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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 January 14, 2019

7 Ways To Make Exercise Fun For Everyone

7 Ways To Make Exercise Fun For Everyone

From Atkins to Paleo to eating gluten-free despite not being one of the rare few people afflicted with celiac disease, fad diets are everywhere. It drives me crazy because I believe these diets do more harm than good. Your body is made up of a variety of vitamins, nutrients, and minerals, and losing weight healthily isn’t possible when you fill your body with unnecessary synthetic plastics, sugars, and powders. There’s no easy button in life.

What you need to do is exercise, which isn’t very appealing to many people. Workouts take work, so there’s already a stigma involved in going to the gym. Starting a healthy workout regimen becomes easier when you make it fun. If you want to live long and prosper, get off the couch and try these methods to turn your workout into a playout.

1. Take the scenic route.

Walking is an easy way to transition to a healthy lifestyle, and it’s free. Not only do you burn calories (check out this calculator for how many calories you burn based on your weight), but you see the world in a different way. Hiking in nature is great if you have access to it, but don’t let living in an urban area deter you from walking.

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Whenever I’m creatively stuck I get my head straight by walking a couple of miles. It’s also how I discover new paths, meet new people, and stumble upon hole-in-the-wall spots I never would have found otherwise. You could drive past the same place every day and never appreciate the beauty, nor even notice it’s there.

2. Distract yourself.

No matter what exercise routine you choose, use the time to meditate. You may wonder how marathon runners are able to put so many miles on their bodies. It’s because the pain from running that you avoid is something they’ve learned to harness to enter a transcendental state. If you’re aware of the benefits of meditation and exercise but don’t have time to do both, you can combine them, killing two birds with one healthy stone.

3. Listen to music or podcasts.

There are few experiences in life more pleasurable than turning up the music and drowning out the world around you. With so many podcasts and music apps available on your smartphone, you can easily find entertainment options perfectly suited to your personal tastes. Never worry what people may think of you when working out;instead, crank up the volume and get lost in your own world. You’ll be in shape before you know it.

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4. Bring a friend.

Some people can’t go anywhere alone. While I highly recommend dining out and seeing a movie in a theater alone, having company while exercising is very helpful. It allows you to pace yourself with someone else, and gives you a coach to motivate and push harder than you may have on your own.

Many exercises are safer when done with a friend, and some sports can only be played with another person. Involving others in your goals can mean the difference between success and failure. Just remember to continue exercising if the other person flakes, or they’ll be in control of your health.

5. Accessorize.

There are accessories that can make exercise easier, and sometimes buying a new toy can add some much-needed fun to your routine. With apps like RunKeeper and Nike+, your smartphone is capable of tracking your vitals and progress. Wrist weights can add a new dimension to your workout, and, if you exercise at night, a headlamp can help you see what’s in front of you so you don’t trip.

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For urban runners and power-walkers, one of the biggest obstacles is other people. It’s difficult to get in your meditative zone and enjoy your music when you constantly have to dodge people. To resolve this vexing issue, Runbell, a startup in Tokyo, has developed the runner’s version of the bicycle bell. With this lightweight brass bell warning people you’re approaching from behind, you’re free to maintain your transcendental state while continuing your workout. Head to their Kickstarter campaign to pledge your support.

6. Compete.

A little healthy competition can motivate you to push yourself further in your workout regimen. There are apps like Zombies, Run! which turns your run into a video game, and MyFitnessPal which allows you to connect with others in the exercise community. Whether you’re directly competing with a friend, an online community, or against your previous self, setting goals is the key to reaching them. Running with no destination can feel like an impossible task, and it’s easy to get distracted.

7. Relax.

The best part about exercising is how much you enjoy the downtime. If you think laying on your couch all day is enjoyable, it has nothing on that hour you spend as a couch potato after a rigorous workout. Jay-Z said it best, “in order to experience joy, you need pain.” The harder you push yourself while exercising, the better you’ll feel when you’re relaxing.

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With that said, don’t relax too much, or it loses the effect. It’s okay to indulge every so often. Treat yourself to some junk food you’re craving, imbibe a drink here and there, and spend a day vegging out on your couch. Staying healthy doesn’t have to be torture. Just turn down when you can and dedicate some time to better the health of your body. You only get one.

Featured photo credit: tpsdave via pixabay.com

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