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  • Writer's pictureLisa Smith

6 Tips to Reduce Weight Gain in Midlife?

Updated: Apr 24


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Insulin Resistance: A Woman’s Guide to Balancing Blood Sugar


Have you gained weight in midlife despite trying to keep it off?


Weight gain is common for women during this life stage. Let’s discuss the often-misunderstood yet significant aspect of our health, insulin resistance.


As we navigate midlife, it’s essential to equip ourselves with the knowledge and tools necessary to promote our well-being.


In this blog post, we’ll unravel the intricacies of insulin resistance, understand its impact on our bodies, and explore effective strategies with 6 simple tips to manage midlife weight gain.



What is Insulin Resistance, and Why Does it Matter?


Imagine insulin as a master key that unlocks the doors to our body’s cells, allowing glucose, our primary source of energy, to enter and nourish them.


Insulin resistance, in simple terms, refers to a condition where these cells become resistant to the signals of insulin. Consequently, the doors don’t open as smoothly, leading to an accumulation of glucose in the bloodstream.


This phenomenon triggers a cascade of reactions within our bodies, affecting various systems and potentially giving rise to a host of health issues.


For midlife women, understanding the implications of perimenopause and insulin resistance becomes particularly crucial, as this phase often coincides with hormonal changes that can exacerbate its effects.



How do Hormones Affect Our Metabolism?


In the intricate symphony of our bodies, hormones play a significant role, and their fluctuations can impact our metabolic health, especially concerning insulin sensitivity.


As we transition through perimenopause and beyond, hormonal shifts, particularly the decline in oestrogen and progesterone, can influence the development of insulin resistance which increases weight gain.


Oestrogen Progesterone and Weight Gain


Oestrogen contributes to maintaining healthy insulin sensitivity. However, as its levels decline during peri-menopause, the body’s ability to manage blood sugar can become compromised. This often leads to weight gain, especially around the abdomen, and an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.


The diminishing levels of progesterone can also contribute to insulin resistance. This can manifest as increased cravings, especially for sugary and high-carbohydrate foods, which further exacerbate the challenges associated with managing blood sugar levels.



What are the Tell-tale Signs of Insulin Resistance?


Identifying the subtle cues that our bodies send us is crucial in proactively addressing potential health concerns. While the symptoms of insulin resistance can vary from person to person, midlife women should pay attention to the following signs:


  • Weight Fluctuations: Sudden weight gain, especially around the midsection, can be indicative of insulin resistance. This stubborn weight often proves challenging to shed, even with efforts at diet and exercise. Weight loss is normally very slow.

  • Fatigue and Energy Lows: Experiencing persistent fatigue and energy dips, particularly after meals, can signal unstable blood sugar levels.

  • Increased Hunger and Cravings: Intensified hunger pangs and cravings, especially for carbohydrates and sugary treats, might point to underlying insulin resistance.

  • Frequent Urination and Thirst: If you find yourself making more trips to the restroom and experiencing unquenchable thirst, it could be a sign of elevated blood sugar levels.

  • Brain Fog and Mental Fogginess: Fluctuating blood sugar levels can impact cognitive function, leading to difficulties in focus and concentration.



How to Manage Weight Gain in Midlife


Two women laughing


Nutrition and lifestyle can transform perimenopause symptoms and reduce weight gain too!


The prospect of insulin resistance and weight gain during perimenopause may seem depressing but there are proactive steps you can take to support your body and promote balanced blood sugar levels, for weight management in midlife.



The Secret to Longevity: Metabolic Health


In the journey towards a long and healthy life, maintaining a healthy metabolism can significantly reduce the risk of preventable and reversible conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.




6 simple tips to reduce weight gain in midlife:


  1. Nutrition: Prioritise a well-rounded diet that emphasises whole, unprocessed foods, abundant in fibre, healthy fats, and lean proteins to support gut health. Incorporate a colourful array of fruits and vegetables to maximise nutrient intake and minimise refined sugars and carbohydrates. Try my FREE 5 day sugar detox challenge.

