The Natural Beauty Show discuss menopause
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Weight gain during the menopause is to be expected, and there are a few different factors associated with why it happens. During the hormonal change, a woman’s muscle mass decreases, meaning their body requires fewer calories.
Failing to reduce their calorie intake in line with this means they will put on weight as a result of overeating.
The NHS guidelines suggest that menopausal women may need “around 200 fewer calories” each day.
Changing hormone levels also affect the way women store fat, and the body will tend to store more calories than it burns.
This then causes a build-up of fat around the midsection in particular, posing a specific health risk.
Belly fat can be tricky to get rid of but fat storage in this area is associated with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes and heart attacks, and can be bad news for other serious conditions.
So how can women prevent weight gain during the menopause?
The clinical team at Lloyds Pharmacy suggested a few ways in which women can help themselves and their bodies while going through this somewhat challenging cycle, and it doesn’t include a diet with specific foods.
They advised: “You don’t need to eat any specific foods during the menopause, but there are some changes you can make to the way you eat, especially if you’re experiencing weight gain.
“A good place to start is with smaller portions.
“After the age of 40, our metabolic rate slows down, and after the menopause we lose muscle mass.
“This means our bodies need fewer calories.
“Cutting back isn’t always easy, but sometimes it’s just a case of eating more mindfully – don’t overfill your plate, and don’t keep eating after you feel full.”
They also recommended sticking to a “balanced diet” as much as possible.
This will have numerous health benefits not just for weight loss.
“Look at your diet to make sure it’s as healthy, varied, and balanced as possible,” they said.
“You should be eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, as well as starchy carbohydrates that are high in fibre, and good protein sources like pulses, eggs, oily fish, and lean meat.”
They also highlighted one “important food group to make sure is included.
“Dairy is also really important, as this can help to combat your risk of osteoporosis, which increases during the menopause,” they explained.
“Aim to get some dairy into your daily diet – good options are semi-skimmed milk, low-fat cheese, and low-fat plain yoghurt.”
But the team warned women to “be careful” of other problem factors.
“Try to cut back on salt, sugar, and saturated fat, and try to do more home cooking rather than relying on takeaways or ready meals,” they advised.
“You’ll also want to be careful about your intake of caffeine and alcohol, as these can worsen hot flushes and interfere with sleep.”
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