So you've hit your forties, and while that can come with a lot of benefits, there are some downsides that you just weren't anticipating. While menopause doesn't typically begin until you hit your fifties, those bothersome symptoms often kick in well in advance. Weight gain, especially in the abdominal area, can be a particularly irritating symptom.
As we age, our estrogen levels decrease, which affects the speed of our metabolism. It becomes harder for us to lose weight, and that added poundage can be dangerous to our health. It can lead to conditions like heart disease, diabetes, some cancers, and possibly even early death. If you are you ready to fight that "menopot," then check out these helpful tips to help you keep that excess weight off!
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1. Keep it moving. It's time to hit the gym, ladies. Menopausal weight gain is best combatted with a vigorous combination of aerobic and anaerobic exercises. By dividing your time between cardio and weight training, you will build the necessary endurance and muscle to burn through those unwanted pounds. Also, try to mix up your workouts as much as possible so that your body doesn't become accustomed to your routine!
2. Control those portions. It is estimated that your metabolism becomes about 20 percent slower once you hit menopause, so regulating how much you eat is absolutely essential. Make sure that you are keeping an eye on your portions, and try to supplement your diet with extra servings of fruits and veggies to ward off those mid-afternoon cravings!
3. Stay vertical, not horizontal. Fight the urge to settle down on the sofa for a movie marathon and stay on your feet! The mere act of keeping your body in motion helps your metabolism stay activated so that it can shred through those lingering fat deposits. Little things like standing while you are talking on the phone or parking further from your destination will help you keep those activity levels up!
4. Fight the fat cravings. Hidden within our favorite snacks are unhealthy fats like trans fats and hydrogenated oils. They can really pack on the pounds, especially once menopause hits. Moderate amounts of healthy fats, such as nuts, avocados, olives and fatty fish like salmon are great foods to incorporate into your diet instead.
5. Tick tock, mind the clock. Gone are the days when we could eat what we wanted when we wanted. Large dinners and late night snacks are off the table once menopause rears its ugly head. Keep an eye on the quantity and quality of the food you consume throughout the day, and try to avoid eating hard-to-digest foods after 3pm.
6. Catch some ZZZs. Sleeping a solid seven to eight hours every night helps regulate our appetite hormones and gives us the energy to maintain a healthy, active lifestyle. Unfortunately, insomnia, night sweats and hot flashes often go hand in hand with menopausal weight gain. Try to keep your bedroom nice and cool and stick to a sleep schedule to keep these nasty side effects at bay.
7. Chill out. Stress is a key component to weight gain. When we experience high levels of anxiety on a regular basis our cortisol levels skyrocket, and fat deposits develop within our stomach. By finding new ways to manage stress, such as meditation, writing in a journal, or going on a leisurely stroll around the neighborhood, you can combat that unseemly weight gain.
>> Read more: 5 Signs Your Hormones Are Taking Over
To learn more about fighting menopausal weight gain, check out our sources: Everyday Health, WebMD, Cleveland Clinic.