Getting older comes with advantages like wisdom and self-confidence, but many women struggle to adjust to the physical changes that occur as well. Perimenopausal weight gain can begin as much as a decade before actual menopause kicks in, and losing those extra pounds only gets harder with age. Worse, menopausal weight tends to accumulate in the belly, making each new pound all the more noticeable. For the sake of both your health and your self-esteem, these are four helpful steps you can take to keep your weight in check while your body transitions into its post-reproductive years.
Obviously, you can't expect to eat like a teenager and maintain a sleek figure as you age, but even seemingly inoffensive foods can quickly pack on the pounds. Sugary drinks like sodas and coffee, for example, can add hundreds of calories to your daily diet without filling you up, leading you to consume more than you really need. You don't need to completely deprive yourself of the little joys in life, but be mindful of what you are eating and drinking, and cut down on the unhealthy portions if you notice yourself gaining weight.
Menopause often coincides with a changing lifestyle as women work less and prepare for retirement. Take advantage of any new-found free time by staying on your feet and active. Not only can exercise keep you mentally sharper and physically stronger for decades, but it will also help counteract a slowing metabolism and burn any extra calories that come your way. A brisk walk every day is a good start, though jogging and strength training are preferable for women who are actively trying to lose weight.
Practicing Alternative Treatments
Alternative remedies for menopausal symptoms should always be examined with a healthy degree of skepticism, but many women swear by them as a source of day-to-day relief. Soy products, for example, contain molecules known as isoflavones, which mimic estrogen and can alleviate the uncomfortable hot flashes and mood swings caused by low estrogen levels. Studies on the efficiency of consuming isoflavones as a treatment for menopause have been inconclusive so far, but it may be an inexpensive way to supplement your body's diminishing hormone production without resorting to medications.
Seeking Professional Menopause Treatment
For those women who cannot control their weight gain through the usual methods, medical intervention may be necessary to restore your health and quality of life. Hormone replacement therapy, despite its negative reputation, can provide safe and effective relief from menopause symptoms when managed properly. Other options include surgery or medication to remove the excess weight, followed by maintenance through a sensible diet and exercise program. If you are struggling to lose weight and nothing seems to be working, don't hesitate to call a menopause treatment specialist or OBGYN, like those at the Bay Area Women's Care, to learn about your best options.