Tag Archives: menopause

The most common reasons for weight gain.

Its frustrating to see your weight going up when you’re doing everything possible to lose weight.
You seem to be eating right and exercising, but that clearly isn’t working.
Losing weight and staying fit is mostly dependant on a healthy diet and regular exercise routine, but there are a lot of other factors that could slowly be disrupting your weight loss goals:

1. Lack of sleep

If you are not getting enough sleep, then that could be making you feel hungrier.
Lack of sleep causes an increase in stress in your body which leads to secretion of the appetite stimulating hormone ghrelin and makes you feel hungrier.

2. Distracted eating

Sometimes we eat mindlessly and don’t even realise we’re doing it.
You may be watching TV with your hand constantly dipping into a bag of popcorn before soon realising that it’s all gone. Even when you eat your meal while you are working on your computer, it leads to mindless eating. You don’t savour the food and end up overeating.

3. Stress

Stress eating is a form of emotional eating which leads to high levels of cortisol hormone released in the body in response to stress. This hormone triggers psychological cravings for salty, sweet and high fat content food that gives you instant energy and pleasure. More stress makes you more prone to emotional eating.

4. Watch what you drink

When people are watching their diet, they generally tend to forgot about accounting for their drinking habits.
Alcohol, fuzzy drinks and juices can be high in calories.
Also, alcohol consumption if often the reason for indulging in unhealthy food. It lowers your defences and willpower so you are more likely to indulge.

5. Menopause

Weight gain can be a by-product of menopause. It’s possible that as estrogens levels fall, the metabolic rate in women also falls. It may also be the case that as women reach a certain age they become less physically active and put on weight because of it.

6. Medication

A common side effect of some prescription medicines is weight gain. Because some of the drugs contain corticosteroids and anti-psychotic drugs, certain drugs can cause fluid retention which leads to weight gain.
If you suspect your medication is affecting your waistline, your doctor may be able to find an alternative treatment that won’t have that particular side effect.

7. Ageing

Ageing is a condition which is unavoidable. During this stage BMR slows down. So you need more exercise and less food — to keep your metabolism going.

8. Poor digestion

Poor digestion leads to insufficient absorption of B-vitamins, iron, magnesium or any of the other nutrients required to burn calories. This results in fatigue and deposition of excess body fat.
When you are unable to eliminate waste properly due to poor digestion, your body will suffer from toxic build-up. Many toxins cause your body to retain body fat and excess water. This results in sluggishness, puffiness and
difficulty in losing weight.

So keep a check on the above mentioned points and keep weight gain away.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo
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Do Women Need More Sleep Than Men?

Sleep is a fundamental requirement just like food and diet is for the functioning of a healthy body. Sleep even lays the ground work for a productive day ahead. Although most people need seven to nine hours of sleep each night to function well the next day, the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) 1998 Women and Sleep Poll found that the average woman aged 30-60 sleeps only six hours and forty-one minutes during the workweek.

Studies show that women need more sleep than men. “Poor sleep certainly had a more profound effect on women than on men,” says Edward Suarez, Ph.D., an associate professor at Duke University School of Medicine
“One of the major functions of sleep is to allow the brain to recover and repair itself. During deep sleep, the cortex — the part of the brain responsible for thought, memory, language and so on — disengages from the senses and goes into recovery mode,” Jim Horne, director of the Sleep Research Centre at Loughborough University in England, told The Australian. “The more of your brain you use during the day, the more it needs to recover and, consequently, the more sleep you need. Women tend to multi-task — they do lot at once and are flexible — and so they use more of their actual brain than men do.”

It follows that, if men used their brains more during the day, they would need a couple of extra hours too. “A man who has a complex job that involves a lot of decision-making and lateral thinking may also need more sleep than the average male — though probably still not as much as a woman,” Horne said.
Getting the right amount of sleep is vital, but just as important is the quality of your sleep. Biological conditions of women are unique, like the menstrual cycle, pregnancy and menopause. All of these conditions can affect how well a woman sleeps. This is because the changing levels of hormones that a woman experiences throughout the month and over her lifetime, like the levels of estrogen and progesterone, have an impact on sleep.

Lack of sleep is associated with increased risk of heart disease and obesity because lack of sleep causes increases secretion of the leptin hormone, which leads to excessive food cravings and may cause obesity. This even causes heart disease if left untreated. Lack of sleep leads to diabetes due to increased levels of the stress hormone, which stimulates the production of insulin and causes high blood sugar level, as well as more stress, depression, anxiety, and anger. However, these associations were weaker for men.
So go to bed at the same time every day of the week, avoid heavy meals before bed, establish a relaxing bedtime routine, nap occasionally to make up for lost sleep, eat healthy and exercise daily.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

Preventing Osteoporosis

Lately women in the early 30′s are suffering from osteoporosis. The earlier average age was from 50 years, around the same time menopause would set in. The reason is with menopause the body experiences a dramatic drops in estrogen production that results in bone loss. This was labeled  as  a growing old diseases since the two big reasons for developing osteoporosis are when the body fails to form enough new bone or when the old bones are reabsorbed by the body, but not anymore.

Calcium and phosphate are two minerals that are essential for normal bone formation. Throughout youth, your body uses these minerals to produce bones. Mineral intake during adolescence and early adulthood lays the foundation of healthy bones for the coming years.  Not getting enough calcium and body not being able to absorb enough calcium from the diet adversely affects the bone production and bone tissues.

