Tips for Managing Menopausal Weight Gain
As more women turn back to natural ways to deal with the symptoms of menopause, they are finding there are methods that are very workable and easy to incorporate into their lifestyles. To be sure, menopause can literally put a woman's life on pause as she deals with the myriad symptoms that accompany this unique time in life.
Dealing with it the Natural Way
Along with bioidentical hormones and other natural treatments, dietary changes and the inclusion of certain foods can go a long way to easing sometimes troubling menopausal symptoms. One such symptom is the weight gain that is purported to be part and parcel of menopause. It is just expected that a woman will gain weight during menopause, and although many women do, it isn't necessary to gain large amounts of weight at this time. By choosing an eating method that helps the metabolism, women can actually manage and even lose weight while going through menopause.
When Dinnertime Rolls Around
In many homes, dinner time is the time for the biggest meal of the day. It is usually the time when everyone is home and perhaps the only time in the day when a family gets to sit together and connect. It's an important time of day and one that should be respected. However, many women eat very lightly throughout the day, having a small breakfast (or skipping it entirely), a small lunch (or skipping it entirely), and then when dinner rolls around they're ready to eat - big time. So, dinner is a huge meal, usually a heavy one as well, and it comes at a time of day when women tend to be less physically active. That means that most of the calories taken in during this heavy evening meal are stored as fat because they're not burned for energy.
Becoming a Grazer
Perhaps the best answer to this dilemma is to learn to become a grazer. Recent studies have shown that the optimum number of times to eat in a day is five - and that means five small feedings or three meals and two snacks. People who eat more frequently during the day tend to consume fewer calories and fat grams by day's end. Another potential weight-loss perk to this method of eating is that you burn more calories metabolizing food when you spread it throughout the day. Another benefit of grazing is that energy levels remain stable because blood glucose is maintained. It's a lot easier on the stomach, too.
Learning How to Graze
There are a few ways you can ease into grazing, if you're new to the concept. Begin by making portion sizes much smaller at dinner and lower the fat content of the foods you eat in the evening. If you can handle it, switch your sugary or fat dessert for a piece of fruit, or create a low-fat, sugarless version of the dessert you want to serve for yourself. Cut out the after-dinner snacking, or, if you really must have something to eat before bed, make it a small amount of good protein - like a ½ cup of yogurt. Often people eat at night because they're bored. If that's you, then pick up a good book, listen to some great music, catch up with a friend on the phone or soak in a warm tub. If you still have a lot of energy, how about taking in a fitness class of some sort?
Finding Time for Fitness
Fitness isn't food, but it is certainly tied to your diet. Women going through menopause benefit greatly from exercise. It helps to decrease blood cholesterol levels, decrease bone loss, improves your ability to deal with stress, improves circulation, improves heart function and improves your body's ability to use oxygen and nutrients. You don't have to lift weights or even do an aerobics class. Try Tai Chi or yoga to lengthen and strengthen your body without a lot of bouncing or muscle strain. Pilates is another great way to increase strength and flexibility as well as gain muscle tone by using your own body weight.