Why Menopause Diets Are Bad For Your Health


Do menopause diets ever work? If they insist that you stick to a punishing regime of deprivation, or adopt an unnatural, unbalanced eating pattern, then the answer's a resounding; 'No!'

Slimming diets seldom work. Yes, you might drop a few, even many, pounds at the start of a diet. Some people do manage to stick to a weight-reducing plan for long enough to see a considerable loss. But as soon as the dieting stops - you know what happens. The weight goes back on, and more besides.

And that's why weird and wonderful menopause diets that claim to shift the build-up of fat around the midriff, with a low calorie, cabbage soup or grapefruit routine aren't likely to work.

To avoid weight gain after menopause, you need to adopt healthier eating habits that become second nature, so you can keep them going for the rest of your life. And you need to be more active. It's simple.

Why menopause diets don't work

Yo Yo Dieting

The yo yo dieting cycle

There is research to indicate that the more often you go on - and off - weight reduction diets, the less likely you are to lose weight, and the more likely you are, not just to regain any weight you've lost, but to put on even more. One moment food's your enemy, next it's your friend.

It's called yo-yo dieting, because your weight goes up and down like a yo-yo, never stabilising, always fluctuating.

Each time, your body gets that little bit better at hanging on to its fat reserves, and a little more reluctant to give them up next time you decide to reduce.

A great many women spend their whole lives trying one diet after another, and seeing their weight creep inexorably upwards, as each new attempt ends in disappointment.

It's possible that some women are more vulnerable than others to the effects of yo yo diets, but the underlying reasons why are unclear. Constant stop-start dieting is also associated with depression are also linked.

Know your genes

Take a look at your mum, and your grandma. What kind of body shape do you see? Chances are that your shape is programmed to be much the same.

It could be that around half our tendency to be plump or skinny comes from our genes - and that's something we can't do anything about.

If you were born with weight gain genes, then you can go on as many menopause diets as you like, it'll still be that much harder to slim down.

Get moving!

Switching to a healthier, more mindful way of eating won't be enough on its own to do the trick.

If you couple better eating habits with more exercise, you'll boost your metabolism, firm up your body, and make it easier to lose weight, as well as giving yourself lots of health benefits into the bargain.

Accepting your body

Menopause diets trade on women's desire to be slender. That in turn is fuelled by the society we live in, which values slimness and sends us all sorts of negative messages if we don't conform to model-size proportions.

Yet it's possible to be fit and healthy at many different sizes. If you choose to explore this route, you could learn to love the size you are, work towards being as fit as you can be, ignore BMI recommendations and go with the size your body 'wants' to be. It's an interesting and empowering concept. Using intuitive eating can be very helpful if you decide to give this approach a try.

Emotional eating

Do you turn to food when you're upset, tired or depressed? Comfort eating is very common, and it's a surefire way to take on board more calories than you need. Result - you won't be surprised to hear - is that weight goes on, which makes you feel fed up and so...you eat a bar of chocolate to cheer yourself up.

The cycle of emotional eating is one that many women are familiar with, but the way to approach it is not by putting yourself on an endless stream of menopause diets. It's by listening to yourself, understanding what emotional triggers make you reach for the cookie jar, and looking for ways to nurture yourself and fulfill your needs other than through food.

Now you know why menopause diets don't work, you can explore healthier, happier ways of keeping midlife weight gain in check.

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Dieting facts

"The bottom line is learning to make subtle lifestyle changes that can be maintained indefinitely. It's not glitzy."

Michael Liebman, Professor of Nutrition, University of Wyoming


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