The challenge of menopause
Each stage of our life has its biological peculiarities that are reflected in the physical appearance and mark a change. Sometimes these changes generate feelings of pride, while in others we can feel somewhat uncomfortable; but in general, each stage is the beginning of a challenge that we must overcome.
The menopause is a very important time in the life of a woman so learn to recognize changes that may occur will help us to confront with optimism and so we can change what we do not like. It is clear that weight gain is one of the body signals that tells us that the time has come to take action, not only to avoid the most visible effects of this period, but to prevent alterations that we do not see and that could cause diseases such as the diabetes or hypertension.
Menopause and weight gain
According to a study published in The New England Journal of medicine , the culprit for this weight gain experienced by most middle-aged women is follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). After menopause, this hormone increases its levels , favoring a relatively low energy expenditure at rest and a greater tendency to adiposity. In this way, it redistributes fat in the body of many women, who go from having a ‘pear’ figure to an ‘apple’ figure, since in this period the female body produces sebaceous accumulation around the waist and abdomen. FSH also causes bone loss that often leads to osteoporosis problems. 1
As women get close to menopause, we begin to worry about certain changes, such as mood swings, alterations in tastes or habits . Even so, normally the first indicator of menopause that comes our way and that sets off our alarms is the change in weight and physical build; that moment in which we noticed in the mirror that the clothes we were wearing no longer fit us so well.
It is true that some women experience some weight loss during menopause, but most begin to notice a weight gain that does not subside with either diet or exercise.
We have already seen that hormonal factors play a role, but there are also genetic, aging and lifestyle factors that play a role in this process. As Mayoclinic says in her published article on women’s health “muscle mass normally decreases with age, while fat increases. Losing muscle mass slows the speed at which your body uses calories (metabolism). This can make it harder to take care of a healthy weight.
The same article states that “genetic factors could also influence weight gain during menopause. If your parents or other close relatives have excess weight or fat concentrated around the abdomen, it is likely that the same thing happens to you (…) lack of exercise, unhealthy eating and lack of sleep could contribute to weight gain in menopause . When a person does not get enough sleep, they tend to eat more and consume more calories ”. two
How to take care of ourselves during menopause
But calm down, there is good news: we cannot modify the functions of the organism, but we can control our diet and improve our physical activity. This beautiful duo is the key to staying healthy and fit. It does not matter if you have already entered the stage of menopause or are approaching it; you can ally from today with that “duo”.
You should first talk to your doctor to find out if there are any special directions to start; then you should consult with your nutritionist and a coach .
We already know that there is no magic diet or formula that guarantees that we maintain the figure we had in our youth, but it is common that during middle age we tend to maintain the eating habits that we followed at 30 years, only now our physical activity it is diminished, which results in the clear response of weight gain.
On the contrary, if you lead a healthy lifestyle and undertake a change in your eating habits according to your age and physical condition, there is no doubt that you will be able to face this beautiful stage of your life and feel happy.
Here are some tips for you to start the challenge:
- ACTIVATE YOUR BODY: aerobic exercises such as walking, jogging or dancing moderately for 20 minutes a day and with prior medical authorization will help you burn calories and build muscle, with the consequent decrease in fat mass.
- EAT BETTER: you must adapt the food rations to your age and be more selective with the foods you buy and consume, so that you reduce calories without harming your health. Cut down on processed foods like canned and frozen meals. Prioritize fresh fruits, vegetables, and high-fiber cereals. In terms of protein, lean fish and poultry are a good option, as well as low-fat dairy products . It is essential to avoid fried foods or very greasy preparations.
- CONTROL ANXIETY: Sweets are the eternal excuse we use to calm the false feeling of hunger. Learn to recognize and ward off this deceptive feeling. On special occasions it will be enough to consume homemade sweets in small portions (approximately half a cup of tea). Dried fruits in small measures combined with natural yogurts are an excellent choice.
Remember to drink a lot of water: water is a very useful resource against anxiety . Avoid juices and other sugar-sweetened beverages; often the excess calories come from these products.
- DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE KITCHEN: look for healthy and innovative recipes; try new food combinations. In many Internet pages you will find recipes low in calories and easy to prepare. Go ahead and enjoy good and healthy cuisine.
- REINVENT YOUR SCHEDULE: try a new habit of walks and walks with friends or family who want to exercise with you; they will be an encouragement to continue. Invite them to join you in this challenge, because surely it will also be good for them.
- FEEL PROUD: Enjoy the great change you are experiencing in your biological, physical and mental health.