Danielle Page, for Bright Line Eating
Published 9:10 p.m. ET March 12, 2018
Dr. Susan Peirce Thompson, founder of Bright Line Eating, explains how to lose weight after menopause.
Losing weight after menopause doesn’t have to be a daunting task.(Photo: Juanmonino, Getty Images/iStockphoto)
The older we get, the harder it is to lose weight—or at least, that’s what we’re led to believe. And while there’s some truth to the fact that changes to our hormones impact how we lose weight, it’s still possible to get rid of unwanted weight and keep it off no matter what life stage you’re in—even after menopause.
Still skeptical? New York Times best-selling author and founder of Bright Line Eating has the data to prove it. “We’ve had tens of thousands of men and women of all ages go through our Bright Line Eating Boot Camp,” Dr. Susan Peirce Thompson explains. “We have a research program that shows us exactly how much weight participants are losing. We analyzed the data, and found that women in their 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s were all losing around 17 pounds in eight weeks—regardless of whether or not they were past menopause.”
The truth about losing weight after menopause
If you’re struggling to lose weight and keep it off after menopause, it’s not all in your head. However, as Dr. Thompson explains, the reason you’re having a harder time with weight loss at this stage of your life actually has more to do with the weight loss methods you’re using—and how your body is responding to them post-menopause.
“After menopause, women find that it’s much harder to lose weight—they find that their waistlines are expanding a little bit, old strategies that used to work for them really well when they were in their 20’s or 30’s or even 40’s are simply not working for them anymore,” Dr. Thompson says. “They find that weight is far more stubborn, and they just don’t know what to do about it. For many women after menopause, it feels like nothing will work to take that weight off.”
If the same weight loss methods you relied on pre-menopause aren’t working like they used to, it’s related to the relationship between estrogen and your insulin levels. “Insulin is a fat storage hormone,” Dr. Thompson explains. “Estrogen sensitizes your body to insulin, which means you don’t need as much insulin, so it stays nice and low—meaning your body isn’t storing fat. With menopause, estrogen levels go down. All of a sudden, you’re vulnerable to the effects of your insulin. As your insulin levels rise, your body starts socking away fat—especially around the midsection.”
Regulating your insulin post-menopause
Our bodies change during menopause, which means our eating habits also need to shift in order to compensate. (Photo: wildpixel, Getty Images/iStockphoto)
To combat that loss of estrogen that used to help regulate the insulin in your body, you’ll need to adopt a way of eating that won’t cause your insulin levels to spike. The two biggest food culprits that cause this? Sugar and flour. “When women are young, they can get away with eating some sugar and flour, because estrogen protects them from the effects,” Dr. Thompson explains. “But once you’re peri- or post-menopausal, estrogen levels come down and you don’t have that protective effect anymore—so any sugar or flour that you eat is going to spike your insulin, raise your baseline levels of insulin, and make it almost impossible to lose weight.”
How to successfully lose weight after menopause
When you adopt the right eating habits, losing weight after menopause is as easy as it was in your 20’s. (Photo: Shutterstock)
The key to losing weight after menopause is to eliminate the spikes in our insulin levels—which is why so many women have found success during or after menopause with Bright Line Eating.
“In Bright Line Eating, we take sugar and flour out of the equation,” Dr. Thompson explains. “There’s a clear, no exceptions policy for sugar and flour—and that’s especially important for a woman who’s in or past menopause. Once you take sugar and flour out of the equation, you’ll lose weight just like a woman in her 20s. In fact, most people who post in our goal weight gallery are post-menopausal.”
Of course, cutting sugar and flour out of your diet completely can be challenging—especially if you’re used to being able to have some on occasion without throwing off your weight loss goals. In Bright Line Eating, no one does it alone—another reason why so many dieters have achieved long-term success when using the program. “In Bright Line Eating, we have a buddy system, we have accountability calls…we have so many online and telephone support systems that help people stay connected with one another,” Dr. Thompson explains.
“So many women are living in a body that doesn’t feel right for them—but they think that because they’re past menopause, there’s nothing they can do about it,” says Dr. Thompson. “I’m here to tell you it’s absolutely possible to lose weight at any age.”
Susan Peirce Thompson, Ph.D. is an Adjunct Associate Professor of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at the University of Rochester and author of the New York Times Best-Selling book, Bright Line Eating: The Science of Living Happy, Thin, and Free.
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