Menopause weight gain is real babes. What’s frustrating is that you can think you’re doing all the right things and the pounds keep coming. If you’re going through this please know that you are not alone. When chatting about menopause and perimenopause on IG stories, so many of you said you’re struggling with the same thing. For me, what’s most challenging about menopause weight gain is that it’s a lot more complicated than just calories. In fact, it has a lot to do with hormones.
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It actually makes sense though if you think about it. Estrogen and progesterone are an important duo for helping us maintain a healthy weight. When perimenopause hits, progesterone drops which causes estrogen levels to become erratic. Then comes menopause, and both estrogen and progesterone levels become lower. All of these hormone changes have a direct effect on our cortisol levels causing more stress in our bodies. In addition to impacting our sleep and mood, cortisol impacts our hunger, cravings, and energy levels. Isn’t that great?! Not only are we now feeling hungrier, but pair that with less energy and it’s the perfect recipe for weight gain.
Our bodies are changing, so it’s no wonder that what used to work to maintain a healthy weight, no longer works. We now have to adjust our lifestyle to account for all of these hormonal changes. That doesn’t mean workout like crazy and starve ourselves. In fact, that will only work to our disadvantage. Remember, our cortisol levels are telling us we’re hungrier so we need to make sure we’re satisfying our bodies and satiating our cravings. So how do we do that?
Healthy Diet Tips for Perimenopausal and Menopausal Women
- Increase Fiber: Make sure you are eating plenty of veggies and fiber throughout your day.
- Increase Protein and Add Healthy fats: When you don’t get enough protein, you’re body will not feel satiated which leads to unnecessary snacking and over-consuming calories. So how much protein? Up until recently I thought 50-60 grams of protein was enough but I recently learned from Dr. Jade Teta, who specializes in integrative endocrinology (the study of hormones and metabolism) that menopausal women should be eating 1 gram of protein for every pound of their ideal weight. That’s a lot of protein! Also be sure you are adding healthy fats (e.g. avocado, nuts, and olive oil) to every meal. These keep your body satisfied longer and you’ll have less random cravings.
- Decrease your sugar, starch, and alcohol consumption: Sugar is not your friend during menopause. We become insulin resistant in our 40s which results in higher blood sugar. In turn, our bodies are telling us we are hungry when we aren’t. The more sugar we eat, the more we want to eat and the less sugar we eat, the less we’ll crave unnecessary foods. The same is true for starchy foods. Dr. Jade Teta recommends eating less than 100 grams of net carbs per day to see a dramatic reduction in belly fat.
My At-Home Workouts
+ Metabolic Renewal Workouts x Dr. Jade Teta: I’m so happy I found Dr. Jade’s Metabolic Renewal program. Dr. Jade is a genius when it comes to women’s hormones and how those hormones impact our metabolism and weight gain, specifically during menopause. His online video program consists of full body resistance training sessions that are designed for your hormone type (you take a quiz when you sign up to determine your hormone type). I paid under $50 for the 12 week program. Each workout is an intense 15 minute workout designed to stimulate the Human Growth Hormone (HGH). HGH is the hormone that helps burn fat, increase muscle, and improve your insulin sensitivity. I love that the workouts are only 15 minutes. Honestly, if I can’t commit to my health for 15 minutes during my day, I’m doing something wrong. Don’t you agree?
+ Pilates with ThePilatesClass.com: Our cortisol levels are working against us during menopause so we need to offset that with exercises that reduce cortisol. Pilates is perfect for this. Not only does pilates help build lean muscle and flexibility but the breathing exercises help calm our nervous system and yes, reduce cortisol to help with weight loss. I love that I found The Pilates Class! The online video exercises range anywhere from 11 minutes to over 60 minutes. With my busy schedule, I love that it’s another exercise I can do from the comfort of my home. I like to wake up early and start my pilates class by 7:30 am. The instructors are all so lovely, their voices are so soothing and meditative, it’s the perfect way to start my day. I swear I’ve become so much more flexible in just a few months. I knew y’all would ask, so I reached out and got a promo code for you. Use promo code TENNILLETPC to get 30% off the monthly subscription for 1 month. Honestly, if you love it after one month, I would totally switch to the annual plan for $139 (vs. $29/mo.) since you save so much!
+ Spinning: I’ve been in love with spinning for years. There’s something amazing it does for my mental health. I turn on music, sing and spin away. A high intensity 20 minute workout on my spin bike gets my blood pumping and I know that quick burn is stimulating HGH just like my metabolic workouts.
+ Daily Walks: No more hour long stressful workouts these days. In fact, Dr. Jade says we can get more out of a long walk than a long run. A long run puts more stress on our bodies causing more cortisol whereas a long walk is meditative, relieves stress, and gets our cortisol levels moving down in the right direction. The girls and I love going for evening walks to the park to watch the dogs play, or just strolling through our neighborhood to watch the sunset. It’s a beautiful way to catch up after a long day.
Babes, adjusting to this new phase of life has been a journey. I’m constantly reminding myself that aging is a gift and privilege. If you’re going through these changes or experiencing other menopause symptoms, remember to give yourself grace and be kind to yourself. Menopause is something that all women will ultimately go through to some degree if they’re lucky to live to this age in life. I have found that educating myself on menopause and talking to other women going through the same things has brought me the most comfort. Please comment below with any specific menopause questions and I’ll do my best to share what I know or resources to help. Love you darlings!