It's no secret: many women fear menopause. If you're 50-60 years young and worried about upcoming changes, it's time to push fear aside and approach menopause with a fresh perspective.
Remember, change is good!
A lot of ladies worry that menopause will make it hard to maintain a slim figure or healthy body weight. Yes, menopause is sometimes accompanied by a sliding number on the scale. Don't fret. With a few voluntary fitness and nutrition changes, you can meet menopause head-on.
Let's take a closer look at some of the steps you can take to stay healthy and-even better-improve your body-image through menopause and beyond!
1. Battling Weight Gain
The most common concern of females entering menopause is the weight gain that often accompanies it. If you're worried about adding pounds, I'm here to help.
First, it's important to note that, in many cases, hormonal fluctuations are not directly responsible for the extra weight. Instead, it's the loss of lean muscle mass. Men who don't stay active lose muscle-especially with increasing age and declining testosterone levels-and so do women.
Therefore, it's incredibly important to maintain or adopt a strength-training workout program! Without one, your lean mass will slip, your metabolism will decrease, and fat gain will become more likely. Remember, you can fight the fat by staying strong!
2. Tummy Troubles
Furthermore, while many women don't seem to consider it, where you store body fat can actually change during menopause. Because of hormone fluctuations and declining estrogen production, you might see more body fat getting stored around the stomach instead of the hips or thighs.
If it feels like your waistline is expanding, it might be more than your imagination. The change is due to altered hormone levels that influence where your body is depositing fat.
Like overall weight gain, this 'tummy trouble' can be reduced through regular strength training, which will help prevent fat gain in the first place. Don't try 'spot treatment' and only train your belly. A comprehensive strength program will produce better fat-burning results, no matter where the fat sits.
3. Power Up!
As you move through the menopause years, you might also experience some extreme energy fluctuations. Like a rollercoaster, you'll skyrocket to energy-highs and then barrel to energy-lows. Take note of these energy changes and track what times they're happening, as well as the surrounding factors.
Record how much sleep you're getting, the foods you're eating, how active you are on a daily basis, as well as how much stress you're experiencing. All of these factors will now have a greater impact on your energy, so do everything you can to recognize these influences and create a lifestyle that is more conducive to higher energy levels.
Many women often find that, as they move into the menopause years, stress-busting exercise becomes extremely important to optimal health, mindset, and mood. Relaxation techniques such as yoga, tai chi, or meditation can work wonders.
4. Reduce the Risk
When you lose your monthly cycle, you're at an increased risk for the development of osteoporosis and other bone-related conditions. It becomes more important than ever to consume additional calcium and Vitamin D. Even better, make sure to include additional calcium-rich products in your diet.
Calcium from dietary sources will be absorbed very well by the bones, so aim for a least 1-2 servings per day in addition to any supplements you're using.
Top calcium-rich dairy options include Greek yogurt, low-fat cottage cheese, lower sugar yogurt, as well as skim milk. Take note that casein protein powder also offers some calcium, so consider using this variety of protein to meet your daily protein goals.
5. Keep Close Tabs on Cholesterol
Watch out for changes in your cholesterol. With estrogen levels decreasing, you might be at a higher risk for heart disease. Take note of your diet and keep your total saturated fat and cholesterol intake lower.
Instead of fatty animal foods, fill your diet with plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, and fat-free sources of protein. Also focus on good fats coming from nuts, nut butters, olive oil, and fatty fish (like salmon).
6. Improving Exercise Comfort
Finally, as you move through menopause, you'll most likely feel some hot flashes. Hot flashes can hit you throughout the day and, more commonly, in the evenings. If you're having hot flashes, note when they occur so that you can spot patterns of incidence.
Then, plan your workouts and other physical activities away from the noted times. You don't want to heat your body during a hot flash, so rest during these periods and stay as cool as possible.
Also, drink plenty of water! Keep yourself adequately hydrated every day. Drinking plenty of water can help reduce the severity of hot flashes and will keep your natural cooling system running smooth.
Bring It Together
Moving through menopause doesn't have to be such a tough mental and physical battle. If you focus on your weight-training program, you'll be able to fight potential fat gain and battle the tummy bulge.
Eat a diet rich in healthy fats, high in fiber and natural foods, and packed with calcium. With these simple changes, you can meet menopause head-on. Make your golden years great!