Are you tired of struggling with a slow metabolism? No need to worry. You can naturally boost your metabolism during menopause and beyond by taking some simple steps starting today!
As a healthy body coach who works with women over 50, I understand the unique challenges you’re facing to lose stubborn weight and feel energized and vibrant throughout the day.
I live in your shoes too!
My journey through menopause is an ever-evolving learning experience. I’m 61 now, and I continue to close gaps between what I thought I knew about” my metabolism” and what I actually experience every day.
My goal with this article is to help you close a gap in your own thinking and feel empowered to make long-lasting changes.
But before we dig into some simple (but not always easy) steps, let’s clarify what metabolism is and how it works.
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How your metabolism works
If you were to do a Google search on “What Is Metabolism,” you’ll find more than 856,000,000 inspired results.
And for good reason, as metabolism is not a single “thing.”
It refers to the complex chemical processes that happen within the body to support all body functions and sustain life.
These chemical processes include converting the foods you eat into energy (calories) your body can use, repairing cells, and eliminating waste.
It’s a fascinating process that makes YOU who you are.
What you eat, how you move your body, and other lifestyle habits work in a synergistic way to influence how efficient (and fast) your metabolism can be as you move through menopause and beyond.
How fast your body burns calories to carry out these chemical processes is known as the “metabolic rate.“
What causes metabolism to slow down during menopause
When we think of metabolism as “slowing down,” it’s usually related to the Metabolic Rate and how quickly we can shed unwanted pounds or maintain healthy body composition.
Your weight changes based on how fast your body burns calories.
Decline in lean muscle: With advancing age and hormone changes you’ll experience through menopause, there is a gradual decline in lean muscle over time. And since lean muscle burns more calories than fat, this reduction can result in a slower metabolism.
How fat is stored in the body: The decline in estrogen levels during menopause can shift where fat is stored in the body, with more fat stored around the abdomen. This type of abdominal fat is called “visceral fat,” and it’s harder for the body to process.
Your health history: Certain conditions can contribute to a slower metabolism, including Thyroid Dysfunction and other conditions associated with visceral fat accumulation. Such as Metabolic Syndrome, Insulin Resistance, Inflammation, and other Hormonal Imbalances, to name a few.
Lifestyle factors: Physical inactivity (sedentary living), inadequate sleep, and higher stress levels can also contribute to a slower metabolism.
But it’s not all gloom and doom with a dark cloud hanging over your head!
So let’s explore five pillars to help you set a firm foundation to improve your metabolism and feel more energized.
The 5 pillars for a healthy metabolism during menopause
You can boost your health overall by taking action to rev up your metabolism. The key is to improve your self-care and adopt healthy daily habits.
So as you’re reading through each of these pillars, identify the daily practices you could adopt to boost your metabolism
Pillar 1: Exercise to increase your metabolic rate
To begin with, engaging in regular physical activity is crucial for improving your metabolism.
Incorporating weight training and moderate to high-intensity exercises into your weekly routine is recommended.
A good target is to aim for two sessions per week to provide a big boost to your metabolism.
While performing these exercises, starting with a shorter interval or lower intensity is best.
This approach allows your body to adjust and reduces the chance of injury.
Pillar 2: Follow a balanced, whole-foods-based diet
Your diet plays a primary role in boosting your metabolism. It’s best to get a good balance of whole foods in your diet and limit your consumption of highly processed food items and foods high in sugar.
Be sure to include protein at every meal, as it helps increase your feelings of fullness (satiety) and supports muscle repair.
Additionally, try sticking to a regular eating schedule to keep your metabolism in good working order.
Pillar 3: Prioritize quality sleep for hormone balance
As we age, it’s recommended to shoot for 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night to maintain a healthy metabolism.
This is especially true as you transition through menopause. As studies show a lack of sleep can disrupt hormone levels related to hunger and fullness, leading to food cravings and a slower metabolism.
Additionally, poor sleep can raise stress levels and trigger the release of cortisol, which promotes fat storage and hinders metabolism.
It should be noted that attempts to improve your metabolism will always be difficult if your body isn’t functioning properly because of poor sleep.
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Pillar 4: Stay active throughout the day to burn more calories
Being more active throughout the day burns more calories and primes your body to release fat-burning enzymes.
A great way to be more active every day is to add intentional movement into your daily routine. It can be short walks or using the stairway instead of the elevator at work.
With some creativity, you can also make household chores more active, such as dancing to music and doing squats while cooking dinner.
Or you can do stretching exercises while watching your favorite television show.
Pillar 5: Manage stress levels for optimal metabolism and hormone health
Similar to what we experience from a lack of sleep, too much stress can slow your metabolism by increasing cortisol. Which affects your appetite, cravings, and how your body stores fat.
So it’s crucial to find healthy outlets for stress management, whether it’s practicing meditation or prayer, engaging in regular exercise, or pursuing hobbies you enjoy.
Experiment to find what works best to reduce your stress levels, and get support from friends and family to help with stressful situations.
Other strategies to boost your metabolism during menopause
These additional strategies support the foundational habits identified in the 5 Pillars.
Spicing up your meals:
Enjoying unsweetened coffee or tea:
Checking your vitamin levels:
Common Nutrient Deficiencies
Consider the B Vitamins, like B6 and B12, that help convert food into energy and boost metabolism. These vitamins also support memory and cognitive function, which helps to combat “brain fog” and memory problems often experienced during menopause.
Vitamin D helps to absorb calcium, maintain bone density, and regulate metabolism. Hormone changes during menopause can lead to a deficiency in Vitamin D and a higher chance of bone fractures, cardiovascular disease, and other health conditions.
Hormone changes can also affect Calcium levels through all phases of menopause and increase the risk of osteoporosis. Sufficient calcium intake is needed for bone strength, muscle contraction, nerve function, and enzyme activity. All contribute to a healthy metabolism.
Magnesium can help regulate muscle, bone, and nerve functions in the body. Magnesium can also help improve sleep quality, reduce hot flashes, and regulate mood during menopause.
Establishing a plan of action
By incorporating the 5 Pillars for Healthy Metabolism and the other strategies we discussed into your daily routine, you can naturally boost your metabolism during menopause and beyond, and regain control over your energy levels.
But consistency is your key to achieving long-term success, so start with small steps to gradually build these habits over time.
If you are ready to dig deeper into strategies to boost your metabolism, download my free guide Master Your Metabolism During Menopause And Beyond.
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In this guide, you’ll learn
1. The “numbers” you need to boost your metabolism
2. The difference between a ‘slow’ and ‘fast’ metabolism
3. And the link between aging, menopause, and your metabolism.
You’ll also get a simple action plan to get you moving in the right direction!