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Bestselling Nutritionist Reveals 4 Keys to Weight Loss After Menopause

Bestselling Nutritionist Reveals 4 Keys to Weight Loss After Menopause

I recently sat down with nutritionist and bestselling author Dr. Diana Fleming to ask how women can lose weight after menopause.

Read on to find out her answers to my questions:

Why is losing weight after menopause so difficult?

Well, first I want to say, as a woman who has been through menopause, I know how frustrating this process can be, and I want the ladies reading to know there’s hope. You can have a healthy, attractive body after menopause, but it is challenging and I’ll tell you why.

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In one word, the problem is “change.” Menopause is a time of change for your body. Your metabolism has been slowing down since your 30s, and certain hormone levels change, which makes it more difficult to lose weight or even to simply keep weight off.

Also, one of the most frustrating parts of menopause, as it relates to your appearance, is that in this period, body fat migrates and concentrates around your stomach, hips, and butt. So even if you don’t gain a single pound, you may notice yourself looking pudgier in the mirror.

Unfortunately, the changes I’ve just mentioned are largely unavoidable, which is why losing weight after menopause is difficult. But you can change your lifestyle, which is a huge part of weight loss, so you can feel confident in your body after menopause.

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What are some things women can do to lose weight during and after menopause?

One of the biggest things I would say is to get more physically active. As we get older, we often experience a decrease in physical activity, and that makes sense. We’re busy with work and maybe children. We don’t have as much energy. And honestly, it can be intimidating for a woman in menopause to hop on a treadmill surrounded by 20-somethings who look like they can eat whatever they want without gaining a pound. As someone who has been there, I’m very sensitive to this. But I would encourage women to find ways to be more physically active. Go for a walk after dinner – just in your neighborhood. Use this time to listen to an audiobook or call a friend. Turn it into “me” time that you look forward to. That may sound counter-intuitive, but I’m actually serious. Exercise is a proven stress reliever, and it can be very enjoyable.

Of course, there’s more to slimming down than being physically active. The food you eat plays a huge role too. But I don’t want to step on toes by promoting one type of diet, so I’m focusing on exercise since you can add it to any eating plan.

What are some specific exercise tips for women in menopause?

Okay, I’ll give you four, but you should talk to your doctor before you make any of the changes mentioned in this post. These are not specific recommendations. They’re principles I use to stay slim, and I’m in my 60s, by the way.

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1. The first thing I do is try to sleep 7-8 hours at night.

I said I was going to talk about exercise, but let’s face it, we all know we should be exercising – and we don’t do it. I’m convinced one reason is because we’re tired. And a good night’s sleep helps me get the energy I need to follow through. Plus, lack of sleep has been shown to increase carb cravings and slow metabolism, both of which are problems when it comes to weight loss.

2. Along those same lines, I stay hydrated by drinking water throughout the day.

Kind of like being sleep deprived, when you’re dehydrated, you won’t have as much energy, and you won’t feel like being physically active. A simple method for staying hydrated is to drink water until your urine is clear instead of yellow.

3. I make regular aerobic exercise part of my weekly routine.

And to improve my results, I use a method called high intensity interval training (HIIT). That probably sounds extreme, but it’s basically just alternating between mild activity and more strenuous activity. This can speed up your metabolism and burn more fat in a shorter period of time.

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I personally do HIIT on the treadmill. I alternate between walking and running on a treadmill for about 25 minutes, and I do this twice a week. My particular version of HIIT is to alternate between walking and running every tenth of a mile, gradually increasing the speed of the running every time.

4. I do strength training.

A pound of muscle burns more calories than a pound of fat. But women generally have lower muscle mass, at least compared to men, and our bodies lose muscle as we age. If you’ll invest the time to build some muscle, your body can burn more calories every second of the day.

Obviously, the best way to build muscle is strength training – lifting weights. This is something I personally do twice a week. If you’re interested in giving it a try, make sure to learn the mechanics from a professional to avoid injuring yourself.

What would you say to someone who is discouraged?

Well, as I’ve mentioned, you can have a healthy, attractive body after menopause. So I would want them to know there’s hope for that. But I would also encourage women in this position to realize that, even though it’s frustrating, aging is a natural part of life. I still want to look and feel beautiful, but I know that means something different for me now than it did when I was 30. So I work hard to stay active and look good for my age, and I celebrate all of the attractive things about me that have come from being a bit older.

Featured photo credit: Dr. Diana Fleming/Paul Martin via flickr.com

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Kyle Young

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Last Updated on September 28, 2020

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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Con #2: Less Human Interaction

One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

Con #4: Unique Distractions

Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

Final Thoughts

Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

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Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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