Early menopause can occur during mid-forties or it can even take place as late as the mid-fifties. During this period, the hormones in a women’s body wreak havoc and the levels of estrogen and progesterone take a plunge.
Besides hot flashes, mood swings and body aches, many women gain unwanted pounds while passing through the hormonal upsets of menopause. According to research by International Menopause Society (IMS), a woman can gain up to 1 pound every year after hitting the premenopausal age at 45.
This tendency to gain weight is often considered a natural part of aging, but it is actually due to menopause itself. There is a drop in the estrogen levels in a woman’s body which results in the effect of redistributing body fat. Excess pounds settle around the belly area – an unwelcome ‘middle-aged spread’.
An ‘apple shape’ or excess abdominal fat can lead to serious medical conditions, ranging from cardiovascular diseases to type 2 diabetes and even cancer. But, the good news is that you can prevent the weight gain during menopause.
Getting older doesn’t mean that you have to get heavier. With just a few lifestyle changes, you can manage your weight and lose a few pounds. Plus, these healthy changes will help you boost your fitness and energy, you can sail smoothly throughout this period of transition.
Keep reading to find out:
1- Stay away from refined carbs
One of the worst side effects of eating too many refined carbs is that it can wreak havoc in our blood sugar levels. Too much white bread, mashed potatoes, soft drinks and bakery items cause an immediate blood sugar rush. As a result, the pancreas secretes large amounts of insulin to regulate the blood sugar. Prolonged periods of increased blood sugar can eventually lead to insulin resistance.
This is why, once you hit your forties, you should be extra careful about what you eat. Regulate your blood sugar levels by eating unrefined whole foods which contain good carbs. Foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains will keep you feeling full for a longer time and require a small amount of insulin for metabolism.
Plus, a balanced diet will help you manage symptoms of menopause in a much better way. You will notice increased energy levels, improved concentration, and lesser hunger pangs.
2- Monitor your intake of calcium
Women are encouraged to eat a calcium-rich diet all their lives. But will you believe it that once you hit your forties, excessive calcium can have a fair share of side effects? If you are eating well and also taking a hefty calcium supplement of more than 1000 mg, we advise you to stop doing it.
Too much calcium after menopause can cause kidney stones, constipation and sometimes even heart disease. This is why instead of reaching out for supplements try to protect your bones with dark leafy vegetables and dairy. Another way to build strong bones is to perform resistance-based exercises. Healthy stress on bones will maintain their strength and keep you fit.
3- Keep alcohol intake in check
Many people don’t realize that an actual serving size of wine is around 4 Oz or a half-cup in a liquid measure. According to the American Heart Association’s recommendation, if a person consumes more than the standard serving size, they put themselves at a high risk for stroke and breast cancer- both of which are warning signals for postmenopausal women.
While it is perfectly fine to have an occasional drink in moderation, keep the actual serving size in mind.
4- Get proper sleep
It is natural to feel sleepless and anxious during menopause. But make it a point to get a good night’s sleep otherwise your hormone levels will be all over the place. Not getting ample sleep triggers the two key hormones in your body—Leptin, and ghrelin-both of which are responsible to control your appetite.
So, you’ll automatically reach out for sugary or salty foods after a sleepless night. Plus, the lack of energy makes it impossible to exercise. A healthy lifestyle starts with a good night’s sleep and if nothing helps, try these ideas.
5- Exercise daily
Regular exercise is important throughout life, but it is even more necessary when you are going through menopause. Aging can cause loss of muscle mass and this is why we need to build more muscle as we hit the mid age. Also, exercise also has tons of other benefits like reducing abdominal fat, improving bone density and controlling blood sugar levels.
If you haven’t started yet, we urge you to work out daily. Even walking more than 6,000 steps a day can do wonders for your health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most healthy women should aim for at least 150 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity in a week.
Here are 10 best activities that you do to get your daily dose of exercise and have fun while doing it.
6- Seek support
Menopause can be a difficult time, both physically and emotionally. We suggest you surround yourself with family members or loved ones during this transition. Stay motivated to eat a healthy diet and increase your overall physical activity. Join an online forum or form a club of women who are around the same age as you. Teaming up with like-minded people will make it easier for you to adopt the lifestyle changes together.
Getting older may seem scary at first, but learn to accept it as an exciting new change. Keep a positive outlook towards life and do what you can to stay strong and healthy. If you feel overly tired or are gain weight quickly, then you can always check with your doctor.
Remember- nothing feels better than being happy in your own skin!
James Crook is a passionate blogger who loves to write on health and fitness related topics. Currently, he is a working as a blogger for a telemedicine & telehealth company ‘Mend Family’. Follow @jamescrook911 for more updates.