This Morning: Lisa Snowdon emotional over menopause campaign
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Menopausal women experience weight gain around their middle section as their hormones change. While there are some ways to reduce the amount of belly fat, it is a tricky area to target. Here’s what you should be eating to combat menopause weight gain.
Menopause is a natural part of ageing for women.
In the UK, the average woman reaches menopause at 51, although it can occur at any time between the ages of 45 and 55 – or even earlier or later.
The classic symptoms of menopause are hot flushes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, mood changes, and a loss of sex drive.
However, some women also experience changes in their weight, and it is seemingly more difficult to shed those pounds after 40.
According to experts, “you don’t need to eat any specific foods” to lose weight during menopause.
“But there are some changes you can make to the way you eat, especially if you’re experiencing weight gain,” Lloyds Pharmacy explained.
Start with portion size; if you are menopausal and experiencing weight gain, it is advised to decrease the amount you eat.
This is because, experts say that after 40, women’s “metabolic rate slows down”.
To add to this, following menopause, muscle mass is lost, which means bodies need fewer calories to function.
The guide from the NHS suggests menopausal women may need around 200 fewer calories a day.
That means dropping from the recommended 2,000 calories a day guidance, to eating 1,800.
While cutting back isn’t easy, the experts said it’s “just a case of eating more mindfully”.
“Don’t overfill your plate, and don’t keep eating after you feel full,” they added.
Once your portion size is under control, turn your attention to what you are eating; you want to eat a healthy, varied, and balanced diet if possible.
Fruits and vegetables should be eaten in abundance, as well as some starchy carbohydrates that are high in fibre, alongside good protein sources like pulses, eggs, oily fish, and lean meat.
“Dairy is also really important”, the experts said as it can help “combat your risk of osteoporosis, which increases during the menopause”.
Semi-skimmed milk, low-fat cheese, and low-fat plain yoghurt are good dairy choices to add to your diet daily.
Cutting back on salt, sugar and saturated fat will also help with weight loss, as well as swapping takeaways and meals out for home-cooked meals.
“You’ll also want to be careful about your intake of caffeine and alcohol, as these can worsen hot flushes and interfere with sleep,” the experts added.
For those concerned about not getting all the nutrients they need from their diet, consider taking supplements.
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