Menopause occurs when a woman’s body stops producing eggs and levels of the hormones oestrogen and progesterone start to decrease.
So they’re the facts, in a nutshell. What I want to cover today, is the exercise and diet part of the Menopause. This is such a huge topic, and I don’t want to do it an injustice, by being too light on some of the issues and stresses associated with the menopause. So I am just going to explain the symptoms, and what you can do, from an exercise and diet point of view, to help these symptoms.
Many of my clients are going through different stages of the menopause, and there’s so much information out there, it can be quite over-whelming. At the same time, it does appear to be a topic that we don’t feel, as women, comfortable discussing, and there seems to be a little embarrassment around the issue, which there shouldn’t be.
So lets get started on the diet side of things.
Muscle mass diminishes and body fat increases, on top of all the other symptoms like hot flushes, night sweats, insomnia, incontinence, decreased libido, mood swings, and generally feeling low.
In general, foods that are low in fat and high in fibre and iron, can help reduce and manage symptoms of menopause. A good way to lose weight is to slowly reduce your calorie intake every day, so you that take in less calories than you burn. Easier said than done, but if you eat smaller meals throughout the day, and more regularly, it will help you to manage your weight a lot better.
You should also aim to get lots of fruit, vegetables, and whole grains in. Fibre helps keep your digestive system functioning and can help prevent cardiovascular disease, which increases at menopause. Aim for two to four servings of fruit and at least three to five servings of vegetables per day.
Make sure to include calcium in your diet, as your risk of osteoporosis, and your need for calcium increase at menopause. It’s recommended that a woman in menopause should be getting 1,200 mg of calcium per day, which is 200 mg more than premenopausal women are recommended to get. Low-fat dairy products, broccoli, and legumes can help fulfill your higher calcium need- talk to a doctor or dietician about this.
What will help you a lot is if you avoid spicy food, alcohol, caffeine, salt, and high fat foods. Fat should be make up less than 30 percent of your total daily calories after menopause. Saturated fat can be found in meats, chicken cooked with the skin on, milk, ice cream and cheese.
All way easier said than done, and I totally totally get how hard this is to do. The best thing to do in my opinion is to pick two days per week, where you can do want you want, and the other 5 days, you’re on a menopause-friendly, diet plan. That way, you get the best of both worlds. You can help ease the symptoms, control your weight, but still get to enjoy yourself.
Now for the exercise part.
It’s just an unfortunate fact that muscle mass decreases and body fat increases. once you get your head around that, and accept it, you can do something about it. When you have very little muscle mass, you don’t burn calories as well as you should. And that’s when your weight starts to increase, and put simply, you feel like crap. The stuff you’ve done in the past to lose weight, stops working as well.
So this is what you need to do. You need to lift weights. You need to do interval training. They’re the two TOP things that are going to get you back into shape and feeling great again. I guarantee if you do this three times a week, you’ll start to feel like yourself again. You’ll lose weight and you’ll tone up. Putting in the work, 3 times per week for this, is so worth it. You know you’re doing the right things, and you don’t have to worry for the rest of the time, if you’re doing enough. It doesn’t become a weekly battle, you’re putting in the work and you’re getting results.
You don’t have to think about it, you can get on with your life.. and keep buying clothes you feel great in!
I hope this article helps a little, and breaks a few things down simply for you.