Unlock Midlife Weight Loss
If you’re a woman between the ages of 37-55 and you’re putting in the work at the gym but not seeing those pounds drop, you’re not alone. It’s not your imagination that it takes longer and requires more work than it did in your twenties, or even thirties, to drop those unwanted pounds. But here’s the good news: it is possible to get back to your ideal weight, and maintain it, when you take the unique needs of your midlife body into consideration. For me, as your doctor, it’s not just a matter of looking a certain way, it’s about understanding your body’s metabolic changes and how important it is for your long-term health.
It’s true, weight loss is harder in midlife
As we journey through life, our bodies change, and what worked like magic in our 20s might need a tweak in our 40s.Weight loss becomes more of a puzzle than a straightforward recipe as we age. Perimenopausal hormonal changes, especially the drop in estrogen or testosterone, play a big role in this shift.
Picture it like your metabolism hitting a different gear, and it’s time to adjust our approach.
Why aren’t you losing weight despite working out? Dealing with a slowing metabolism
You’re hitting the gym, giving it your all, but the scale is stubbornly stuck at a number you don’t like. What’s the reason?
Estrogen levels become more erratic in early perimenopause and drop lower and lower as we reach menopause. Testosterone can also drop at this time.
Estrogen appears to increase our resting metabolic rate, which helps us burn more calories at rest. Low estrogen can also make our body store fat more easily around our mid-section, which is worse for our health than storing fat in our butt and thighs. Testosterone helps us more easily build muscle mass when we work out and muscle mass helps us burn more calories at rest as well.
If your estrogen and/or testosterone have dropped in perimenopause, it might be time to consider Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) to balance out those hormonal shifts or drops. This IS preventative medicine!
Sometimes, our bodies need a little extra support to keep everything in sync.
The health benefits behind weight loss in midlife
For those who are overweight, understanding the health benefits of weight loss can be motivating and empowering. Here are some reasons that doubling down on health and weight loss has a lasting impact on your health in the perimenopausal years.
As little as a 3% sustained body weight loss improves blood sugar (glycemic control), cholesterol (triglycerides) and decreases your risk for type 2 Diabetes.
If you are overweight, Shedding 5-10% of your weight has remarkable benefits:
- Improves mobility, decreases chronic pain, and decreases joint pain
- Decreases your risk for hot flashes, dementia, and gallbladder disease
- Decreases cardiovascular disease
- Balances blood sugar (Reduces hyperglycemia), improves your cholesterol (lowers triglycerides and LDL and improves HDL), and improves blood pressure, liver function, and decreases fatty liver disease.
- Potentially decreases the need for medications related to high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and cholesterol
- Decreases your risk of cancer
- Many cancers are connected to obesity including breast, uterine, ovarian, and colorectal cancer
Small changes can lead to significant improvements in your overall health and well-being.
The secret to losing weight in your 40s goes beyond the gym
Earlier I mentioned that losing weight in midlife is more like a puzzle than a recipe. The more we age, the more multifaceted our approach to weight loss and health needs to be. Here’s my practical advice on the pieces you’ll need to include in your weight-loss plan for a healthier, more balanced you:
- Consider Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
- If you’re feeling the symptoms of perimenopause or menopause, fixing your drop in estrogen or testosterone might be a game-changer.
- Check Your Thyroid
- The thyroid, a tiny powerhouse in your body, plays a role in metabolism. If it’s not functioning optimally, weight loss can become an uphill battle.
- Focus on Strength Training
- Cardio is fantastic, but don’t overlook the power of strength training. It not only helps with weight loss but also keeps our bones strong.
- Prioritize Sleep
- Quality sleep isn’t just a luxury; it’s a necessity. Lack of sleep can mess with our hormones, making weight loss even more challenging. If hot flashes, which are in large part caused by low estrogen, or anxiety are preventing you from sleeping, let me know.
- Sleep deprivation is associated with increased cortisol, reduced glucose tolerance, insulin sensitivity, and decreased energy expenditure.
- Take Probiotics
- Gut health matters more than you might think for being at your optimal weight. Probiotics can aid digestion and contribute to our overall well-being.
- Boost Protein Intake
- Slightly elevated protein intake can lead to a greater reduction in weight, fat mass, and triglyceride levels. Especially as we age, protein becomes a crucial ally. It supports muscle health, aids in weight loss, and keeps us feeling satiated.
- Eat low glycemic index carbohydrates
- Women with insulin resistance, like those with polycystic ovarian syndrome, Diabetes, or obesity, may respond better to lower-carb or lower glycemic-index dietary patterns.
Think of it as a holistic approach, addressing not just the symptoms but the underlying factors influencing your weight.
A detailed dietary blueprint for midlife wellness
To sum it up, maintaining a healthy body weight and making mindful dietary choices can be transformative. Here’s my nutritional blueprint for you:
- Follow a Mediterranean-Style Diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, it’s a balanced approach that supports overall well-being.
- Oily Fish Twice a Week: Incorporating fish like salmon or mackerel provides essential omega-3 fatty acids, beneficial for heart health.
- Mind Your Fat Intake: Limit saturated and trans fats and opt for healthier fats found in nuts, seeds, avocados, and olive oil.
- Watch Liquid Calories: Sweetened beverages might be sabotaging your efforts. Opt for whole fruit over fruit juice for added fiber.
- Mind Your Salt: Reduced sodium intake can help lower high blood pressure and support overall heart health.
- Moderate Alcohol Consumption: Excessive alcohol intake can have serious health consequences, including an increased risk for breast cancer
- Be Wary of Eating Out: When possible, prepare meals at home. Restaurant portions can be larger and higher in unhealthy ingredients.
- Boost Protein Intake by eating more legumes, beans, nuts, seeds, eggs, and lean meats
- Eat complex carbohydrates like squash, sweet potatoes, and quinoa instead of simple carbohydrates like bread, pasta, and cookies
It’s not about drastic changes but sustainable choices that contribute to your long-term health.
Weight loss medications: who are they for?
Weight loss medicines may be recommended for those who have struggled with weight loss through traditional methods. These medications are specifically recommended for individuals with a BMI of 30 or more, or those with a BMI between 27 and 29.9 who have other medical problems like diabetes, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure.
Medication may be helpful for weight loss when used in combination with diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes.
Embrace your journey to optimal weight
Remember, the journey to a healthier you is unique, and the challenges you face in midlife require a tailored approach. By understanding the shifts in your body, making informed choices, and seeking professional guidance, you’re already on the right path.
My team and I are here to support you every step of the way. Whether it’s hormonal balance, dietary advice, or lifestyle adjustments, your well-being is our priority.
Take charge, embrace the changes with grace, and make choices that resonate with your unique needs. Your journey to wellness is an ongoing process, and every positive step counts.
Curious about how your current habits align with your health goals? Take my quiz to get personalized insights and actionable tips. My expertise is just a click away.