When women go through menopause, they experience a lot of hormonal changes, which can directly impact weight. Learn more about menopause, and how menopause weight loss can be achieved.
What is Menopause?
Menopause is the phase in women’s life when their period is coming to an end. This usually occurs in women who are between the age of 45 and 55. There are three phases – perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopause.
Menopause Phase I – Perimenopause
Perimenopause can begin eight to ten years prior to the start of menopause. Once the last menstrual period ends, you will begin to have symptoms in this phase, such as hot flashes and spotting for about one year.
Menopause Phase II – Menopause
Once menopause occurs, this is when your levels of hormones change, especially estrogen. Estrogen levels start depleting over time during the menopausal period and can lead to numerous changes in the body. This fluctuation in levels of estrogen can lead to a higher accumulation of fat cells around the belly resulting in weight gain.
Menopause Phase III – Postmenopause
This phase begins once a woman hasn’t menstruated for over a year. Common symptoms such as hot flashes may decrease. It’s also an important time to be aware of the risk of osteoporosis and the importance of lifestyle.
Menopause and Weight Loss
Many women struggle to lose weight during menopause. Now why is this? It is one of the many symptoms women have during menopause, alongside insomnia, mood swings, depression, irregular periods, hormone imbalance and many more.
How Does Menopause Affect Weight Loss?
The drop in estrogen causes fat cells in their bodies to migrate to the mid section causing increase in their waist-circumference therefore increase in visceral fat. This causes insulin resistance and therefore makes it more difficult to lose weight.
How to Lose Menopause Weight Gain
Those who are trying to achieve menopause weight loss have to remember that it does not have to do a lot with exercise alone, but more importantly your diet. Many women come to me already exercising and they don’t understand why they aren’t losing weight and I make them aware that diet is 80% of the equation to lose weight.
Menopause Weight Loss Help
Menopause can make it difficult to lose weight, but that does not mean it’s not possible to achieve your goal weight. Losing weight after 50 or at any age consists of:
- A customized meal plan
- Collecting recipes for the week
- Making time to cook and shop
- Eating every three to four hours due to hunger hormone ghrelin
- Staying active
- Getting plenty of rest
- Staying hydrated
- Eating the correct portion sizes
These are eight out of many more habits to lead to a successful menopause weight loss.
Menopause Weight Loss Success Story
My private practice transitioned into a complete virtual private practice during COVID, and it worked so well that I didn’t go back to the office. One of the main drivers in doing this is that I have helped many clients succeed in weight loss this way, and many clients prefer not to have to travel for a visit. So you may ask, “What is virtual weight loss?” With me, it is simply gaining the tools and accountability from me (a Registered Dietitian) via video calls to reach your goal weight.
One client who I have been working with to conquer menopause weight loss is Maria. She came to me because she wanted to lose weight and change her relationship with food. Before coming to me, she had attempted many diets and was in this continuous cycle of restricting, overexercising, and had an extreme fear of carbohydrates. Maria also had concerns that her menopause was a contributing factor for not losing weight after 50.
During my work with Maria, she lost 27 pounds and 9 inches around her waist in 4 months. She was just like many of my clients that thought she could never do it. She has asked me to share this with everyone because she feels happy about herself and wants others to know that it’s possible to achieve what she was able to accomplish.
Client Weight Loss Testimonial
This is what Maria had to say:
“Thank you for changing my life. As you know, I have tried many diets and have been in a constant cycle of restricting, over exercising, and obsessing over the thought that carbohydrates are bad. I had gained weight and became so depressed with myself. I always hid when someone tried to take pictures of me, but here I am now sending you a picture to share with the public! I want people to be inspired from my hard work and show that anything is possible.
I am in my late 50’s and assumed that I wasn’t reaching my goals because of my age and with the onset of menopause. I felt so down and almost wanted to give up because of my weight and then suddenly my son introduced me to your virtual private practice. I want to thank you for changing my life again with your sensible approach and how you customized it to my own lifestyle. I am now able to go out to eat with my husband and enjoy my meals without feeling guilty.
You made me understand that exercise is not the answer to weight loss. You taught me to eat every 3-4 hours and to balance my meals throughout the day in order to not trigger the hunger hormone that you always talk about. Eating protein in every meal is key to keeping yourself full and avoiding a binge cycle. Most importantly, what I love the most is that I have developed a good relationship with food and I’m not afraid of carbohydrates anymore. As you always say, I am free from food jail!” – Maria
This tells you that menopause weight loss is truly possible with the right tools and I hope that her story inspires you!
Virtual Weight Management
As an RD, I provide you with a customized meal plan and work with you to find a balance with other key elements to consider during menopause to reach a weight you’re happy with.
For Maria, I customized a nutritious eating plan that also took into account her insulin resistance (she was over 40 inches on her waist!). I planned and customized it while considering her lifestyle and food preferences. I gave her dietary advice of how many calories and protein needed, how to distribute each food group to stay full, and have enough energy to get through the day.
My expertise as a whole is to help people with weight loss in general by teaching them the importance of creating a meal plan for the week and planning ahead of time to cook to avoid the stress of not knowing what to eat for the day.
Lifestyle Tips for Menopause
Planning ahead keeps you organized and helps avoid the pressure of coming up with meal ideas last minute. You also need to make time to shop for fresh ingredients. I recommend dedicating Sundays to meal prep and shopping for your ingredients.
As I have mentioned before, it is important to eat every couple of hours to avoid an increase of ghrelin. It also helps keep you from binging and entering a calorie surplus. A calorie surplus is when you consume more calories than you burn, meaning your body is taking in more than it can maintain. The opposite of a surplus is a calorie deficit – consuming less calories than your body needs. I taught my client, Maria, to enter a calorie deficit along with exercising daily while eating nutrition dense foods. Not only did I help Maria lose weight, but to maintain it as well. I gave her guidance to develop a healthy relationship with food.
Menopause Virtual Weight Loss Coach
Looking to work with me one on one for guidance from a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist? I offer virtual nutrition counseling sessions and programs to help people successfully lose weight and maintain their weight loss.
Find out more about my services through MV Nutrition and schedule your 15 minute discovery call.