During menopause, many women unwillingly add some weight. This can be frustrating, especially those who are already doing their best to keep the pounds off or otherwise maintain a healthy weight. These days, people are turning to meal plans to help shed pounds. For those who have decided they are effective for weight loss, there are menopause diet plans to help with weight loss during this time. Today we will look at a menopause diet 5 day plan to lose weight. We will also look at other ways one can safely lose weight during menopause. Let us get started!
What Is Menopause?
There are numerous definitions of menopause, depending on the lady you ask. Most define and think menopause as the phase after their last period. However, according to WebMD, the time leading up to your last menstrual cycle is perimenopause and can last for four years (3).
Menopause is characterized by sleeping difficulties, irregular periods, and hot flashes (3). Around this time you may notice that you are putting on some weight. To better understand the best diet for menopause, let us first look at the relationship between menopause and weight gain.
The Link Between Menopause And Weight Gain
Before menopause, you could primarily associate weight gain with a lack of physical activity, inadequate sleep, or unhealthy eating behaviors. This is not to say that these are not causes of weight gain during menopause. They certainly are.
However, after reaching menopause, you realize that you may be adding more pounds than usual, despite exercising and eating right. During the menopause phase, you experience hormonal changes that affect your weight in several ways.
First, the hormonal changes cause a shift in weight distribution (3). You could find that you have more fat deposits around areas like your belly, arms, and thighs. This weight distribution may also make weight loss harder (3).
Similarly, the transition makes your body release low amounts of estrogen. When estrogen levels drop, you tend to store fat, particularly in your abdomen, leading to visceral or belly fat, as most people know it (3).
Weight gain, even after menopause, can be detrimental as it leaves you at a greater risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, and high blood pressure (3). With this in mind, talk to your doctor about an effective strategy to help the weight at bay.
How To Avoid Weight Gain During Menopause
There are several recommendations for those women who need to stop weight gain during menopause. Although these methods are effective, you are still urged to talk to your doctor before trying out any of them. These methods include:
Most individuals who are looking to shed pounds are advised to work with a weight loss diet plan. However, the weight loss plan may tend to be different during menopause. This is because your body has different needs during this time.
Despite these needs, food experts remind you to eat healthy and balanced meals. They recommend adding whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, seeds, nuts, low-fat dairy products, healthy fats, and lean meats (4). However, this is easier said than done by many women.
Coupled with extreme fatigue and poor sleep patterns, the last thing such a woman may want to be doing is taking time to prepare healthy meals. Some just want to stop the hunger spikes with whatever meal they find first.
Foods To Avoid
To help avoid unnecessary weight gain during menopause, food experts suggest you stay away from the following:
- Sugary Foods. Although they satisfy your sweet tooth, they also increase your risk of high blood sugar and tooth-related problems. Additionally, they often account for almost 300 calories a day and will most likely increase your calorie count (4). Some sources of these sugary foods include soft drinks, baked products, sugar-sweetened drinks, and so forth (4).
- Alcohol. Alcoholic beverages are also high in calorie count and may add excess calories to your diet (4). Many people also tend to eat more high calorie foods while they are drinking. Consequently, you run the risk of gaining unwanted weight.
- Salty Foods. Sodium or salt is another contributor to unwanted weight gain. Excess salt makes your body retain water, causing water weight. Similarly, salty foods are easy to overeat, meaning you eat more and are highly likely to overeat.
A Healthy Diet To Try
To help you stay away from these foods or at least limit them, food experts recommend working with a menopause diet plan. Although there is no specific diet for menopause, many food experts recommend following the Mediterranean diet during this time.
The Mediterranean diet mainly focuses on consuming fruits, vegetables, and whole grains (6). It limits the amount of dairy products and meat that an individual can have (6). According to Medical News Today, you should eat the foods below when following a Mediterranean diet (6):
- Plenty and a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
- Healthful fats, be they from nuts, seeds, or fruits like avocado and olive oil
- Limited amounts of dairy products and fish
- Very little red and white meat
- Few eggs
- Limited amount of wine
The foods you should limit or avoid when following the Mediterranean diet plan include (6):
- Packaged or processed foods
- Refined grains like white pasta, white bread, or pizza dough made from white flour
- Refined oils like canola and soybean oil
- Processed meats like hotdogs
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The Menopause Diet 5 Day Plan To Lose Weight
As mentioned earlier, it is easier to shed pounds when you work with a meal plan. When crafting such a meal plan, the critical aspect you have to consider is the recommended and discouraged foods. Stick to what is recommended and avoid what isn’t.
