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Menopause affects every woman differently.

But don’t worry, with the help of Evolve, you can still lose weight and manage your symptoms.

What happens to our weight and hormones during menopause? 

As women age and enter perimenopause and menopause, their levels of reproductive hormones drop, which can affect where they store body fat.

Typically, women tend to store body fat around their hips, legs, and bottom before menopause. However, after menopause, they may carry more weight around their waist due to hormonal changes. This shift in fat storage can affect a woman’s perception of her weight, even if the scale reading has remained constant.

Although weight gain is a common occurrence with age, evidence suggests that it is unlikely to be a direct result of menopause. Rather, it is important to focus on maintaining a healthy lifestyle through a balanced diet and regular exercise to manage weight during this stage of life.

What is the reason behind many women experiencing weight gain during this stage of life?

Many women tend to gain weight during menopause, and research suggests that this could be due to a reduction in muscle mass caused by hormonal changes. In addition, as we age, we tend to become less active, which can further slow down our metabolism and cause us to burn fewer calories. The symptoms of menopause can also have an impact on our weight. However, there is good news: by eating a healthy, balanced diet (Everyday Eats) and staying active (Activate), it is possible to manage symptoms, maintain muscle mass, support metabolism, prevent weight gain, and even promote weight loss during this time of life.

Dealing with Menopause Symptoms with Evolve

We all know menopause can be different for everyone, but some of us may experience a few extra challenges when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Sleepless Nights

One of the pesky symptoms that can mess with our weight management goals is lack of sleep. It turns out that poor quality or lack of sleep can mess with hormones that regulate our appetite. This can lead to choosing less healthy foods and feeling less motivated to exercise, which can all affect our weight… and make it even harder to get a good night’s rest.

Thankfully, with Evolve’s help, you can conquer these challenges and manage your symptoms effectively. Our Everyday Eats and Activate programs are designed to help you get quality sleep, maintain a balanced diet, and keep up with regular physical activity. By following these healthy habits, you’ll be able to tackle your symptoms head-on, keep your weight in check, and feel better overall.

Tips for Managing Tired Days and Improving Sleep

We all experience sleepless nights from time to time, and it’s important to have some strategies in place to avoid reaching for unhealthy snacks the following day. Here are some tips to help you stay on track with your healthy habits:

  • Opt for high-fibre foods: Starting your day with wholemeal toast or porridge oats and choosing a jacket potato, baked beans, and mixed salad for lunch can provide sustained energy to help you avoid unhealthy snacking.
  • Plan ahead: Batch-cooking healthy meals that are easy to reheat can save time and ensure you have nutritious options on hand when you’re too tired to cook.
  • Stock up on healthy snacks: Keep fat-free natural yoghurt with fresh berries, lean-cooked cold meats, seafood sticks, and chopped vegetables on hand for easy, on-plan snacks.
  • Take a quick walk: If you need an energy boost, a 15-minute walk outside can help, and you can see if you’re still hungry when you get back.

In addition to these tips, there are also several strategies you can implement to improve your quality of sleep:

  • Keep cool: Research has shown that keeping your body temperature down while you sleep can improve sleep quality. Consider opening a window or using a fan to keep the room cool.
  • Block out the light: Even a small amount of light can inhibit the release of the sleep hormone melatonin, making it harder to fall asleep. Consider using an eye mask or installing blackout curtains to block out light sources.
  • Avoid screens in bed: The blue light emitted by screens can disrupt your body clock and make it harder to fall asleep. Consider avoiding screen time for at least an hour before bed.
  • Limit alcohol: Alcohol can interfere with the sleep process, so it’s best to limit your consumption to one or two drinks in the early evening and switch to non-alcoholic options.
  • Stick to a consistent sleep schedule: Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, even on weekends, can help regulate your body clock and improve sleep quality.
  • Exercise regularly: Moderate exercise for 150 minutes per week (30 minutes five times a week) can improve sleep quality, making it another good reason to work towards your Activate awards.

