Menopause Weight Gain

Menopause brings about many changes for women; some of these changes, like the end of the menstrual cycle are welcomed and others, such as hot flashes and weight gain are not.

There are various supplements and strategies that can help manage those troublesome hot flashes and night sweats. But for many women, it is much more challenging to keep body weight under control.

There are many factors that can contribute to weight gain in menopause. Hormones are partly to blame. A lowering of estrogen and testosterone can cause women to store fat. Lifestyle and genetic factors are also involved.

Stress also tends to become more prevalent in menopause. Whether triggered by personal, financial, or health reasons, stress impacts weight in a number of ways. Rising levels of the stress hormone cortisol make it easier to pack on weight, particularly around the mid-section.

Stress may also trigger unhealthy habits, such as overeating and eating unhealthy foods (comfort foods). It also has a negative effect on sleep, and lack of sleep is a recently recognized factor that can lead to weight gain, along with many other health problems.

Muscle mass also declines with age and since muscle helps drive metabolism and calorie burning, if you have less muscle you will burn fewer calories.

Despite all these factors that seem to be stacked against you, it is possible to keep weight under control by making some simple lifestyle modifications.

  • Boost muscle mass. Do weight training or resistance exercises to help build and maintain muscle mass. Increasing your muscle mass will raise your metabolism, so you will burn more calories and you will develop a leaner physique. Joining a gym is great, but if you are pressed for time/money, there are plenty of exercises that you can do at home, such as push-ups, squats, lunges, and chest presses.
  • Make better dietary choices. You don’t have to count calories or follow a restrictive diet, just make better choices and limit portion sizes. For example, start your day with oatmeal and berries, a large salad with chickpeas or grilled chicken for lunch and baked fish with mixed veggies for dinner. Choose healthy snacks between meals such as nuts/seeds, yogurt, dark chocolate and healthy energy bars, such as Luna Bar or Larabar.
  • Use supplements to complement your diet. Supplements that provide soluble fibre, such as femMED Weight Management, can help to reduce appetite and cravings and promote better blood sugar control – all factors that are helpful for managing weight.

These strategies will not only benefit your waistline, but they promote better heart health and improve your overall well-being.

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“Debulking The Bulk”

In celebration of working hard throughout December and most of January (there was a little falling off the wagon over the holidays, but we all need treats now and then), I decided to hit up my favourite shops to see what’s coming for spring. Yes, I know thinking about spring now seem a little premature but February will fly by and then it’s March, which equals SPRING to me!

Adding even more to my springtime optimism is the realization that I have lost weight!

How? By eating right and exercising regularly, even though there were days I didn’t want to leave the couch. I know this is logical, but it’s just so very, very, very nice to start seeing the results of all the hard work I have put into getting back into shape. Since I often don’t pay attention to the scale, I generally go by how I feel, the changes in my appearance, and how my clothes fit.

There is absolutely nothing more satisfying then trying on a pair of jeans and needing to ask the sales clerk to get you a smaller size.  So feeling totally inspired when I got home, I decided to get rid of all the clothes that didn’t fit me anymore, that were too BIG or I hadn’t worn in over a year.

Being the clotheshorse that I am, I had to contend with the two storage containers under my bed, a dresser and two closets filled to the brim with clothes.  By the end of the night and after a mini fashion show of grievous fashion trend no-no’s (that all seemed so right at the time), I was left with three very large shopping bags filled with jeans, sweaters, shirts, scarves, shoes and a jacket. What’s better still is that in the process of getting rid of the clothes that didn’t fit, I was able to de-clutter and reorganize everything else.

Eventually, I walked all three bags to my Salvation Army drop box feeling great. Not to mention that I now have room for some new spring clothes!

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Eat it!

Developing smart eating habits is an important part of losing the weight and keeping it off. These don’t have to have to be dramatic changes especially if you’re just starting out.

Start substituting different foods in for your usual favourites. Switch your regular pasta for a whole wheat version and find a simple recipe for a great sauce.  Reach for the milk and honey instead of the cream and sugar for your coffee.  Read up on your favourite flavours and find out some of the health and weight loss benefits that they might have!