Even with such insight, developing a meal plan is still a handy task for some women. If this is the case, do not hesitate to ask for help from your nutritionist. Here is an example of a 5-day Mediterranean diet plan:
Day 1 (2)
- Breakfast: Two servings of Spinach, Onion, Mushroom, and Bell peppers, Egg White Omelet, and two apples (Calories- 491, Carbs- 64 g, Fat- 2 g, Protein- 58 g)
- Lunch: One serving of chicken and avocado salad and one serving of carrots with hummus (Calories- 578, Carbs- 34 g, Fat- 33 g, Protein- 42 g)
- Dinner: Two servings of zucchini pasta in a lemon cream sauce and one serving of fried broccoli (Calories- 632, Carbs- 40 g, Fat- 49 g, Protein- 19 g)
- Total Calories: 1701
Day 2 (2)
- Breakfast: Two egg white and mushroom omelettes and four easy to peel hard-boiled eggs (Calories- 572, Carbs- 11 g, Fat- 31 g, Protein- 60 g)
- Lunch: One raspberry coconut smoothie (Calories- 531, Carbs- 88 g, Fat- 22 g, Protein- 5 g)
- Dinner: Two servings of spinach cheese pasta and two servings of grilled zucchini spears (Calories- 597, Carbs- 38 g, Fat- 41 g, Protein- 26 g)
- Total Calories: 1700
Day 3 (2)
- Breakfast: One serving of oatmeal with mango and toasted coconut and two easy to peel hard-boiled eggs (Calories- 517, Carbs- 65 g, Fat- 22 g, Protein- 22 g)
- Lunch: Two servings of fruit and vegetable plate with almonds and cheese (Calories- 541, Carbs- 53 g, Fat- 29 g, Protein- 26 g)
- Dinner: Two servings of healthy chicken lettuce wraps (Calories- 647, Carbs- 8 g, Fat- 36 g, Protein- 69 g)
- Total Calories: 1705
Day 4 (2)
- Breakfast: Two servings of high protein energy balls and one orange (Calories- 460, Carbs- 63 g, Fat- 20 g, Protein- 15 g)
- Lunch: One serving of tuna-stuffed tomato and one lemon avocado salad serving (Calories- 605, Carbs- 34 g, Fat- 34 g, Protein- 50 g)
- Dinner: One serving of seared salmon with balsamic glaze and two servings of steamed broccoli (Calories- 644, Carbs- 30 g, Fat- 35 g, Protein- 55 g)
- Total Calories: 1709
Day 5 (2)
- Breakfast: Two servings of Greek yogurt and fruit salad (Calories- 528, Carbs- 65 g, Fat- 20 g, Protein- 32 g)
- Lunch: Two servings of pinto bean salad (Calories- 555, Carbs- 71 g, Fat- 27 g, Protein- 16 g)
- Dinner: Two servings of ground turkey, bean, and walnut stir-fry (Calories- 626, Carbs- 18 g, Fat- 39 g, Protein- 56 g)
- Total Calories: 1710
Besides weight loss, following such a Mediterranean diet may also improve sleep quality in older adults. Remember that poor sleep quality is associated with menopause (6). In addition, the diet may also reduce heart disease risk and improve your overall health (6).
The Menopause Weight Loss Tips
The other method that can help you counter menopause-related weight gain is exercise. You need to move more if losing weight during menopause is one of your fitness goals. Remember that you lose muscle as you age. Loss of muscle has been reduced to inefficient burning of calories (4). So, if you want to torch more calories, focus on exercises that help you gain muscle.
However, you need to consult with your doctor first about the idea of adding muscle-gaining exercise programs to your workout plan. Some exercises use bodyweight, and some require equipment or machines.
Know the proper exercises to perform to lose menopause belly fat (hint – you have to lose fat all over to lose fat in any specific area). And again, remember that you have to be consistent if you want efficient results.
Fitness experts recommend you get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week (4). If the exercise is vigorous, then you can reduce your timeline to 75 minutes per week. However, if you are doing strength training workouts, experts recommend performing such routines at least twice a week (4).
Remember not to overdo your exercises, as this has been linked to more severe complications. For example, you risk injuring yourself because you never give your muscles and body time to rest and recover. Working with a trainer can help you learn the proper form and customize a routine to avoid injury.
When it comes to weight loss, progress is made by inches, not miles, so it’s much harder to track and a lot easier to give up. BetterMe app is your personal trainer, nutritionist and support system all in one. Start using our app to stay on track and hold yourself accountable!
Getting Enough Rest
Lack of adequate sleep may also result in menopause weight gain. According to WebMD, menopause causes poor sleep quality, which stresses your body (5). Additionally, when you do not get enough sleep, your body releases the hormone cortisol, which increases your appetite.
Note that you may tend to overeat or snack more when you are operating on low or no sleep. These behaviors increase your calorie intake, promoting weight gain (5). So, strive to get enough and quality sleep.
Some techniques can help you sleep soundly and through the night. One of them is reducing screen time a few hours before going to bed. Secondly, WebMD suggests creating a sleep-friendly environment.
Such an environment has zero distractions like noise or excessive light (5). The other technique you can implement to help you get sound sleep is trying meditation. Meditation will calm you and help you sleep soundly and throughout the night. You can start with guided meditation and then try other solo meditation practices as you progress.
Reducing Your Stress Levels
Transitioning into the menopause phase can be stressful for some. Change is stressful, and remember that some signs of menopause are extreme irritability and fatigue. If you allow these to take control of you, you may end up straining some relationships due to extreme irritability, which of course adds stress. But, again, high-stress levels can lead to emotional eating. The production of cortisol causes it.
Cortisol makes your blood sugar levels drop and increases your craving for salty and fatty foods (1). These foods are known to have high amounts of calories. Therefore, eating so much of these foods leads to a calorie surplus that promotes weight gain.
We all struggle with stress, and what matters is taking charge of it before it becomes worse. To avoid weight gain induced by high-stress levels, you are advised to manage your stress levels. Some of the techniques you can implement to help ease stress are meditating, doing yoga, exercising, dancing, listening to music, or performing your leisure activity (1).
The Bottom Line
Although it is harder, it is possible to shed pounds during menopause. One of the best ways to achieve this goal is through diet. You can create an effective Mediterranean diet plan to help you lose weight during menopause. Please look at the menopause diet 5 day plan to lose weight we have compiled for insight on how to craft yours!
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on for decision-making. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Can Stress Cause Weight Gain? (2016, webmd.com)
- Generate a Mediterranean diet meal plan (2021, eatthismuch.com)
- How to lose Weight After Menopause (2020, webmd.com)
- Menopause weight gain: Stop the middle age spread (2021, mayoclinic.org)
- Menopause, Weight Gain, and Exercise Tips (2021, webmd.com)
- Our guide to the Mediterranean diet (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)