‘Cut back’ on popular drink or risk ‘storing more body fat’

Women’s bodies change a lot pre, during or post-menopause, with several experiencing weight gain. 

Claire Jones, founder of YourOneLife Healthy Weight Solutions discussed the diet changes menopausal women should make to combat weight gain – including “cutting back” on alcohol. 

Claire said “women often gain weight” around menopause because “a perfect storm of circumstances come together at the same time”. Some of the circumstances are within control, some are not but “we do have choices about how we respond to them”, she added. 

The women Claire works with have “reported difficulties with losing or managing their weight”, and “many feel the menopause is strongly related”. 

“It’s well known that it can be associated with weight gain, but the good news is that it’s not inevitable, and can be managed,” she added. 

The main issues Claire has found menopausal women suffer from are reduced activity which leads to boredom snacking, super-busy jobs or lifestyles leading to chaotic eating patterns including comfort eating and binges, reduced muscle mass as a result of lack of use as we age, hormonal changes affecting how and where the body stores fat, stress, and mood swings and brain fog. 

“All of these factors can lead to issues with sleep, alcohol and other substance use, and snacking, comfort eating, bingeing, (especially on highly palatable, high-calorie foods with a low nutritional content),” Claire said. 

As for how someone can lose weight during menopause, Claire recommends eating according to the 80/20 principle: “If 80 percent of our calorie intake is coming from nutrient-dense, minimally processed foods, we can then have 20 percent of our calorie intake from whatever we fancy,” she explained. 

Women should aim for “a small calorie deficit” because “when we reduce our calorie intake we also reduce our nutritional intake, and we need to ensure we are eating enough to provide the brain and body with what they need”. 

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Drinking enough water is vital too and women should “aim for two litres a day, as this supports weight loss in a variety of ways, as well as being important for good health”. 

Women should “cut back” on alcohol, however. Claire said: “As many people say, and I agree with – everything in moderation, as this is good advice. 

“Cutting things out that we are designed to eat isn’t usually necessary or helpful and there is no ‘good’ or ‘bad’, it’s about how far something is taking us towards or away from our goals. We want to avoid going to extremes.

“Alcohol, however, is definitely worth considering cutting back on because of the impact it has on our weight in various ways,” she added. 

Alcohol contains seven calories per gram, so a typical bottle of wine is around 600 calories. 

“It’s a poison so our bodies process it before food, meaning food calories we may eat are more likely to be stored as fat,” Claire revealed. 

Alcohol also lower inhibitions, so you’re less likely to care about goals, and give into temptation – potentially drinking or eating more than intended.  

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