Ways To Beat Menopause Weight Gain
As you enter midlife, you may notice that maintaining your usual weight becomes more of a challenge. The hormonal changes of menopause can lead to extra weight gain around the belly area.
Hormonal changes are not the only things that contribute to weight gain. Aging, lifestyle and genetic factors also play a significant role. As you age, you tend to lose muscle mass and gain more fat. This, in turn, decreases your metabolism. Therefore, if you continue to eat the same way you did when you were younger and do not increase your activity level, you will inevitably gain weight.
Sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy eating and lack of sleep may also contribute to menopausal weight gain. Hunger hormones, such as ghrelin, increase when you do not get enough sleep. Oftentimes, this results in increased snacking and calorie consumption. There are genetic factors as well. If your parents or other relatives tend to carry more weight around the middle, it is more likely that you will too.
Menopause weight gain affects more than just your physique and how you feel physically. It can also affect your health. Excess weight, especially around the abdomen, increases your risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease and various types of cancers. Here are five steps you can take to make weight loss easier during this time:
Hiit Training Revs Up Your Metabolism
Not only has this kind of training been found to help zap body fat, but HIIT allows you to workout harder than you would otherwise, since youre doing the high-intensity parts in intervals. That increases your heart rate, so you burn more calories, fat, and carbohydrates during your workoutrevving up your metabolism. And since it builds muscle, it also increases your resting metabolism, which means youre burning more calories even when youre re-watching a season of The Crown .
HIIT Workout Tips
Since HIIT workouts are designed to be quick and efficient, you want to make sure that every time you hit the gym that you’re maximizing your efforts. To reap as many benefits as possible, keep these tips in mind.
Push Yourself During Your Work Intervals
If you’re giving 50 percent effort when you’re supposed to be giving 80, then your HIIT workout is not going to be the calorie-burning tool that you want it to be. Don’t be afraid to go hard during those work intervals not necessarily “all out”. You want to maintain a challenging pace while keeping good form. Push yourself. See if you can get one more rep than you did the last round. Let the anticipation of that rest period motivate you to do the best you can. You can do it because relief is soon on the way.
Do You Gain Weight During Or After Hormone Replacement Therapy
Many women worry about weight gain being a side effect of taking HRT. However, several scientific studies show that there is no direct link between weight gain and hormone replacement therapy itself.
HRT is used to help relieve the symptoms of menopause and reduce the risk of bone loss after menopause. Some menopausal women stay away from this therapy because they believe it causes weight gain. However, they may naturally gain weight at the time of menopause. Besides that, studies found no evidence that this therapy has an effect on body weight.
Many women gain weight during menopause, regardless of whether they take HRT or not. You can overcome this through a healthy diet and regular exercise.
At the start of treatment, some women may experience water retention and bloating, which may be misinterpreted by patients as weight gain or fat deposition. However, these symptoms frequently disappear on continuing therapy or reducing the dosage.
Watch Your Carbohydrate Intake
Not all nutrients are created equal, and some experts believe that a steady diet heavy in unrefined carbs like pasta and bread are a significant factor for excess belly fat. Carbs are the enemy of the middle-aged woman, says Dr. Boling. If you are perimenopausal, look at how much sugar you are eating. Carbs turn into sugar in our bodies. Some turn faster, like candy bars, oatmeal burns slower, but eventually it all turns to sugar. If you are aware of how many carbs you are eating, you are going to do better. Research published in April 2017 in the British Journal of Nutrition found that a reduced-carbohydrate diet may decrease the risk of postmenopausal weight gain.
How To Cure Hormonal Imbalance
It is important to note that hormonal imbalance is not a serious medical condition hence it cannot be treated with conventional medicines. It is caused due to genetics and lifestyle habits. To understand the role of exercise and diet in hormonal imbalance, let us first understand the endocrine system.
To maintain hormonal balance, the endocrine system secretes certain chemicals called hormones. Hormones control blood pressure levels, body temperature, food metabolism and other body functions.
In women, menopause is the time when they stop getting menstrual periods. It happens to all women in the world when they reach the age of 51 to 55 yrs. The hormones that help in ovulation and pregnancy for women are estrogen and progesterone.
During menopause, the level of both of these hormones falls and this is what causes symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings etc in women. It is also responsible for many other problems like osteoporosis , weight gain around the midsection of the body, loss of sexual desire, complete hair loss etc.
Hormonal imbalance is one of the most common problems faced by both men and women in todays time. Due to various reasons, the hormone secretion in the body gets affected. If you are also facing hormonal disorders, then you need to understand how exercise and a proper diet can help in improving your condition.
