In the wake of the pandemic and the challenges it brought, many of us found ourselves facing a common issue: weight gain. Whether it was a result of pandemic-induced lifestyle changes or menopause, extra pounds became an unwelcome frenemy for many.
So, I will be the first to admit, before 2020 I would go hard at the gym which is evident by the pictures and dresses I used to slide into. I kept a "fighting" weight of roughly 148 to 150 and at 5'7 (and little to no hips), I could easily where a size 6. Now, it is a different story. Me and the scale went from being frenemies to straight enemies. Even though it says 158, the lack of working out added with the toddler snacks with a whole lot of menopausal "not today" type of energy, my arms move a little bit more than I would like to.
Weight gain and stressful times
It's no secret that the pandemic disrupted our routines and lifestyle habits. According to a study conducted by Harvard (click here for article). 39% of patients experienced weight gain during this period. Our snacking became part of our lifestyle while exercising wasn't really a priority. Your flight or fight hormone aka stress hormone aka cortisol was out of whack. Don't worry you weren't the only one.
As a recap, the average age of menopause is 51, I am not there yet so don't count on being "average." There are many symptoms you will experience on your menopausal journey included hot flashes, mood swings, and a whole host of skin things (hint: the itch may be menopausal skin and not the pollen). It can be frustrating when you are going through all the physical and emotional challenges. BUT, we are discussing the weight gain! Let's blame or rather attribute this to the decline of estrogen. As you get older, your fat "settles" different, stress hits different, everything is different.
Some research debates the accuracy of "menopausal" weight gain being hormonal. I can't say either way and I can point the finger in 5 different ways.
I CAN, but I WON'T.
At the end of the day, we have to live in our bodies 24/7 and part of that is loving your body. Remember, everyone's journey is unique, and what matters most is feeling comfortable and healthy in your own skin. The P15 or M15 may be okay with you but if it isn't, here are some tips that may help.
Strategies for Managing Weight
Set realistic goals:
Determine a healthy weight range for your age and body type.
Break down your weight loss goal into smaller, achievable targets.
Focus on nutrition:
Eat a balanced diet rich in whole foods, fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats.
Limit processed foods, sugary snacks, and high-calorie beverages.
Consider portion control to manage calorie intake.
Prioritize strength training:
Engage in regular strength training exercises to preserve muscle mass and boost metabolism.
Include activities like weightlifting, resistance training, or bodyweight exercises.
Aim for two to three sessions per week.
Incorporate cardiovascular exercise:
Engage in aerobic activities that elevate your heart rate, such as brisk walking, jogging, cycling, or swimming.
Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week.
Gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts over time.
Practice mindful eating:
Pay attention to hunger and fullness cues.
Eat slowly and savor each bite to enhance satisfaction.
Avoid distractions like screens while eating to promote mindful eating habits.
Get enough sleep:
Aim for seven to nine hours of quality sleep each night.
Manage stress levels:
Prioritize self-care activities that help you relax and unwind.
Drink an adequate amount of water throughout the day
Monitor progress and make adjustments:
Keep track of your food intake, exercise routines, and progress towards your weight loss goals.
If necessary, consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian for personalized guidance and support.
Starting June 1st in the Akanni Women FB group, we are doing a challenge to drop whatever physical and/or emotional weight that we have been carrying. Join us the support and accountability in a judgement free zone. Plus, we talk menopause and self-care too.
At the end of the day, your weight is only a part of being a healthier you. Be realistic, set goals and then take steps to changing the things you don't like physically, mentally, emotionally or any other ly.