I work with women all the time who are struggling with weight gain during perimenopause and menopause. Here are 4 common reasons may start to struggle with losing unwanted pounds during this stage of life:
1. Chronic Stress: When you’re under constant stress, it can wreak havoc on the stress hormone cortisol. It’s sooo important to manage stress. If you don’t get your hormones into balance – otherwise, belly fat can creep up! Make sure you’re resting, taking breaks, listening to your body, and using meditation/mindfulness/breath work to help get back into a parasympathetic state.
2. You’re consuming way too much oil & saturated fat: Yes, we need some healthy fats; BUT there is so much evidence that staying “low-carb” all the time with excessive protein and fat is not conducive to long term fat loss. Often, those low-carb/high-protein diets encourage the eating of excessive saturated fat which increases risk of heart disease as well.
3. Your gut is imbalanced: Mind your microbiome! Avoid those foods that are highly processed and high in fat/low in fiber, increasing diversity of plants to feed the microbiome, improving digestion and nourishment. (Check out Fiber Fueled for more on this topic)
4. Excessive calorie restriction: When you restrict calories too much for too long, it is really hard to maintain weight loss over the long haul. As you approach your goal weight, you’ll have to do some experimenting to find the sweet spot of how much you can eat without gaining weight.
Bonus: You’re too self-critical: Mindset matters! If you’re obsessed with your “diet” vs enjoying a healthy lifestyle, your cortisol level goes up & this can lead to a binge or imbalance. Life, food & movement are to be enjoyed! Follow a 80×20 or 90×10 mindset to allow occasional indulgences, without going off the rails! When in a state of chronic stress, you’re more likely to hold onto every calorie and ounce of fat because your body feels like you’re constantly in a state of threat. (See #1 again)