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9 Expert Tips For Midlife Weight Loss

Did you know that menopause weight gain affects 50% of women? The ‘spare tyre’ that literally appears from nowhere and won’t go away is a very real phenomenon. The good news is that you absolutely can do something about it, and you can take back control. What’s more, you can do it without any fads, gimmicks, or quick fix diets. Read on to find out more from the award-winning Registered Dietician and founder of Harley Street at Home, Nigel Denby.

Why do women gain weight in menopause?

Let’s start by looking at why so many women gain weight during the menopause.

While it’s not inevitable, a combination of hormonal, metabolic and social influences all combine to contribute to up to a 10kg gain during the perimenopause for many women:

  • Oestrogen, the female hormone that gives a typically more female hourglass body shape declines through perimenopause and menopause, resulting in a more filled-out shape – notably around the trunk. Declining oestrogen levels also have a detrimental effect on metabolic rate
  • Metabolic rate (how effectively your body burns calories) gently slows through the natural process of ageing for both men and women and lean muscle loss starts around the age of 35 years. Unless you reduce calorie intake, you gain weight
  • Life changes in mid-life may also have an impact on your diet and lifestyle. Menopause symptoms which affect mood, confidence and self-esteem can also impact eating, drinking and exercise behaviours

If all or some of these occur at the same time, it’s highly likely that some weight gain will occur.

Is it possible to lose weight gained in the perimenopause and menopause?

We promise you it is, but it’s not the time to be launching into fad diets of any kind. Your body needs good nutrition during the menopause to support good health, particularly bone and heart health. Rather than using an off-the-shelf, one size fits all weight loss diet, we strongly recommend you develop a diet and lifestyle plan you can follow for the rest of your life. The hormonal and metabolic influences which have contributed to menopause weight gain won’t go away, so whatever plan you use to get rid of menopause weight gain needs to be something you can continue long term.

My top tips to lose – and keep off – menopause weight gain

  1. Set realistic expectations for what you want to achieve from the outset, and more importantly why you want to achieve it. A new dress for a special occasion, more energy for children and grandchildren, or dancing naked in your nineties – if it matters to you, there’s your reason for change
  2. Slow and steady change is more sustainable in the long term. Wave goodbye to radical and extreme weight loss measures that more often than not lead to a vicious cycle of yo-yo dieting and weight gain, not loss. Say hello to a sustainable, healthy lifestyle for the rest of your life
  3. Ditch the scales. Success is just as easily measured by how your clothes fit, your body measurements, and above all, how you feel
  4. When thinking about food consider food groups rather than individual food items. Consider if you’re getting the right proportions of protein, carbohydrates and fruit and vegetables every day, and with every meal
  5. Plan meals and snacks to stay in control and fuel your body with the nutrition it needs to thrive
  6. Eat slowly and mindfully; savour every meal and every mouthful. Mealtimes shouldn’t be a sprint. Eating this way makes it more satisfying and allows your body to feel full – you may stop eating sooner than eating really quickly
  7. Don’t dive into supplements to fill the gaps. Vitamin D is the only supplement I recommend in autumn and winter. Anything else should be based on clinical need
  8. Movement matters, so get your steps in and increase that calorie deficit. In simple terms, aim to burn more calories than you
  9. Consider strength exercise as part of your weight management regime. It’s the most efficient method for increasing muscle mass, metabolic rate and changing body shape

Nigel Denby BSc RD is an award-winning Registered Dietitian and founder of the 40,00 strong menopause support community If you would like support managing your weight, you can sign up to their next Back to Basics Lifestyle and Weight Management Programme – just click here.

Nigel is offering My Menopause Centre’s pause. community a lifetime 25% discount off your monthly subscription – just follow these steps: choose supported care, pay monthly and select ‘I’ve got a coupon’, then type in MMC20.

If you missed our brilliant conversation with Dr Clare and Nigel where we discussed the secret to eating well in the menopause, you can catch it here.

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