanced eating plan that has a moderate calorie deficit and you’ll get there. Maybe slower than 20 years ago, but slow and steady wins the race. You can find plenty of suitable slimming plant-based recipes on our site. 

5. Sleep

Due to hormonal interference, menopausal women may have some trouble with their sleep quality. After a bad night’s rest, not only might we feel like a zombie that’s lost its coffee, but we’ll be left with increased hunger and carb cravings plus a change in our weight management hormones. The result: yet again fat layering around your waistline and abdomen. (It seems all menopausal-related problems end up as body fat on our stomach!)

So please prioritise good quality sleep by finding solutions to get a good rest.

woman sleeping in bed

5. Late Night Eating

After late night eating, not only can you get digestive discomfort, but as Dr Greger from Nutritonfacts.org explained:  due funky to blood sugar responses, calories at night are slightly more ‘fattening’ than the same amount of calories eaten earlier during the day.

As the old saying goes, eat like a pauper at night.

In closing, as a pre or post-menopausal woman, no magic switch will turn your body into a fat-burning machine. Anyone promising this to you, they are fibbing.

Best tip:  eat a healthy balanced diet with a safe moderate calorie deficit and keep moving each day. And work with what you’ve got instead of punishing your body. It’s already trying to do its best. And if you wish to see what you can do to crank up your metabolism, have a read of this next article: https://bit.ly/metabolismtweaks

 

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