As a registered dietitian and menopause expert, most of my clients seek my help to lose weight. There are a few reasons for weight gain after 40. Download my Menopause Diet 5 day plan to lose weight PDF as a guide to your healthy weight.
The loss of estrogen is related to insulin resistance. This is when our body becomes less efficient at metabolizing the starches and sugars we eat. We begin to see high blood sugar levels and high insulin levels resulting in weight gain.
Lower estrogen levels are responsible for a loss of muscle which lowers your metabolism, making weight gain more likely. You can make a change in insulin resistance and muscle loss by creating a healthy eating plan for menopause.
Anti-inflammatory diet for menopause
Revamping your meals to include anti-inflammatory foods can help to decrease anxiety, reduce brain fog, slow the aging process, and reduce joint pain. You may see some weight loss related to overall decreased inflammation in your body. Avocados, peppers, turmeric, and dark chocolate are great choices to enjoy eating.
Mediterranean diet and menopause
The Mediterranean diet is a good example of an anti-inflammatory diet. Eating foods like berries, beets, chard, lentils, and salmon that are nutrient-dense and contain antioxidants can help change how you feel in menopause. Because of the high fiber, nutritious foods included on the Mediterranean diet you are more likely to lose weight and keep it off.
Recipes for menopause
When you go looking for recipes to use in your meal plans focus on fiber, protein, healthy fats, and phytoestrogens.
Foods which contain both soluble and insoluble types of fiber will help you feel full, improve digestion, and decrease constipation. Look for recipes which include chia seeds, walnuts, apples, oatmeal, and beans to get both types of fiber.
We are losing muscle at an accelerated rate after menopause. It’s also more difficult for our body to build muscle because we have less estrogen. Eating enough protein can help us hold on to those beautiful muscles and keep us strong. Enjoy planning meals with chicken, fish, lean beef, beans, hemp seeds, and cottage cheese.
Yes, we need some fat from our food. Essential fatty acids are something our body cannot make and can be found in fats in nutritious foods. Healthy fats come from salmon, sardines, olives, walnuts, and chia seeds.
Eating foods that are sources of phytoestrogen intake can help relieve symptoms during perimenopause and menopause. Phytoestrogens have estrogen-like effects that can decrease cholesterol levels, reduce menopausal symptoms, and lower risk of osteoporosis and certain types of cancer, including breast cancer. Flax seeds, edamame, dates, sesame seeds, garlic, broccoli, and berries are rich in phytoestrogens.
Best breakfast for menopause
Is skipping breakfast bad for you? Is breakfast the most important meal of the day? I believe, for women in menopause, it is a good idea to eat breakfast.
Our protein requirements increase after 40 and it is difficult to get what we need if we don’t get started with an early meal. If you’re not ready to eat first thing in the morning maybe a small protein smoothie would sit better with you. Then you could have a protein snack mid-morning, like a hard cooked egg and a piece of fruit, to get going for the day.
Breakfast is also an opportunity to get some vegetables in your body. Tuck some spinach, onions, and peppers into an omelet. I like to add frozen riced cauliflower and frozen collards to a smoothie.
Finally, some tips I share with clients to help them lose weight in menopause and get to their healthy weight:
- Create a limited eating window of 12:12. For instance, if you start eating at 7:00 am, have your last bite by 7:00 pm.
- Have a little veggie with oil + vinegar dip before your meal. This will help you control blood sugar and is a great habit to manage a healthy weight.
- Eat a savory breakfast instead of a sweet one. Prepping some omelets with veggies instead of eating a sugary muffin will leave you with more energy for the day.
I created the menopause diet 5 day plan to lose weight (PDF) as a guide for you: