As a health coach, I have worked with many women who are going through menopause and perimenopause - one of the most common concerns that they have is of course weight gain.
Myself included, as I have just started HRT and I too am concerned about potential weight gain. Although I haven't gained weight on the scales my body has definitely changed shape and feels a little 'thicker’ if that makes any sense to you? So I was intrigued and if I'm honest - concerned when I visited the NHS website and it advised that I intake a high Carb diet! WHAT? Surely this is the time to be more mindful than ever about having a low to no carb diet? Any menopausal expert in health and nutrition will most likely agree that carbs are often just hidden sugars and this infact is the LAST thing a woman struggling with weight gain needs?
Weight gain during menopause is not uncommon. In fact, it is estimated that women can gain anywhere from 5 to 10 pounds during this time. This weight gain can occur for several reasons. Firstly, as women age, our metabolism slows down, which means we burn fewer calories than we did when you were younger.
Secondly, the decrease in estrogen levels during menopause can cause an increase in abdominal fat, which is not only uncomfortable, but also increases the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.
However, as a health coach, I want to reassure women that there are things that you can do to manage your weight during menopause. Firstly, it is important to focus on a healthy diet that is rich in low carb vegetables, and lean protein (organic if at all possible). These foods will provide the body with the nutrients that it needs to function optimally and can help to manage weight gain. Secondly, it might be also be a time to research fasting for periods of time, this allows the body to go into ‘repair’ mode. Thirdly, regular exercise is crucial during menopause. Exercise not only helps to burn calories but also has a positive effect on mood, which can help to boost self-confidence. It is recommended that women engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week, such as brisk walking or cycling. Finally, it is important to seek support during this time. Menopause can be a difficult transition, but talking to friends, family, or a health coach can help to provide support and motivation. Joining a support group or finding a workout buddy can also be helpful in maintaining motivation and accountability.
Don’t forget there is also a fabulous forum right her on menopause.co.uk, where you can find lots of new connections with women going through a similar journey to you. You do no need to feel alone.
Look after you, and try to speak to yourself kindly if you have put on a bit of weight, there are always things that you can do to help yourself.
Angeline Davies is a qualified Health Coach Specialising in Perimenopause and Menopause.
Accredited By The PCI Royal College of General Practitioners.