Most women gain weight during menopause so the idea of losing it while your body changes in this way can be kind of unbelievable.
Yet, there are things you can do to adjust your lifestyle and not only minimize weight gain, but kick-start weight loss.
The average woman can gain between 10 and 15 pounds during the perimenopause, which is the menopause transition that starts many years before.
With your body working against you, it definitely did for me!
As a person who has not faced weight issues at all until this point in my life, it really hit me hard, especially as I eat a healthy diet and exercise often. I have lost a lot of weight since doing the things contained in this Menopause Weight Loss Plan, yet still have 5 pounds to go to get back to my pre-menopause weight.
So, how do you lose weight during menopause?
As you might have guessed, there are no magic wands to ‘swoosh’ away the weight gain that menopause has produced, particularly the annoying ring of belly fat, my personal nemesis!
And, there is really is no proven successful weight loss pill, either.
But, don’t despair. Because here are some basic, common sense actions that you can take right now — that worked for me! — to start losing the weight you’ve gained.
- Eat the right foods. Think of it this way. Fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, protein, good carbohydrates, including resistant carbs.Pay attention to the portion sizes. It was explained to me that our stomach is approximately the size of our fist. That’s it. It doesn’t take a huge amount of food to fill it up.How do you prepare your food? Grilling, steaming, pan frying in a small amount of olive oil…these are all good options.
- Eliminate or minimize your consumption of the ‘bad’ foods. Think about what you typically consume in a day. How much of the food you eat is processed? (you know..you bought it in a box or bag) What is the fat content? What is the sodium content? How about sugar? (one of my personal favorites!)Sodium can wreak havoc on our systems when we consume too much, and it’s been a very eye-opening experience for me to pay attention to the sodium content of everything I eat. Read labels, do some research and keep track for a few days. You might be very surprised at how much salt you are putting into your system.If you are going to consume these types of foods and additives, discipline yourself and keep the portions small, both in size and percentage of your overall food intake for the day.
- Exercise, exercise, exercise – aerobic and weight training. This one was a stumper for me, because I have been dedicated to an exercise regimen for years. Why has my body (and the scale) not responded as it has in the past?As we get older and our metabolism slows, we need to increase our physical activity just to maintain our weight, and even more so to lose weight during menopause. My previous 30 minutes a day of brisk walking and lifting weights a couple of times a week just doesn’t cut it anymore. I need to increase the frequency and the intensity of my workouts if I want to lose weight.A series of aerobic bursts built into our plan as we exercise is critical to getting our body’s attention when working out. Our muscles can become used to certain routines, so we need to change things up to make them respond.Keep it simple and go to the gym, go for a walk, a swim, a jog…just do something! There are many, many great workouts available online, in stores and offered at the gym to help you along every step of the way.
- Drink lots of water. It helps to flush out your system and keep everything moving through it in a healthy way.
The next important step you should take is to find out what your body mass index measurement is. This is a great starting point.
What is your body mass index?
Why is it important to your health and well being? Find out more about the definition of BMI and what it can mean to you.
When talking about ideal body weight, the term Body Mass Index, or BMI, is often used in the conversation. Why? Well, this measurement of body fatness can help determine whether a person is more likely to have or develop health problems.
BMI is a measurement of body fat based on height and weight that applies to both men and women, regardless of frame size, between the ages of 18 and 65 years. BMI can be used to indicate if you are overweight, obese, underweight or normal.
Find out right now what your BMI is. It’s fast and easy to do. Just fill in the requested information below (your height and weight), then see what your BMI calculation is. Note: if you’re under 20 years old, highly trained/athletic, pregnant or breastfeeding, the BMI may not be the best method of assessing your risk from overweight or obesity.
What does the BMI score mean?
A healthy BMI score is between 20 and 25. A score below 20 indicates that you may be underweight; a value above between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight. A BMI of 30 or higher indicates obesity.
Why is this measurement so important to our health? Aside from the obvious benefit of losing weight and fitting into smaller sized clothes, there are far reaching benefits to your body as well:
- Fewer joint and muscle pains
- Greater ability to join in desired activities
- Better regulation of bodily fluids and blood pressure
- Reduced burden on your heart and circulatory system
- Better sleep patterns
- More effective metabolism of sugars and carbohydrates
- Reduced risk for heart disease and certain cancers
You can also reduce the risk of diabetes, lower blood pressure and increase the HDL (good) cholesterol by maintaining a healthy body mass index rating.
Of course, this is only one measurement that indicates overall health. Always consult with your physician who is in a better position to address your specific individual situation.
Does counting calories work for managing your weight?
A lot has been said about how counting calories is not important. However we find this to be untrue.
Weight gain happens when your body is taking in more calories than it is burning off. So at least having an idea about how many calories you need to eat to lose weight, and then counting calories (at least roughly, even in your head) works.
How to use calories to lose weight
Counting calories sounds kind of old fashioned by today’s sophisticated diet standards. However, it all really comes down to cutting calories in the end.
So, what type of food gram do you count when meal planning…carbs (resistant or regular)…fat (saturated or non)…sugar (refined or natural)…? Are your eyes glazing over yet?
Diet plans, weight control, exercise programs, middle age, belly fat…let me count the ways!
If you want to simplify your eating and meal planning, calorie counting is still the simplest way to take control of the amount of food you consume and thus contribute to effective weight loss.
If you want to lose weight you must control the amount of calories you consume and exercise to burn more calories than you take in. Any successful weight loss method comes down to taking in fewer calories and burning extra calories with exercise.
Taking in about 1,500 to 1,700 calories a day is considered effective for the average person when counting calories to lose weight. Total calorie intake varies by individual weight as well as overall activity level.
