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Boost Your Menopause Weight Loss with These Foods

Welcome to the realm of menopause! During this time, your body will undergo various changes, some of which could feel uncomfortable.1

But maintaining a healthy diet full of healthful, nutrient-dense foods can help ease this transition and gives your body the support it needs during this significant shift.2,3

So, let's explore how certain foods can play a role in making your journey through menopause a bit smoother.

Understanding the Effects of Menopause

Menopause isn’t just about bidding goodbye to periods; it’s a profound transformation in a female’s life, signaling the end of a menstrual cycle. Menopause typically occurs around your late 40s to early 50s, although it can vary widely from person to person.1

During menopause, your body undergoes significant hormonal changes, particularly a decrease in the hormone estrogen levels. This hormonal shift doesn't just affect your reproductive system; it affects your entire body, including your muscle mass and metabolism.2 These changes can also cause urine leakage or incontinence, which can be embarrassing and only adds to your anxiety.1

Fear not, there are various remedies available that can help. It's worthwhile to explore incontinence products, such as incontinence panty liners. These liners are thin like regular ones but provide surprisingly secure protection, quickly locking in leaks to guard against occasional drops when exercising, sneezing, or laughing. Designed for comfort and discretion, products like those offered by TENA can help you manage symptoms confidently.

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Here's where it gets interesting (and sometimes frustrating): as your estrogen levels decrease, your metabolism may slow down. These changes in estrogen levels could then lead to increased total body fat and weight gain.2

Plus, hormonal changes can also affect where your body stores fat, often favoring the stomach area.2

So, why does this matter? Well, understanding these hormonal changes and their effects on metabolism and weight is crucial for navigating the menopausal journey with grace and ease.

It's like having a roadmap to better understand what's happening inside your body and how you can support it through diet and lifestyle choices.

Foods to Avoid When Experiencing Menopausal Weight Gain

There are some foods that might be working against you in your battle against menopausal weight gain. Certain foods, like white bread, processed meats, or foods with a lot of added oil or sugar2, combined with a sedentary lifestyle can add those extra pounds making your journey through menopause feel like an uphill climb.2

Here are some foods to avoid when experiencing weight gain during menopause:

Steering Clear of Alcohol and Caffeine

When it comes to managing menopausal symptoms like hot flushes, it's important to be mindful of your caffeine and alcohol intake. Caffeine, found in beverages like coffee, tea, and colas, can worsen hot flushes, so it's wise to moderate your consumption.3

Likewise, alcohol can also worsen symptoms, so it's best to keep within a sensible limit. The general recommendation is to stick to no more than two to three units per day. 3 However, if you find that alcohol triggers or intensifies your symptoms, it may be best to avoid it altogether .3

Cutting Back on Processed Foods

Eating less processed foods like white bread, pastries, sugar-sweetened drinks, or processed meats during menopause is key for several reasons.2 Firstly, these foods are often packed with empty calories2 and lacking in essential nutrients.

Research shows that a diet like the Mediterranean diet, which limits the consumption of processed foods and sugar, works to optimize your health and maintain a healthy weight during this hormonal transition.4

Your risk of developing heart disease also increases during menopause.3 Not only is it important to cut back on processed foods to decrease your risk of heart disease, but it can help you to avoid weight gain during menopause.

Instead of processed snacks, opt for healthier nutrient dense foods that provide a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.2 And view the ultra-processed foods, like sugary beverages as an occasional treat as they carry extra calories.2

You can reduce your intake of processed foods by cutting down on processed meats, ready-made pastries such as cakes or cookies, and foods with added oils and sugars.2

Limiting Refined Carbohydrates

Refined carbs, such as white bread, pasta, and sugary snacks, can cause rapid spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels7, leading to increased hunger and cravings.

This rollercoaster effect can make it challenging to maintain a healthy weight and may worsen symptoms like mood swings and fatigue.

Foods to Support Your Menopause Weight Loss

Let's shift gears and focus on positive dietary choices that can support weight management and overall health during menopause.

Feeling overwhelmed? Use our handy grocery list that includes foods to support your menopause weight loss down below.

Embracing Dairy Products

Starting around age 35, our bodies begin to gradually lose calcium from our bones. However, during menopause, this process speeds up due to the decrease in estrogen levels. This accelerated loss of calcium can significantly heighten the risk of developing osteoporosis.3

Options like lower-fat milk, cheese, and yogurt are fantastic sources of calcium and form part of a healthy diet.3

Incorporating low-fat dairy into your diet supports bone health and helps to maintain a healthy lifestyle, which may also help with menopause symptoms.3

Incorporating Healthy Fats

Healthy fats include unsaturated fats such as monounsaturated fats (avocadoes and olives), polyunsaturated fats (walnuts and sunflower seeds), and omega-3 fatty acids (fatty fish like salmon, and flaxseeds).5

Healthy fats might offer relief from certain menopausal symptoms. They have the potential to lessen the frequency and severity of hot flushes, which are often among the most disruptive symptoms experienced during menopause.5

Opting for Whole Grains

Whole grains, like brown rice, chickpeas and oats3, are champions when it comes to keeping you feeling full and energized for longer periods, making them stellar substitutes for refined grains during menopause.

