Moving from a focus on punishment, to a focus on nourishment in midlife
Our first Meno.Well Masterclass of 2023 focused on a sensitive topic; weight and menopause. We know from our own symptom tracking with members of this community that bloating and weight management are a key concern for many throughout our transition from peri to post menopause. And often, a shift in how our body responds to food can lead us to a spiral of self-criticism, confidence loss, punitive diets and inevitable ‘failure’ when we are unable to sustain new measures.
My take out?
That we need to ‘unlearn’ pretty much all we’ve been taught about food in midlife; and focus in on how we can repurpose what we put on our plates for nourishment and self care.
We can’t out-diet our biology. In fact, punishing programmes could be doing us and our hormones real harm.
We often cite the research that came out of Kings’ College last year as part of the Zoe Project, explicitly linking the impact menopause has on our metabolic rate. But Dr Martins also shared the following influencing factors that we are more susceptible to in midlife;
- Menopause can lead to increased gut permeability, which leads to increased inflammation in the body - and weight gain
- Research also shows menopause can change our gut microbiota, which in turn impacts insulin resistance and weight gain
- 40-60% of us will experience disturbed sleep during this life stage, which researchers now know also impacts our propensity to gain weight.
So, if counting calories isn’t the answer, what can we do to maintain a healthy weight and a joyful relationship with food?
10 tips to adopt now:
- A mediterranean diet: which prioritises oily fish (sardines, anchovies, wild salmon and mackerel), avocados, almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, extra virgin olive oil, wholegrains
- Protein with every meal, including breakfast, such as eggs, fish, lentils, chickpeas, beans, nuts, tofu, quality meat
- Complex carbohydrates such as brown/wild rice, sweet potatoes, quinoa, wholemeal sourdough bread, oats, and lentils
- Plenty of fibre (wholegrains, oats, a variety of fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds)
- Flavonoid-rich foods: berries, green tea, raw cacao, red cabbage, garlic
- Fermented foods: dairy and water kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi
- Drink at least 1.5 L water daily
- Chew your food very well (15 chews/bite)
- If safe for you, consider Time Restricted Eating (try 10 hours eating window:14 hours fasting)
- 3 main meals daily while avoiding snacking
Herbs to help further:
- For digestion, metabolism and blood sugar balance: fresh ginger, Ceylon cinnamon, fennel seeds, gentian, turmeric, parsley, garlic
- To reduce gut permeability and inflammation: turmeric and slippery elm
- To support sleep: chamomile, lemon balm, and magnesium at night
- To support the way we digest external stressors: Ashwagandha KSM-66 & cacao
Many of these herbs can also be found in their most potent form in our Peri-Boost and Meno-Boost blends. If you’re yet to add them to your daily routine, why not make February your month to shift from punishment to nourishment, and give them a try? And do let us know how you get on.
With love Rebekah & The MPowder Team.