Menopause can bring a range of symptoms that impact our physical and emotional well-being. To manage these symptoms, it’s important to make smart choices in our food and drink intake.

Caffeine and Alcohol

Caffeine and alcohol can worsen symptoms like hot flushes and night sweats. Decaffeinated versions of tea, coffee, and diet cola are a great alternative, and can help you naturally reduce your alcohol intake. However, if you find you’re still struggling with symptoms, you might consider cutting out alcohol altogether.

Mood Changes

Fluctuating hormone levels can cause emotional changes in some women, which can affect our appetite and food choices. But with Evolve’s Everyday Eats plan, you can enjoy comforting meals like cottage pie, sausage and mash, and chips with a few smart swaps. And if you have a sweet tooth, you can still indulge in treats within your daily calorie allowance.

By making healthy choices with Evolve, you can manage your symptoms and improve your overall well-being during menopause.

Managing Joint Discomfort

Although it may feel counter-intuitive when experiencing joint discomfort, regular physical activity can help maintain healthy and lubricated joints, which can reduce stiffness and pain. Even small movements can be beneficial, and lower-impact exercises like yoga, walking, swimming, and cycling can be easier on the joints. So, incorporating physical activity into your daily routine can help manage joint discomfort and maintain overall joint health.

Are phytoestrogens effective in reducing menopause symptoms?

Phytoestrogens are natural compounds found in some plants that are similar to the hormone estrogen in our bodies, but weaker. Eating foods that contain phytoestrogens regularly and in enough amounts may help relieve certain symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes. Additionally, some studies suggest that phytoestrogens could also help women lose weight during menopause by acting like estrogen in the body and regulating metabolism.

You’ll find phytoestrogens in: 

  • soya (edamame) beans NO Count food
  • tofu (plain tofu is a NO Count food)
  • soya products (calcium-enriched soya drink is 105 calories per 250ml, while plain soya yoghurt with added calcium is a NO Count food).
  • linseeds (2 level tbsp is 75 calories).

Get Moving!

Moving your body through physical activity can help reduce the severity of menopause symptoms, preserve muscle mass, support bone health, reduce the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease, improve sleep, and ease stress. 

Our Activate program can guide you in developing an active lifestyle, which can support your weight loss and help you maintain it for life.

During menopause, the drop in oestrogen speeds up the rate at which we lose calcium from our bones, increasing the risk of osteoporosis. 

A diet rich in calcium is even more important during this time. You can try incorporating NO Count foods such as fat-free natural yoghurt, fromage frais, cottage cheese, dairy-free soya yoghurt, sardines, tofu, and green leafy vegetables into your diet to boost your calcium intake. 

Vitamin D is also essential for bone health as it aids calcium absorption. Taking a daily supplement of 10 micrograms is recommended, especially during autumn and winter.

To keep your heart healthy after menopause

 It’s important to develop healthy habits. The Everyday Eats plan is a great start as it encourages you to eat foods that are good for your heart, such as fish, fruits, vegetables, and foods that are high in fibre.

Other things you can do include eating two portions of fish each week, including oily fish like salmon or sardines, which are high in omega-3 fatty acids. 

You should also use small amounts of unsaturated fats and oils found in nuts, seeds, and avocado which we recommend using your bank of daily calorie allowance for. Avoiding salty foods and opting for low-salt options from the Pantry picks, like reduced-salt soy sauce and stock cubes is also recommended.

If you’re struggling with menopause symptoms that are impacting your life, talk to your doctor. They can help you identify the right treatment and support that’s tailored to your needs.

So ladies, let’s face it, going through peri-menopause and menopause can be tough. But, remember to take some time for yourself because you’re important and you matter! It’s okay to feel a bit off-balance during this time, but you’re not alone. It’s time to treat yourself! Whether it’s cosying up with your favourite book, spending time with your besties, or indulging in some serious self-care, make sure you take a break and give yourself some well-deserved TLC. Remember, you are amazing and capable of anything. So keep pushing through, keep shining, and know that we’re cheering you on every step of the way!