Navigating Menopause: Nutrition Tips for Effective Weight Loss

fitness gut health hormone health perimenopause Mar 25, 2024
menopause weight gain

 Menopause is when your MENstrual cycle PAUSEs—for good. It’s not a disease to be treated, but rather a normal stage of life.

You have “officially” hit menopause 12-months after your last period. (And YES, it’s totally acceptable to throw a party!)

The menopause transition doesn’t happen overnight.

There are usually a few years leading up, referred to as perimenopause.

Perimenopause often starts in the early- to mid-40s. This is when you may start experiencing symptoms like:
● Weight gain—especially around the midsection
● Hot flashes and night sweats
● Difficulty sleeping
● Moodiness

During the menopause transition and especially postmenopausal, your risks for heart disease and osteoporosis rise.

During this season of change, it’s important that your nutrition is changing with your body’s needs.

Here are a few nutrition tips to help during the menopause transition.

STAY HYDRATED: As you age, you may slowly lose your sense of thirst. This means you can become less hydrated without even noticing it. If you’re experiencing symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, or bladder infections, you may want to increase your daily consumption by 12-24 oz.

DECREASE ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION: Alcohol can worsen hot flashes and make it harder to stay asleep. It can also increase your risk of getting or worsening many health conditions. Not to mention it can make you forgetful and confused, and can even lead to loss of muscle mass, balance problems, falls, and accidents. Plus, it has nutrient-free calories that can contribute to weight gain. [Introduce and link to a recommended mocktail recipe]

CUT BACK ON SPICY FOODS, CAFFEINE, AND SUGAR: If hot flashes bother you, consider avoiding common triggers like spicy foods and caffeine. When it comes to sugar, the simplest way to cut down is to replace sugar-sweetened drinks with water or herbal tea. If the thought of cutting out all desserts doesn’t sound fun, try eating smaller portions or even half-sized desserts. A recent study showed that menopausal women who ate more sweets, fats, and snacks suffered from menopausal symptoms more than those who ate more fruits and vegetables. We’re talking hot flashes, night sweats, muscle and joint problems, and bladder issues were all worse for the dessert-lovers.

KEEP PORTIONS IN CHECK: Did you know that at 50 years old you need about 200 fewer calories per day than you did during your 30s and 40s? That’s assuming you were a healthy weight and you want to maintain a healthy weight as you get older.

This means that by continuing to eat the same amount of food as you did in your 30s and 40s, you’ll start gaining weight. On average, women in their 50s and 60s gain about 1.5 pounds every year.

Eating less food can be really hard! Try having smaller portions and using mindful eating techniques to help you get used to it.

EAT MORE NUTRIENT-DENSE FOODS: Eating less food doesn’t mean you need less nutrition, though. That’s why it’s really important to eat quality foods with a lot of nutrients. These include fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. When it comes to protein for your muscles and bones, eat legumes, nuts, seeds, fish, and/or poultry.

A recent study showed that menopausal women who ate the most greens had the fewest complaints about typical menopausal symptoms like hot flashes. By eating more nutrient-dense foods like these ones you’ll get more vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein—all of which are very important to maintain your health at and beyond menopause.

What about soy and phytoestrogens?

Phytoestrogens are plant compounds that mimic the effects of estrogen—the hormone that your body slows down the production of during menopause.

Soy is the best-known food containing these phytoestrogens and is often recommended for menopausal symptoms like hot flashes. In addition to food sources, you can also find dietary supplements with high amounts of phytoestrogens.

If you’re interested in taking these phytoestrogens, speak with your healthcare professional first.

When it comes to nutrition for menopause a few simple changes can help you feel your best.

If menopausal symptoms are bothering you, book a Mastering Midlife chat with me to see if how we can work together to get you back to thriving in midlife!

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