How To Beat Crazy Hormones And Weight Gain For Women
Since my wife Lindsay has been pregnant, Ive noticed her hormones changing, a lot! Ive mostly noticed the changes with her body. One moment she is embracing the fact that she is pregnant and then the next she is picking at each part of her body explaining to me that this was never there before! I started getting really interested in how her body was changing. She is still beautiful to me no matter what, but I wanted to better explain to her what her body is going through in hopes of making her feel better. Heres what I found out.
Pregnant women have a special hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin, or hCG. This hormone guarantees that our baby Gavin receives the calories and nutrients he needs to grow. According to DiscoveryHealth.com, in the case of women, excess calories tend to wind up in problem areas such as the hips, buttocks, abdomen and thighs. However, once pregnant, fat from these areas is released in the presence of hCG, and this fat then makes its way to the fetus. This way, if a woman doesnt consume the nutrients needed for fetal growth, her fat reserves will suffice.
One of her problems has been fatigue. She was used to doing Insanity every night. Because she is so tired after work, sometimes its hard for her to do her pregnancy work out. I try to be a good coach and motivate her to come work out with me, but some days I know just to keep my mouth shut!
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Youre Losing Your Hair
If your increased abdominal weight gain is coinciding with an accelerated rate of hair loss, your hormones might be to blame. Specifically, thyroid hormones help to regulate your body weight as well as your hair growth so an underactive thyroid could be the culprit of hormonal belly if youre experiencing issues with both simultaneously.
Because the relationship between metabolism, thyroid hormones, and weight is complex, the exact mechanism by which thyroid hormones cause weight changes isnt entirely understood. The most simple explanation is that when your thyroid isnt producing enough hormones, your metabolic rate slows down, reducing the number of calories your body burns on a daily basis, and often contributing to weight gain, particularly around your midsection.
However, it isnt thyroid hormones alone that play a role in how much energy your body uses. Thyroid hormones work synergistically with a number of other hormones, proteins, receptors, and chemical messengers in the body making it a layered process with other downstream effects on inadequate thyroid levels such as fatigue, hair loss, constipation, and low libido.
What Causes Estrogen Dominance
We get excess estrogen in the body either from our diet and environment, or we produce too much of it on our own. We are constantly being exposed to compounds that contain estrogen in them such as herbicides, toxic pesticides, and growth hormones many of which cause weight gain. This fuels the production of more estrogen from our fat cells. What about pharmaceutical hormones, hormone-replacement therapy pills, and birth control pills? All these increase the estrogenand if we are not taking these in actively, they find their way into our drinking water. We have to face the fact that we are living in a sea of harmful estrogens today. Researchers are only starting to realize the extent of all this bad exposure to our health and that of animals.
Women with estrogen dominance will probably notice fat accumulating on the hips they will notice varicose veins, gallstones, uterine fibroids, cervical dysplasia, ovarian cysts, or endometriosis. When estrogen levels change in a woman, she might find herself being less active, having less muscle mass, burning fewer calories. All these factors increase her risk of gaining weight as she moves into menopause. But menopause is not the only reason hormonal imbalances can occur. Here are more:
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What Are The Drawbacks Of Following The 1: 8 Diet
While the 16:8 diet seems like a great way to drop weight fast, it does have some cons. Sarah Mirkin, RD, author of Fill Your Plate, Lose the Weight, a 21-day meal plan designed to help women over 40 lose weight, says, “I think that it limits food intake to such a small window of time that it’s difficult for someone to meet their nutritional needs.”
Indeed, fasting for a long period of time probably means you’re not able to enjoy three full meals with snacks each day. Whether you’re skipping breakfast or dinner, missing a meal always results in not receiving adequate nutrients. And since the 16:8 diet gives you license to eat whatever you want, you might be tempted to fill up only on fatty, processed foods, especially if you’re feeling ravenous. Hunger can also clout your better judgment and lead you to binge eat as well. “Studies show that the majority of people are not able to sustain it for very long and oftentimes end up binging on unhealthy foods, causing weight gain,” Mirkin says. Other drawbacks of 16: 8 fasting include poor sleep, muscle mass loss , disordered/binge eating, weakness, nausea, and fatigue, Mirkin says.
Is 1: 8 Diet Better Than Other Types Of Intermittent Fasting
It all depends on you. Researchers suspect that the 16:8 diet isnt quite as effective for weight loss as more extreme forms of fasting, like alternate-day fasting. On the other hand, studies suggest that alternate-day fasting doesn’t produce better weight loss results compared to daily calorie restriction. Plus, eating only every other day is very restrictive and can be tougher to stick to.
