Diet in Menopause is the key for so many areas. It seems that there aren’t actually many that can’t be helped by improving diet. Although I touched on some areas about menopause and diet in my previous post I thought I would expand some more on what I have been taught in my Menofit classes.
Diet in Menopause and TDEE
With menopause diet can help so much and the first place to look for me was at my TDEE. This is the total daily energy expenditure. There’s a TDEE Calculator where you can find out yours. The idea is if you put in that you have a sedentary lifestyle then because you are more active than that you will lose weight. Then you will be used to those calories as you age and are less active/have a slower metabolic rate.
I have downloaded an app that tells me how many calories for each meal of the day, as well as drinks and snacks. However, snacking is to be avoided and ideally apparently we do not need three meals a day – but just one or two!
Tips for Eating a Healthy Diet in Menopause
But of course when it comes to a menopause diet you need to think about much more than calories. It can get quite complex if you really want to look into it – tracking your hormone changes and what foods you need. For instance when progesterone is high you are more likely to need carbohydrates.
Good Quality Foods in Menopause
But on a more simple level you need to look at the foods you are eating. Ensuring you have a healthy plate: That is half a plate of fruit/vegetables, quarter a plate of proteins and a quarter healthy fats and carbohydrates.
Again did I mention that you must not snack! Stay away from processed foods and sugar. Eat foods that are as close to their natural state as possible. Do not buy products if you look at the ingredients and cannot pronounce and/or spell anything! Also avoid ones that have sugar listed as one of the first four main ingredients.
Of course you need to drink plenty of water and limit your alcohol intake.
I am not sure why fasting is good in menopause. It may be because it helps reset hormones, or it could be because it helps you limit your calories and focus on eating better. Personally I intend to read, “Fast Like a Girl,” to learn more. If anyone knows please drop your thoughts in the comments please.
To start with you should fast for at least 12 hours and then build it up. Personally I have discovered “dirty fasting” which is where you are allowed up to 100 calories in the fasting window.
I am currently doing 16:8 (or for how long I can go). What this looks like for me is nothing after dinner. If I really want I can fit in a cup of tea. Then next day I can have a lemon water, tea and/or coffee – as long as the calories since dinner do not go over 100. Delaying breakfast as long as I can, but trying to make it at least 16 hours since I last ate.
See also Natalie’s blog as she has been fasting for longer.
Keeping it Realistic
People have said to me that they couldn’t do what I am doing. For me it is hard but I am already struggling with menopause symptoms that I am hoping improving my diet will alleviate. That if I start now I can make gradual changes.
Oisin Mulligan, an online coach, offers lots of free and funny advice which will help you decide how this can work for you. He makes sure you don’t feel bad about things and how they can be achievable. Not great if you’re not a fan of swearing – haha but great if you are!
My Personal Journey So Far
Working at McDonalds means I get free meals whilst on shift. Generally I work twice a week. Plus I have been eating bad foods on my days off too. But I have cut it back and am honestly much more aware of a lot of things surrounding my diet.
After 9 weeks I have lost a stone. Things have got easier as time has gone on too!
Of course it isn’t all diet – I exercise too. All of this, honestly nothing has been excessive (even if it maybe feels like it when I am weighing stuff).
My go to foods are Greek yogurt, with different fruits, nuts and seeds for variety; Scrambled egg on toast (with mushrooms, peppers and tomatoes); and a bag of salad covered in a dressing to make it taste edible! Although apparently I should be breaking the fast with plenty of leafy green vegetables!
Have you made changes to your diet in menopause? What has worked for you?
I have used the term Menopause throughout as that’s how we tend to talk about it and believe it is what will be searched for. Really menopause is just one day though – when periods have stopped for 12 months. Perimenopause is the time before this (lasting up to ten years) and post menopause is afterwards. Ideally we should look at our diets even before perimenopause.