Before the medicalization of menopause that occurred in 1970, the term and the notion of this new stage of a woman’s life encompassed many a strange thing. While different cultures observed different symptoms as the clear signs of menopause, so we have the western predominant hot flashes, poor vision in India, and shoulder pain in Japan, treatments were all the more peculiar. Crushed ovaries of animals as a form of estrogen therapy, or testicular juice were both considered acceptable as a way to help women cope with the lack of estrogen and other bodily changes.
In the 1800s, in fact, opium was the go-to, doctor-prescribed treatment for menopause symptoms. It has taken us quite a while to recognize the actual roots of the hormonal changes in a woman’s body that lead to menopause, and the proper way to handle them. Still, some remedies used in the past still retain relevance, such as black cohosh, once used by Native Americans to treat uterus-related issues, including menstrual cramps and menopause symptoms. To this very day, black cohosh and a number of other plants are still used as treatment during menopause.
However, now that we know that many women deal with unique issues during menopause, and many struggle with unwanted weight gain – modern medicine, hand in hand with supplementation and lifestyle changes have stepped in to save the day. Here’s what you need to know about preventing weight gain and healthy weight management during menopause. We promise we’ll steer clear of opium and crushed animal ovaries.
Boost your metabolism with exercise
Even now, when many countries of the world have introduced some form of a lockdown and prohibit public gatherings, so gyms and similar exercise get-togethers are out of the question, working out remains crucial. You can easily increase your fitness capabilities in the comfort of your own home, and use regular home workouts to stay fit and lean.
Paired with proper nutrition, regular exercise of the right intensity will help you retain and build lean muscle, keep your bones dense (which is vital for women in menopause due to lower estrogen levels and increased risk of osteoporosis), and shed unwanted fat.
Reduce your caloric intake
Without taking a closer look at your nutrition, you cannot expect to deal with any kind of weight loss, including that caused by menopause and the lack of estrogen. Once your body starts producing less of this crucial hormone, your metabolism slows down, and you need to accommodate for those changes by adapting your diet. Make sure that you reduce your unnecessary calories from sources that you don’t really need, such as candy, soda, and the like.
Replace them with low-calorie, but nutrient-dense foods such as fresh fruit and vegetables, and you’ll be able to reduce your calories while you still feel full and provide your body the much-needed nutrients to stay healthy and resilient.
Balance your nutrition with supplements
Changes in your hormones that are the underlying issue for most of the side-effects of menopause might not always be easy to battle only by adjusting your diet. Yes, of course you will start shedding weight slowly when you consume fewer calories. However, you also need to make sure that you boost your metabolic rate and your fat burning by choosing the right dietary reinforcements.
Knowing that hormonal changes lead to menopause weight fluctuations and other issues, you can minimize the impact of those changes by focusing on your gut health. Improving digestion and metabolism by introducing healthy probiotics can be extremely helpful when struggling with the added pounds during menopause.
Reduce sitting, increase physical activity
Exercise is one of the most effective strategies to shed unwanted weight and prevent putting on a few extra pounds during menopause. However, leading a completely sedentary life only to work out moderately a few times per week will not cut it. You should try your best to further speed up your metabolism by being more active. Take regular walks, take up dance classes, walk or cycle to work – just keep yourself active and engaged.
Keep your hormones in check with sleep
Managing other symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats makes it extremely difficult to stay on track with your sleep needs during the week. In fact, during menopause, many women suffer from accompanying sleep disorders such as insomnia, caused by body temperature changes and irritability. That said, lower estrogen levels wreak havoc on your body in many ways, leading to poor sleep habits, and that, in turn, will increase your cortisol levels – the stress hormone.
It can turn into a vicious cycle. Prevent it with the right exercise routine, proper supplementation, and you can add a relaxing ritual such as meditation before you go to bed to boost your chances of getting enough rest.
Menopause and the hormonal changes that come with it increases any woman’s risk to gain unwanted weight, but only provided you don’t make any changes to your lifestyle, monitor your weight for the long haul, and stay active. With these changes in your diet and exercise routines, you have the perfect allies to prevent unwanted weight gain during this chapter of your life. Without any opium or crushed animal ovaries to worry about.
I’m a fitness and health blogger at Ripped.me, and a great fan of the gym and a healthy diet. I follow all the trends in fitness, gym and healthy life, and l love to share my knowledge in this field through useful and informative articles.