The menopause can be a challenging time for many women and so to add difficulties in losing weight to that, can be very disheartening indeed.
It’s therefore important to understand the effect the menopause has on our bodies and what steps you can take to help kickstart weight loss again. The most important thing to take from this though is that whilst adjustments might need to be made, weight loss, or indeed halting weight gain, can be achieved. As always with me, it’s about the fact you need to Just Keep Going 😉
So why does the menopause cause weight gain?
There are several reasons why weight gain might happen during the menopause, including:
- Hormonal changes. This is perhaps the most obvious reason but during menopause, your oestrogen levels change and both high and low levels of oestrogen can increase your bodies natural tendency to store fat.
- Increased resistance to insulin. It is common for women to become more resistant to insulin as they age. This can make losing weight more difficult.
- Sleep difficulties. Problems with sleeping is common during the menopause and poor sleep is linked to weight gain. For example, it is known that those who don’t sleep so well, tend to snack during the day and therefore consume more calories.
- Changes in muscle mass. Muscle mass typically diminishes with age, while fat increases. Loss of muscle mass decreases the rate at which your body uses calories, which can make it more challenging to maintain a healthy weight. If you continue to eat as you always have and don’t increase your physical activity, you’re likely to gain weight.
- Genetics. Genetics can also play a role in weight gain during the menopause and so if your parents or relatives tend to store extra weight around the abdomen, then there’s a likelihood you’ll do the same.
What can I do to limit the effect of the menopause on my weight?
We all know that in order to lose weight, a calorie deficit is needed. It’s how we go about achieving that deficit is important though and particularly during the menopause.
During and after menopause, the number of calories a woman burns during rest, declines. This therefore means that if you continue to eat and exercise as you always have, you are likely to gain weight. It therefore may be tempting to try a very-low-calorie diet to help you lose weight but this is actually the worst thing you can do. Research has shown that restricting calories to low levels can cause a loss of muscle mass and actually make your metabolic rate decline further.
So while very low calorie diets may result in short term weight loss, their effects on muscle mass and metabolic rate will make it hard to keep the weight off. Added to that, insufficient calorie intake and decreased muscle mass may lead to bone loss which can increase your risk of osteoporosis.
Your best options.
During the menopause, your best option is to go for a weight loss programme that doesn’t work to severely limit your calorie intake but reduces calories by reducing portion sizes and listening to your bodies changing desire for food. Successful Slimming’s 12 Week Success Programme uses a really common sense approach of only eating when you’re hungry, eating what you want, eating slowly and mindfully, and stopping when you’re full and is absolutely perfect for keeping control over your weight during the menopause.
However, as fantastic and effective as the 12 Week Success Programme is, it may not be enough depending on how much your metabolic rate has lowered. It is therefore not only really helpful, but important, that you add regular exercise into your daily regime. As well as aerobic activity helping you burn more calories, strength training is also something you should do too. Thats because as you gain muscle, your body burns calories more efficiently, which in turn makes it easier to control your weight. Silver and Gold Members of Successful Slimming can benefit from guidance in this area from their Resident Experts, The Body Transformers who provide videos and support to help find easy ways to slip extra activity into your day.
Finally, try to stop snacking during the day. I know it can be hard, particularly if you’ve not been sleeping well as we tend to snack more when we are tired. But stopping the snacking will make a big difference. One way you can help yourself to do that is by using hypnosis. Hypnosis is incredibly effective and proven to increase success rates when losing weight. Coupled with that the fact it can help get you very relaxed and more likely to fall asleep, its a win-win situation. Successful Slimming use hypnosis in their 12 Week Success Programme to great effect. By listening to it every night as you fall asleep, the common sense habits of eating only when you’re hungry, eating what you want, eating slowly and then stopping when you’re full, embed themselves into your subconscious, making it easier to stick to when your awake and faced with decisions around food.
Successful Slimming is currently offering a massive 25% off their 12 Week Success Programme and so if you’re looking for a way to manage your weight during the menopause and want a common sense, supportive approach to managing your weight, then click to join here. When prompted, use the code MENOPAUSE.