Menopause is a natural process that marks the end of a woman’s reproductive years. It is characterised by a decline in oestrogen levels, which can lead to a range of symptoms, including hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, and weight gain. For many women, weight gain during menopause is a frustrating and unwelcome side effect, but there are steps you can take to manage your weight and protect your health.
Eat a low-carb or ketogenic diet
One of the most effective ways to manage weight gain during menopause is to follow a low-carb or ketogenic diet. When you eat too many carbs, your body produces more insulin, which can lead to insulin resistance and weight gain.
A low-carb or ketogenic diet, on the other hand, can help keep insulin levels low and maintain a healthy metabolism. This type of diet is high in healthy fats, moderate in protein, and low in carbohydrates. It can help you lose weight, reduce inflammation, and improve your overall health.
Eat enough protein
When you are trying to lose weight, it is important to eat enough protein. Protein is essential for building and maintaining lean muscle mass, which can help you burn more calories throughout the day. Aim for at least 1.3 grams of protein per kg of body weight per day.
Good sources of protein include meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and dairy products. If you are following a vegetarian or vegan diet, you can get protein from sources such as beans, lentils, tofu, and tempeh.
Lift weights or do resistance training
In addition to eating enough protein, it is important to engage in strength training exercises. Lifting weights or doing resistance training can help you build and maintain muscle mass, which can help you burn more calories and maintain a healthy metabolism.
Strength training exercises can include lifting weights, using resistance bands, or doing bodyweight exercises such as push-ups and squats. Aim to do strength training exercises at least two to three times per week.
Introduce time-restricted eating
Time-restricted eating is a type of intermittent fasting that involves limiting your eating to a certain window of time each day. For example, you might skip breakfast and eat your first meal at noon, then stop eating at 8 p.m.
Time-restricted eating can help keep insulin levels low for longer stretches of time, which can improve your metabolism and help you lose weight. It can also reduce inflammation and improve your overall health.
Avoid excess consumption, especially snacks, nuts, and alcohol
While it is important to eat enough protein and healthy fats, it is also important to avoid excess consumption of certain foods. Snacks, nuts, and alcohol can all be high in calories and can contribute to weight gain.
If you do choose to snack, opt for healthy options such as raw vegetables, fruit, or nuts in moderation. Be mindful of your alcohol consumption and aim to limit your intake to no more than one drink per day.
Sleep is essential for maintaining a healthy metabolism and managing weight gain during menopause. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body produces more cortisol, which can increase inflammation and contribute to weight gain.
Aim to get at least seven to eight hours of sleep per night. Create a relaxing bedtime routine and avoid electronic devices before bed.
Manage stress with relaxation techniques
Stress can also contribute to weight gain during menopause. When you are stressed, your body produces more cortisol, which can lead to inflammation and weight gain.
To manage stress, try relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, or deep breathing exercises. Exercise is also a great way to reduce stress and improve your overall health.
Talk with your doctor about hormone replacement therapy
If you are experiencing severe symptoms during menopause, such as hot flashes, night sweats, and mood swings, talk to your doctor about hormone replacement therapy (HRT). HRT involves taking oestrogen and/or progesterone to help alleviate these symptoms.
While HRT can be effective for managing symptoms, it is not suitable for everyone. It is important to talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of HRT and whether it is the right choice for you.
Menopause can be a challenging time for many women, but there are steps you can take to manage your weight and protect your health. Eating a low-carb or ketogenic diet, getting enough protein, lifting weights, practising time-restricted eating, avoiding excess consumption, prioritising sleep, managing stress, and talking to your doctor about HRT can all help you navigate this transition with greater ease and confidence.
Remember, menopause is a natural process, and every woman’s experience is unique. Be patient and kind to yourself, and don’t hesitate to seek help if you need it. With the right approach and support, you can make the most of this new phase of life and emerge stronger, healthier, and happier than ever before.