Is Menopausal Weight Gain Impossible to Lose?
It may feel like that sometimes, but with some effort, you can do it!
Sad but true: You can’t argue with the facts. Hormonal changes of menopause add up to weight gain, particularly in the abdominal area.
Add to that aging and genetics, and you’re suddenly looking at a weight gain at a rate of about 1.5 pounds each year as you go through your 50s. The weight gain usually starts to creep up a few years before menopause, which is known as perimenopause.
But weight, er, I mean WAIT! This is not a fait accompli. Weight gain does not have to be a runaway train.
Sure, metabolism slows. And yes, muscle mass typically decreases with age, slowing the rate at which your body burns calories. Agreed, your lifestyle might make it difficult to eat ‘right.’ Sure, you might not be as active as days of yore. Also, sleep deprivation may be causing you to crave the carbs and snacky foods that are bad for you.
I realize we all want to look like we once did, but it may not always be possible. However…we can still look great. healthy, and fabulous, and be the best version of ourselves
Here’s what you really need to know if you want to lose menopausal weight, or avoid gaining it altogether:
Stop Dieting. Diets don’t work. Why? Because you are either ‘on’ a diet or ‘off’ one. And what happens when you are ‘off’ a diet? Bingo. You overeat. You overdo it because tell yourself you have to go back on, when you’ll be deprived again. So, instead…
Reframe your eating. Rather than a diet, make it a lifestyle. Commit to healthy foods, eating only when you are hungry, and stopping when you are 80 percent full. That’s what people in Okinawa, Japan, (one of the blue zones known for longevity), do to avoid overeating. The mantra, “Hara hachi bu,” said before meals, reminds them to eat mindfully and stop before they are uncomfortably full.
Change your eating habits. That can mean eating more slowly, eating from a smaller plate, portioning out your snacks so you don’t eat mindlessly out of the bag, or taking a pause and putting down your fork for a few minutes.
Rev up your slow(er) metabolism. You can burn an extra 100 calories every day (which translates into losing 10 pounds in a year) by doing things like walking a mile in about 20 minutes; jogging for 10 minutes; taking 30 minutes to mow the lawn, clean the house, pull weeds, or plant flowers. Just get moving!
Don’t let words fool you. Salad…muti-grain, fat-free…muffins…trail mix. They all sound so healthy, don’t they? But facts are facts. You need “whole grain” to reap the nutritional benefits…if you drown your salad in dressing you have negated its health advantage…fat-free often has a lot of added sugars flour, thickeners and salt to make up for the loss of taste…muffins can contain lots of sugar and fat…and trail mix can contain calorie-laden add-ins like coconut, chocolate and sugar-coated fruit. (Better to make your own.)
Four a Pause…
If you’re looking for a smart way to eat, check out the Mediterranean diet. (I wish they hadn’t used the word ‘diet’ in there, but it’s still a smart way to eat.) It focuses on whole grains, fruits, veggies, legumes, nuts, herbs spices, and olive oil. It contributes to better health, especially better heart health. What could be bad, right? And, a glass of wine at dinner is “allowed.” Here’s one of my all-time favorite cookbooks based on this healthy way of eating.
Seems like it might be tough to ditch the word “diet.” Here’s how U.S.News ranks the best ones out there.
A friend told me about these leggings, which are dupes for the more expensive Lulu Lemon ones. And she was right; I own lots of them now.
And I like to wear these sox with the aforementioned leggings. Comfy and cute at the same time.
Until next time…
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