Q: I am in the perimenopause stage. Can you suggest some tips to help me through this stage and prevent weight gain?
Menopause marks the end of reproductive period of a woman’s life. Once you hit your menopause or are about to enter menopause (perimenopause), weight loss diet and regular workouts do not seem to help anymore. The number on the scale goes on increasing in spite of following the routine you have been on for years to maintain your weight.
Normally women in perimenopausal or menopausal stage put on 4-5kg. This is a natural protective mechanism to prepare the body for transition to the next stage in their life. But putting on significant weight during menopause is often a sign of excessive estrogen in relation to progesterone.
Balancing hormones and managing weight can get tricky at this point, as trying to lose weight would be working against the natural process. Here are some strategies you can follow to shed those extra pounds:
Follow intermittent fasting. Restricting the hours for meals in a day helps your body to use up the stored glucose after which body switches to burning fat for energy. Besides warding off weight gain, intermittent fasting has many benefits – it increases energy levels, reduces insulin resistance, builds psychological and physiological resilience. I recommend the 16 hour fast, that is, eating all your daily calories within a period of 8 hours. It should be used as a short term tactic to get your weight moving down.
Watch your portions. As you get older, your metabolism slows down, and you need to eat less to maintain your weight. Have around 500g of veggies – the fibre helps to flush out excess hormones. Your protein requirements now are not as high as it was in your 20s and 30s. The unmetabolised protein would get stored as fat, so go slow on protein. Daily 0.8g per kilo of your ideal body weight is good enough to maintain comfortable weight at this point of life. Protein requirements will also depend on your workout regimen.
Take collagen supplements. As you enter perimenopause, you could see some changes in your skin such as thinner, sagging skin, change in texture, lesser elasticity, acne due to overproduction of oil and sebum by sebaceous glands that no longer have estrogen to keep them in check. Collagen keeps your skin smooth and plump, and your hair and nails strong.
Increase consumption of good quality fats like avocado, olives, coconut, nuts, grass fed butter, organic ghee. Good fats can keep inflammation low and prevent or lower possible skin changes seen during perimenopausal and menopausal phase.
Rashi Chowdhary is a nutritionist, diabetes educator and creator of The Protein Bake Shop. Got a problem? Our fantastic panel of renowned experts is available to answer all your questions related to fashion, well-being, nutrition, finance and hypnotherapy. Email your queries to firstname.lastname@example.org.