Sometimes life sucks if you are a woman – particularly if you are a menopausal woman. And before all smug 30 and 40-somethings stop reading….that can mean you too, as the menopause can strike at an early age. I see a lot of women in the Clinic who complain that they have put on weight and just cannot seem to shift it ….I call it the MenoPodge….and who are looking for cosmetic surgery to solve the problem.
I really sympathize, because all regular readers know that I documented my own weight loss last year and taking it off is one thing, but keeping it off is a completely different matter particularly when battling the hormonal roller coaster which is the reason the pounds go piling on. The menopause is a natural progression of female life but it doesn’t mean that we have suffer in silence.
There are things we can all do to make life easier.
Why the Menopodge?
After 40 virtually all women find that they gain fat more easily especially below the bra, the triceps area (the dreaded bingo wings), on the back, and on the tummy and thighs. This tendency to gain weight is a natural part of ageing, but lifestyle and genetic factors come into play too, so we cannot simply blame the menopause itself. However, the drop in oestrogen levels that happens at menopause has the effect of redistributing body fat, so often excess pounds often settle round the waist as unwelcome ‘middle-aged spread’ or meno-pot.
More bad news. Muscle mass diminishes with age too and this decreases the rate at which your body uses calories, which can make it more challenging to maintain a healthy weight.
Even more bad news. There’s no magic formula for preventing — or reversing — menopause weight gain.
I did say that life sucks!
There’s a lot we can do to minimise the problem though.
For instance: 1. Keep on the go. Move more…whichever way you look at it you need to up your exercise routine. It doesn’t have to be in a gym – simply walking more and sitting less is going to help. And try to find a way to build muscle – and no I don’t mean you have to compete with the weightlifters in the gym (although that would help!) – just find something heavy like two large bottles of water and use those as weights to start off with. Your bingo wings will love you.
2. Sleep Yourself Slimmer Not getting enough sleep disrupts a hormone called leptin in the body, that regulates appetite and when you’re tired you’re more likely to eat more, especially sugary foods. Try to find a way to get 6-7 hours sleep each night, preferably without resorting to pills. I find a warm bath with Epsom salts is effective.
And recently I have discovered that the CBD oil I mentioned in early posts works incredibly well as a sleep aid. Three drops under the tongue and I am out… definitely beats counting sheep. I use MariPharm because it is the purest CBD I have found. Plus it tastes nice too unlike some of the more mass market varieties available. MariDrops cost £39.99 from www.maripharm.co.uk
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3. Lose The Booze Ladies, I am with you. This is tough one, but if you CAN give up alcohol completely it will definitely help, because alcohol stores fat on your waist and irritates your intestines, which can cause bloating, known as the “booze bloat”. And a hangover often causes you to reach for sugary carbs and sweet snacks. Think of it as simply drinking sugar!
Try Gin and Tonic instead of the regular glass of wine..it has fewer calories and I find it harder to get through more than one to two G&T’s than three glasses of wine!
4. Avoid Crash Diets Skipping meals and following extreme diet plans that exclude carbohydrates and other vital nutrients is unhealthy and may reduce levels of leptin and leptin receptor sensitivity, the hormone that regulates appetite and fat distribution. I have tried most diets, and whilst it is great to see the pounds fall off, it is depressing to see it all come back on again once normal eating habits are resumed. You need to change your eating habits and establish a new routine.
My tips for eating during the Menopause:
- Take a daily probiotic. Levels of friendly bacteria in the gut drop after the age of 50 leaving you at increased risk of a sluggish digestion and bloating
- Nibbling nuts instead of biscuits can help shift middle age spread as they’re high in protein and essential fatty acids, balance your hormones and ward off sugar cravings. But not too many!
- Eat more whole grains. Research shows that menopausal women who eat more of these tend to have less body fat than those who get exactly the same number of calories from carbohydrates.
- For every decade after 40, your body needs around 5% fewer calories, so cut back.
- The ideal diet for healthy weight loss should be low-fat and incorporate fresh fruit, vegetables, and protein sources…and cut out the juicing…you need fibre in your diet to help keep your insides working properly.
- Up your oil intake. Oily fish (such as salmon and mackerel), olive oil, linseed oil and nuts .A good intake of oil helps your body burn fat.
- Eat more oestrogen-mimicking foods – pulses, bean sprouts, linseeds and green, leafy vegetables, garlic, celery, seeds, broccoli, carrots and some herbs and spices such as sage, fennel and parsley *Protein is not just for bodybuilders. If you want to lose body fat, then adding protein to your meals will help as it not only keeps you fuller for longer but also helps builds lean muscle. Start the day will a high protein breakfast…eggs are brilliant.
5. At the Clinic As I said earlier, I see a lot of ladies who want instant solutions, so here’s three of the best Menopausal Shaping Treatments:
- Fight Cellulite Thirty per cent of your collagen is lost during the menopause resulting in thinner skin and more cellulite. Cellutite is a laser treatment, which goes underneath the skin to smooth out lump, soften cellulite and tighten skin. Less invasive than liposuction, it uses high-energy radio frequency assisted lipolysis technology (RFAL) and is carried out using local anesthesia. From £2000
- Firm up Forma uses next level radio frequency energy to help contract the layers of the skin and stimulate new collagen to tighten and improve skin tone. The treatment is painless and feels like a warm massage using a hand piece that delivers the precise energy. You will need four to six weekly hourly treatments for the best results. From £200
- Tummy Toner Body FX is a non-invasive treatment that uses a combination of Radio Frequency and electroporation to destroy fat cells on the stomach and around the waist. It will also help boost collagen to tighten and improve skin tone. Six weekly hourly treatments recommended. Can be uncomfortable, from £300