Are you finding it difficult to control your appetite? If you’re approaching or going through the menopause this could well be the reason.
Weight gain is really common during menopause and this happens for various reasons. One of those reasons has nothing to do with eating more. The crux of it is that our metabolic rate changes during perimenopause and continues throughout menopause itself. We need to teach our bodies how to burn fat through a healthier lifestyle because it now no longer burns as much fat through metabolism.
Menopause can also cause a lot of stress. The symptoms that many women suffer from such as hot flushes, night sweats, anxiety, incontinence etc, are all stressful things to deal with. They can cause tension in relationships, they can cause embarrassment at work or in public settings. As women, we go through a lot but menopause is a huge part of our lives that often we are not prepared for. This increase in stress means our bodies are producing too much cortisol and this also has an impact on our weight, causing us to hold on to fat.
In the instances mentioned above, weight gain happens without over-eating. However, it’s very common to eat more food during menopause and as a result, you begin to gain weight. Your blood sugar balance is affected due to the depletion of estrogen and this can lead to food cravings. As your blood sugar levels fluctuate throughout the day, your body is more sensitive to insulin and as a result, you will want to eat more sweet things. Certainly not ideal for the waist-line! Comfort eating is also very common and who can blame you? High stress on top of all of those symptoms would make any sane woman turn to the fridge!
How to Control It?
Try to eat foods that are high in protein because these will keep you fuller for longer. Make sure you have plenty of healthy fats in your diet, from foods like avocado, nuts and fatty fish. Eating a lower glycemic diet will also help with insulin spikes. Fruits such as berries are low GI fruit and have far fewer calories. Choose whole-grain instead of white rice and white bread to pack in that fibre. The trick is to eat more nourishing foods that will satisfy you and stop you turning for the sweet treats.
Introduce regular exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle. A one of Zumba session here or there isn’t going to have much impact. You really need to create a routine that works for you, but one that includes exercise at least twice a week. It doesn’t have to be a heavy 1-mile jog or a hardcore workout at the gym. You can try Yoga in the comfort of your own home or regular walks with friends.
At the end of the day, your body is going through some major changes. Don’t beat yourself up if you have that extra biscuit. As long as you make some overall positive changes to your lifestyle, a few treats won’t harm you. Being aware that menopause can make you comfort eat, or binge on sugary foods should help you stop it getting out of hand.