You want to look and feel your best as your create an ageless lifestyle after 50. But for a lot of women, their hormones don’t make it easy. To add insult to injury, not only does it get harder for women to lose weight, some begin to gain weight after menopause. That’s why it’s so important to know the keys to losing weight after menopause.
First the bad news, if you don’t adopt healthy eating habits…
Sadly, 30% of women who are 50 to 59 are not just overweight, they are obese.
It’s not just about how you look. Your health is at stake.
Risks of weight gain are well documented and include:
High blood pressure
Type 2 diabetes
Increased weight around the waist poses even more risks and belly fat is more likely to increase after menopause. Any waist measurement over 35 inches is of great concern.
Reasons For Post-Menopausal Weight Gain
Some women tend to exercise less as they age. In fact, 60% of all adults are not getting enough exercise, and this is more prevalent among the senior population. Women are also at a greater risk for hypothyroidism, which negatively affects their metabolism. The rate at which the body uses up energy during exercise declines with age. This means that an increase in both time of workouts and their intensity is required to achieve similar results.
Age related muscle mass loss also lowers resting metabolism that contributes to weight gain.
Reduced estrogen may also lower metabolic rate. The lack of estrogen may play a role in the body using starches. The fact that the body uses blood sugar less effectively also increases fat storage in the body, and makes weight loss more difficult.
All of these factors play a role in the difficulties post-menopausal women face when trying to lose weight or preventing weight gain.
How To Overcome These Issues And Maintain A Healthy Weight
The trick is to override your body’s slow metabolism and to watch your caloric intake and exercise output. The more active you are, the less weight you’re likely to gain. A National Institutes of Health review showed that people who did aerobic activities every day for 10 or more minutes had 6 fewer inches around the waistline compared to people who didn’t exercise.
After menopause, women need to beef up their exercise in order to improve metabolism. This means getting out for a brisk walk every day for a half hour at a time, bicycling or taking up a low impact aerobic activity such as swim aerobics or simply swimming. Low impact aerobic exercises will be easier on arthritic joints and won’t add to the wear and tear on joints.
Another good exercise for post-menopausal women is to start weight lifting or using weight machines. These are anaerobic exercises that build and tone muscles, exchanging fatty tissue for muscle tissue. Muscle has a higher metabolic rate when compared to fat so you burn calories faster and easier. Weight lifting is also good for bone health and can prevent osteoporosis.
After menopause, your dietary choices need to take into account the fact that you have a naturally lower metabolic rate then you had when you were younger (metabolic rate is directly related to age). A diet rich in whole fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, whole grains, while avoiding dairy, meats, processed foods and high fat, high sugar foods, is the diet of choice when trying to lose weight after menopause.
The caloric content should generally be between 1250 and 2000 calories per day depending on your size. This amount of calories, along with exercise, is usually enough to help a person lose weight, even after menopause.
It’s a good idea to get screened for hypothyroidism after going through menopause. Hypothyroidism can often have a few symptoms, such as low mood, dry skin, dry hair, and weight gain. Women with subclinical hypothyroidism have a particularly difficult time losing weight.
If low thyroid hormone content and elevated TSH is shown on laboratory studies, you can begin hormone supplementation in order to begin to improve your metabolism and you’ll have an easier time losing weight. Usually, the thyroid hormone supplementation is necessary for life although adjustments in dosage may need to happen over time. Some are lucky enough to have success with homeopathic thyroid treatment and not need synthetics.
Health Risks And Concerns
Post-menopausal women need to keep a normal body mass index/weight because you are at a greater risk for things like diabetes and heart disease after menopause. Before menopause you have a protected cardiovascular system by virtue of having estrogen and progesterone around to help prevent heart disease; however, when this is lost at the time of menopause, the risk of heart disease increases.
This is why other risk factors, such as obesity, diabetes, and high cholesterol need to be treated and managed to the fullest degree in post-menopausal women. Even if you have not attempted to lose weight or exercise before menopause, it’s not too late to start exercising and eating healthy foods for a low cardiovascular risk profile. This is especially true if you have a family history of heart disease, including heart attacks, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease.
Additional exercise and reducing calories, changing to a healthier diet, can reduce the incidence of obesity, therefore reducing the risk of heart disease in post-menopausal women.
If you have issues with pain after exercising or slow recovery after a workout, there are supplements that can help with that. Email me through the contact tab at the top of my blog and I will give you the products I recommend.