17 Jul Fat Around the Middle
Every year during perimenopause 75% of women will gain 1.5 kg.
Oestrogen gives us our feminine shape and as our oestrogen declines, we start to lay down fat in a similar way to men, around our internal organs, around our middle and this puts at high risk of heart disease.
Lack of oestrogen also causes us to lose muscle mass and this, in turn, slows our metabolism down by around 200 calories a day. If we don’t make the necessary alterations to our existing eating pattern we are going to start gaining weight.
The way we ate in our 30’s is not going to work for us now, we are dealing with a totally different body. Whatever we are going to do to tackle our weight at menopause we are going to have to do it for the rest of our life. If it sounds like a fad or a quick fix it is, and it’s just going to screw with our metabolism even more.
According to Nigel Denby the @menopause_dietitian the most sustainable way to lose or maintain weight during this transition is to take 10,000 steps a day EVERY DAY and shave 500 calories a day from your food intake. This is not wacky nutritional advice this is basic, simple nutritional advice. Cutting out 500 calories a day equates to up to 2lbs a week. You are not going to lose a stone in 3 weeks, but be patient and give it three months.
Where are these extra calories coming from? Start keeping a food diary, do you go for long periods without eating and then stuff yourself? Does your appetite change with your mood or the people you are with? Do you graze watching Netflix? Pick at the leftovers from your kid’s meals? Quick sugar fixes? A calorie is a calorie whether it comes from a fish finger off your kid’s unfinished dinner plate 70 calories, a handful of almonds – 100g of almonds is 884 calories (!) – or a large glass of wine 240 calories.
Once you’ve got your 500 calories sorted take a look at your exercise and activity. When oestrogen drops off our metabolism slows down, but we can REVERSE it by building more muscle tissue and we can do that by walking 10,000 steps a day, EVERY DAY. Nigel also recommends 15 minutes a day of resistance exercise such as yoga or pilates.
Postmenopause, heart disease kills more women than any other ailment or disease. Weight gain at this time is not just about looking good, it’s about extending and improving the quality of our life.
Be patient with yourself and be kind to yourself. It will take 3 months to see the changes if you follow Nigel’s simple advice, but it will set you up for a healthy body postmenopause.
What kind of women do you want to be in your 60s? What kind of life do you want to be living in your 70s? It’s time to start working on it now.