For example, someone who currently weighs in excess of 200 pounds should start a weight loss plan at more than 1,500 calories per day. As they lose weight, the total calories per day can go down.
Consuming too few calories per day is not a good idea, either. If you are counting calories and decide that your limit is going to be 1,200 per day, your body might get confused and think you are ‘starving’. It will withhold the calories you do take in for later use and your weight loss could plateau, even though you are consuming much less. And, this could do serious damage to your health.
The good old-fashioned method of calorie counting while exercising regularly is a proven method for weight loss.
While you are studiously counting your calorie intake, look for high fiber foods that will fill you up and not take up too much of your daily calorie intake. Fresh fruits and veggies are always a good choice, as are lean meats and proteins,whole grain products and low fat dairy.
If you are looking for an online program to help you calculate and then track calorie count, MyPlate is a good source of information as well as tracking your weight loss progress.
Make a commitment to regular exercise that fits your overall health and lifestyle, and the combination of the two should put you well on your way to weight loss by counting calories.
I’m trying to lose stomach fat, I’ve tried everything, what can I do?
Let’s face it. Belly fat is not pretty…ever. And during menopause most women find that it’s the fat on their stomach that is so hard to control.
So learning keep it off is something that most of us would love to know, particularly if you are a woman searching for answers on how to lose weight during menopause. That’s a question I have asked recently in my own, middle-aged life.
So, what is the good news about losing some of that excess stomach fat? Belly fat is the first kind of fat you tend to lose when you lose weight, says a Mayo Clinic obesity researcher.
No matter what shape body you have, you’ll most likely lose proportionately more from the abdominal region than elsewhere.
Why? Because visceral fat, the kind that is tucked deep inside your waistline, is more metabolically active and easier to lose than subcutaneous fat under the skin. And, the more fat you have to lose, the quicker you may see results.
People who have less belly fat to lose, and are in the postmenopausal club, may not see results quite so quickly. Darn. But, do not despair.
What follows are some realistic, simple to follow lifestyle eating and exercise suggestions and resources that just about anyone who enjoys good health can benefit from, and see results.
Menopause Diet Plan to Burn some Fat
First, the diet, or should I say, the healthy lifestyle eating plan. The foods that follow are those that you should incorporate into your daily menu to help reduce and lose belly fat:
- Oatmeal – no sugar added
- Almonds – natural, with no salt added
- Olive Oil – extra virgin
- Rasberries – fresh, and other berries
- Eggs – high in protein
- Beans/Legumes – cannellini beans are great
- Lean meat and fish
- whole grains – half of your daily grain intake should be whole grains if possible
- Peanut butter – with no sugar added
- Green veggies, including salads (iceburg lettuce has almost no fiber so opt for other types)
- Dairy – fat free or low fat
- Avocado – ½ cup serving daily
- Fresh brewed ice tea – not canned or bottled
- 1 oz parmigiano cheese daily
“Eating a diet rich in whole grains while reducing refined carbohydrates changes the glucose and insulin response and makes it easier to mobilize fat stores,” says study researcher Penny Kris-Etherton, PhD, RD, a distinguished professor of nutritional sciences at Penn State University.
Minimize the processed foods, incorporate the foods from the list above, including whole grains, five servings of fruits and vegetables, three servings of low-fat dairy, and two servings of lean meat, fish, or poultry, and you will be on your way to losing belly fat around your middle section.
Menopause Exercise Plan to Stay in Shape
Along with eating wisely is exercise, which is essential to a well rounded lifestyle and enhancing the opportunity for losing weight while in menopause.
You know walking workouts are great for your heart, legs, butt, and energy level. Here’s a happy but little-known fact: walking workouts are also a great way to flatten your belly.
Women who walked briskly for about an hour a day for 14 weeks shrunk their belly fat by 20% without changing their eating habits, reports a Canadian study. Think how much more success you will find by eating foods that encourage weight loss around the middle. That’s a no-brainer to me!
Walking is something that just about anyone can do, inside or outside. But it isn’t just any old type of walk. There are ways to increase your success for losing belly fat.
Here’s a TIP: As you walk, engage your abs by lifting the crown of your head and lengthening your spine. It sounds so simple, but it takes some concentration to do this on a continuing basis while walking briskly.
More tips to Stop Weight Gain during Menopause
Here are a few more thoughts for you to consider as you work your way through menopause:
Avoid Crash & Fad Diets
Crash diets and fad diets are not a good idea and will most likely not provide the results you are looking for to lose weight during menopause. So don’t set yourself up for disappointment. The sensible suggestions described above are a much better starting point.
Start a Fitness Program
Some people find that an online fitness program that provides a personally tailored weight loss, exercise and support program is the best way to maintain or lose weight during menopause, or any time of their life.
Your stress level can also have an impact on weight, so take some time to reflect and see where you are at in that department.
Think about why you eat, and when. I know it sounds hokey, but I believe it’s true. Do you eat out of… boredom? frustration? anxiety?…you finish the sentence. Pay attention to what you put in your mouth and when, and you’ll be half way to your goal – lose weight during menopause.
Bottom line? A slow and steady weight loss plan is a wise choice to beat the menopausal bulge! Start by correcting your diet plan and adding a workout routine if you haven’t already. Here’s a good exercise plan for women you can try!
Looking for more resources for losing weight and staying fit?
Here’s a tip: weight loss is accelerated through intermittent fasting studies show. In fact, adding fasting to your plan can have many benefits.
There is no magic answer to losing weight during menopause, instead it is about consistent exercise, eating foods that help your body burn fat, eliminating bad foods and continuing over a long period of time to see results.
Learn all you can about the menopausal changes in your body and commit to maintaining a healthy lifestyle during this time.