There are tonnes of great cookbooks, websites and weight loss programs available that focus on healthy recipes for weight loss. They often have the serving portions broken down by calories so you know how large each meal is and how much is appropriate to eat in a sitting. If cooking is a foreign experience for you, try a health focused cooking class. Bring some friends along and make a night out of it.

Another really simple tip to eating healthy is to bring your meals with you, even if it’s just a small container of granola at your desk or a piece of fruit that lives in your purse. When you start feeling those hunger pains you already have your healthy snack on hand.

Start bringing your lunch to work. Just make sure you give your lunches enough thought ahead of time or you’ll just end up buying something unhealthy on the go.  The trick is to make meals in bulk and keep them divided in containers in calorie appropriate portions in your fridge or cupboards. That way you can just grab and go in the mornings.

If you need some motivation to switch over to homemade healthy meals just do math and see how much money and how many calories you’ll be saving each month. Just think of the cute shoes you’ll be able to buy with your lunch time savings!

 

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Stretch it off? Run it off? Dance if off? How do you lose weight the best?

So it’s been a week and you’re still motivated to losing the weight and making healthy lifestyle decisions. The big question is how are you going to do this and not get bored doing it? How are you going to make being active a part of your lifestyle and not a chore that just helps with losing weight.

If the thought of going to the gym makes you uncomfortable then maybe the gym isn’t the right place for you right now. Find an exercise class/activity that looks like fun and ask if there is trial period or intro class that you can try before committing to it long term. If it’s not the right fit at least you can say you tried something, it didn’t work, but you still got a great work out in. Look for something that you’ve always wanted to try, karate or ballet, maybe? There are adult beginner classes for almost anything these days so it might be fun to revive an old childhood dream.

Go online and look at what’s close to home. Is there a yoga studio around the corner? Is there a neighbourhood boot camp running? If there is something happening close to home that works with your schedule it can’t hurt to give it a try. Classes are often scheduled to allow people time to get there right after work so it’s easy to fit into your regular weekly routine.

Get App happy – there are lots of free or affordable fitness and nutrition apps out there that can help you with your goals and have the convenience of being right at your finger tips. Food diaries on your phone are a great way of keeping track of what you’re eating, when you’re eating, if you took your supplement or multivitamin and how many calories you’re consuming a day.  Find an app that does all the math for you so you just have decide what’s good to eat.

Hit the books – We know it sounds like the opposite of getting exercise but there are useful training and weight loss tips you can read up on and practice at home by yourself. Finding a fun workout DVD is also a great thing to have in your work out arsenal. If you’re someone who needs to switch things up on a regular basis or you’ve missed your regular exercise activity (because – let’s face it – life happens and sometimes you just can’t go) put on a DVD and sweat it out at home.  It’s also handy to have with you if you travel frequently and the hotel gym facilities are less then desired.

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Simple Weight Loss Tips

It’s easier than you think to make good food choices part of your lifestyle. For starters, check out these simple tips.

  • Make a satisfying protein-rich drink or smoothie by blending 2 cups (473 ml) of low-fat yogurt with 1 cup (237 ml) of crushed seasonal fruit, a banana, and a dash of soy powder.
  • Eat a salad or broth-based soup as a first course so you’ll feel full, but take in fewer calories.
  • Pack healthy “on the go” snacks such as unsalted nuts, carrot sticks, pears, and apples so you’re not tempted by chips or candy bars.
  • Change to a lifestyle mindset
  • Stop thinking about the word “diet” as an unsatisfying set of restrictions and instead think about long-term changes that lead to slow, steady weight loss. Create a healthy lifestyle that includes daily exercise and eat right by making smart choices.
  • Choose nutrient-packed foods: Ensure balance and give your body a full range of protein, fats, carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Pay attention to portion sizes: Share a dish when eating out or keep some for later if the portions are too large. At home, serve reasonable portions on small dishes (so they look bigger) and avoid second helpings.
  • Take a walk: Get 30 minutes of moderate physical activity five to six days per week to use up the calories you take in and prevent weight gain. Aim for 60 to 90 minutes a day for substantial weight loss.
  • Get started: Begin healthful habits today to manage your weight for the rest of your life. Small steps count, so look for opportunities: take the stairs, park farther away, walk to shops.
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