Do you want to lose weight after starting menopause? There are various factors that can cause weight gain in the 50+ age group. They include normal aging, estrogen decreases, and lack of sleep. There are also other factors like slower metabolism that can make it tougher to shed pounds and burn fat. Studies show that obesity rates are 40% for women, which is slightly higher than for men. However, the good news is you can still lose weight after menstrual cycles stop through menopause diet 5-day plan to lose weight. The key is to combine steps like a healthy diet, regular exercise, and lifestyle changes to help lose weight within a week.
When picking foods on a menopause diet it’s critical to consider how they’ll affect your body’s changes. Some good options include lean protein, whole grains, fruits/vegetables, and dairy. These are always healthy food but they can also be critical for weight loss when you’re in middle-aged and going through menopause. You should also consider estrogen-boosting foods since women’s bodies start producing fewer female hormones during menopause. There are several options that contain plant-based estrogens. There’s some evidence that foods like barley, soybeans, and grapes might help to boost a menopausal women’s estrogen levels without hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
How Does Menopause Affect Body Weight?
Weight gain is quite common among adults as they start middle-age. The obesity rates among women are about 40%, which is slightly higher than among men. There are various factors including the normal effects of aging, slower metabolism, and lack of exercise.
The average age when menopause happens is about 50 years old, although the age range is typically 45 to 55 years old. There are various changes to the body during this time that makes it tougher for a woman to maintain her body weight. It’s quite common to gain weight during menopause.
The good news is that weight gain during menopause isn’t automatic. There are steps a woman can take to help win the battle of the bulge. More on that later.
It’s important to know what causes weight gain during menopause. One general factor is the body’s metabolism slows down significantly every decade or so starting during middle age. The process starts around 30 years old so by 50 there’s a significant drop in metabolism.
However, the main factor related to menopausal weight gain is a decrease in female hormones and especially estrogen. It’s important to note though that weight gain during this life stage isn’t always related to hormones. Other factors include diet, physical activity, and genes.
One factor is the normal process of increased body fat and decreased muscle mass. The loss of muscle mass slows down metabolism so it’s less effective at burning calories. That, in turn, can make it tough to maintain your current body weight.
There are various other lifestyle changes that can trigger weight gain during menopausal women. They include an unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, and lack of sleep. This can cause weight gain and belly fat.
Another common cause of menopausal weight gain is other health issues. They include ones like type-2 diabetes, heart disease, and breathing problems.
Foods to Eat/Avoid for Menopause Weight Loss
EAT PLANT ESTROGENS
The fancy term is “phytoestrogens.” There’s some debate about the effectiveness of eating such foods to boost estrogen levels. However, some studies show they might help to increase the body’s estrogen level among menopausal women. Some options include:
- Flax seeds
- Green Tea
These foods are also nutrient-rich so you’ll get more nutritional value than highly-processed foods.
USE CAFFEINE SPARINGLY
Black coffee and green tea can boost metabolism and help with weight loss. So, in theory, these are good drinks to consider. However, studies on caffeine’s effects on menopausal women have been mixed.
One of the main issues is hot flashes. Some studies show that caffeine boosts them while others show the opposite effect. If you’re planning to add healthy caffeinated beverages to your diet try out the drinks to see how they affect hot flashes.
EAT A WELL-BALANCED DIET
This is something you should do anyway but can also help with menopausal weight loss. Here are some items to include in your diet:
- Lean protein (chicken, fish, shellfish)
- Whole grains (whole wheat, brown rice, oatmeal)
- Fruits (avocado, berries, citrus)
- Vegetables (leafy greens, sweet potatoes, carrots)
- Nuts/Seeds (almonds, walnuts, flax/chia seeds)
- Dairy (milk, yogurt, cheese)
Dairy is important for menopausal women to help prevent weak bones and osteoporosis. Full-fat dairy can help to boost metabolism and avoid fillers in low-fat dairy like salt.
AVOID REFINED GRAINS/UNHEALTHY ADDITIVES
All of these foods can cause weight gain, obesity, and other health issues. Make sure to avoid all sugar including raw/brown/white. Foods like maple syrup, honey, and agave can also cause blood sugar spikes and weight gain.
Studies show that white sugar and processed grains can cause health issues like weight gain and inflammation. Over time they can also cause serious health conditions like type-2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. It’s also critical to avoid artificial additives like colors, flavors, and preservatives.
Menopause Diet: 5-Day Plan to Lose Weight
After turning 40 years old it’s important to cut calories by 200 per day in order to maintain your current weight. This is one of the most important approaches to take for weight loss during menopause.
It’s important to eat a healthy and well-balanced diet throughout the day. This includes all four food groups: meat/fish, grains/cereals, fruits/vegetables, and dairy. If you’re vegetarian/vegan, you’ll need to get protein from sources like quinoa, chia seeds, and soybeans.
Here are some guidelines for making a 5-day meal plan
- Whole-wheat English muffin
- Low-fat cheese
- Orange juice (calcium-fortified)
It’s important to include some calcium in the morning. You should also avoid skipping breakfast since it can help you to consume fewer calories during the day.
- Whole wheat pita with lettuce/tomatoes/alfalfa sprouts)
- Fresh fruit
- Mixed greens with low-fat salad dressing
It’s important to add some greens to your lunch. Studies show this is especially important while in menopause.
- Grilled salmon
- Whole-wheat rice
- Spinach sautéed in olive oil
Omega-3 foods like fatty fish can help to reduce the risk of heart disease and other serious diseases after you’ve started menopause. You can also get other benefits like lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
It’s important to pick healthy snacks with small portions. This will help to keep you full during the day yet prevent issues like blood sugar spikes and weight gain. If you’re reducing your total calorie count by 200 it’s especially important to pick healthy snacks.
- Morning Snack: Small banana and non-fat yogurt
- Afternoon Snack: Whole-grain crackers, peanut butter, and apple slices
One of the keys is to watch your portion sizes. It can be tough to have double or trouble the suggested serving sizes. The calories, carbs, and fat can add up quickly, which can wreck your menopause diet 5-day plan to lose weight.