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Weight gain can be difficult to avoid over a certain age, but with the right foods and exercise, it can be helped. Express.co.uk spoke to Signe Svanfeldt, leading nutritionist at nutrition app Lifesum, who shared the easy changes women over 50 could make to their lifestyle to lose weight.
Signe explained that “menopause is caused by hormonal changes, with a decrease of oestrogen and progesterone levels”.
“The hormonal changes, together with lifestyle and diet, all play a role in weight gain, a common symptom among women who go through the menopause,” she said.
The nutrition expert went on to recommend which foods women should be eating to reduce weight during the menopause.
“A healthy, balanced and varied diet, high in nutrient-rich foods, such as vegetables, fruits, beans and lentils, are beneficial to reach, or maintain, a healthy weight,” Signe advised.
“These foods are rich in dietary fibre and nutrients, and lower in energy compared to nutrient-poor, energy dense foods, including pastries, soda and crisps, that are rich in saturated fat, added sugar and sodium.
“A diet rich in nutrient-dense food and high in dietary fibre, can also reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, help us stay fuller for longer and aid digestion.”
Exercise is just as important as diet, not only for overall health, but for weight loss too.
Signe said: “As we age, we tend to lose muscle mass, and, therefore, it is important to incorporate some strength training in order to maintain muscles.
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“This should include both endurance and strength training weekly.
“However, we all have different starting points, and any physical activity is better than none.
“It is recommended that you do at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate aerobic physical activity weekly, or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous aerobic physical activity.
“Additionally, make sure to include strength training at least twice a week. You don’t need to go to the gym – your own body weight will be enough.”
Signe shared the easy exercises women can do at home instead of going to the gym.
She advised “taking the stairs instead of the lift, jumping off the bus a few stop before your stop walk, and taking lunch walks”.
As for losing belly fat, or visceral fat, diet is again important, according to Signe.
She said: “When wanting to get rid of visceral fat, a healthy, balanced diet will help you a long way.”
This includes “a dietary fibre such as whole grain bread, oats, vegetables and fruits, lean protein such as beans, lentils, fish, tofu, egg, poultry, healthy fats such as avocado, salmon, olive oil, nuts and seeds, as well as adequate water intake”.
The nutrition expert also recommended limiting your intake of alcohol and saturated fats.
Trans fats, found in donuts, baked goods, deep fried foods, and fizzy drinks are also best avoided.
However, Signe warned that when it comes to weight loss, a “quick-fix is rarely a sustainable way to go”.
“It is more beneficial to find a sustainable lifestyle with regular physical activity and a nutrient-rich diet that helps to reach and maintain a healthy weight,” she added.
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