You feel at a loss that you’ll never look or feel good again.
But this isn’t true. You have a long happy life ahead of you. In fact, the life expectancy for women in America is 81.1 years. So you have 30+ years of life left here on Earth. The last thing you what to do is struggle with weight during some of the best years of your life.
Here are four reasons why you can’t lose weight during menopause and what to do about it.
1. You’re Consuming Foods That Are Heavily Processed
A lot of us are unaware of the number of calories that we consume daily.
Oftentimes food labels recommend a much smaller serving size. If you look just at the number of calories and not the serving size, you may think that the product doesn’t have that many calories.
One way to avoid this is to buy minimally processed foods. You avoid chemicals and artificial flavors that cause toxicity to the body. This toxicity makes it more difficult to lose weight.
Focus on buying foods like:
- Grass-fed meats-Bison and lamb are popular alternatives to beef.
- Root vegetables- Sweet potatoes, turnips, parsnips, and rutabaga are filled with necessary vitamins and minerals. Fall and winter are best for eating them.
- Leafy greens- Greens like arugula and dandelion have phytonutrients that you won't find in other foods. Arugula is high in magnesium which can help with anxiety.
- Legumes- Red beans, black beans, garbanzo beans, and beyond. There are so many options. Beans fill you up fast and give you long-lasting energy. Plus they are usually inexpensive.
- Fruit- Eating fruit can be a great alternative for a sweet tooth. Plus if you aren't worried about carbs they’re a great gluten-free option.
- Nuts and seeds- can help get rid of the urge to munch on chips and other junk foods.
- Oils- highly processed oils (soybean, corn, and canola) are found in many foods. These oils cause inflammation which is the root cause of many diseases. Some are also high in trans fat which causes obesity. Stick with healthier oils like olive, coconut, and lard.
2. Your Stress Levels Are High
A 2017 study done by the American Psychological Association (APA) saw that 3 out of 4 Americans reported at least one stress symptom in the last month.
This statistic is telling how prevalent stress is in Western society. Stress has a powerful effect on the body. It increases cortisol which is a hormone that is elevated when your flight/fight response is activated. High levels of cortisol make you feel hungrier.
Stress during a transition like menopause prevents weight loss from happening.
One study tracked 58 women and saw that after a stressful event, the women burned 104 fewer calories than the women who were not stressed. Over time this could lead to significant weight gain.
Besides weight gain, chronic stress can also lead to:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Increased joint pain
- Depression/ anxiety
In order to combat stress, boundaries must be put into your life.
Each day schedule time that’s reserved just for you. Use this time to take a longer bath or spend time in nature, perhaps gardening. Cultivate love for yourself. This will help you adjust more smoothly to all of the changes that your body is going through.
3. There Isn’t Enough Movement in Your Life
Sustained weight loss is rarely achieved by diet alone. Movement must be a consistent part of your life.
This will help you lower your stress levels which in turn will help you lose the weight you want. Keep in mind that the movement you do each day doesn’t have to be a traditional form of exercise. Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) is a great way to avoid being sedentary and lose weight in the processes.
You can easily add NEAT into your life by:
- Doing 10 minutes of light ab work or yoga after waking.
- Getting up more often when you’re at your desk. Even twirling around in your chair will help.
- Park far away from where you work.
- Using the stairs as much as possible. Nothing gets your heart rate pumping like climbing 12 flights.
- If you have children, run around with them. Being childlike in mind and body helps reduce stress.
- Pacing around while talking on the phone.
- Clean and cook while dancing to music.
Adding NEAT into your life will help you look at weight loss in a different way. You don’t have to have structured time to exercise.
NEAT helps you lose weight without the stigma that other forms of activity may have.
4. Emotional Blocks Need To Be Lifted
As life goes on many of us hold on to old emotions without being aware of them.
This trapped energy causes havoc in your physical body which causes many of the symptoms that I described above. As you transition into menopause look at it as an opportunity to start fresh. Ask yourself how you want this brand new stage of life to be.
You may be surprised at the answers you receive.
Since you most likely don’t have the responsibilities of motherhood take this time to heal yourself of old wounds. There are plenty of professionals that can assist you in this healing. But much of this healing can be done yourself.
Ways to facilitate self-healing are:
- Journaling- Writing out your feelings by hand creates a deeper connection than typing. You’ll be able to release emotions that have been stuck in your system for years.
- Meditation- This is perhaps one of the best ways to remove emotional blocks. There are plenty of free guided meditations available. Start with 10-15 minute sessions to build up your practice.
- Grounding- Most of us walk on Mother Earth disconnected because of shoes. Spend time in nature barefoot. The Earth has negative ions that help rebalance and heal your body. There is also anecdotal evidence that grounding aids in weight loss.
As you can see menopause has the potential to be one of the most satisfactory and healing times of your life.
You’re able to take better care of yourself by cleaning up your diet, reducing stress, moving more, and healing old wounds. This is a new chapter that can be filled with love and adventure.
Weight loss doesn’t have to stop just because you’ve reached a certain age. In fact, it’s more possible than ever.
You have lots of life left to live.