Unlike refined grains, whole grains are high in fiber3 keeping you full for longer.

Increasing Fruits and Vegetables

All types of fruits and vegetables (fresh, frozen, canned, juiced, or dried) are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber, and help keep your body in tip-top shape while managing your wellbeing during menopause.3 Their array of nutrients supports heart health, and bone strength, ensuring you stay healthy during this transformative phase of life.3

Benefiting from Phytoestrogen-Rich Foods

Plant estrogens, or phytoestrogens, closely resemble human estrogen. When consumed regularly and in sufficient amounts, phytoestrogen-rich foods like soya and linseeds, can show mild estrogen-like effects, which becomes particularly beneficial as estrogen levels decline during menopause.3 For some women, these effects may help relieve menopausal symptoms, especially hot flashes.3

FAQs

Can Certain Foods Prevent Early Menopause?

  • • While there isn't direct evidence to suggest that specific foods can prevent early menopause, research shows that a balanced diet, like the Mediterranean Diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats may support overall hormonal health and reduce short-term menopausal symptoms.6

    Maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle factors such as regular exercise and eating a healthy diet can also play a role in helping with menopause symptoms.3

Is a Decreased Appetite a Common Menopausal Symptom?

  • Metabolic disruptions like changes in appetite2 can occur during menopause. Hormonal changes, particularly fluctuations in estrogen can trigger contribute to weight gain.2

    To manage appetite changes during menopause, focus on balanced meals with healthful, nutrient dense foods, like fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and healthy fats2

    Incorporating regular physical activity and practicing mindful eating can also help maintain a healthy relationship with food.2

Why is Weight Loss So Hard During Menopause?

  • • Weight loss can be more challenging during menopause due to several factors, including changes in hormone levels, particularly estrogen, which can affect metabolism and fat distribution.5

    Additionally, aging-related changes in muscle mass and lifestyle factors such as decreased physical activity and changes in dietary habits can contribute to weight gain.2,5

How Much Yogurt is Too Much During Menopause?

  • While yogurt can be a nutritious addition to your diet during menopause, it's essential to consider standard portion sizes and balance it with other dairy products to avoid overeating it.2

    To decide how much yogurt to include in a meal, it’s useful to understand the standard serving size.2 For example, the standard serving of yogurt is one cup.2

    Aim for two to three servings of calcium-rich per day, choosing low-fat or fat-free options whenever possible, and incorporating a variety of dairy sources such as milk, cheese, and yogurt to meet your nutrient needs while managing calories and fat intake.3

References

1. World Health Organization. ‘Menopause’. 2022. Accessed 13 May 2024. Available from: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/menopause

2. Johnson, S. ‘Best ways to lose weight during menopause’. 2019. Accessed 13 May 2024. Available from: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325386

3. British Dietetics Association. ‘Menopause and diet’. 2024. Accessed 13 May 2024. Available from: https://www.bda.uk.com/resource/menopause-diet.html

4. UChicagoMedicine. ‘Why am I gaining weight so fast during menopause? And will hormone therapy help’. 2023. Accessed 14 May 2024. Available from: https://www.uchicagomedicine.org/forefront/womens-health-articles/2023/april/menopause-weight-gain-hormone-therapy

5. Australian Menopause Centre. ‘The importance of healthy fats what are they?’. 2023. Accessed 14 May 2024. Available from: https://www.menopausecentre.com.au/information-centre/articles/the-importance-of-healthy-fats-what-are-they-a-recipe-you-cant-miss/

6. British Nutrition Foundation. ‘Managing menopause with diet’. 2022. Accessed 14 May 2024. Available from: https://www.nutrition.org.uk/nutrition-for/women/menopause/managing-menopause-symptoms-with-nutrition-and-diet/

7. Holesh JE, Aslam S, Martin A. Physiology, Carbohydrates. StatPearls - NCBI Bookshelf. Published May 12, 2023. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK459280/


Boost your menopause weight loss with our handy grocery list for your next shop3:

Fruits and Vegetables
Leafy Greens

Spinach, kale, Swiss chard, and arugula.

Cruciferous Vegetables:

Broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage.

Berries

Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries.

Citrus Fruits:

Oranges, grapefruits, lemons, and limes.

Other Fruits

Apples, pears, and avocados.

Colorful Veggies

Bell peppers, carrots, beets, and sweet potatoes.

Whole Grains

Brown Rice

Oats

Whole Wheat Bread

Protein Sources

Lean Meats:

Chicken breast, turkey, and lean cuts of beef.

Fish:

Salmon, mackerel, sardines, and trout.

Legumes:

Lentils, chickpeas, black beans, and kidney beans.

Soya

Dairy and Alternatives

Low-fat Yogurt (preferably Greek yogurt)

Low-fat Milk or Plant-based Milks:

Almond milk, soy milk, or oat milk.

Cheese:

Moderation with low-fat varieties.

Healthy Fats

Nuts:

Almonds, walnuts, and pistachios.

Seeds:

Flaxseeds

Olive Oil:

Extra virgin for dressings and cooking.

Avocados

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