By Womaness Editors 3-Minute Read
Welcome to ASK AN EXPERT, a series where we pose your real questions to our menopause experts for the answers you need. Have a question? Post it on The After Party, our private Facebook Group.
“I am in perimenopause and I know 'menopause belly' is a real thing! Is there anything I can do early on to prevent weight gain once I hit full-on menopause?”
From Dr. Katherine Saunders, Executive Vice President and Senior Medical Officer of Intellihealth and a leading expert in Obesity Medicine:
“Absolutely. There's a lot that can be done to prevent weight gain and then to identify it early and stop the weight gain from happening.
The first place to start is to look at what you're eating. You probably see that your kids can get away with eating anything. Many people were like that growing up; some people were not. But at a certain point, it catches up with you and you feel like you can't eat the same way. So making adjustments to your dietary strategy early on can be very helpful.
"Focus on what is going to be sustainable for you because crash diets or anything that's too restrictive will not last."
Begin with low-hanging fruit, like trying not to eat anything that's packaged, processed, very refined in terms of carbohydrates or added sugar, or is just not real food. There's so much data [proving] that all this stuff makes us hungrier, plus it's simply not very nutritious. Instead, focus on protein, vegetables, and nutritious food that fills you up.
The most important thing is to focus on what is going to be sustainable for you because crash diets or anything that's too restrictive will not last. What's worse than just gaining weight and trying to manage your weight? Losing and gaining and losing and gaining. That is something to avoid. Instead, figure out how to not feel like you're on a diet with a reasonable, healthy, and sustainable way of eating."