Did you know that when you are pre-menopausal that the loss of oestrogen may have an effect on your weight? According to the women’s health research institute, about 30% of women aged 50-59 are not just overweight but obese.
As we approach post-menopause, the body loses oestrogen which helps regulate blood sugar and also makes weight gain very challenging, in particular around the abdomen, hips and thighs. In some animal studies oestrogen appears to help regulate body weight and with lower oestrogen lab animals were eating more. With lower oestrogen this may also contribute to a lower metabolic rate. In this blog post I will share how losing weight can not only help you achieve a trim waist line but also how you can overcome some of those horrible symptoms.
Keeping your blood sugar under control
As your hormones change, so may your eating habits and food cravings. It is very important to makes sure your blood sugar is stable and this won’t happen if you take in high levels of bread, pasta, and desserts. This is because all these are either refined carbohydrates or stimulants that convert into sugar. When sugar quickly spikes the body releases high levels of insulin to regulate blood sugar and an influx of insulin will cause changes in moods, fatigue or even depression. Not looking after your blood sugar may cause you to become insulin sensitive or resistant. Did you know that without insulin working properly to regulate sugar, it turns into fat?
So don’t let your glucose (sugar) levels get out of control. When women reach perimenopause, the body stores fat to ensure that it has what it needs. All the hormonal changes going on in the body, along with the sugar, is a recipe for cravings. This is why it so important to add in your protein. Protein is your hero, it rescues and stabilises your blood sugar levels.
Other considerations that can help you through menopause
- Opt for the healthier option when you go to a restaurant. Consider replacing potatoes with vegetables like broccoli or kale, as potatoes release a spike of glucose into the blood stream. Choose white meat over red meat, which is lighter and easier to digest and less fatty.
- Balancing your hormones is important and one of the great foods that will do this for you is fish. My recommendation for my clients is that you should have fish twice a week.
- Too much salt or the wrong type of salt in the diet can make you retain water. Opt for light pink Himalayan salt, which is unrefined and contains all its mineral properties, unlike table salt which only contains one mineral, sodium chloride, and undergoes a bleaching process.
- Drinking too much alcohol or coffee can make your menopause symptoms worse by triggering cortisol which leads to hot flushes.
Beneficial foods and supplements that help with menopause
- Fibre: Helps keep the cholesterol at bay, so make sure that you include a good amount of fibre in your diet. Lentils are not only a good source of fibre, but are also high in iron. Apples and pears contain a good amount of fibre and are good source of phytoestrogen (a plant-based oestrogen), which makes them great for lowering hot flushes, and relieving vaginal dryness.
- Low glycaemic diet: Great for metabolising fat more efficiently and keeping your blood sugar levels steady. Eating clean--choosing veggies and whole grains to remove unhealthy fats--also helps. Also include vegetables, fruit (preferably those low in sugar), nuts and seeds which are a good source of essential fats including seeds, and pulses for their fibre.
- Vitamin B12: This vitamin has been shown to reduce some of the negative symptoms of menopause, such as irritability, bloating and headaches. Foods that contain this include lean meats, oily fish and eggs.
- Vitamin B complex: This will help relieve stress and supports your moods. It is also good for energy production.
- Dried Seaweed: Great in a stir-fry, this is a good source of iodine. You can also use this instead of salt. Iodine helps support the thyroid gland, which regulate your metabolism.
- This is a Peruvian root that helps to alleviate hormonal-type symptoms naturally by stimulating the pituitary gland into producing hormone precursors that help raise both oestrogen and progesterone. Macca also helps balance the adrenal gland, thyroid and pancreas.
Simple techniques that can help lower stress
Not everyone gets that lucky streak of sailing through the menopause without symptoms. If you are one of the unlucky ones beset with those dreadful symptoms, doing the following may also be of great help to lower stress levels.
- Relaxation techniques. Doing some breathing techniques can also help alleviate stress or stressful situations that may cause cortisol or insulin levels to raise, two hormones that influence weight gain. Most people breathe incorrectly. When you take a deep breath, you diaphragm should be filling up with air like a balloon, rather than the top of your chest. Correct breathing is very important to relieve stress and is great to prepare you for bed.
- Physical activity. While research has shown regular exercise doesn’t to reduce menopausal symptoms, it can help relieve stress. Also, women who keep themselves active release endorphins that help with better focus, and are less likely to suffer from low moods.
Menopause doesn’t have to be life-changing
Menopause doesn’t have to be a life-changing experience. Through diet and other techniques, you can manage the worst of the symptoms and lose weight.
If you find the tips helpful please share them with others on your social media, or with someone you know who is going through menopause.