GP talks about the impact of the menopause on weight gain
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Transitioning through the menopause can be challenging in many areas, but those who wish to lose weight may have more difficulty in doing so. People often experience an increase in body fat during this time and usually, there are three common reasons behind it: reduced estrogen levels, lower-quality sleep, and reductions in metabolism and muscle mass. Menopause advisor Eileen Durward, addressed some of the common ways to deal with “the change”, and by following these six important steps, could help sufferers get back to feeling them themselves.
1. Regular exercise
Increasing activity levels daily is an excellent way to promote weight loss and overall physical health because as we age, muscle mass decreases and this can led to an increase in body fat.
Studies into how aerobic exercise can decrease body fat after menopause have proven to be successful, and that resistance training at least three times a week can improve lean body mass and reduce body fat in postmenopausal women – this combination alone can help reduce body fat and build muscle.
“But there is a big difference between sensible exercise and over-doing it,” Durward warned.
“I know fit ladies don’t want to give up their sport but in the menopause it may be necessary to wind down for a while in order to survive!”
2. Prioritising sleep
Never underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep. Getting enough high-quality shut-eye is essential not only for overall health but for maintaining a healthy weight, too.
“Your body needs lots of rest and relaxation to help it cope with all the major changes going on,” Durward said.
Low-quality sleep has been found to lead to weight gain as it has an impact both mentally and physically.
It can wreck your motivation to workout at all and changes in sleep patterns that are associated with menopause/reproductive ageing and chronologic ageing, may have metabolic health consequences.
Alteration in sleep quality and circadian rhythms can affect appetite hormones, energy expenditure and body fat composition, but focusing on getting a sufficient amount of restful sleep could help reduce menopause-related weight gain.
3. Mindful eating
It’s no secret that being aware of eating habits can be detrimental to weight loss.
To lose weight, people need to consume fewer calories than they eat; a key part in anyone’s weight loss journey.
Durward, explained “the change” can have numerous effects on the body, adding: “Your nutritional needs go sky high at this time.”
Nutrient-dense food are a big yes and a person’s diet should contain a variety of lean sources of protein, healthy fats – such as such as olive oil or avocados – colourful fruits and vegetables and whole-grains.
Keeping track of what one is eating can also help identify what works for them, leading to progression and motivation to continue on track.
Also, people who control their portion sizes are more likely to see a difference in their weight.
Using scales, one can measure out foods to avoid over eating.
4. Support from family and friends
Being able to talk to others about your journey can be an integral part of weight loss.
It can be very lonely at times but by having someone willing to keep you going or finding a workout buddy, it can help people stay motivated to exercise.
5. Making long-term lifestyle changes
Quick-fix diets aren’t the key to maintain weight loss as they usually offer unrealistic methods that aren’t sustainable.
The key to keeping weight off is to maintain healthful habits in the long-term, kicking fad diets to the curb and adopting healthier habits such as cooking routines and regular exercise.
6. Planning ahead
Many people get caught out by not planning ahead when it comes to their meals or exercise plans.
Either they run out of time or find themselves caught short when out and about, and it can all lead to snacking and indulging on foods that might set back progress.
Meal planning and having healthful foods on hand will make a person less likely to choose unhealthful foods at other times.
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