The transition is a phase that no woman really looks forward to. Not surprising, because often it is accompanied by mental physical changes that you are not waiting for. Consider, for example, mood swings and hot flashes.
That can be enormously frustrating, because what previously worked well to keep on weight is suddenly no longer sufficient. We give you six tips to keep complaints to a minimum and possibly even to lose weight during the transition .
What is the menopause?
The transition or menopause is the period in which the female body switches to a new hormonal balance. After the transition you will no longer be having your period and you will therefore no longer be fertile.
In order to achieve that new balance, however, major changes take place over a few years. And that can cause health problems! Only when the body is completely accustomed to the new hormone balance do those symptoms disappear. Unfortunately, that can take a few years.
Hormones in the transition
The transition is often referred to as one homogeneous period. However, that is a bit too short because of the turn: within the transition, different phases can be distinguished. In short, these are:
- For the premenopause. During this period, the body produces extra estrogen, in preparation for the reduced estrogen production that will follow. As a result of that estrogen dominance you are going to store more fat. You also produce less progesterone here.
- The premenopause: the period before your last period. Here your estrogen drops enormously. That causes those typical complaints: hot flashes, perspiration, loss of libido, and so on. Also, you have more sense in eating and less sense in moving . The consequences are predictable …
- The postmenopause: the period after your last menstrual period. The production of progesterone stops almost completely, and your estrogen production also decreases. During this period you start losing more muscle , which does not make losing weight during the transition any easier.
What are the symptoms that you can expect when you get into the transition? Of course, that is slightly different for everyone, but the following menopausal complaints come back a lot:
- Hot flashes . With a hot flash you suddenly feel very hot, sometimes combined with dizziness and nausea . This is a consequence of a widening of the blood vessels, which in turn is caused by an estrogen deficiency.
- Skin and hair . Due to the decrease in estrogen, the skin is less well blooded. It therefore quickly becomes weaker and less elastic. Your hair can also become duller and thinner due to the lack of circulation in the scalp.
- Emotional turmoil . Estrogen also has a lot of influence on your mental well-being. Fluctuations in your hormone levels can cause sad feelings, irritability and crying.
- Vaginal irritations . The sexual organs are also less well-blooded during the transition. This can cause vaginal dryness. In addition, some women suffer from fungal infections due to changes in their hormone levels.
- Bone descaling. Finally, a changing hormone level also causes an accelerated bone breakdown. Many women lose up to 10% of their bone tissue in the transition, increasing the risk of bone fractures.
- Weight gain. The phases described above all have almost the same effect: if you do nothing about it, you will arrive. Many women are therefore five to ten kilos heavier in this period.
Lose weight during the transition
That last point sounds threatening or perhaps even inescapable. Yet it is indeed possible to largely prevent weight gain during the transition. Sometimes even lose weight during the transition, although that may depend a little on the severity of your symptoms. We give you six tips to make the best of it!
1. Do not diet
This may sound illogical if you are afraid of arriving. However, strict diets are not the way to lose weight during the transition. The reason: those strict diets also often lead to deficiencies in certain nutrients. However, it is precisely in this complex period that your body needs all the nutrients sufficiently!
Instead of a low-fat diet or a low-carbohydrate diet , it is better to focus on healthy eating. Try to put together a balanced diet, mainly made up of proteins , slow carbohydrates and healthy fats . Make sure you also eat a lot of fruit and vegetables .
2. Write down what you eat
Keeping it healthy is an effective way to eat healthier! Research shows that just faithfully recording what you eat already leads to healthier choices. After all, it is harder to eat ‘accidentally’ twice as many snacks as you thought. And you know that you have to see unhealthy choices in your notes for days on end …
Losing weight during the transition starts with self-knowledge. Writing down what you eat also helps to stop eating emotionally. Certainly in a period where your hormones work overtime, it can’t hurt at all!
3. Avoid fast carbohydrates
Your metabolism will slow down during the transition . So you need just a little less calories ; the Voedingscentrum describes this as ‘one sandwich less per day’. And indeed, you can best achieve that reduced number of calories by scraping some carbohydrates .
However, that does not mean that you should not eat carbohydrates at all. You can watch out better with fast carbohydrates , for example in fruit juice and added sugars . They cause a peak in your blood sugar levels . And it is precisely this type of peak that brings your hormone levels out of balance.
4. Avoid alcohol
Another pitfall is the use of alcohol . Many people still think that one glass of wine a day is healthy. And indeed, it’s good for the heart and blood vessels – but definitely not for the rest of your body.
Alcohol slows down your metabolism and promotes fat storage. In addition, it prevents the digestion of healthier foods. If you want to lose weight during the transition, then you should really opt for an alcohol-free option.
5. Keep moving
Well, you are less and less eager to get out of your lazy chair. Yet you can really do better! Physical exercise has endless benefits, especially in the transition. For example, it stabilizes your hormones and prevents mood swings. You also burn more calories with it.
And you don’t have to go into the gym fanatically for that. An hour’s walk a day can also do wonders. So grab the bike more often, take the stairs, walk the dog … As long as you make sure that you don’t suddenly sit on the couch for hours at a time.
6. Start with strength training
In addition to estrogen and progesterone, testosterone is also produced less and less during the transition. As a result, your body breaks down more and more muscle mass . Awkward, because muscle mass keeps your metabolism up to speed! So you burn fewer calories throughout the day if you have fewer muscles.
Strength training is extremely useful to counteract that effect . With two to three training sessions per week you can go a long way. In addition, strength training also ensures a more stable mood and fewer hot flashes – so that’s three birds with one stone!
Think of your adrenal glands
Hormones are essential for the changes that take place during the transition. In addition to your ovaries, hormones are also made in your adrenal glands; small organs that are like caps on top of your kidneys. During the transition, the ovaries become less active and the adrenal glands have to take over more and more work.
However, in combination with a lot of stress , this can lead to adrenal glands being exhausted. The transition symptoms are therefore only exacerbated. Not only nutrition and exercise, but also a reduction in stress can help you lose weight during the transition!