The transition into menopause can come with a few challenges such as changes in body shape and weight gain.
One of the reasons for weight gain around menopause is hormone fluctuations and the decline in estrogen.
Another reason is that muscle mass decreases with age.
“Women lose 5-8% of lean muscle every 10 years after they pass 30 years and that percentage increases after 60.”
Losing muscle mass slows the rate at which your body uses calories (metabolism). This can make it harder to maintain a healthy weight.
Other reasons for menopausal weight gain include ageing, lifestyle and genetic factors.
The Good News
Building and maintaining muscle mass can be achieved through resistance and strength training. This also has the added benefit of reducing hot flushes and improving cognition and brain health.
Strength training can be done at the gym or at home with resistance bands, squats, lunges and planks using your own body weight.
The importance of protein for a healthy weight.
As we age, our demand for protein increases.
A recent review concluded that a higher intake of good quality protein (1-1.5 kg of body weight per day) evenly distributed throughout the day, may maximally stimulate muscle protein synthesis. Thereby contributing to maintaining muscle mass in older adults. So, if you are 60kg then aim for around 60grams of protein, throughout the day.
Lean meat (33g of protein for every 100g)
Fish (21g per 100g)
Almonds (21.5g per 100g)
Greek yoghurt (200g equals about 17g)
Eggs (1: 7g protein)
Lentils (1 cup of cooked lentils, 200g provides: 21g of protein)
Black beans (1cup: 170g, contains over 15g protein)
Tofu: (18g of protein for 150g serving)
Tempeh: (25g of protein)
The other good thing about protein is that it keeps you satisfied until your next meal.
Maintaining a healthy weight is also about reducing stress, getting a good night’s sleep, eating a whole food diet with plenty of fresh vegetables, and moving your body. As well as reducing alcohol, ditching sugar and reducing processed foods. Its a holistic approach.
My weekly go-to breakfasts are
During the week
Rapid Bircher Muesli
This is so quick to make and yummy. It doesn’t look like much, but it’s very filling. Makes 2 - 1 tbs chia seeds - 2 tbs organic whole grain oats
- 170g full-fat Greek yoghurt or coconut yoghurt for a non dairy option - 1 red apple coarsely grated - 30g flaked almonds - 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- Optional 1 tbs of protein powder. Mix ell ingredients, then divide between 2 small bowls or glass jars. I like to refrigerate for about 10 minutes before eating.
Strawberry smoothie (serves 1)
- 1 cup frozen organic berries - 1 tbs protein powder - 1 cup unsweetened almond milk - 1 tbsp Greek yoghurt - 1 tbs chia seeds - 1 tsp pre/probiotic powder (optional) - ice Blend and enjoy
Weekends or late breaky / lunch
Scrambled eggs with smoked salmon and feta. Serves 2
- 4 med free-range eggs
- 10g butter or 1tsp olive oil
- 60g smoked salmon sliced
- 40g feta crumbled (I like goats feta)
- Fresh parsley to serve
1. Whisk the eggs in a bowl and season with salt and pepper
2. Melt the butter in a non-stick frypan over low heat
3. Pour in the eggs and stir continuously for 3-4 minutes, until creamy and just starting to set.
4. Remove from the pan and stir in the salmon and feta.
5. I love adding a handful of fresh finely chopped parsley at the end.
Please get in touch if you need any help with perimenopause, menopause and weight loss.
Brennan, MD, D. (2021). Benefits of Building Muscle After 50. HEALTHY AGING.
Briden, L. (2021). Hormone repair manual. Sydney: Pan Macmillan.
Mosley, M. (2021). The fast 800 keto. Sydney: Hechette Australia.
Silva, T., Oppermann, K., Reis, F., & Spritzer, P. (2021). Nutrition in Menopausal Women: A Narrative Review. Nutrients, 13(7), 2149. doi: 10.3390/nu13072149
Casuarina Holistic Health is conveniently located at Casuarina, NSW, between Kingscliff and Cabarita Beach on the Tweed Coast. Naturopathic consultations can be either in clinic or via Zoom.