I get it, you are frustrated and desperate.
You are eating the same, exercising the same, nothing has outwardly changed yet you are gaining weight consistently. Noticeably around the abdomen.
Unfortunately that frustration and desperation often leads to rash decisions and short term thinking. A juice cleanse, 6 week detox or something similar, you know the type of thing that is incredibly difficult to do and may result in a few pounds of weight loss. But that weight comes back after a while, and it often brings more with it.
The menopause is a real challenge, but once you understand what is happening you can and you will overcome that challenge and find happiness and health again. I can assure you of that.
In the following article I’ll discuss the fastest way to lose weight during the menopause, and keep it off forever.
So what is happening
The biggest change that happens during the menopause is a significant drop in circulating estrogen. This hormonal alteration is responsible for a slow down and shift in metabolism, meaning you burn less calories, and are more likely to gain weight and store more body fat around the abdomen. Unfortunately these hormonal changes also result in muscle loss, again increasing the likelihood of weight gain and making it more challenging to lose weight once it’s gained.
Fluctuating hormones also cause symptoms such as hot flashes, mood and sleep disturbances, unstable energy levels, each of which can impact quality of life and daily frustrations. Falling estrogen can also have detrimental effects on bone health, skin and cardiovascular health.
Enough of the doom and gloom, let's discuss how we can address these issues and lose weight, fast.
Rapid weight loss
The body is made up of multiple compartments, all of which contribute to our total body weight. Some of these compartments can be altered within a few days or even hours, while others take much longer to change. So if you want rapid weight loss then you have to target those components that can be changed in hours or days.
Body water, gut content and carbohydrate stores are three compartments that can be modified in a very short period. These three compartments can be targeted to produce rapid weight loss. All you have to do is sit in a sauna for a few hours, stop drinking, cut fibre out of your diet and stop eating carbohydrate. Do this for a few days weight will literally drop off you and the scale will start moving in the direction you want it to.
Now that sounds ridiculous doesn’t it?
The other additional issue here is that as soon as you stop using the sauna, start drinking again, eat fibre and carbohydrate again the weight will come back just as fast as you lost it.
Reframe your thinking
Rather than weight loss per se, you should reframe your thinking toward body fat loss rather than weight loss. The reality is you do not want to lose weight, you really want to lose body fat.
The issue is that losing body fat takes much longer than losing weight does. But, body fat loss will improve how you look, improve how you feel and most certainly improve your health.
So instead of short term weight loss, focus on long-term sustainable fat loss.
Realistic rate of fat loss
Now there is a general belief that 3500 kcal equates to roughly 1 lb of body fat. So a daily energy deficit of 500 kcal would likely produce around 1 lb of fat loss per week.
A 500 kcal energy deficit is ideal because it is big enough to drive meaningful fat loss, but not so big that life becomes unbearably tough and metabolic rate slows down.
Let’s imagine for a second that my daily energy requirement is 1800 kcal per day. That means if I ate around 1800 kcal per day my weight would remain pretty much the same. By removing 500 kcal and consuming only 1300 kcal per day my body then has to utilise stored energy (such as body fat) rather than food. Repeat this process consistently for 6 - 12 weeks and these energy stores (eg. body fat) will decrease in size, ultimately producing fat and weight loss.
Now when you start a diet it is normal to lose more than 1 lb a week in the first few weeks. But this is weight loss from those other compartments that I mentioned previously, water, gut content, carbohydrate stores.
It can sometimes be disheartening to see weight loss slow down after the first few weeks, but in actual fact that is absolutely normal and have confidence that your consistency with the plan will then produce fat loss.
How low can you go
The issue with the “how low can you go” diet, that drastically cuts calories (eg. 800 kcal per day) is that most weight loss comes from water, gut content and carbohydrate stores, very little from fat loss as they do not last long enough to result in any meaningful change to body fat stores.
Other issues include slow down of metabolic rate meaning you actually burn less calories, reduction in general activity levels as you don’t have the energy to move, again meaning you burn less calories. Drop in energy, mood, motivation, life becomes miserable.
Yes, you might lose weight and you might lose more than 1 lb per week. But trust me, it will come back and it will come back faster than you lost it.
The impact on your metabolic rate and activity levels is pretty significant because this results in a phenomenon called adaptive thermogenesis, which basically means the body shifts into a state that prioritizes the storage of energy. It does this by changing your appetite, so you start craving food all the time, eat way more than you ever had and all that energy is then stored.
Reality sometimes sucks
Sorry to disappoint those of you who came here hoping for a quick fix solution that would result in 5+ lbs of weight loss per week while also feeling amazing.
But the reality is very different.
To lose weight fast during the menopause and then keep it off you have to do the following:
- Create a 500 kcal energy deficit
- Increase your protein intake to around 1 gram per 1 lb of body weight
- Build your diet around low energy density, high fiber foods
- Moderate amount of carbohydrates, prioritizing whole grains and legumes
- Moderate amount of fat, prioritizing heart healthy unsaturated fats
- Drinking water, sparkling water, sugar free flavored water, tea and coffee
- Supplement simply with whey protein and vitamin D
- Avoid energy dense, ultra-processed foods
- Eat 3 main meals and a small snack
- Be consistent with the above
These 10 rules are absolutely essential to ensure you lose weight as fast as possible, while also keeping it off long term.