Menopause weight loss: Follow three basic principles to shed pounds – ‘most important’
This Morning: Early menopause sufferer explains symptoms
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Unfortunately, there is no singular menopause diet but a dietician found one that has a proven track record of working well both before and after the change. Registered dietitian Elizabeth Ward, is a co-author with Hillary Wright of The Menopause Diet Plan, A Natural Guide to Managing Hormones, Health, and Happiness.
Their eating plans grew from decades of working with women, personal experiences and a deep dive into the scientific literature.
And Ward revealed a health-minded diet can help women manage any weight issues and lose weight – or prevent weight gain in the first place.
She told TODAY: “Ageing reduces your calorie-burning capacity and a reduction in oestrogen often results in extra belly fat.”
In the book, the menopause diet laid out takes inspiration from the ever-popular Mediterranean diet and DASH diet.
Both have undergone extensive research and findings suggest that they can contribute to health improvements, including healthier blood pressure levels and a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
Ward states it encourages consuming ample amounts of whole fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds and other nutritious foods to help women feel satisfied.
“[This is key] so women don’t reach for that extra serving or two of snack chips, candy and cookies,” she explained.
The Mediterranean and DASH diets have been studied extensively and findings suggest that both diets can contribute to health improvements, such as a lower risk of type 2 diabetes and healthier blood pressure levels.
“A Mediterranean-style eating pattern reduces the chances of being overweight, and women may experience fewer symptoms associated with menopause, so their quality of life may improve,” she continued, while adding that it is “good for your gut, lowers the risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer and may help improve mood in menopausal women.”
There are three basic principles the book’s menopause diet lay out.
Eat a plant-based diet
Warn explained that women going through the menopause need a good mix of a healthy foods that could promote weight loss and alleviate symptoms.
She said: “A balanced eating plan rich in plant foods supplies the right mix of healthy fats, fibre, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.
“[This] promotes better health in women, particularly those ages 45 and older who may be going through the menopause transition.
Know your calorie limit
While it may be difficult for women to find their calorie limit through a process of trial and error, Ward said that women over age if 40 will need to adjust their food intake to avoid menopausal weight gain.
The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention suggest sticking to a 1,200-calorie diet is the right approach for overweight menopausal women.
They noted that it could lead to a weight loss rate of one to two pounds per week.
And while this might seem daunting at the beginning, using healthy meal plans can help menopausal women meet their nutritional needs and stick to that daily limit.
“We hate the thought of counting every calorie, and we realise that the thought of doing that can trigger bad memories of dieting,” Ward admitted.
“However, everyone has a calorie ‘budget,’ and simply eating a plant-based diet may not be enough if you aren’t aware of your limits.”
Eat according to your body clock
Eating at specific times during the day has long been a weight loss technique for many women, and Ward explained that we are ruled by natural body rhythms that affect our health.
“Meal timing is one of the most important principles of a menopause diet,” she said.
She went on to point out that meal timing is involved in weight control, regulating blood glucose levels, better sleep and possibly lowering cancer risk.
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