How to Lose Weight at Menopause
It is possible to lose weight at menopause, but a quick fix approach just won’t work long term. Menopause and weight loss difficulty is well known but it is possible to reduce weight at menopause. We can start the year with high expectations and make plans to improve our health, finish jobs and achieve goals. Motivation is often high for the first days sometimes even few weeks, then it wanes, and resolutions are abandoned. This can apply to anything and of course, but January is known as the month of weight loss. I take a long-term view and focus on menopause health, prefer healthy eating to dieting this means your menopause weight loss is likely to be more successful as it’s part of the bigger aim to be healthy! It is shown this brings more lasting results.
Firstly, I think January is the wrong time to try to lose weight especially at menopause because of all the other challenges you are likely facing. It’s cold and dark which naturally makes us want to hibernate and be less active. We’ve just finished eating our Christmas feast of somewhat addictive foods and likely been less physically active so it’s a huge leap to then change your diet to lose weight.Research does indicate January isn’t the best time too! Setting high expectations in January sets us up for up for failure! Feeling like you failed is a real demotivator.
Menopause Weight Loss Journey
Weight loss and health at menopause is not done with sheer will power. Why? well determination might get some way along the journey but if your plan isn’t based on science it’s likely to fail. So calorie counting, low carb, low fat counting ‘sins’ will leave you fighting your physiology and psychology. You are setting yourself up for failure, poor physical and mental health to boot. We do need ‘unrefined’ carbohydrate and ‘good’ fat especially at menopause for a host of benefits but mainly to balance blood sugar which can become unstable at perimenopause. See my other blogs here
Menopause Weight Loss Success
So, to ensure your resolution will become a new behaviour you need some realistic goals. Research suggests that the type of goal we set can determine whether we stick to our plans and reach our goals or fall at the first hurdle! There are different types of goal setting. Broad general goals and some more specific and action-based goals. You may have heard of SMART goals. Specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timed?
Don’t worry I couldn’t understand and disliked them until I FOUND THEY DO WORK. Just don’t be too hung up on perfecting them. It is basically using small steps to achieve a bigger goal. When compared to the usual January all or nothing approach that really narrows down your chances of success this is a breath of fresh air.
If the goal is too specific it will be easily broken for example ‘Don’t drink alcohol‘ is only one action that is easily broken, but ‘eat a more healthy diet’ is too general and vague. A good example is
Lose some weight (broad goal)
Then have some specific goals to support it. By the way these are often things that come up!
- Swap to non-alcoholic drinks, enjoy up to 3 small glasses of wine at the weekend
- Eat a rainbow of at least 5 vegetables daily
- Swap refined carbohydrates for wholegrain ones.
- Eat protein at breakfast e.g add nuts to cereal, omelette or eggs
Nutritional Approach to Menopause Weight Loss
This is how I work with clients too! It’s much more positive to add foods than take them away. I do help clients come up with healthier alternatives to foods they already eat. This makes the changes more practical and easier too. These small ‘bite sized ‘changes apply to not just food and meals but lifestyle too. Sleep, stress management and activity are all crucial for health and particularly to lose weight at menopause. I provide recipes and meal suggestions with foods to focus on, so plenty ideas.
How to Successfully Lose Weight at Menopause
Watch out for the Saboteurs. Some people might not like your new ideas because it makes them feel uncomfortable about themselves. Make your own decision to stick with your goals. You might be our worst critic too be kind to yourself. You will likely make mistakes but don’t give up. It is hard to loose weight at menopause but not impossible. Try to not be discouraged, 80% of time is better than not doing it all. In fact loosing just 5% of your body weight improves many health markers.
There is lots of evidence to support behaviour change in a group or even with a friend. Unfortunately, I don’t like certain weight loss groups available because they focus on the wrong macro nutrients (Low fat) and calories which is not an evidence based. It reinforces a diet mentality too. Perhaps choose an activity or social group instead and surrounded yourself with likeminded people. Or enlist the help of a menopause weight loss specialist. As a nutritionist I can tailor your plan to your unique make up not a one size fits all approach. I support you every step of the way too.
Menopause Weight Loss Tips
- Plan and prepare for your menopause weight loss journey. Pick a time that suits you.
- Order a vegetable box, plan your meals and cook ahead as much as possible. Give yourself time to ease into this new lifestyle.
- View your specific goals as an experiment not hard and fast rules and change them every month.
- Use automated reminders or apps if you like them to remind you to drink water for example.
- Establish a routine that helps you meet your main goals early in the day if possible.
If you’d like support get in touch for free 30-minute chat (no obligation) where I will offer support and recommend the service that’s best for you.
Koliaki, Chrysi et al. “Defining the Optimal Dietary Approach for Safe, Effective and Sustainable Weight Loss in Overweight and Obese Adults.” Healthcare (Basel, Switzerland) vol. 6,3 73. 28 Jun. 2018, https://www.mdpi.com/2227-9032/6/3/73