If you're going through menopause (or even perimenopause) and you're having trouble losing weight, you're not alone! Between the extreme hormonal fluctuations to the natural changes in metabolism as we age, it's normal to put on a bit of weight. Fortunately, with just a few simple adjustments, that weight doesn't need to stick around.
We've been helping women just like you lose weight and get their health back for many years. So just follow these 5 tips for losing weight during menopause and you'll look leaner, be bursting with energy, and get through "the change" feeling better than ever.
#1 - Establish a Nighttime Routine
Sleep and weight loss go hand in hand. Without a good night's sleep, you'll get intense cravings for sweets and starches, and your cortisol levels will go up. Cortisol not only makes you feel stressed, but it also causes bloating and forces the body to hold on to excess fat.
During menopause, your sleep becomes even more important. Between the hormonal changes, hot flashes, and night sweats, getting your 8 hours takes a bit more work.
Thankfully, you can decrease cortisol and get more sleep by simply establishing a nighttime routine. The routine sends a signal to your body that it's time to relax and rest easy for the night.
Start your routine about an hour before bed. First, put your phone or computer away. The blue light interferes with melatonin production and keeps you awake.
After the phone is stashed, do a simple, relaxing activity. Whether you read a book, take a bath, or set aside a few minutes to write down your thoughts for the day, your mind will start to unwind and your stress levels will go down.
Then, give yourself the chance to sleep. Sleep scientist Matthew Walker says the best way to get more sleep is to give yourself a greater "sleep opportunity." Really, that’s just a fancy way of saying "Go to bed!"
Try to go to bed at the same time every night. Then, make sure you're tucked in with the lights off at least 8 hours before you need to get up. Even if you don't fall asleep right away, the fact that you're resting for a full 8 hours will help your general energy and fat burning potential.
With a soothing nightly routine and greater sleep opportunity, you'll start falling asleep faster, staying asleep longer, and feeling stress (and excess weight) melt away.
#2 - Lift Some Weights
As we age, muscle mass declines. Since muscle burns about three times as many calories as fat, we want all the muscle we can get! Now, I'm not saying you need to become a body builder, but as you go through menopause, it's important to include some kind of weight training so you stay strong and keep those calories burning.
Our favorite kind of weight training? Any kind that you are willing to do! It doesn't matter if you're using light dumbbells, heavy barbells, or just your body weight... just make sure you're doing some kind of strength training.
If you're new to working out or are just trying to be more active, my exercise program may be for you! BodyFIT Foundations is a powerful blend of workouts that leads you to freedom, flexibility, and strength on a path rooted in God’s guidance.
#3 - Avoid Unfermented Soy
Soy comes in two forms: fermented and unfermented. The first kind of soy goes through a long fermentation process and becomes super gut-friendly and full of nutrients. Foods like natto, miso, and tempeh are all good sources of fermented soy.
But how often are you eating natto, miso, and tempeh? More often, we eat unfermented soy - soy milk, tofu, soy sauce. These foods are hard to digest and contain harmful isoflavones that are extremely important to avoid during menopause.
Isoflavones are chemicals that mimic estrogen in the body. Maybe you're thinking, isn't more estrogen good during menopause? Sadly, these chemicals block estrogen reception, so the real estrogen isn't absorbed properly, and your overall hormonal levels get thrown out of whack.
These isoflavones also interfere with your thyroid, which directly relates to weight gain. Overall, soy increases the symptoms of menopause and sometimes makes them worse.
Thankfully, soy is easy to avoid. If you don't like dairy, switch to coconut or almond milk. For vegetarian protein, try beans, lentils, and nuts.
Even soy sauce is easily replace - just use coconut aminos instead. It's gluten-free, vegan, lower in sodium, and contains 17 healthy amino acids. Plus, it tastes just like soy sauce! You get all the flavor, none of the side effects, and a little nutrition with every bite.
#4 - Shop the Perimeter of the Grocery Store
It's always good to eat whole vegetables, fruits, and protein, but it's even more important during menopause. As your hormones fluctuate, your appetite naturally increases. So, if your cravings have been crazy or you're feeling hungrier than ever, don't worry. It's perfectly normal.
Instead of trying to shut down your appetite or greatly restrict your calories to lose weight during menopause, it's better to let yourself eat the right foods.
Start by shopping only around the perimeter of the grocery store. There, you'll find produce, meat, dairy, and eggs - all things that will help you lose weight.
If you fill your diet with high-fiber vegetables and hearty protein (meat, eggs, beans), you don't have to worry about counting every calorie or fighting your appetite. Instead, you're fueling your body with healing, nutrient-rich food that will help you lose weight and lessen the symptoms of menopause.
By shopping the perimeter, you'll also avoid all the unpleasant processed food that lives in the center of the store. Processed foods are full of toxic, chemical ingredients that raise your blood sugar, harm your liver, and make it even harder to lose weight.
When you avoid processed junk and shop around the edges, you'll stay full AND start losing pounds.
#5 - Enjoy Coffee, the Right Way
Did you know that coffee can trigger hot flashes? It's true.
Strangely, it's not just the caffeine that triggers the flash. It's the heat. When you drink something hot (even a plain glass of hot water), that sudden heat can set off a flash. Now, caffeine might give you a more severe flash than a decaf beverage, but it's the temperature that really sets it off.
Instead of drinking a steaming hot cup of joe every morning, switch to iced coffee.
Now, this doesn't mean you can guzzle iced coffee all day and not feel any side effects. Too much caffeine interferes with sleep and increases blood pressure and cortisol levels - all things that get in the way of weight loss.
Thankfully, one cup of coffee is perfectly fine. It gives you a bit of caffeine for energy, but not enough to trigger side effects. With an 8-ounce iced coffee to start your day, you'll avoid hot flashes and keep your weight loss on track.
If you'd rather cut out coffee completely, try some peppermint essential oil for a boost of energy. Just rub a drop on your hands and deeply inhale the minty goodness. The strong scent will wake you up for sure!
With these tips, you’ll be well on your way to getting healthy during menopause. If you'd like some additional help with losing weight and managing your menopause symptoms, look no further than the New Life Promise plan!