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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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Last Updated on November 20, 2018

10 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

10 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

A new year beautifully symbolizes a new chapter opening in the book that is your life. But while so many people like you aspire to achieve ambitious goals, only 12% of you will ever experience the taste of victory. Sound bad? It is. 156 million people (that’s 156,000,000) will probably give up on their resolution before you can say “confetti.” Keep on reading to learn why New Year’s resolutions fail (and how to succeed).

Note: Since losing weight is the most common New Year’s resolution, I chose to focus on weight loss (but these principles can be applied to just about any goal you think of — make it work for you!).

1. You’re treating a marathon like a sprint.

Slow and steady habit change might not be sexy, but it’s a lot more effective than the “I want it ALL and I want it NOW!” mentality. Small changes stick better because they aren’t intimidating (if you do it right, you’ll barely even notice them!).

If you have a lot of bad habits today, the last thing you need to do is remodel your entire life overnight. Want to lose weight? Stop it with the crash diets and excessive exercise plans. Instead of following a super restrictive plan that bans anything fun, add one positive habit per week. For example, you could start with something easy like drinking more water during your first week. The following week, you could move on to eating 3 fruits and veggies every day. And the next week, you could aim to eat a fistful of protein at every meal.

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2. You put the cart before the horse.

“Supplementing” a crappy diet is stupid, so don’t even think about it. Focus on the actions that produce the overwhelming amount of results. If it’s not important, don’t worry about it.

3. You don’t believe in yourself.

A failure to act can cripple you before you leave the starting line. If you’ve tried (and failed) to set a New Year’s resolution (or several) in the past, I know it might be hard to believe in yourself. Doubt is a nagging voice in your head that will resist personal growth with every ounce of its being. The only way to defeat doubt is to believe in yourself. Who cares if you’ve failed a time or two? This year, you can try again (but better this time).

4. Too much thinking, not enough doing.

The best self-help book in the world can’t save you if you fail to take action. Yes, seek inspiration and knowledge, but only as much as you can realistically apply to your life. If you can put just one thing you learn from every book or article you read into practice, you’ll be on the fast track to success.

5. You’re in too much of a hurry.

If it was quick-and-easy, everybody would do it, so it’s in your best interest to exercise your patience muscles.

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6. You don’t enjoy the process.

Is it any wonder people struggle with their weight when they see eating as a chore and exercise as a dreadful bore? The best fitness plan is one that causes the least interruption to your daily life. The goal isn’t to add stress to your life, but rather to remove it.

The best of us couldn’t bring ourselves to do something we hate consistently, so make getting in shape fun, however you’ve gotta do it. That could be participating in a sport you love, exercising with a good friend or two, joining a group exercise class so you can meet new people, or giving yourself one “free day” per week where you forget about your training plan and exercise in any way you please.

7. You’re trying too hard.

Unless you want to experience some nasty cravings, don’t deprive your body of pleasure. The more you tell yourself you can’t have a food, the more you’re going to want it. As long as you’re making positive choices 80-90% of the time, don’t sweat the occasional indulgence.

8. You don’t track your progress.

Keeping a written record of your training progress will help you sustain an “I CAN do this” attitude. All you need is a notebook and a pen. For every workout, record what exercises you do, the number of repetitions performed, and how much weight you used if applicable. Your goal? Do better next time. Improving your best performance on a regular basis offers positive feedback that will encourage you to keep going.

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9. You have no social support.

It can be hard to stay motivated when you feel alone. The good news? You’re not alone: far from it. Post a status on Facebook asking your friends if anybody would like to be your gym or accountability buddy. If you know a co-worker who shares your goal, try to coordinate your lunch time and go out together so you’ll be more likely to make positive decisions. Join a support group of like-minded folks on Facebook, LinkedIn, or elsewhere on the internet. Strength in numbers is powerful, so use it to your advantage.

10. You know your what but not your why.

The biggest reason why most New Year’s resolutions fail: you know what you want but you not why you want it.

Yes: you want to get fit, lose weight, or be healthy… but why is your goal important to you? For example:

Do you want to be fit so you can be a positive example that your children can admire and look up to?

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Do you want to lose fat so you’ll feel more confident and sexy in your body than ever before?

Do you want to be healthy so you’ll have increased clarity, energy, and focus that would carry over into every single aspect of your life?

Whether you’re getting in shape because you want to live longer, be a good example, boost your energy, feel confident, have an excuse to buy hot new clothes, or increase your likelihood of getting laid (hey, I’m not here to judge) is up to you. Forget about any preconceived notions and be true to yourself.

  • The more specific you can make your goal,
  • The more vivid it will be in your imagination,
  • The more encouraged you’ll be,
  • The more likely it is you will succeed (because yes, you CAN do this!).

I hope this guide to why New Year’s resolutions fail helps you achieve your goals this year. If you found this helpful, please pass it along to some friends so they can be successful just like you. What do you hope to accomplish next year?

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