What is going to be different this year?
It’s the last chance to say happy new year! I’m sure that if you’re reading this, like millions of other women, weight loss is at the top of your list and at the forefront of your mind this January. The question is, are you in the same place as you were last January, making the same old resolution thinking that, for some reason, this year will be different?
Don't fear a higher BMI in menopause
Well, I hate to break it to you but unless you do something differently this year, nothing will change. So, I wanted to talk in this blog about weight loss the right way. In my world, we should be losing weight to be healthy, not just to be skinny. There’s nothing unhealthier than being skinny during menopause, with its increased risks for osteoporosis. It’s perfectly normal to have a slightly higher BMI during menopause. In fact, studies now suggest that just carrying around a little bit more weight is healthier for bone density, so don’t stress about it, embrace it!
Eat the butter!
Here are five pointers to help you achieve all that you want in the healthy weight loss stakes:
- Eating less doesn’t equal weight loss. In fact, it can backfire massively! The problem with calories in vs. calories out is that different calorie types have hugely different effects on metabolism and weight. My advice? Don’t count the calories: it simply does not work! When you’re hungry, you’ll find it really hard to eat less. Instead, shift your focus to feeling satiated: take protein for example, it promotes fat loss because it is satisfying and it builds muscle – win, win!
- In our 40’s, 50’s and beyond, insulin resistance plays a massive role. Refined sugar piles on the weight around the mid-section and is a disaster for insulin resistance. The good news is that this can be corrected with a good eating regime, so do not despair. Certain gut microbes ferment dietary fibres and produce short chain fatty acids (SCFA’s), like butyrate which, in turn, regulate insulin sensitivity too. The best news? Butyrate is found in butter, so throw away those spreadable imitations and opt for the real thing.
- Hormonal changes have a profound effect on your success. During menopause and perimenopause, hormonal changes – especially a decline in oestrogen – can affect metabolism and fat distribution. This shift may lead to weight gain, particularly around the abdomen, which is the very place we don’t want it! Hormonal changes can also impact appetite regulation and energy expenditure, making it more challenging to lose weight at this time of our lives.
- There is an inextricable link between gut health and metabolism in menopause. An imbalanced gut, aka dysbiosis, can impact how the body extracts and stores energy from food. Poor gut health also leads to chronic inflammation which is associated with obesity and metabolic dysfunction. In turn, chronic inflammation can interfere with the body’s ability to regulate weight.
- It’s not the amount of food you eat, it’s the kind of food that matters. The secret is that when you fuel your body properly and adequately, you will lose weight. If you think this sounds too good to be true, I promise you, it’s not!
Time for a recap
Here’s a recap from my last blog on gut health. Support your gut health in the following ways and you will support a healthy weight at the same time:
➡️ Manage stress
➡️ Eat enough
➡️ Eat the right fibres
➡️ Chew your food properly and eat mindfully
➡️ Eat plenty of polyphenols to feed your good gut bacteria – especially blueberries
➡️ Reduce/remove foods that damage the gut lining/imbalance your gut bacteria
➡️ Hydrate (not just with tap water!)
➡️ Eat a good variety of plants
➡️ Eat healthy fats and cut out junk fats
➡️ Eat prebiotic and probiotic foods
Be real about it
My last piece of advice? Be realistic! Don’t make your aim this January to be 10 stone if you have never been 10 stone before in your life!
If you’re feeling down, don’t despair, all is not lost! There’s so much you can do with good nutrition and lifestyle and the strategies you can implement straight away to start your healthy weight loss journey are shockingly simple so keep thinking about the basics and nail them – then the rest will fall into place.