Have you noticed that you're carrying a little extra weight? Unfortunately, as you get older your metabolism can start to become more sluggish which, alongside other menopausal symptoms, can cause you to gain weight. Today I tackle this tricky issue and how you can help wake up your sleepy metabolism.
The poor old menopause seems to get the blame for everything that happens to women after the age of 40, weight gain being one of them. This can happen due to hormone levels changing but let’s take a closer look…
As you get older your metabolism can slow down naturally, meaning you either need to eat less or exercise more to stay the same weight.
As you get older it is easier to lose muscle mass, and muscle use burns up more calories so if you don’t keep muscle mass up by regular exercise you will put on weight even if you stick to the same calorific intake. Menopause- age women tend to exercise less anyway due to work, home, family commitments and general fatigue etc.
Research has shown that many menopausal women tend to crave more carbohydrate/sugar rich foods, which can cause weight gain. Magnesium is a vital mineral needed especially during the menopause to help balance mood, feed the adrenals and keep the heart calm. Many menopausal women are low in magnesium and low levels can make you crave sweet things. Eating fresh or dried fruit would be a great way of upping magnesium, but most women will opt for cakes, biscuits and sweets!
Many menopausal women are stressed, both by the physical and emotional aspect of the menopause and also day-to-day stress. Continual stress produces excess cortisol, which in turn makes that ‘fat around the middle’ which is so common in the menopause.
So, how can you combat this? Just do 1, 2, and 3!
Exercise regularly, it doesn’t have to be gruelling: a 30-minute brisk walk 3-4 times a week, yoga or other similar exercises, swimming etc. Adding in ‘exercise’ during the day can be a good way too: get off the bus a stop earlier and walk the rest of the way; run up and down the stairs; do a few star jumps when no-one is looking!
Make sure that you are eating enough protein and cut down on the bad carbs i.e. cakes, biscuits, pasta etc and try a piece of fruit or a handful of dried fruit instead. Make sure that the carbs you do have are wholemeal.
Reduce stress: make that 30-minute ‘me-time’ a priority every day regardless, and take a stress remedy if needed.
If you feel that your weight is a serious issue in the menopause, if you put on weight very quickly or even lose weight quickly it is important that you seek medical advice.
You won’t get the menopause the minute you turn 50! The average starting age is actually between 45 and 55 and it can often depend on a number of factors including hereditary, weight and health, however every single woman will have an individual menopause.