If you’re still doing this to get in shape during perimenopause and menopause, then you need to read on.
Do you still think that to lose weight you just need to:
- Restrict your calorie intake; and / or
- Exercise like crazy?
Well, I’ve got some news. That’s so “old school.”
As a woman, while this strategy may have worked in your 20s and perhaps even 30s, you need to be a bit smarter about how you go about it now, especially if you’re trying to shift that bit around your middle. You see, it’s all got to do with your hormones.
In your 40s, your hormone levels begin to shift as you transition from perimenopause and then onto menopause.
Both oestrogen and progesterone levels start to decline, although progesterone levels lower more significantly than your oestrogen levels. This means oestrogen dominance. It also means fat loss, especially that bit around your tummy, becomes harder.
Add into the mix that your stress (cortisol) levels are likely to be high if you’ve a busy family and work life, including caring for elderly parents and children, maybe that odd glass of wine or that sweet treat in the evening “just to unwind” , and you’ve got a potential recipe for disaster.
Does this sound familiar? So what do you do?
Menopause strategies for smart women
First, don’t panic – it will add to your stress levels (sometimes easier said than done), but you do need to start making friends with your hormones and prioritising your health from here on in.
Look to reduce your stress levels – some factors you’ll be able to control, other’s you’ll not. Focus on what you can control – reduce the amount of processed foods you eat (it’s all stress on your system). Cut back on the sugar. To name a few.
Change up your carbs – it’s not all about reducing the calories you obtain from carbs, it’s about changing the carbs you eat. Reduce your pasta / bread intake in favour of getting more vegetable fibre into your diet, especially the cruciferous type – it’ll help with the oestrogen dominance.
Think it’s about training for longer and more time on the treadmill to get the fat off? You need to get some weights into your routine for a host of reason, not least that resting muscle burns calories – fat just sits there. Lovely. But with declining oestrogen levels, you also need to work on preserving your bone health. Plus, incorporate some high intensity work to encourage a release of human growth hormone – it has a pivotal role in regulating belly fat.
Weight gain (or more correctly, fat gain), does not need to be an inevitable consequence of aging. Implement these tips and you can expect to start seeing changes over time.
Remember: it’s always best to talk to your health practitioner if you’re thinking about undertaking a new exercise regime, particularly if you have any underlying health conditions that need to be factored in.
About the author: Wendy Goldthorp is the Founder and Director of The FIT Movement. She is a certified 3rd Age Woman Instructor and creator of the Body Rebalance Program for Women 40+. She works with midlife women from perimenopause, menopause and beyond and supports them in implementing lifestyle and nutrition changes for a positive menopause experience. Wendy is available to work with clients in person and online via Skype.