Menopause doesn’t have to rule your life. In fact, it doesn’t even have to rule your day. Weight gain during this can be especially frustrating because it doesn’t necessarily mean there is an existing problem with diet or exercise. The same routine that worked for decades can suddenly be turned upside down.
It Might Not Be Menopause
While weight gain can be common, it’s important to remember that older adults, both women and men, are more susceptible to weight gain, muscle loss, and a decrease in bone density with age.
However, if you’ve been keeping up with a healthy diet and regular exercise routine, you are already on your way to staying in shape. Here are a few ways to help you regain your pre-menopause figure.
Make Simple Diet Changes
- Drink plenty of water. As we age, our thirst signals can dull, which means the craving to drink water can decrease over time. Make a conscious effort to drink enough water throughout the day.
- Eat more protein. Now is the time to focus on protein intake, especially if you enjoy foods rich in carbohydrates. Lean protein helps maintain muscle mass, which can support better weight maintenance as we age.
- Avoid sugar and empty-calorie processed foods. No one is perfect, and we all enjoy a sugary snack now and then, but bad sweet habits can be a serious roadblock in your path to weight loss.
Older adults are more likely to drop off in routine exercises, leading to the age-related weight gain. You don’t necessarily need to train for a triathlon to get back into shape, but it is important to develop a proper fitness foundation:
- Add strength training to your workout. As age-related muscle loss happens, resistance training with dumbbells or other free weights (in addition to eating more lean protein) is a good way to maintain muscle mass.
- Stretch more. Better mobility can help make exercise more enjoyable and reduce the increased risk of injury as you age, so don’t skip pre- and post-workout stretching.
- Low impact exercise is a great way to reduce stress on your knees and joints, and aerobic exercise can greatly improve your heart and lung health.
- Change it up! If the same old exercise routine just isn’t doing it for you anymore, add in a new movement or two to the mix. It doesn’t matter if it’s resistance, cardio, or mobility—simply adding something different can improve motivation and help increase results.
You might not personally be experiencing menopause or weight gain associated with it, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be supportive to those in your life who are. To support a spouse, family member, or friend who might feel frustrated from their symptoms or weight gain, avoid pulling away. Instead, do an activity with them that can take their mind off it, such as jogging, going to a funny movie, grabbing a cup of coffee or tea, or volunteering for a charity. Activities that aid in relaxation, such as massage or yoga, can also be helpful.
Get a Head Start
Weight gain from menopause doesn’t have to be permanent, and getting a head start on your weight and overall health can make dealing with it far less daunting. If you are approaching this pivotal time in your life, start implementing the tips above for a much easier transition and path to maintaining your overall health.