The Natural Beauty Show discuss menopause

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During the menopause, women’s bodies undergo a hormonal transition that also impacts their metabolism, so it’s not unusual to put on a few extra pounds. The hormonal changes going on in the body are mostly to blame for weight gain, with many women suffering with cravings, causing them to snack and overeat.

But experts have found there are ways to control it.

Nutritionist Tamara Willner, who works at NHS-backed healthy eating plan Second Nature, revealed there is one thing women can do in order to curb cravings.

“The hormonal changes women experience in the years leading up to menopause can impact both where we gain weight and how much weight we gain,” she explained.

“The combination of lower metabolism and changes in stress hormones can result in an increase in weight and fat storage around our abdomen.”

Cravings brought on by fatigue and low blood sugar can result in overeating on sugary foods.

Tamara advised: “Focusing on having three proper meals each day can reduce the chances of cravings.

“When we do experience strong cravings, a good option is to enjoy something satisfying and delicious that’s made from whole foods.”

She also suggested people try healthy desserts: “That way, you’re not depriving yourself and you’ll be satisfied for longer, while reducing your intake of refined carbs.”

Registered dietitian Elizabeth Ward, a co-author with Hillary Wright of The Menopause Diet Plan, A Natural Guide to Managing Hormones, Health, and Happiness, also noted the importance of meal timings for women going through the menopause.

In general, people can be hit with cravings at any time of the day but for those trying to lose weight, eating late at night isn’t a wise decision.

Eating at specific times during the day has long been a weight loss technique for many women and Ward explained that humans are ruled by natural body rhythms that affect overall health.

“Meal timing is one of the most important principles of a menopause diet,” she said.

She went on to point out that meal timing is involved in weight control, regulating blood glucose levels, better sleep and possibly lowering cancer risk.

By keeping a watchful eye on meal timings, people will also become more wary of their calorie limits.

While it may be difficult for women to find their calorie limit through a process of trial and error, Ward said that women over the age of 40 will need to adjust their food intake to avoid menopausal weight gain.

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention suggest sticking to a 1,200-calorie diet is the right approach for overweight menopausal women.

They noted that it could lead to a weight loss rate of one to two pounds per week.

Ward recommended trying healthy meal plans that meet nutritional needs and will help women stick to their daily limit.

“We hate the thought of counting every calorie, and we realise that the thought of doing that can trigger bad memories of dieting,” she said.

“However, everyone has a calorie ‘budget,’ and simply eating a plant-based diet may not be enough if you aren’t aware of your limits.”

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