5 things to stop doing if you want to lose weight in menopause

Weight loss in menopause

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Are you getting into a war with your body as it’s changing size and shape through menopause? You are not alone; most women are battling with their bodies in their 40s and 50s and it’s no coincidence that this is the time when we hit huge hormonal flux and change.

How to lose weight in menopause

How to lose weight in menopause is no doubt googled multiple times a minute worldwide. The diet industry rubs its hands in glee as another opportunity presents itself to make us feel worse about ourselves and promote solutions for our so-called weight problems.

The difference with weight gain at this time of our lives is we do feel more vulnerable.

Weight as it relates to disease risk feels a bit more real… and we become more desperate to do something about it. We also genuinely don’t like how we look – our middles feel more uncomfortable, clothes fit differently, and we desperately want to change that.

Weight loss in menopause

We scrutinise our habits, will ourselves to act in service of our health, and search for the answers. Perhaps that very search is what has led you to read this blog, so let’s get on with it.

5 things to stop doing if you want to lose weight in menopause

  1. Calories in, calories out, right?
    Firstly, stop buying into the narratives that it really is just calories in, calories out and that if this assumption is failing you, then you are in fact the failure. This is utter rubbish. There is so much nuance and complexity to body weight regulation, particularly as our body is going through a period of change.

    For example, it thinks it’s being helpful to replicate fat cells to enhance the bodies own production of oestrogen. Our physiology is way smarter than our human brain, so, it’s one step ahead of us all the time.Holding onto the belief that it’s completely within our control and hopping on and off the scale to ‘check’ creates distraction away from more nurturing behaviours and the consistency of those behaviours that have the potential to help us in the long-term.

  2. The deficit matters, or does it?
    With the belief that restriction creates a deficit, and a deficit creates weight loss, it can be tempting to create more of a restriction if we’ve yet to be successful. Remember restriction spells danger for the body – less calories means less chance of survival. Your primal brain doesn’t know there’s a Sainsbury’s down the road and it’s open till 10pm.

    Through menopause we lose the buffer of oestrogen against cortisol, meaning we’re more prone to the affects of the stress response and excessive restriction will only exacerbate this. Stop assuming if a bit of restriction hasn’t work, then more is the answer. It isn’t.

  3. Weight loss is all that matters – or is it?
    I should have added to this title – things to avoid if you want to lose weight and maintain the weight you lose. If you find a method that works for you – whether that’s logging your food intake, restricting your carbs, or trying intermittent fasting, for example, always bear in mind the sustainability of that regime.

    These methods all have some research behind them proving them to be effective weight loss strategies. But when we dig into the sustainability of these methods, it gets a little less clear. The idea that we can do this thing to get the weight off, and then ease up to stabilise, rarely happens in reality. Instead, our physiology will rebound once the period of restriction ceases. It sucks, but it’s the truth. And points to the need to be much more habit driven, rather than outcome driven.

  4. Things will be better when I lose weight – won’t they?
    Stop making weight loss the key to everything. When we become blinkered to weight loss being the solution, we attach everything to that…this puts immense pressure on ourselves and often forces more extreme behaviours in order to try and achieve the desired outcome.

    Menopausal changes often create the feeling of ‘bleurgh’ – emotional flatlining – in many aspects of life. We assume all will feel better if we could only lose some weight, but this is not necessarily true. Don’t make weight mean a bunch of stuff about you that it doesn’t mean, and don’t attach your hopes of feeling more positive to the loss of it. Instead focus on actual behaviours that will impact your mood – movement you enjoy, activities that spark fun, time connecting with others etc.

  5. I have to me hard on myself – otherwise I’d just keep eating crap – or would you?
    Swap judgement for curiosity. In reality, in my work, some women lose weight, and some don’t. It’s impossible to guarantee weight loss because everyone’s experiences and bodies are unique. Sometimes, doing work on our relationship with food and body allows space to breathe and change habits that were in fact contributing to weight gain. Other times, women take their power back and feel healthier and more vibrant than they have done in years, but the scale doesn’t change.

    You will find many solutions for weight loss in menopause, many of which promote the concept of your body being broken and the requirement for harsh dietary regimes that are quite removed from what others around you are eating and enjoying quite happily.You must punish yourself during this natural phase of life and completely switch your diet. Some women do choose to do this – opting for keto approaches and limited hours of eating. You too can do this. But you also have a choice.

Weight loss in menopause

What helps with menopausal weight gain?

I believe in putting health promoting behaviours front and centre, with a compassionate focus not linked back to the scale. I also believe in focussing our energy on what is within our control, not what isn’t, and stepping away from the narratives that make us feel sh*t. Because that’s what they are – just things we believe, not facts. We have the power to change our story.

Reach out here for my help in doing that. Find out more about my ethos.

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