‘Menopause and Weight Gain‘ are often searched for in Google! So to help you out Ladies, below there are 5 tips for managing menopausal weight gain without dieting!
I recently asked a group of women “what is your worst menopausal symptom?”
Overwhelmingly the answer was “weight gain”. This is the number 1 frustrating symptom of the menopause which makes women feel depressed, unhappy, frustrated and less like the woman they truly want to be.
I hear their complaints of how their diet has not changed, they are still doing what they always do but the weight is creeping up on them. Not only creeping up but landing firmly around the midriff where it has decided to make its home. Waistbands are growing as their hormones are depleting and no matter what they do the fat is firmly fixed.
Before I delve in to how you can manage your menopause weight, the following is a brief look as to why weight gain in menopause occurs:
- Our body shape may change due to oestrogen levels depleting and causing body fat to be redistributed.
- Our metabolic rate may lower due to diminished levels of oestrogen in the body. This leaves the body unable to efficiently use energy stores.
- Sleep deprivation in menopause can cause cravings for sugary or starchy foods.
- You may feel more stressed and anxious in menopause which increases cortisol levels in the body. High levels of cortisol in the body can cause extra body fat to develop around your middle.
Even if you haven’t changed your eating habits or exercising regime, you are fighting a losing battle, with your hormones leading the charge.
So, what can you do to take control of your menopause and win the battle of the bulge?
Menopause and Weight Gain
Here are my five top tips to manage your menopause weight and the best bit…. Not a diet in sight.
Tip 1 – Master your Mindset
Before you can embark on thinking about managing your weight you need to reboot your mindset. We form habits and it is hard for us to break these habits, therefore by rebooting your mindset you will be able to introduce the changes you need for a more manageable menopause.
Firstly, accept you are peri-menopause or in menopause and it is your hormones that is creating your weight problem. By knowing and understanding what is happening to your body and the changes it is going through, you will feel more in control and make informed choices about weight management and the menopause.
Next, look at your body in a positive way and be grateful for the job it is doing to keep you alive. Bask in the miracle of your digestive system working to extract nutrients from your diet to ensure your body works and keeps you alive. Thank your heart for pumping rich oxygenated blood around your body to help cells, organs and muscles do their job to keep you functioning and well.
As you begin to recognise your body for the miracle it is, the more you will only want to eat nutritious foods to keep your body healthy and well.
Finally, introduce daily affirmations in to your life to help incorporate the changes you need to break the habits that you have formed.
Try using affirmations as:
Each day I eat health nutritious foods to support my body as it goes through the menopause.
I am healthy and well
Tip 2 – Eating for Health
When embarking on a new diet our thought is normally to lose weight, so we can get in to those white jeans that have been hanging in the back of the wardrobe since we bought them five years ago vowing to get in to them by the summer. And guess what.. those jeans will stay there for another five years because you are not dieting for the right reason…. To feel healthy, to feel energised and to feel amazing.
The only way to manage menopause weight is to make a commitment to yourself to make lifestyle choices for health reasons. Begin by keeping a food diary detailing everything you eat and drink, how you feel emotionally and physically.
After a week review your diary and look for patterns associated with food and mood/physical symptoms. If there are certain foods linked to feeling of anxiety, depression, muscle aches, moodiness, dry skin change it. Begin to swap foods for healthier options. Keep using the food diary and making small changes to your diet. Eventually old habits will be broken, and new healthier habits will be adopted
Tip 3 – Have An Attitude of Gratitude
When you practice gratitude on a daily basis, you raise your vibration which will help you have a more positive outlook on life. The more positive you become the easier you will cope with stressful situations which will in turn lower your cortisol levels and not have you reach for sugary or starchy foods to boost your energy levels.
Keep a gratitude diary and each morning write five things you are grateful for. In the evening find five things that happened to you that day for which you are grateful. Examples may be:
I am Grateful for the hormones in my body as they provide me with the gift of life
I am grateful for my family as they support me as my body goes through the changes associated with the menopause
I am truly grateful for the parking space outside the supermarket.
Tip 4 – Walk the Talk
Mention the word “exercise” and for many women you will have them reaching for the Ben and Jerry’s shouting “No, I hate the gym” or “I can’t run”.
Exercise does not have to leave you doubled up and out of breath wondering if you are going to have a heart attack. In fact, during menopause you want an exercise that will not put extra stress on the adrenal glands resulting in increased production of cortisol. Try exercises such as Yoga, Pilates or walking. These exercises will not only keep you supple but will also help relax your mind and body (reduce those cortisol levels) and help increase your energy levels. Aim to exercise at least 3 times a week for about 30 minutes each time.
(NOTE: If you have a heart condition, overweight, diabetic or any other health condition please consult with your medical practitioner before embarking on any exercise).
Tip 5 – Be Kind to Yourself
It is the nature of women to put everyone above herself. I hear it all the time when I’m mentoring and coaching women through the menopause how they put their families before themselves.
However, it is our caring, maternal instinct to put others above ourselves that leads us to feel exhausted, temperamental, put upon and at times resentful.
As women we owe it to ourselves to be kind to ourselves. To put it into perspective, have you ever been on a plane, then you will know that if the oxygen masks are released you put your own mask on before that of your children or anyone else. Why? Because you need the oxygen, so you can help others. It is no good if you can’t breathe as you will not be able to ensure the safety of those less capable then you.
Look at being kind to yourself as your oxygen mask.
Take time to relax and unwind by:
- Running a warm bath with lots of gorgeous smelling bubbles. Relax your cares away with candles, soft music and a good book.
- Spend time with friends.
- Go for a walk to a place that feels you with joy.
- Put some upbeat music on and dance you cares away.
By consistently taking these five steps you will soon see positive changes to the way you view your menopause, your body and your health.