Let’s face it: no-one looks forward to menopause. It’s a confronting time of our life and horror stories abound: weight gain, hot flushes and nights spent tossing and turning unable to sleep.
But here’s the thing: while hormonal changes are inevitable, you can put in place some simple steps to minimise menopausal symptoms and, importantly, regain control and confidence of your body.
It’s like training for an Olympic event – do the work and you can sail through it!
I can honestly say I look and feel the same now as I did pre-menopause. The only difference is that if I don’t train, I lose muscle more quickly and it takes longer to restore so I simply need to be more consistent.
Here are my top four tips to train your body before that big event!
STRENGTH: Regular strength training (you can do this at home, no fancy gym memberships required!). This will help you retain optimum lean tissue and improve your bone density. They key here is the word regular – no inconsistencies in your program.
DIET: A nutritious diet will help with fatigue and moodiness. Stay away from sugars, preservatives and excessive alcohol. You will be amazed at the improvement in your energy levels. Curb your intake of spicy food and caffeine, as they can exacerbate hot flushes. If you are overweight, fat loss can help reduce hot flushes and allow a more stable balance in hormones.
WALK: Make sure you do at least 8000 steps every day. This will help with both your stress and your mood. And your dog will be happy.
LOSE THE MUFFIN TOP: Weight gain during menopause is common as menopausal hormones can cause changes in distribution of your body fat and can make you more susceptible to lean muscle loss. Fat distribution changes are commonly perceived as ‘menopausal weight gain’, which is inevitably around your abdomen. However, it will only store there ifyou have excess fat from poor lifestyle choices – not purely due to menopause. As well, loss of skin elasticity due to aging can make any fat deposition appear more obvious. Happily, healthy food and lifestyle choices can slow this process.
Donna Aston is one of Australia’s top nutritionists and is passionate about improving the health of Australians. She developed the online program AstonRX, which focuses on improving metabolic function and gut health. See Donna at AstonRX.com.