Losing weight during menopause: how to do it

Several pounds more on the scales during menopause do not have to be. Even after the age of 50, you can prevent weight gain or even melt off love handles. A few important rules will help you.

Why more weight often comes with menopause

When you’re going through menopause, you may find that you’re putting  on more weight with each passing month  . This is due to various mechanisms.

As you get older, your body needs fewer calories, regardless of whether you are a man or a woman. Because the muscle mass decreases and the so-called resting metabolic rate decreases. On average, women need 200 to 300 fewer calories per day during menopause than in previous years.

Of course, weight gain during and after menopause is also related to changing hormone levels, more precisely the ratio of estrogen and progesterone, as well as testosterone. The changes make your metabolism run differently than before.

The ratio of sex hormones changes

During premenopause – the phase before hormone production in the ovaries decreases – the last ovarian follicles and egg cells are stimulated to develop by intensive signals from the brain. As a result, the estrogen level in your body rises disproportionately in this phase.

The shift in the proportion of estrogen to progesterone – a second female sex hormone – now makes it easier for your body to retain water. This can be responsible for more weight in this phase. You may notice on a weekly basis how your body weight increases and then decreases again.

Later, during perimenopause, when the follicles in the ovaries are gradually used up, they stop producing estrogen altogether. Then there is a lack of estrogen. In addition, the production of testosterone changes. Even if it is considered a typical male sex hormone, women also produce and need this hormone.

The exact mechanisms of how the hormones interact have not yet been finally clarified. It is believed that the lack of testosterone indirectly sends the message to the fat cells in your inner abdominal fat to store more energy. This is why a so-called menopausal belly grows particularly easily during the menopause or after the menopause. This belly fat is bad for your health.

Once a certain bacon belt has accumulated, it even has a reinforcing effect on weight gain. The fat cells produce stress hormones such as cortisol. This in turn increases appetite. However, additional calorie intake prevents weight loss during menopause, even if you incorporate more exercise into your everyday life. A small vicious circle that you can only break with discipline.

Eat mindfully instead of counting calories

Radical diets do not help to lose weight permanently during menopause. Basically, however, you should make sure that you eat about 300 fewer calories a day than when you were young in order to maintain your weight. Nevertheless, it is possible to even lose weight during menopause. During this time, reduce another 100 to 200 kilocalories. It also helps if you make a conscious choice of food over the long term:

  • Vegetables and fruits are the best. Treat yourself often if you want to lose weight during menopause. They are low in calories and provide you with everything your body needs for a healthy metabolism. According to recent findings, a good supply of vitamin C apparently also helps to melt fat deposits.
  • Choose whole grains. They keep you full for longer and provide valuable minerals, trace elements and vitamins. This allows you to extend the breaks between meals. You will then automatically take in fewer calories overall.
  • Vegetable protein also helps. Legumes can be eaten more often, as can nuts and other seeds. In addition to protein, they provide valuable monounsaturated fatty acids, as well as polyphenols and plant steroids with a slight hormonal effect. Avoid too many animal products. Meat, sausage and dairy products contain more fat and often unfavorable fatty acids.
  • Foods such as soy, but also rye and flaxseed provide hormone-like ingredients that can generally buffer the hormone deficiency during menopause.
  • Keep your intestinal flora fit with fermented foods. Yoghurt, kombucha, sauerkraut – there are many delicious options. A fit intestine without digestive problems has been proven to support a healthy metabolism and keep you slim.
  • Avoid sugar. Sweets and especially sweet drinks cause the calories to skyrocket quickly. Overall, you eat more than you need because it doesn’t really fill you up. So stay away from sugar-sweet lemonades.
  • Try dinner canceling: Skip dinner. Or just eat very early in the evening. This allows your metabolism to fall back on the fat reserves during the night. If you eat late, on the other hand, there is enough energy available. The cushions then remain stubborn.

Tips to help you lose weight during menopause

Move enough and, above all, regularly. This increases calorie consumption over the long term. Endurance sports such as running, hiking, swimming and cycling are best suited – which are also easy on the joints. But interval training in the gym is also a good option. The motto also applies: every step makes you slim. So take the stairs instead of the elevator, ride a bike or walk and leave the car behind.

The most convenient way to shed extra pounds is to get enough sleep. Meanwhile, the satiety hormone leptin is formed and fats are burned. You also bring the stress hormone cortisol to a balanced level. Because problems with sleep are a feature of menopause, you should use gentle methods to support better sleep.

Too much stress causes cortisol to rise. This stress hormone makes you eat more when you eat. Most of the time, the fat and sugary things taste much better to you, or you develop an insatiable appetite for them. Cortisol itself promotes the storage of abdominal fat.

That’s why you look for relaxation – especially when your “almost” grown-up children turn up the stress level again or your work is getting too much for you. Get out in the fresh air. Getting active sometimes works wonders. Or you go on the mat – yoga or simple fantasy journeys help your psyche and silhouette.

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