As we age the extra pounds adhere to us, even if our dietary habits remain the same. This is especially true for women after menopause when estrogen levels begin to decline. Lower estrogen levels causes the body to lower metabolism, the rate at which calories are burned. If that isn’t bad enough, the decline in estrogen also increases the appetite and causes cravings for high calorie foods that contain carbohydrates and fats.
Lower Calorie Intake
After menopause, the body begins to burn approximately 200 fewer calories per day doing the same activities that were done prior to the onset of menopause. It takes 3,500 calories to equal one pound of body weight, so if calorie intake and activity level remains the same after menopause, it will add about 1 ½ pounds per month onto a woman’s body.
To compensate for this decrease in calorie burning and prevent weight gain, lower calorie intake by 200 calories per day.
Increase Activity Level
The metabolism slows down after menopause and the body does not burn the calories off as quickly as it did before, even for a very active woman. Increase activity level in small ways each day, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator and parking in a parking space that is farthest away from a building so a little more walking is added to the daily routine.
Eat Right To Increase Energy
Eliminating 200 calories per day from the diet doesn’t mean a woman has to feel deprived and hungry. Replace the high calorie foods that sap energy with nutritional foods that will increase energy. Fresh fruits and vegetables that are naturally low in calories and high in fiber will increase energy levels, which in-turn helps a post-menopausal woman to increase activity level. Foods high in fiber also make us feel fuller quicker and longer, making it easier to slice off 200 calories per day from the diet.
Start Early And Start Slow
Starting to decrease calories and increase activities before the onset of menopause, typically in the early 40’s, is easier than trying to correct a weight gain problem after menopause.
Start early and slowly to change dietary and lifestyle habits. A few calories saved each day by not eating that extra cookie and few extra steps taken each day to burn more calories will add up and help prevent weight gain after menopause. The slow and steady beneficial changes will automatically become a part of living a healthier lifestyle.
Menopause does not have to mean an ever-expanding clothing size. A few small and early changes in calorie intake and activity level can prevent weight gain after menopause.