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How to lose weight after menopause: 2 Sure Things to do

How to lose weight after menopause

How to lose weight after menopause is an issue of serious health concern mainly because of the risks of weight gain in human lives. Menopause is the time in a woman’s life in which the menstrual cycle ends. It seems that menopause and weight gain share something in common. This is because weight gain is common among women who have gone past the period of menopause.

According to an OB-GYN at Johns Hopkins Medicine, Amanda Horton, women gain an average of 1.5 pounds per year in their 50s and 60s. Low oestrogen levels can alter the balance of leptin and ghrelin levels during menopause. These hormones manage hunger and increase appetite.

The risks of weight gain after menopause

The risks of weight gain after menopause are numerous. They include high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, breathing problems and various types of cancer, including breast, colon and endometrial cancer.

Extra fat at a woman’s waistline increases these risks. A woman’s waistline usually gets bigger after menopause.

healthy and junk food concept – woman with fruits rejecting hamburger and cake

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The causes of weight gain after menopause

  1. The impact of oestrogen
  2. Lack of exercise
  3. Loss of muscle mass
  4. Reduction in energy use
  5. Genetic factors
  6. Increased insulin resistance
  7. Inadequate sleep
  8. Unhealthy eating and lack of sleep

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Weight gain after menopause and how to lose weight after menopause

A lot of factors are responsible for weight gain after menopause. These factors are related to lifestyle, aging and genetic factors.

  • The impact of oestrogen: Research in animal studies has shown that low level of oestrogen tends to make lab animals eat more and be less physically active. Reduced oestrogen also lowers the rate of metabolism which is the rate at which the body converts stored energy into working energy. This is possible in women when the level of oestrogen drops after menopause. The body may also use starches and blood sugar less effectively due to the absence of oestrogen. This will likely increase fat storage and make it difficult to lose weight.
  • Lack of exercise: This is another factor that causes weight gain in women after menopause. This is because they are less likely to exercise.
  • Loss of muscle mass: Muscle mass lowers resting metabolism. Women lose it after menopause. This makes it easier for them to gain weight. “Despite following the same diet and exercise routines they’ve had for years, they still gain weight. If you decrease muscle mass, you burn fewer calories at rest,” according to Horton. “Physical inactivity, reduced protein intake, and stress are the most significant reasons for declining muscle mass during this period,” adds Liana Tobin of the US National Strength and Conditioning Association.
  • Reduction in energy use: Women gain weight after menopause because there is a decline in their rate of energy consumption.
  • Genetic factors: Genetic factors are one of the causes of weight gain in women after menopause. People whose parents or other close relatives have extra weight around the abdomen will likely have the same.
  • Increased insulin resistance: Losing weight can be more difficult for women after menopause because they often become resistant to insulin as they age.
  • Inadequate sleep: Poor sleep is associated with weight gain. Many women find it difficult to sleep during menopause.
  • Unhealthy eating and lack of sleep: Unhealthy eating can contribute to weight gain in women after menopause. People who don’t sleep well are likely to take more snacks and consume more calories.

Thyroid issues, stress and certain medications can also cause weight gain.

“All the things that lead to weight gain also make it difficult to lose weight. But we do know it’s possible. It just requires continued effort,” says William Yancy, the programme director for Duke Diet and Fitness Center.

How to lose weight after menopause

Because of the sensitive nature of weight gain in women’s health, I’m going to look at how to lose weight after menopause in two broad areas. They are exercise and diet.

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How to lose weight after menopause through exercise

Exercise is at the centre stage of efforts aimed at losing weight after menopause. Research has shown that people who did aerobic activities every day for 10 or more minutes had six fewer inches around the waistline as against people who didn’t exercise.

Exercises can help you maintain weight loss whether you’re in the process of losing weight or at the end of the process. Exercises will also help you in other ways to lose weight. It can lower risks of osteoporosis, metabolic syndrome, heart attack and other cardiovascular diseases. It relieves depression and anxiety keeps joints and muscles strong; helps bowels work well; and improves your overall wellbeing.

There are various forms of exercises a woman can engage in to reduce weight gain after menopause. They include the following:

  • Aerobic activity: Engage in aerobic activities. Move more, walk briskly and jog from time to time. These have been known to be a huge advantage in your efforts to shed excess pounds and maintain a healthy weight. So move more and take strength training counts. This helps you burn more calories and easier to lose weight. Do full-body strength training workouts about two or three times a week. Tobin recommends three different types of strength training: hypertrophy training (doing three sets of 10 reps of total-body exercises like weighted squats, bench press, and dead lifts); strength training (five sets of three to four reps of similar exercises at a heavier weight); and power training (three to four sets of three to four reps of max-intensity exercises, like box jumps, squat jumps, or medicine ball throws).
  • Weight lifting: Lift weights if you really care about losing weight. This will boost your rate of metabolism and prevent muscle loss.
  • Interval training: Cardio workout is also recommended as a weight reduction measure.  This can be high-intensity interval training (HIIT) or low-intensity, steady-state (LISS) cardio. However, HIIT is known to be more effective for burning fat and building muscle.

Studies suggest that HIIT can improve overall strength and increase endurance, especially in those 65 and older,” says Tobin. “For muscle mass, a combination of HIIT and strength training would likely yield the best results.”

Horton and Yancy also recommend workouts of at least 30 minutes per day, five days a week and three 20-minute sessions per week for those doing intense workouts that leave them breathless.

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How to lose weight after menopause through diet

Good nutrition is key to reducing weight gain after menopause. This can be achieved by implementing the following recommendations:

  • Eat more protein: Eat more protein to help you feel fuller for a longer period and prevent cravings. If you eat more protein, it will also help your muscle mass as you age.
  • Reduce intake of calories: You’ve to reduce the amount of calories you take in order to help you lose weight. Take more fruits, vegetables and whole grains, especially those that are less processed and contain more fibre. Horton recommends that women consume an average of 200 calories fewer than they did before menopause. However, too much reduction in the intake of calories can be disastrous. See a dietitian when in doubt.
  • Take plenty of water: You should stay hydrated and you need to drink enough water in order to achieve this. Water is a natural appetite suppressant but our sense of taste becomes less precise as we age that we sometimes forget to take water.
  • Eat fruits and vegetables: Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables can be of immense benefit in managing menopausal symptoms. They boost fibre in the body. They are also natural appetite suppressants and help the brain.
  • Eat less: You should eat less in order to maintain your current weight or lose excess pounds. To do this, you need about 200 fewer calories a day during your 50s than you did during your 30s and 40s.
  • Avoid sugars: Avoid or reduce the intake of sugar-sweetened beverages, such as soft drinks, juices, energy drinks, flavoured waters, and sweetened coffee tea. Cookies, pies, cakes, doughnuts, ice cream and candy contribute to excess dietary sugar. Avoid them completely or reduce their intake.

Although there is no magic formula for preventing or reversing weight gain after menopause, sticking to weight control basics like engaging in exercise and eating healthy will surely end your search about how to lose weight after menopause.

Have you tried any of the weight control measures here or any other one else? Let us know in the comment box below.

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