Bone is a dynamic living tissue that becomes strong when exercised or used and becomes fragile when unused. Mostly we are advised to eat foods rich in calcium for bone development but equally excluding foods that lead to loss of bone mineral in the body like sugar, sodas, table salt, coffee and alcohol. But are you forgetting nutrients which directly or indirectly benefit the bone health like vitamin D for better absorption of calcium, vitamin K which activates osteocalcin which is a bone protein which bonds calcium, vitamin C which improves bone absorption and other bone minerals like magnesium, phosphorous, boron etc.

Though dairy is the most popular source of calcium, many other nutrients required for prevention and better bone health can be consumed from plant based sources like vegetables and fruits which are rich in various nutrients. Optimum levels of the following nutrients in your diet will improve your bone health as well as overall fitness.

Women are more prone to developing osteoporosis than men due to two reasons first they are genetically born with a lower bone mass than men and secondly estrogen levels. Estrogen plays an important role in keeping bones strong and healthy, in both men and women. Changing levels of estrogen especially in women make them more vulnerable to this disorder.

Foods bad for bone health

Salt: Over consumption of salt than the daily requirement could make you lose calcium. You require 2400 milligram of sodium in a day. Not only you consume sodium through salt in foods but foods naturally contain salt which could create an excess. Eat salt in moderation to avoid loss of calcium.

Soda: Sweetened soft-drink and aerated drinks cause loss of calcium in the body and has been observed while excreted in urine. The phosphoric acid which is the fizziness in soda drinks could lead to faster loss of calcium.

Caffeine: Caffeine in excess of 100 milligram can cause loss of some calcium in the body. Caffeine is not consumed by the body just through coffee but some iced teas, energy drinks and other drinks contain them.

Alcohol: Alcohol blocks calcium absorption in the body and restricts bone building minerals to be absorbed properly. Bones become weak faster and can cause trouble while healing of bones due to alcohol consumption during fracture.

Some vegetables which immensely improve bone health and maintain them and avoid loss of bone minerals in the body are green peas, cabbage, broccoli, lettuce, spinach, asparagus, oats, parsley, lemons, milk and dairy etc. Though milk and dairy are the best sources but these vegetables have various nutrients to support good bone health and prevent osteoporosis. Exercising, the often most forgotten factor, is critical to bone health as it helps in improvement of bone density and better absorption of nutrients.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

4 Keys to Weight Loss for Women

There could be many reasons why women gain weight. The most common ones include sedentary lifestyle, emotional eating, therapeutic reasons, and poor eating habits. If you are a woman and are trying to lose weight then here 4 areas of your lifestyle that might help you keep off that weight. 

A healthy diet should include adequate intake of all the essential nutrients. For example, protein for muscles and hair, carbohydrates for energy, good fats like omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, fibre for smooth digestive function and vitamins and minerals for various bodily functions. A healthy diet is essential not just to stay disease free, but even to stay fit and slim. It is the first and most important step to healthy weight loss. Also, a healthy diet with make you look good externally, which will further motivate you and boost your confidence. 

Diet: We rarely realise the hundreds or thousands of calories that sneak in to our system through unhealthy nibbling, small dessert bites and unnecessary snacking. There has to be a certain eating pattern and moderation in intake of calories. Our bodies require a certain number of calories in order to maintain weight and fat levels. the calorie intake should not cross the number required. (more…)

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

Manage Menopause Weight Gain

Weight gain during menopause is a big concern for women. The menopausal phase triggers changes in body shape resulting on an average weight gain of about  5-10 kg. This weight is primarily  hormone related and has a direct impact on appetite, metabolism, and fat storage.  Therefore controlling weight during this time becomes extremely difficult due to fluctuating estrogen, testosterone, and androgen levels. These added kilos further aggravate depression and anxiety which in turns can bring on the hot flashes and disturbed sleep.

Estrogen plays a big role in menopausal weight gain especially as the estrogen levels decline with age as the body stops ovulating. Due to the decrease in estrogen levels produced by the ovaries, body searches for other sources to substitute the shortage of estrogen in the body. Meanwhile fat cells in our body have the natural capability to produce estrogen, hence the body starts restoring to these cells  to convert calories into fat to increase estrogen levels. Unfortunately fat cells don’t burn calories the way muscle cells do, which causes this unwanted (more…)

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

Calcium for bones, heart & weight loss

400 mg of calcium is the daily requirement for your body. Beyond being important for the development of bones and teeth, calcium is also needed for proper functioning of the heart, nerves and muscles, and research is also showing that because of its calcium content, yogurt promotes belly fat loss.

So it is important to keep blood calcium at a healthy level to sustain life. Calcium supplements have shown to not be as effective as natural sources of calcium. Read on for the most important factor, to help your body absorb calcium.

Also as we age, the body begins to breakdown and reabsorb the bone mass of the skeleton. Women are more susceptible to bone loss, especially before, during and after menopause because during the menopausal years women experience lowered estrogen levels which considerably speeds up the bone loss process and leads to osteoporosis, a condition where the bones have become weak and brittle and break very easily. Research says that one in every four women suffer from the debilitation of osteoporosis, and men are one in eight. Besides this, younger people in their 30′s are developing osteoporosis due to bad lifestyle, eating outside, unhealthy nutrition and not exercising, are a few reasons that are pushing you to the deficiency of calcium.

Consuming the daily requirement of calcium is the best way to build adequate bone mass early in life to reduce the risk of it later in your life. Start consuming foods that are high in calcium and people above 50+ should consume 600 mg. Dairy products  like milk, cottage cheese, buttermilk, curd and cheese are the best source and most recommended for getting calcium which gets easily absorbed by the body. Other sources are breads, fruit juices and soy products, beans, broccoli, oranges and bananas.

Get out and get 10 minutes of sunshine to accelerate the absorption of calcium in your body.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo