Find that your midsection is starting to expand during midlife? Menopause is the cessation of periods, but prior to or after menopause women often start to experience weight gain that seems to come out of nowhere. This is due in part to changes in metabolism that accompany this time in a woman’s life.
Beginning in a woman’s mid-thirties, her metabolism rate decreases by approximately 5 percent per decade. So by the time you’re fifty years old, your calorie burning could decrease by about 7.5 percent. This means that if you’re eating the same amount of calories at fifty that you ate at thirty, you’ll gain weight.
The good news is that there are a number of ways you can naturally support healthy metabolism and stave off the midlife midsection spread.
Shift your diet: To lower your caloric intake, take a good look at what you’re eating. Note that each gram of fat contains 9 calories, whereas each gram of carbohydrate or protein contains 4 calories.
Eat more salads, go for lean protein like fish and chicken breast (without the skin), and choose only high quality fats such as avocado, flax oil, and walnuts. Consume high-fiber complex carbohydrates like brown rice and quinoa. Cut the sugar; look for it in cereals, salad dressings, sauces, prepared foods and milk alternatives such as soy and almond milk. Remember that organic evaporated cane juice is sugar! If you eat too many sugars, you promote blood sugar imbalances in your body that in turn will make you crave even more sugar.
Grab some weights: In addition to a regular aerobic exercise program, lift weights to burn more calories. Research shows that when you do consistent resistance training, you burn more calories for days after the workout. In addition, you support natural production of growth hormone, build your bones, and support your overall health in numerous other ways.
Decrease stress: When we’re chronically stressed, the amount of cortisol released from the adrenal glands increases. High levels of cortisol can result in weight gain because there are cortisol receptors in and around our midsections.To better manage stress, exercise, eat a healthy diet and make lifestyle changes that allow you to have a more relaxed, enjoyable life. To help get through stressful times, try support from 200 mg a day of pantothenic acid (one of the B vitamins); 1,000 mg a day of vitamin C, and 2,000 mg a day of ginseng.* My favorite is Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosis), which is best taken in the morning.
Get enough sleep: Researchers have found that people who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to gain weight. Arrange your life so that you sleep well for at least eight hours a night. This also assists you in achieving a happier, healthier life overall.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Laurie Steelsmith, ND, LAc, is a naturopathic physician and licensed acupuncturist who specializes in women’s health. She is the co-author of Great Sex, Naturally: Every Woman’s Guide to Enhancing Her Sexuality Through the Secrets of Natural Medicine and co-author of Natural Choices for Women’s Health: How the Secrets of Natural and Chinese Medicine Can Create a Lifetime of Wellness.