Finding a menopausal diet that suits the menopausal woman is easier than you might think. Menopause brings its own changes and special needs to a woman. These changes can make a woman feel out of balance with the rest of her world. Hormonal and emotional problems are only one side. With menopause also comes a new way to gain weight. Just what a woman needs!
Fat accumulation is a constant battle for many women for most of their lives. Before menopause, fat accumulates subcutaneously, that is, just below the level of the skin. But during and after menopause, women tend to stop storing fat subcutaneously (although not entirely) and start storing fat under the abdominal wall. This is called visceral fat storage, where fat accumulates around the organs.
Visceral fat is dangerous. It is directly related to some of the most difficult diseases, such as type II diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and more. Therefore, the proper diet for menopause should be one that targets visceral fat as well as subcutaneous fat.
It may seem logical to start restricting food intake when this happens, but it would only seem so. It is not a valid method of dieting for menopause and it is a bad idea to stop eating as much food as before. The reason is that our bodies still have a “caveman” attitude about survival. What you call restricting food intake, the body calls starvation.
Our bodies are actually very good at dealing with hunger. It does this by slowing down the metabolism and releasing fat stores for energy only in extreme situations. If you hold back the food, you stop the fat burning process altogether. That makes restricting calories an example of a bad menopausal diet.
Another reason why it’s not a good idea to restrict calories and force the body into starvation mode: When a menopausal woman stops (or slows down) the process of producing hormones, particularly estrogen, fat cells try to take over! from work! The burning of fat cells releases estrogen when a woman is going through menopause. So a good menopause diet is NOT calorie restricting.
Actually, a healthy and proper menopausal diet is not a restrictive diet at all. The proper diet for menopause is to eat more food but healthy foods that help you burn fat. This may seem a bit backwards, but more foods that are healthy and good for you will help you lose weight, not gain it.