Weight gain during menopause affects a large percentage of aging women, as it is commonly called the “middle-age spread.” While losing the extra pounds can seem like a challenge at first, with dedication and a little willpower, positive behavioral patterns can reap worthwhile results. Check out our 4-week weight loss plan for menopause to find below.
The first week is all about little shifts and becoming aware of bad habits.
In order to do so, keep track of not only unhealthy snack selections, like chips, sugary drinks, and sweets, but also why you eat them. Are you actually hungry? Or, are you just stressed or bored?
Also, note how much time you spend eating distracted, especially in front of a screen. Whether it be computer, television, or cellphone, not paying attention to a meal has been scientifically proven to increase the amount of food eaten.1,2
Toward the second half of the week, start to make conscious choices in both aspects. Your snacking could consist mostly of fruits, fresh vegetables, yogurt, or a handful of nuts, but don't deprive yourself of sugary snacks as this has been shown to lead to overeating when you get the chance.3,4
Also, eat mindfully. This means setting aside all distractions, being present in the flavor and texture of each bite.
As you continue with the first week's initiatives, it's time to start taking notice of your daily meals.
Do you eat a lot of fried foods, red meats, and simple carbs? Unfortunately, consuming these in large quantities can facilitate weight gain and degrade overall health.
Luckily, some simple changes can be made:
- Replace red meat with lean proteins, such as turkey or fish, or plant-based proteins, such as beans and tofu.
- Pan-fry with olive oil. Try sautéing tofu with some potatoes and veggies alongside a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil for a healthy twist. Baking your food also cuts down on its fat content.
- Go for whole grains (complex carbs) like quinoa, barley, brown rice, and oats, instead of white breads and pastas.
For a comprehensive diet for menopause, click on the preceding link.
Now that you have begun to eat healthier and cut down on unhealthy snacking, a menopause weight loss plan would not be complete without upping your exercise.
Menopause exercise should aim to combine aerobic workouts, strength training, stretching, and balance activities for optimal results. Since serotonin and endorphins are released in these workouts, exercising should help make you happier, lower your stress levels, and give you more energy.
Furthermore, women should take other considerations to mind as well, such as reducing their sitting time or splitting up exercises throughout the day, because what you do during the rest of the day is just as important.
You're reached the end of the four-week weight loss plan, and it is time to evaluate.
By now, your meals are a colorful array of fresh fruits and vegetables along with whole grains and lean proteins. If you go out to eat, opt for a salad or another light, healthy option that stays in line with your goals and helps you feel in control.
If working out is already feeling like a chore, switch up your exercise routines to keep it fun and stay engaged. Go for long walks, try riding a bike, or grab a workout partner as well a couple of days a week. He or she may also double as an accountability buddy.
Also, a certified nutritionist can help you refine your diet plan and break bad eating habits, and a personal trainer can create the perfect exercise routine and keep you motivated.
With each day that passes, although it may be difficult, you will be proud of yourself. Those moments when you reach for an apple instead of a cookie and take the last few flights of stairs up to your office instead of the elevator are empowering and turn positive habits into a lifestyle.
For more details on how to lose weight the healthy way during menopause, check out natural and effective weight gain treatments.
- Harvard Health Publishing. (2019). Winning the weight battle after menopause. Retrieved November 13, 2019, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/womens-health/winning-the-weight-battle-after-menopause
- Harvard T.H. Chan. (n.d.). The Nutrition Source: Healthy Weight. Retrieved November 13, 2019, from https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-weight/
- Mayo Clinic. (2019). Menopause weight gain: Stop the middle age spread. Retrieved November 13, 2019, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/womens-health/in-depth/menopause-weight-gain/art-20046058
- Harvard Health Publishing. (2013). Distracted eating may add to weight gain. Retrieved November 13, 2019, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/distracted-eating-may-add-to-weight-gain-201303296037
- Robinson, E. et al. (2013). Eating attentively: a systematic review and meta-analysis of the effect of food intake memory and awareness on eating. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 97(4), 728-742. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.112.045245
- National Institutes of Health. (2009). Restricting Sugary Food May Lead to Overeating. Retrieved November 13, 2019, from https://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/restricting-sugary-food-may-lead-overeating
- Avena, N.M. et al. (2013). Comparing the effects of food restriction and overeating on brain reward systems. Experimental Gerontology, 48(10), 1062-1067. doi: 10.1016/j.exger.2013.03.006