The 5:2 diet is another intermittent fasting method, which allows you to eat normally five days a week and restricts your calories to just 500 to 600 for the other two days. The advantage of following the 5:2 diet versus the 16:8 diet is that you can eat normally on any days you want, depending on your schedule. However, research shows that the 5:2 diet isn’t more effective than continuous calorie restriction.
So what if you think you could restrict your eating to fewer than eight hours, but arent sure you could commit to alternate-day fasting? You might want to try shortening your daily eating window a little bit more. Varady and her team are currently in the process of comparing 4-hour and 6-hour eating windows for shedding pounds. We are curious to see if these shorter eating windows result in more rapid weight loss compared to 8-hour time restricted feeding, she says.
What Is The 1: 8 Diet
The 16:8 diet is a version of intermittent fasting that restricts eating to an 8-hour window. During that time, youre allowed to eat and drink what you want with no calorie restrictions. During the 16-hour fasting period, you can drink plenty of water. Black coffee and tea are fine, too.
What time period works best? Keeping your eating window earliersay, from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.seems to be the most beneficial. The bodys biological clock is primed to eat earlier in the day, explains Courtney Peterson, PhD, assistant professor of nutrition at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. In most people, blood sugar control is best in the morning and gets worse as the day progresses. You also digest food faster in the morning. So theres a metabolic advantage to eating earlier in the daytime, she says.
But if that timeframe seems unrealistic, don’t worry. Recent findings suggest that bumping your eating window just a little bit later, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., could also be effective for weight loss.
When following the 16:8 diet, you restrict eating to an 8-hour window and then do a 16-hour fast.
How Do You Get Rid Of Menopausal Belly Fat
Getting too distracted by everything else going on during menopause and paying less attention to your weight is totally understandable. There are also a couple diets that can melt those extra inches after youve finally finished menopause.
The Galveston Diet was created by Mary Claire Haver, MD, OBGYN, and is specifically targeted toward menopausal weight gain with a focus on inflammation-fighting food. This eating plan will have you consume high amounts of lean proteins and limit your intake of carbs. It adds in an intermittent fasting component as well, encouraging those following it to fast for 16 hours each day. That basically means youll pick an eight hour window in which you eat all your meals.
As for the food you eat during that window, Dr. Haver recommends anti-inflammatory options like lean, grass-fed protein from poultry, beef, and salmon. You can also have non-starchy vegetables like spinach, cauliflower, broccoli, celery, and zucchini on the side, plus low-sugar fruits like blueberries and raspberries.
If that doesnt sound quite up your alley, another popular diet might be the way to go. Bret Scher, MD, medical director of Diet Doctor, explains that a ketogenic diet could be the best bet for post-menopausal women. The keto diet lowers insulin levels, which can become elevated as we age, says Dr. Scher. And when insulin is high, it encourages the body to store fat rather than burn it.
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Find A Friend Or A Group To Exercise With
To attack belly fat and any other menopause weight gain, youll need to burn between 400 and 500 calories most days of the week from cardiovascular exercise, such as walking briskly, jogging, bicycling, dancing, or swimming, Peeke says. Need motivation? Find a friend who needs to exercise as much as you do, and set a date to work out together. Research published in April 2015 in the British Journal of Health Psychology found that actively looking for a new workout partner and exercising together is beneficial for both exercise and emotional support.
If you dont have a buddy to join you on your weight loss mission, it may be time to try a group fitness class at your local gym or community center. Data published in November 2017 in the Journal of Osteopathic Medicine found that participating in regular group fitness classes resulted in a significant decrease in stress and a rise in physical, mental, and emotional quality of life compared with exercising regularly on your own or not engaging in regular exercise at all.
How You Can Fight Back Against Age
Sure, there are factors working against you and making it likely that youll gain weight as you get older. But that doesnt mean you have no control over it. It sounds cliché, but you can exercise and eat healthfully, Dr Moran said. Specifically, heres what she recommends:
- Choose a diet high in protein and fiber and low in saturated and trans fats. Protein is the building block for muscle, so getting enough protein is especially important, she said.
- Add resistance exercise along with your cardio activities, since resistance exercise helps increase and maintain your muscle mass. As muscle is metabolically more active than fat, increasing lean muscle mass is very helpful in the fight against weight gain, she said.
- Get enough sleep, because too little sleep can increase your appetite and decrease your daytime energy levels.
- Lower stress levels, since the stress-related cortisol hormone can contribute to weight gain.
Its important to take steps to maintain a healthy weight as you age, since excessive weight gain can put you at risk for health conditions like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, and breast, endometrial, colon, gallbladder, and kidney cancer.
If you gain weight unexpectedly, talk to your doctor. Rapid weight gain could point to heart disease, kidney disease, or abnormal changes in your hormone levels.
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