If you’re currently struggling with your weight and are looking to drop a few pounds or more, rest assured that there are plenty of people in the exact same boat as you. Weight loss is hard, but it is not impossible. Just to make life that little bit harder however, (as if it wasn’t hard enough) losing weight as a middle-aged woman going through the menopause is even harder still.
The menopause is a perfectly natural part of growing older in which women have fewer and fewer periods until eventually they stop completely. When this occurs, women are no longer fertile and they experience a wide range of other symptoms and side effects due to hormonal imbalances and the changes going on in their body.
Oestrogen levels decline sharply during the menopause, and women no longer ovulate. As oestrogen regulates key features of the metabolism, including body weight, energy levels, body fat distribution, energy expenditure, and insulin sensitivity, a lack of this hormone often results in weight gain for women going through the change.
If you’re battling the menopause and are looking to shed some pounds, here are 3 tips on how to boost menopause weight loss:
Get into a regular sleeping pattern
One reason why women going through the menopause struggle to lose weight is because they often experience a lack of sleep.
Some women experience restlessness and insomnia as part of the menopause, which in turn can promote weight gain. This is all linked to hormonal imbalances at night caused by the menopause. You see, in the body, two key hormones relating to hunger are ‘leptin’ and ‘ghrelin’.
Ghrelin is a hormone responsible for hunger. The more ghrelin we produce, the hungrier we feel. Sleep deprivation has been linked with an increase in ghrelin levels. As for leptin, this hormone is responsible for satiety as it tells you that you are full. Wouldn’t you know it, when you aren’t getting enough sleep, you do not produce enough leptin. As you can see, more ghrelin and less leptin caused by sleep deprivation is the perfect recipe for weight gain.
A lack of sleep, along with these hormonal imbalances leaves you feeling tired, so you’ll have less energy and motivation for exercise. Not only that, but it also slows down your metabolism so you burn fewer calories and hold onto more body fat.
Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, and aim for 7 – 9 hours of sleep every night.
Exercise more frequently
At risk of sounding condescending, or of stating the obvious, another very effective way to combat midlife weight gain and boost menopause weight loss is to do more exercise.
Exercise is hugely beneficial for weight loss as it burns calories which enables your body to burn fat. Not only that, though, but it also helps to improve your physical health and mental health as well.
As far as what exercise you do, that’s entirely up to you. You could go to the gym, go swimming, cycling, hiking, do yoga, lift weights, play sports, or anything else. As long as you’re active you’re going to burn calories and lose weight.
Whenever possible however, try to incorporate strength and resistance exercise into your routine somewhere. Strength and resistance training helps to increase bone density which is also useful as the menopause has been linked with an increased risk of osteoporosis. 1 in 10 women worldwide over the age of 60 are affected by osteoporosis, resulting in their bones becoming weak and brittle. Resistance training helps combat this, and also helps burn calories in the process.
Eat healthy foods you enjoy
A common mistake that women make when trying to lose weight, is dieting. Sure, diets can be effective, but most are not sustainable and they can also be detrimental to your mental health.
Rather than starving yourself through diets, and depriving yourself of foods you enjoy, instead try to eat healthy foods you enjoy.
Stock up on fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, complex carbs, and healthy fat sources that you like the taste of and use them to make a variety of healthy, low calorie meals to boost your weight loss and fuel your energy levels.
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