Menopause is probably the most challenging periods in any woman's life. What makes it difficult the most are the numerous symptoms that surround the transition. Not surprisingly, one of the most persistent questions that women ask after their periods have left the town is “how to lose weight during menopause?”

If only menopause would only mean not having menstrual periods anymore and giving up your fertility for good. That wouldn't be so very bad at all. Instead, women have to face a combination of mood swings, hot flashes, sweating, racing heart, headaches, sleeping problems, and a few other tiring symptoms. On the top of that, there's that dreadful weight gain.

Not every woman will gain weight during her menopause. However, due to the drastic hormonal changes, it is very likely. Even those who haven't had any problems with their weight can suddenly start noticing putting on some, especially around the abdomen. Even though the lifestyle that a woman had been leading before the transition is very important, there are a lot of things she can do to take control of her body again.

Menopause Diet

As you age, the first thing you should pay a lot more attention to is your diet. Your eating habits must adjust to the changes of the body. It can be harder for those who are used to eating anything while staying lean due to their fast metabolism.

But hey, this change is a good thing! Now you have a chance to finally get on with that healthy lifestyle and reap a lot more health benefits from it than just losing weight.

foods for health

The best diet for menopausal women (or anyone, really) is high-quality whole plant-based diet. It consists of, mainly, raw vegetables, fruits, some grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. This kind of diet will prevent you from eating high-cholesterol, high-fat, and hormone-filled meats and dairy products.

More importantly, you will be taking in a lot more fiber, a lot more alkaline foods, healthy fats, and unprocessed, natural vitamins and minerals. These will help you with your weight loss as well as overall health promotion.

A plant-based diet is known to reduce the risk of cancer, cardiovascular diseases (promoted by animal-derived product consumption), bone loss (which is actually promoted by diary products, contrary to the common belief). It also helps to ease the hot flashes, balances mood fluctuations, leaves you with more energy, and more mental clarity.

A menopause diet plan to lose weight also includes giving up or significantly reducing such guilty pleasures as alcohol, caffeine, added sodium, and refined sugar. Highly processed foods will also no longer concern you if you stick to whole foods. Timed and mindful eating will also help enormously.

Menopause Exercise

Weight gain and a loss of muscle mass are two badly unwanted things that menopause can bring. If you want to lose weight and keep it off, exercise is a must. Simply being more active while running daily errands can help.

Try to walk everywhere or hop on your bicycle instead of driving the car. Whenever you can, try standing instead of sitting down. However, if you gained a substantial amount of weight, especially around the belly, these tricks alone might not be enough.

Cardio workout

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The best way to lose weight in menopause is doing cardio workouts. Getting your heart pumping, your lungs working, and your body sweating will make you burn more calories and fat. It will also help you to prevent cardiovascular diseases and osteoporosis.

High intensity interval training works better than moderate intensity workouts. Work your body for 10-20 seconds and then use the recovery time of about 10 seconds for slower exercises, focusing on your muscles or flexibility. Do these switches for as long as you can, up to 20 intervals. But make sure you don't overdo on your first workout, as that session can demotivate you for good.

Find the kind of workout that fits your personality. Better yet, find a few of them and switch regularly, so you don't get bored and your body won't get too comfy doing what's familiar.

Undertake jogging, swimming, aerobics, dance, or all of the above. Be outdoors while doing these activities as much as possible to get even more benefits.

Strength workout

Another line of workouts that you want to engage in is strength training. Weight lifting might not be your dream training routine, but if you polish your attitude on this, it can get pretty inspiring. Building strength does not only help shaping up your body, but also gives you a boost of confidence and self-love.

Provided that you don't have any chronic ailments, such as arthritis or back pains, don't be too gentle on yourself. Pick up the dumbbells of considerable weight so you can actually feel some much-needed resistance. And be sure to work your whole body, because spot training doesn't work at all.

Circuit workout

Do a few sets of several different exercises targeting different body parts. That's circuit training. That will make the workouts more fun and prevents you from neglecting one body part or another. Your mind and body will thank you if you close the training sessions with some good old stretching in a form of yoga or Pilates.

Psychological Well-Being

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Even though your weight might seem like the most important thing that you want to focus on, your mental health must be your priority. Menopause can take a toll on your emotions and cognitive abilities. Not to mention the substantially heightened stress that your body has to deal with.

Finding new ways to relieve stress should be your new goal. Practice meditation, get more time dedicated to yourself only, spend more time in nature, and make sure to have social circle that's always there for you.

Sleeping problems can massively affect your weight fluctuations. If you want to lose some pounds and keep it that way, you need to regulate your sleeping patterns. Try going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day. Make sure you get enough hours of rest.

You can use natural herbs and their teas as sleep-inducing supplements, but better keep away from the pills. Reading fiction, listening to relaxing music, and meditating just before going to sleep help tremendously.

More information on plant-based diet:

'Thrive Foods: 200 Plant-Based Recipes for Peak Health' by Brendan Brazier.

Building Bone Vitality: A Revolutionary Diet Plan to Prevent Bone Loss and Reverse Osteoporosis Without Dairy Foods, Calcium, Estrogen, or Drugs' by Amy J. Lanou and Michael Castleman.

'The China Study' by  T. Colin Campbell, PhD, and his son Thomas M. Campbell II, MD

'Forks Over Knives: The Plant-Based Way To Health' edited by Gene Stone.

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Written by Audra Bajori
Audra is a writer, an ethical vegan, a compulsive self-experimenter and health-hacker, who plans on living for at least 100 years. She's also a cinephile,...
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