As you get older, it becomes a little more difficult to prevent weight gain. Menopause causes your estrogen levels to decline, allowing fat to settle around your midsection. Around the same time, your metabolism slows down and you begin to lose muscle mass. Many women also snack frequently due to high levels of stress, further compounding the problem.
Fortunately, there are several things you can do to shed unwanted pounds. Follow these tips to improve your lifestyle and show your age-related weight gain who’s boss.
Water doesn’t just quench your thirst. It lubricates your joints, protects your spinal cord and helps your body flush out waste products, among other functions. Researchers from Johns Hopkins University report that water may also speed up your metabolism, suppress your appetite and make it easier to keep up with an exercise routine, all of which are helpful for losing weight.
If you haven’t been drinking plenty of water, start now. The more water you drink, the less likely you’ll be to fill up on calories from soda, fruit juices and other sweetened beverages. Drinking water before a meal may also reduce the amount of food you consume, slashing even more calories from your diet.
Breakfast is the first opportunity you have to nourish your body and prepare to face the day ahead. If you don’t eat breakfast regularly, you’re missing out on some key weight loss benefits. For example, breakfast fills you up, making it less likely that you’ll hit the drive-through for two donuts and a large iced coffee as soon as you leave the house. Eating breakfast also prevents large spikes in your glucose level, which helps control your appetite.
If you’re not a fan of cereal or eggs, branch out and try something else. Overnight oats are easy to make and packed with protein, vitamins and minerals. Another option is to have a piece of whole-grain toast covered with mashed avocado.
Avoid Crash Diets
You may lose a few pounds on a crash diet, but there’s also a good chance you’ll be miserable. Depending on how restrictive the diet is, it may also increase your risk of heart problems, low blood sugar, dehydration and electrolyte imbalances. Instead of cutting out your favorite foods, enjoy them in moderation. You shouldn’t have dessert every night, but there’s nothing wrong with having a small slice of cake at a birthday party or eating some chocolate pudding after dinner once a week.
Look for Nutrient-Dense Foods
Nutrient-dense foods are high in nutritional value and fairly low in calories, making them a great addition to any eating plan. These foods also contain whole grains, protein, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals. If you’re trying to lose weight, look for nutrient-dense foods whenever possible. Think fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, legumes and lean meats.
Love Your Fruits and Veggies
Fruits and vegetables are packed with fiber, which helps you feel full after eating. Fiber also helps maintain normal blood sugar levels, so it plays a role in controlling appetite. To get more fruit in your diet, try snacking on apple slices with almond butter or putting a little ricotta cheese on fresh peach slices. Vegetables are even easier to eat, especially when you add them to other dishes. Try blending fresh spinach into your spaghetti sauce, using zucchini in place of white pasta or making a hearty soup loaded with carrots and celery.
Exercise builds muscle, burns calories and has many other health benefits, so it’s an important part of a healthy lifestyle. If you don’t already exercise regularly, check with your doctor to make sure moderate-intensity exercise is safe for your body. Once you get the go-ahead, start slowly. You don’t have to go to the gym for 2 hours every day or try to run a marathon right away. Simply walking around your neighborhood can help you burn calories and strengthen your muscles.
If you have arthritis or another medical condition that limits your mobility, try water aerobics or another form of aquatic exercise. When you exercise in water, there isn’t as much force on the body, making it possible for people with joint and muscle problems to stay active.
We’re all so busy that it’s easy to get into the habit of rushing through every meal so you can get back to work, pay attention to your kids or relax for a few minutes before you have to get up and do it all again the next day. If you eat quickly, however, you may consume more calories than you intend. This is because it takes your brain a little while to catch up with how much food is in your stomach. If you eat quickly, your brain won’t recognize that you’re full, prompting you to continue eating. Slow down, and your body will let you know when it’s time to stop.
Following a plant-based diet has the potential to help you lose weight, lower your hemoglobin A1C level, reduce your blood pressure and get your cholesterol levels under control. You don’t have to become a full-time vegan or vegetarian to enjoy these benefits, either. If you’re concerned about your weight, try going plant-based most days of the week. Foods derived from plants include nuts, legumes and grains. On your plant-based days, you’d want to avoid meat, fish, dairy products and other foods derived from animals.
Avoid Processed Foods
During processing, foods lose some of their nutritional value. Manufacturers also add hydrogenated oil, corn syrup and other unhealthy ingredients. As a result, processed foods typically have high calorie counts and high levels of saturated fats and cholesterol. If you eat processed foods regularly, make an effort to replace them with nutrient-dense foods from several food groups. Here are a few tips to help you choose minimally processed or whole foods instead:
- Choose whole foods whenever possible. This includes cucumbers, tomatoes, apples, bananas and oranges. These foods aren’t processed at all, so they come to you with their nutrients intact. They also have no extra ingredients that could affect your health.
- Check nutrition labels carefully. If you see words like “partially hydrogenated,” put the box back on the shelf.
- If you can’t get fresh produce, look for canned or frozen versions. Canned produce typically has more salt, but you can always rinse off the food before you eat it.
Consult a Professional
If you’ve committed to a healthy lifestyle and you’re still having trouble losing weight, schedule a consultation with Hormonally Balanced. We offer Semaglutide treatment to help women in the Boston area who haven’t seen results with diet, exercise and other lifestyle changes. Call (781) 730-3270 to book an appointment with an expert in women’s health.