Are you thinking about doing a pre-summer ‘reset’, and overhauling your food and exercise habits? Feel a bit ‘ick’ after a winter of eating comfort foods? It’s no secret that eating the right foods and getting your body moving are two of the most important ways to do that, but what if you’re older and experiencing hormonal changes?
Can you still look and feel your best so that you can get outside during summer feeling super confident and fantastic, even if you’re older or dealing with the change of life?
Can you still lose weight or improve your health? Or does perimenopause and menopause mean that you just have to accept the extra padding around your stomach and thighs?
The good news is that regardless of your age, or of any hormonal changes you may be experiencing, you really can look and feel great at any age.
Perimenopause and menopause can be a big upheaval of your hormonal process. And when those hormones change, you might start to notice an accumulation of fat around the belly, the abdomen, the backs of the legs and the inner thighs, but the truth is, weight gain can often be more about lifestyle, rather than hormonal changes.
Typically, when middle aged women come to me to talk about how they can lose weight, I’ll unpack their routine for the day, and we often find that the gain is less about hormones or menopause, and it’s actually more about the fact that they’re drinking a bottle of wine a night.
And often binging on carbs, (which goes hand in hand with drinking), so rather than blaming weight gain on the effects of menopause, think about your lifestyle and what food choices you’re making.
If you’re going through that change of life, it’s important that you know what symptoms you’re experiencing and if they are actually related to change of life, or if they’re the result of those lifestyle choices. The reality is that there are very specific symptoms caused by hormonal changes, but if we start to bring it back to our diet, chances are some of those symptoms could actually be minimised, just by making better food choices.
I’d definitely recommend getting advice from your medical practitioner or holistic specialist as a good place to start, and then focusing on what you’re eating each day.
So, if you are going through significant hormonal changes and you want to lose weight, then bringing it back to food is a really important conversation.
Making better choices for a longer, happier and healthier life:
- Prioritise self-care and focus on eating more nutritionally dense foods. If you find that you’re eating well and still feeling ‘blah’, then it might be time to have a chat with your health care specialists.
- Try removing the less healthy options like alcohol and empty carbs, and steer clear of convenience foods or food delivery.
- As we get older, we typically become more sedentary right, but remember, you don’t have to be! You can be as active as you want, regardless of your age. I see people in their 80s doing really inspiring things like exploring Machu Pichu, and I see a lot of older people in their 70s or 80s, or 90s, who was super active, who eat really, really well, and who put their health as their primary consideration for their lifestyle choices. And they are thriving. They are kicking goals. It’s truly inspiring.
- Think about why you want to lose weight? Is it because there’s a confidence issue? Or are you thinking about the long-term effects of making good choices now? What do you want to be able to do when you’re older?
- Consider your typical daily diet. In Australia, we tend to eat very carb-heavy foods, a lot of processed foods and not enough good protein. Add leafy green vegetables and good quality fats to your daily meals and chat to a health coach or nutritionist to find out how to get some good, lean protein into your daily diet.
- I see a lot of older people who eat a typical Western diet of cake, sandwiches, biscuits and starchy foods, which is when people start to see diabetes creeping in. They’re still eating all those carb-heavy foods, but they’re not as active as they were when they were younger, so they’re not able to burn it off.