Menopause is an important part of every woman’s life, but it comes with changes that can be challenging. Some of those changes are mental or spiritual, but a few are physical too—like the so-called menopot, where many women experience weight gain around the waist.
Your body is always worth loving, no matter what—but if you don’t relish the idea of a heavier midsection in middle age, I’ve got some strategies you can use to prevent or eliminate your menopot entirely. Read on to learn how to stay lean and Eat Clean™ as you enter the next phase of your life.
#1: Improve Your Sleep Hygiene
Your hormones fluctuate wildly during menopause. As a result, your sleep patterns may change.
You need 7-9 hours of sleep each night in order to feel truly well—but many women have trouble sleeping properly during menopause and don’t get close to the recommended amount of rest.
When you aren’t resting properly, the important work that goes on while you sleep can’t happen. Specifically, your body may produce more ghrelin (a hormone linked to appetite) and less leptin (a hormone linked to feeling full)—leading to weight gain.
What to Do: Commit to a sleep schedule that allows your body to get adequate rest, and avoid making plans that could lead to late nights.
Tosca’s Sleep Tips
- Turn off your screens (yes, all of them!).
- Sleep in a cooler environment—turn down the thermostat or use a fan.
- Use organic and natural fiber linens to help keep your body cool and comfortable.
- Don’t eat after your last meal (which should be no later than around 7:00 pm).
- Drink warm, sugar-free, caffeine-free liquids before bedtime.
- Dim the lights in your room at least half an hour before bedtime.
- Listening to calming or meditative music. You can learn more about emotional self-care in my 3E’s Group Coaching program.
#2: Avoid Sugar
There is no single ingredient so seriously detrimental to your weight and overall wellness than sugar. Remove it from your diet and your body will win the battle against the bulge.
Avoiding sugar and processed foods is at the heart of The Eat Clean™ Diet. Added sugars make up nearly 300 calories per day in what the average American eats—so cutting these out is a fast and effective way to consume less and improve the quality of what you’re eating.
What to Do: Use my Eat Clean™ Meal Plans to start creating healthier habits by planning meals that leave you feeling full without empty calories. If you want even more support, try my Strike Sugar program to eliminate sugar from your diet for good.
#3: Increase Your Protein Intake
Protein is another vital part of The Eat Clean™ Diet, and eating more of it can help you burn more fat during menopause. Here’s how:
- Consuming protein puts your body in an accelerated state of fat-burning called thermogenesis. This essentially means that digesting protein generates heat, which burns fat as a result.
- Protein also reduces cravings, particularly for sugar—making it easier to avoid gaining weight.
Tosca’s Top Protein Sources
I often get asked what my favorite protein sources are, so here’s a list:
- Lean meats like chicken breasts, turkey, and lean cuts of beef or pork
- Fish and seafood like salmon, tuna, shrimp, and tilapia
- Eggs and egg whites
- Dairy products such as Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, and skim milk
- Plant-based proteins like tofu, tempeh, and edamame
- Legumes including lentils, chickpeas, black beans, and kidney beans
- Nuts and seeds, such as almonds, chia seeds, and flaxseeds
- Protein powders derived from whey, casein, or plant-based sources (like pea or hemp protein), as long as they are low in additives and sugars.
#4: More Fiber & Fewer Processed Carbs
Viscous fibers are able to soak up many times their weight in water. As they do, these fibers increase in size and form a thick gel in the digestive tract, which slows down the rate at which food moves through you and helps you feel full for longer.
You might worry about how to cut down your carb intake while eating more fiber, but don’t worry—you don’t have to get rid of carbs entirely! The trick is just to eat healthier carbs, like fruits, vegetables, and properly prepared grains.
Remember: not all carbs are created equal. Avoid all processed foods and refined carbohydrates (another principle of The Eat Clean™ Diet).
Tosca’s Favorite Fiber Foods
- Flax seeds
- Oats and oat bran
#5: Build a Resistance Training Regimen
The more muscle you build, the more fat you burn. In fact, muscle absorbs blood glucose at a rate 3x higher than fatty tissue.
Tosca’s Training Tips:
Try these exercises for beating the menopot and see for yourself. The exercises I’ve listed there are focused on whole-body training, using various principles to maximize your body’s fat-burning potential:
- Laddering: This technique involves performing an exercise with increasing or decreasing repetitions in each set. For example, you might start with 1 repetition, then do 2, 3, 4, and so on, or the reverse. This is a great way to gradually increase intensity and volume, challenging your muscles in both strength and endurance.
- HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training): HIIT consists of short bursts of very high-intensity exercises followed by periods of rest or low-intensity activity. This method is effective for burning fat because it boosts your metabolism and keeps it elevated for hours after the workout. Try sprinting for 30 seconds, followed by 1 minute of walking or jogging.
- Metcon (Metabolic Conditioning): This training style is designed to improve the efficiency and capacity of your body’s energy systems. Metcon workouts are typically a mix of strength and cardio exercises performed at a high intensity. The goal is to increase the amount of work done in a shorter period, which can lead to increased fat-burning and muscle-building.
- Periodization: This is a systematic approach to training where you vary your workout intensity and volume over specific periods. It involves cycling through different phases like endurance, strength, and power to continually challenge the body and prevent plateaus. Periodization can help in steadily increasing muscle mass, which in turn boosts fat burning.
#6: Track Your Progress
Every day, find a way to record:
- How you feel
- What exercises you perform
- What you eat
- How your body is changing (waist circumference, weight, changes to the amount of reps you can perform for different exercises or the amount you can lift on a single rep).
This can be as simple as a few words for each point—but it’s as essential to your success as any other strategy listed here.
Putting these details on paper cements the relationship you have with yourself and your goals. It names the journey, the effort, and the work. It signals that you are in progress and involved in the very important work of transforming your body.
Make Menopause the Best Time of Your Life
There’s no reason to dread menopause. In fact, with the right approach to your health and wellness, it can be an empowering new era for you! Using the tips above can give you more energy, enhanced strength—and most importantly, a better relationship with your body.
Finally, remember that wellness is a journey, and you don’t have to make it alone. I’m here to help with resources, programs, and other kinds of support that can help you set and stick to your goals. Explore my programs here and make sure you have everything you need to move confidently forward as you age into menopause gracefully and purposefully.