Generally, many women find it difficult to lose weight and this is because their bodies are less muscular. However, as women grow old and reach menopause, weight loss and weight management become even more difficult. A woman is considered to have reached menopause if their menstrual cycle stops for more than 12 months. But why does menopause make it hard for women to lose weight?
Factors That Hinder Weight Loss During Menopause
Some of the factors which make women to gain weight during menopause are:
1. Insomnia or Sleeplessness
Older women have high chances of experiencing insomnia or sleeplessness. Note that inadequate sleep has a direct link with weight gain.
2. Insulin Resistance
Most people usually become resistant to insulin as they grow old. An increased resistance to insulin makes the process of weight loss more difficult.
3. Hormonal Imbalance
Menopause usually leads to hormonal imbalance or fluctuations. A woman may end up having high levels or low level of estrogen both which help to enhance the storage of fat.
Aging, hormonal fluctuations and reduced physical activities normally lead to loss of lean muscle mass. All these factors may cause fat to be stored along the abdomen, thighs, and hips. This leads to high risks of heart disease, diabetes type 2 and metabolic syndrome. It is therefore important for women to put measures in place that will enhance weight loss if they’re in menopause. For that it’s important to remove excess fat.
For anyone who wants to lose weight, diet plays a crucial role. Women who have reached menopause should use the following diet plan.
A high number of calories enhance weight gain and this is why the best weight loss shakes usually have less than 200 calories. As you age, it’s important to reduce your daily calorie intake. The perfect low-calorie diet should contain 40 percent of complex carbs, 30 percent of lean and low-fat protein and 30 percent of healthy fats.
• Fiber-Rich Foods
The Best weight loss shakes are usually formulated with a rich fiber blend. Fiber promotes weight loss by increasing satiety, controlling appetite and reducing food cravings. By maintaining normal sugar levels in blood and accelerating faster movement of fats along the digestive tract, you will end up with less belly fat. The best sources of insoluble fiber are cabbages, carrots, Brussels sprouts, and brown rice.
Raw fruits and vegetables contain high amounts of fiber. They are also very nutritious and help consumers to meet their daily nutritional requirements. Reports from research studies indicate that older women who consumed more fruits and vegetables had an improved level of immunity, and lower chances of heart attack.
• Protein Blend
Protein is essential for muscle growth and general development of the body and that’s why it’s found in the best weight loss shakes. Lack of protein in a diet can lead to weak bones and muscles as well as reduced immunity. During menopause, a protein-rich diet helps the body to convert stored fat to fuel while inhibiting calorie absorption. The best sources of protein are shellfish, poultry, eggs, fish, meat, legumes, soy, nuts, and dairy products with low amounts of fat.
Note that soy protein has a lot of benefits for menopausal women as it contains isoflavones which help to reduce menopause-related symptoms such as cardiovascular disease, hot flashes and certain types of cancer.
• Complex Carbs
Your daily diet should contain at least a third of starchy foods. The best weight loss shakes usually contain Carbs which are great sources of energy. Carbs also help to enhance physical activities and organ function. Choose high-quality complex carbohydrates such as cereals, pasta, whole grain bread, brown rice, and crackers. Fruits and vegetables are also good sources of complex carbs and they contain fiber which takes a long time to digest.
Avoid consuming simple carbs like white bread or pasta, white sugar, refined flour, cakes, chocolates, dairy products etc. as they easily get digested and absorbed into the bloodstream thereby increasing the blood sugar levels.
• Moderate Fats
Menopausal women who want to lose weight shouldn’t avoid fats completely. They should take foods which have moderate amounts of fat because fat is important in the development of body cells and muscles. It enhances brain function, the working of the nervous system and also hormone health. The best types of fats are mono-saturated e.g. cashews, avocado, olive oil, almonds, and peanuts.
• Eat Mini Meals
Women in menopause can effectively manage weight by eating mini meals instead of large full meals. Small meals help to reduce digestive problems, gas, constipation and bloating. Eat foods which are full of antioxidants such as leafy greens, whole grains, and fresh fruits. Note that the greater the variety of vegetables and fruits, the more the antioxidants.
Another factor that leads to weight gain in women during menopause is lack of physical activity. The older people get, the less active they become. Physical activity is essential for general development during menopause and even after. Some of the exercises that a menopausal woman can engage in include:
Walking is a light physical activity that’s great for starters. You can begin with a thirty-minute walk routine. This helps to activate the body and increase the rate of metabolism leading to weight loss. The great thing about walking is that you can change your pace as you wish and it has less risks of injuries.
• Cardio Training
A good mix of different exercises is great for the growth of lean muscles and metabolism of fat. The best types of cardio training include:
Interval training: alternating between moderately paced walks and sprinting.
Circuit training: alternating between different exercises such as swimming, cycling or running. Circuit training involves using different muscles.
Speed play: This is a combination of circuit and interval training.
• Strength Training
The best way to shed weight and increase the rate of metabolism is by doing strength training. Ensure that you lift weights at least thrice weekly.
Exercising is important during menopause because it helps to improve mood swings that come with hormonal imbalance and enhance weight loss as well as muscle growth. Weight training involves using weights to create resistance in muscles which leads to the preservation or growth of the lean muscles.
While doing exercises, some of the factors that you should focus on include frequency. If you are doing cardio twice a week, ensure that you increase the frequency to say three times weekly as time goes. Other aspects of working out that you should increase are time and intensity. If you are doing strength training, your target should be the whole body. Make sure that you are working out all the muscles including the chest, shoulders, abs, lower body, back, biceps, and triceps.
Although a good diet and workout routine are beneficial for weight loss, lifestyle change is also important. Some of the lifestyle changes that women in menopause can implement are:
1. Avoiding Stress
Stress has been listed as one of the factors that lead to weight gain. It’s therefore important to find stress relief especially during the menopausal transition as chronic levels of stress can increase the risk of stroke, and heart diseases. Improve the quality of your life by engaging in workouts, traveling, eating a healthy diet and meditating.
2. Quality Sleep
Lack of sleep usually interferes with weight loss and it can sometimes lead to weight gain. Although most women in menopause usually struggle with sleeplessness and insomnia caused by stress, night sweats, fatigue, hormonal imbalance, and hot flashes, it’s important for them to ensure that they get high-quality sleep. They can seek medical advice on how to deal with such conditions in order for them to get enough sleep.
Reports from research studies show that people who sleep for less than the recommended eight hours tend to have high levels of ghrelin hormone and they are usually overweight.
3. Practice Yoga
Yoga is one of the best activities which a woman in menopause can perfectly and regularly engage in. it helps to aid weight loss by improving the production of protein hormones such as adiponectin and serum lipids which help to enhance the metabolism of glucose. Yoga helps to improve the heart health and studies have shown that women who regularly practice yoga usually have a reduced waist circumference as well as a healthy body mass index.
Apart from relieving stress and accelerating weight loss, yoga also helps to relieve menopausal symptoms like irregularities in menstrual flow, night sweats, irritability, sleep problems, hot flashes, depression, fatigue, memory loss, low self-esteem, insomnia among others. Some of the yoga practices that are great for beginners are breath control, postures, and meditation
Menopause is a stage in a woman’s life that comes with a lot of uncontrolled changes which might be experienced physically, mentally and emotionally. A woman’s body undergoes a huge transformation which results in hormonal imbalance that can lead to mood swings, medical conditions, hair loss etc. hence losing weight can be very difficult. However, by having a good diet plan, regularly exercising and implement new lifestyle changes, one can end up losing weight.