1. Change Your Sleep Strategies 

Poor sleep quality is an extremely common symptom of perimenopause. Waking up unrefreshed means you’re probably feeling too exhausted to head out for exercise, too. And the single most important thing you can do to lose that weight is to get restorative sleep. This makes for a real change from the hectic lives that so many women lead. Balancing work, family and hobbies often results in very short nights. Or, you may try to get a good night’s sleep, but you keep waking up. 

Inadequate sleep impacts our hunger hormones, ghrelin and leptin. They don’t work properly without proper sleep and that causes stress to the body which produces cortisol – the stress hormone. There’s basically no way to lose weight if these 3 hormones are unbalanced.

When you sleep, it’s the time when your body does its maintenance. It cleans up and removes debris, it repairs tissue, and it creates memories. So if this maintenance isn’t happening and the hunger and stress hormones are unbalanced, then you will feel terrible, have brain fog and not be able to lose any weight, despite your efforts.

Sleep hygiene habits include the following: 

  • Keep your bedroom cool and dark to prevent night sweats
  • Choose bamboo fiber for sheets and nightware.
  • Turn off all screens for at least an hour before sleep
  • Wear anti-blue light glasses to protect your eyes
  • Take a cool shower before bed to drop your body temperature
  • Use a silk pillow cover to keep your head cool (and care for your hair and skin)
  • Stop eating 4 hours before bed and stop drinking 2 hours before bed
  • Limit alcohol, preferable none after 5 pm.
  • Remove caffeine, even decaf.

2. Be Selective About Carbohydrate Intake

Not all nutrients are created equal, and some experts believe that a steady diet heavy in refined carbs like pasta, bread and cereal are a significant factor for excess belly fat. Refined carbs are quickly turned into sugar and that spikes insulin. When insulin is high, there is no fat burning going on. 

Much better to get carbohydrates from vegetables. They cause less insulin to be produced and they convert more slowly into glycogen. When combined with healthy fats. Such as extra virgin olive oil, you have a great combination.

3. Choose Fats Wisely 

Fat adds flavor, and that makes our food taste great. But there are some fats that are a lot better for you than others. The healthiest fats are the ones that derive from vegetable sources like olives and nuts. Extra virgin olive oil is a great choice because it can be used for cooking and with salad dressings. 

If you are eating out, you can ask for oil and vinegar on the side. You can control the portion that way. Confirm that’s it’s olive oil you are getting and not subquality corn or canola oil. 

4. Manage Serving Portions 

With a slower metabolism, it’s easy to overeat. So reducing portion size is an important step. 

Balance your plate with about 1/4 protein, 1/5 starchy carbohydrate (like sweet potatoes or squash) and ½ vegetables. Arrange things nicely so it looks appetizing and delicious. When you cook your own meals, it’s easier to gauge the serving sizes. But if you’re in a restaurant, not seeing all the courses in front of you at one time can be misleading. Don’t be afraid to ask for a takeaway container for left-overs. 

5. Meal Timing 

It’s not just what you eat, but also when you eat that counts. Snacks are usually a poor choice at any time of day. Much better to keep your eating to mealtimes. It’s a good idea to stop eating at least 4 hours before bed. This means that your digestion will be largely complete before bed so you can sleep restfully. Another great idea is to eat the main meal of the day at lunch time, and have a smaller meal at dinner.

Some people like to incorporate intermittent fasting to their eating plan. Using this approach, you can limit your eating window to anything from 4-12 hours a day. This means that your digestion will not be distracting your body from other important functions.  

6. Join a Friend or a Group for Exercise 

It’s a great idea to vary your movement routines to include different activities. Generally you want both aerobic exercise – like walking, swimming or dancing – as well as resistance exercise – like yoga and light weight lifting. While a variety of activity is great, finding a friend to do it with introduces accountability and community. Studies have found that participating in regular group fitness classes resulted in a significant decrease in stress and a rise in physical, mental, and emotional quality of life compared with exercising regularly on your own or not engaging in regular exercise at all. 

7. Reduce Stress with Mindfulness 

Cortisol is known as the stress hormone. It stimulates the liver to increase production and release of blood sugar and helps the body convert fats, proteins, and carbohydrates into usable energy. We need cortisol as part of the body’s “fight or flight” response, so it’s released during stressful times to give your body a natural energy boost. But when cortisol levels are constantly high because of chronic stress, these same effects are likely to turn into insulin resistance and then type 2 diabetes.

To break the cycle, you want to reduce stress using some quick and simple techniques to help calm you down. For example, go for a walk, enjoy the outdoors. Try a meditation app like Headspace or Calm. They offer free short meditations for beginners that can lower heart rate and short-circuit the stress response. You can reduce or eliminate alcohol. That beverage doesn’t serve your body, only challenges it with sugars, and prevents the liver from metabolizing fat. 

If you are dealing with emotional issues, it may result in overeating and self-sabotage. If this is the case, then find help with a therapist. 

#lifestyleapproach #perimenopause #menopause #weightgain #wellness #holistichealth

Is your waistline expanding? It’s one of the most common symptoms of perimenopause, so you’re not alone. As our bodies change, you will probably find that the things you used to do to shave off a few pounds don’t work anymore. Women discover there is more than a calorie deficit needed to lose weight. What do we need to look at to get rid of the midsection bulge? Check out these 7 actions: