#WinbyLosing: How menopause effects weight loss

As the Win by Losing competition approaches the mid-way point, your questions about health and fitness are starting to come in. While we cannot answer your personal health questions in a blog post, we do get questions that resonate with many of the contest participants and will use those as ideas for future posts as space allows. If you are a Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan subscriber, be sure to take advantage of our Health Coach Hot Line for help with specific questions about your weight loss.

Question: I’m in the middle of menopause and I’m finding it difficult to lose weight. What can I do to jumpstart my efforts to Win by Losing?

Answer:

Conventional wisdom has long held that for women going through menopause, gaining weight is inevitable. But new research based on approximately 500 postmenopausal women in Pittsburgh calls that wisdom into doubt, and offer suggestions on how women can achieve their fitness or weight loss goals regardless of their age.

  1. Do what your mom always told you, eat your vegetables. If losing weight in the short-term is your goal, cutting out fried foods and sugary drinks is an immediate way to make that happen. To make sure that weight stays off over the long-haul, the key is adding more fruits and veggies to your diet. Those women in Pittsburgh showed that at the end of four years, this one change had just as much impact on weight as did limiting deserts and pop.
    Another benefit to eating more produce is that it can reduce night sweats and hot flashes.
  2. Kick start your weight loss efforts with these two suggestions. Out of the study participants, those successful at losing weight within the first six months of the study often skipped going out to eat and ate more fish at home. To maintain your weight loss over time, it is important to incorporate healthier eating into your lifestyle. The key to making any “diet” work is to stop calling it a diet and make changes to what you eat that you are comfortable with, so you will be able to maintain the changes.
  3. Spend some time with weights. A pound of muscle burns more calories than a pound of fat, so add some strength training to your exercise routine. You don’t have to become a bodybuilder, but learning how to use the weight machines at the gym or taking a yoga class a few times a week will help your efforts in the long term.
  4. Revamp your diary. If you have ever kept a diary, this should be an easy change to make. The simple act of writing down everything you eat has been found to double your weight loss results regardless of age.
  5. Take the long view. It is true that losing weight becomes more difficult as the years go on. It is also true that losing weight more slowly is easier for your body to sustain. By recognizing that getting to a healthy weight will take time, you will be able to persist through the usual ups and downs of any competition and keep the weight off for a lifetime.

What are you doing to Win by Losing?

Photo credit: GetGood

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