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Dr. Orady recommends individuals of all ages—but certainly postmenopausal women—focus on healthy eating and maintaining a consistent regimen of aerobic exercise, such as walking, swimming, cycling, hiking and strength training.
Resistance training in particular is helpful when it comes to muscle loss. “A lot of people just focus on cardio for heart health, but strength training exercises are very important to focus on as we age,” advises Dr. Orady. She suggests at least 15 minutes of weight training a few times a week to positively impact weight and overall health after menopause.
Diet is also an essential factor in menopausal weight gain and maintaining a healthy weight no matter your age. Dr. Robinson recommends implementing a heart-healthy diet. “Focus on foods high in fiber, unsaturated fat and vitamins,” she says. “Some examples include vegetables, fruit, oily fish and whole grains.” Dietary fiber itself has been shown to be very effective in reducing blood glucose.
Dr. Jordan recommends limiting “empty” calories by selecting nutritious, low-sugar foods. “Diet plans that lean into fresh foods that are high in fiber, high in protein and lower in carbohydrates are effective in weight management [because they] optimize nutrition and energy levels while improving blood sugar and cholesterol levels,” she explains.
Focusing on sleep hygiene is also imperative, according to Dr. Jordan, as it helps improve quality and quantity of sleep. “No computer screens, no work in the bedroom, keep a regular schedule and routine around sleep [and] limit alcohol intake, especially in the hours immediately preceding sleep, as detectable blood levels of alcohol prohibit deep, restorative sleep,” suggests Dr. Jordan.
It’s also crucial to treat night sweats if you have them. “Night sweats in menopause are associated with poor quality sleep, and treating them results in improved quality of sleep,” says Dr. Jordan, who recommends estrogen replacement as the most effective treatment for night sweats. “For women who can’t take hormones, there are also other prescription and integrative solutions that help, too,” she adds.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is another option for perimenopausal and postmenopausal women. “Hormone replacement has been shown to improve the bad-for-you central weight gain;in other words, it helps women battle the belly weight gain distribution,” says Dr. Jordan.
Hormone therapy can also help with poor sleep, mood changes and energy levels, she adds, which contribute to weight gain. “HRT also has a positive effect on our lipid and glucose metabolism, thereby lessening the development of other cardiovascular risks,” she says.
See a clinician that understands the menopausal transition and uses evidence-based care to help you achieve your healthiest weight. “Prescription medications may be part of a solution for some women, but I would look for care that also includes support for lifestyle modifications, nutritional strategies and other interventions linked to sustained weight management,” advises Dr. Jordan.
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