  2. Mindful Meal Planning: Establish a routine of regular, balanced meals and snacks to maintain consistent blood sugar levels throughout the day. Avoid prolonged periods without food to prevent spikes and crashes in glucose levels.

  3. Physical Activity: Incorporate regular exercise into your lifestyle, including both cardiovascular and strength-training activities. Physical movement not only helps improve insulin sensitivity but also promotes overall well-being and vitality.

  4. Stress Management: Implement stress-reduction techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, or yoga to minimise the impact of chronic stress on blood sugar levels. Engaging in activities that bring joy and relaxation can significantly contribute to better overall health.

  5. Regular Health Screenings: Schedule regular check-ups with your healthcare provider to monitor blood sugar levels and assess your risk for developing insulin resistance and related conditions. Early detection can pave the way for timely intervention and management.

  6. Holistic Approaches: Explore complementary therapies like acupuncture, herbal supplements, or mindfulness practices that can further support your body’s natural balance and well-being.



Embracing a Healthier Future!


Knowledge encourages empowerment during midlife, armed with this, you can embrace self-care with these 6 simple tips to nurture your body and mind.


By understanding the nuances of insulin resistance and embracing proactive measures to promote balanced blood sugar levels, we can manage our weight and pave the way for a healthier, more vibrant future. The first step is a healthy start to the day with a protein rich savory meal such as eggs, or try my delicious blood sugar balancing smoothie recipe, it's so quick and easy to make!




Manchester Nutritionist


Lisa Smith Nutritionist

I’m passionate about unravelling unique health stories. I love to share insights that kickstart a healing journey through manageable nutritional and lifestyle tweaks. Inspired by the incredible transformations I’ve witnessed in my clients, I’m here to guide you toward a healthier, happier you.


My evidence-based weight management & metabolic health programme is specifically designed for midlife women's health and weight loss.


Cheshire Nutrition is based in Manchester. I offer online consultations, so distance is no barrier. I work online with clients across the UK. Book a FREE online consultation today to find out how personalised nutrition can help you thrive.




DISCLAIMER: The content on this webpage is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor or qualified healthcare provider. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on my website.




References:


Davis SR, Castelo-Branco C, Chedraui P, Lumsden MA, Nappi RE, Shah D, Villaseca P; Writing Group of the International Menopause Society for World Menopause Day 2012. Understanding weight gain at menopause. Climacteric. 2012 Oct;15(5):419-29. doi: 10.3109/13697137.2012.707385. PMID: 22978257.


Knight MG, Anekwe C, Washington K, Akam EY, Wang E, Stanford FC. Weight regulation in menopause. Menopause. 2021 May 24;28(8):960-965. doi: 10.1097/GME.0000000000001792. PMID: 34033603; PMCID: PMC8373626.


Simkin-Silverman LR, Wing RR. Weight gain during menopause. Is it inevitable or can it be prevented? Postgrad Med. 2000 Sep 1;108(3):47-50, 53-6. doi: 10.3810/pgm.2000.09.1.1204. PMID: 11004935.

Becker SL, Manson JE. Menopause, the gut microbiome, and weight gain: correlation or causation? Menopause. 2020 Nov 23;28(3):327-331. doi: 10.1097/GME.0000000000001702. PMID: 33235036.


Peters BA, Lin J, Qi Q, Usyk M, Isasi CR, Mossavar-Rahmani Y, Derby CA, Santoro N, Perreira KM, Daviglus ML, Kominiarek MA, Cai J, Knight R, Burk RD, Kaplan RC. Menopause Is Associated with an Altered Gut Microbiome and Estrobolome, with Implications for Adverse Cardiometabolic Risk in the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos. mSystems. 2022 Jun 28;7(3):e0027322. doi: 10.1128/msystems.00273-22. Epub 2022 Apr 13. PMID: 35675542; PMCID: PMC9239235.


Peters BA, Santoro N, Kaplan RC, Qi Q. Spotlight on the Gut Microbiome in Menopause: Current Insights. Int J Womens Health. 2022 Aug 10;14:1059-1072. doi: 10.2147/IJWH.S340491. PMID: 35983178; PMCID: PMC9379122.




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