There are several approaches for making weight loss after menopause faster and easier. These include choosing the right diet for you, speeding up your metabolism, reducing stress levels with herbs, balancing your hormones, correcting insulin resistance through diet and exercise, and controlling hunger and cravings.
Since choosing the right diet is the most critical, and can also address all the issues mentioned above,let us start there.
Choosing the Right Diet for You
This is one of the most critical factors to success for weight loss after menopause. Find a diet that has two parts to it, one part allows you to lose weight, the other is to maintain weight loss and should be one you can stay on for life.
Many women find that their metabolism is not ideally suited for losing weight, especially after menopause. This may be just the way a particular body is, or it may have been made worse after years of yo-yo dieting. Fortunately there are ways to work with these challenges through diet alone.
As a general rule, low-fat diets are not only not healthy, they are ineffective for weight loss for a couple of reasons. They increase cravings because your body is not getting critical nutrients that it needs. They tend to be high in carbohydrates which can strain your digestive system and contribute to insulin resistance, which is especially critical for women looking for weight loss after menopause.
You are much better off with a high-fat diet than a low-fat diet. If this information sounds shocking to you, do a little research. More and more doctors and nutritionists are agreeing that carbohydrate restriction is critical to weight loss, and low-fat diets aren't always healthy.
An excellent book that explains how we came to believe that low-fat is good for us and saturated fat is bad, in spite of scientific evidence to the contrary, is Gary Taubes' Good Calories, Bad Calories.
Eat good fats. Avoid trans fats. I say this a lot, because it is so important. Good fats are cod liver oil, which gives you vitamins A and D, and the essential fatty acids, DHA and EPA, all of which are extremely low in modern diets. DHA and EPA are Omega 3 fats and help cells be less resistant to insulin. In addition, trans fats and vegetables are pro-inflammatory.
Inflammation is an underlying condition to many diseases as well as to being overweight. In order to lose weight successfully and keep it off, you need to address inflammation.
GLA, from evening primrose oil, borage oil, or black current oil, is another essential fatty acid that is especially helpful for weight loss after menopause. For more about this, see evening primrose oil.
Bad fats are trans fats (hydrogenated, partially hydrogenated), and most vegetable oils. Olive oil is an exception. If you eat a lot of convenience foods, you are getting bad fats in your diet. This will disturb many cell processes, and interfere with weight loss after menopause.
A New Dietary Approach for Weight Loss After Menopause or Anytime
Helps You Lose Weight, Rev Up Your Fat-Burning Capacity, and Get Healthy all at the Same Time.
Last March I discovered a new program for weight loss and health through my nutritional association. The program uses blood tests to determine a 100% individualized food plan. I was immediately interested because I have tried to determine the best foods for my body for quite a long time, with not enough success.
After further investigation I decided to try it. It worked amazingly well. I lost 50 pounds in six months, and it was all fat except for one pound of lean mass! I lost weight faster on this plan than diets I tried in my twenties. I also slept better and eliminated my blood sugar swings.
I had no cravings, no hunger, and no feelings of deprivation.
What I like best about it, after having tried many, many programs over the past thirty years, is that you only eat food that is good for you. There are no artificial ingredients, no low-fat foods, and nothing that isn't healthy for you in the long term.
So many times I've been on diets that have you eating foods that you wouldn't eat if you didn't have weight to lose. Then you spend all your time thinking about how you'll eat when you get off the diet.
To read out more about the program, see metabolic balance
Do It Yourself
Other Diets I would recommend for weight loss after menopause are described in the following books: Eat Fat, Lose Fat, The Carbohydrate Addicts Lifespan Program, and The Schwarzbein Principle. These are all low to moderate carbohydrate diets.
Eat Fat, Lose Fat is a highly satisfying and nutritious diet based on the dietary principles of Dr. Weston Price. It has moderate carbohydrates in the weight loss section, but also contains health recovery and maintenance plans that are moderate in carbohydrates. If you are sensitive to carbohydrates or find it especially difficult to lose weight, this may not work for you.
The Carbohydrate Addicts Lifespan Program is the one I was using until I found the ER program. If you have a hard time avoiding sugar and other carbohydrates, and the idea of eliminating them sounds impossible, this may be the diet for you. It will also help you recognize the effects of insulin on your body and learn to control insulin, which also reduces hunger and cravings. While this diet can help you lose weight, it is easy to slip into eating less healthy foods instead of beginning to lose weight as the natural consequence of eating healthy.
The Schwarzbein Principle includes carbohydrates in specific quantities and at specific times throughout the day, which helps control your moods and cravings. I tried this for awhile and found it did stabilize my energy and moods, but I had a difficult time not overeating carbohydrates after awhile.
For group options, one that doesn't cost any money is Overeaters Anonymous. They have groups all over the country, so you may find one in your area.
Speed up your Metabolism, Reduce Stress, Balance Hormones
For metabolism support, add coconut oil and other coconut products to your diet. Coconut oil is also very nourishing to your thyroid gland, and one of the good fats.
A supplement that is extremely effective for upping your metabolism is L-carnitine. You can take it in doses ranging from 500mg to 4000mg. It is expensive, so don't take more than you need. Start with 500mg twenty minutes before eating, and add 500mg per day until you start to feel an optimal energy level. Divide your doses between morning and before lunch (if you take it at night it may keep you awake). It works best when you limit carbohydrates.
CoQ10 also supports metabolism and is very good for your heart. Take 30 – 100mg per day. Chromium is essential for effective carbohydrate processing and also supports metabolism. You need 200mcg per day. GTF chromium or chromium picolinate are good sources.
Avoid soy products. Soy interferes with thyroid hormone, which will interfere with weight loss after menopause. In addition, unfermented soy products have substances that interfere with mineral absorption. You need more minerals at menopause, not less.
Correcting Insulin Resistance
If you were already overweight before menopause, chances are you may have insulin resistance. Many people that have weight problems are also insulin resistant. Finding out more about this is critical to your health as well as critical to losing weight during menopause. For more information, see reduce insulin resistance.
Controlling Hunger and Cravings
Controlling hunger and cravings is one of the most effective strategies for increasing weight loss after menopause. This is crucial for weight loss. 5-HTP is an amino acid that will boost serotonin and can help with afternoon or evening cravings. Take 50-100mg between meals, midmorning and/or mid-afternoon and before bedtime. 5-HTP will also help you sleep. For sugar and carbohydrate cravings in general, L-glutamine can help. Take 500mg capsules, 1-3 at a time between meals, before breakfast, mid-morning and mid-afternoon.