Unwanted weight gain is frustrating at any age, but if you’re approaching or have reached menopause you may feel the deck is stacked against you. There are several changes that come with the transition to menopause that can affect quality of life. Decreasing hormone levels with perimenopause (pre-menopause) can last years before menopause is complete. Many women experience mood swings, slowed metabolism and sometimes depression. Additional stresses associated with increased responsibilities for aging parents, teenage children, and work can make new demands on limited energy and time.Inadequate sleep from night sweats and hot flashes, also contribute to mood changes and fatigue.
All of these changes combined can make menopausal women prone to weight gain, especially in their abdomens. There are strategies that can improve quality of life and promote maintaining a healthy weight during this stressful transition. Adopting an active lifestyle and a healthy diet can help a woman feel more in control during this stage of her life.
What can be done?
Men and women naturally lose muscle mass as part of the aging process. This process will affect the percentage of body fat compared to lean tissue. Less muscle mass could also slow the metabolic rate (the rate at which calories are burned). Here are some tips that can help:Staying active throughout life is one of the best ways to retain more muscle mass, and burn more calories. Incorporating physical activity as a part of a daily routine can ease many of the menopausal symptoms women experience. Finding ways to be more active throughout the day can add up quickly. Strength or resistance training exercises are especially helpful, not only with retaining muscle mass, but also helping to slow mineral loss in bones which can lead to osteoporosis. Incorporating aerobic activity is important for heart health, brain function and helps some women sleep better at night. Many women are partnering with their physicians to design a program of hormone replacement that could also help ease the negative symptoms of menopause. This option is not for everyone, the decision must be made with your Doctor after careful review of your personal and family history.
*For most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends moderate aerobic activity, such as brisk walking, for at least 150 minutes a week or vigorous aerobic activity, such as jogging, for at least 75 minutes a week. In addition strength training exercises are recommended at least twice a week.
Be sure to contact your doctor to discuss any changes to your activity routine.
How we can help
The Jenny Program provides a healthy menu, with reduced calories and portioned meals. Fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy combined with Jenny’s Cuisine® will provide a nutritionally balanced diet. To ensure adequate nutrition, a variety of foods rich in fiber, calcium, vitamin K, vitamin D and potassium particularly benefit women with menopause or perimenopause. These nutrients are essential in promoting healthy digestion and retaining bone density to reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Some studies suggest that foods with soy and isoflavens, such as soy milk, tofu and edamame may have estrogen-like properties in the body, which could help offset the effects of decreasing estrogen that is associated with hot flashes and night sweats. Weekly consultations provide added support with tips to increase activity throughout the day and strategies that promote a balanced lifestyle.