If you’re one of the few Prime Women who isn’t struggling with weight issues, then count your blessings. You’re in the minority! For most of us, weight gain after menopause is the bane of our existence. Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be. And while it’s more difficult to lose or even maintain weight as we age, making changes to our diet can prevent what is considered an inevitable age-related weight gain and we can potentially lose weight this summer.
Women after 50 need fewer calories but more nutrients. (Yes, this would fall into the “life isn’t fair” category.) Unfortunately, however, our appetites rarely diminish. In fact, most of us will consume the same volume of food each day regardless of our age. So as our metabolism slows and our postmenopausal bodies become more insulin resistant and encourage fat storage, it’s even more important to satisfy our hunger and fill up our stomachs with low calorie, nutrient-dense meals.
What better time to start making adjustments to your diet than summer. Nature, not surprisingly, provides us with all the guidance we need. I’m convinced more than ever that the warmth of the season is nature’s way of helping us lose and maintain weight while providing prime women with the added nutrients we need to protect ourselves against chronic disease.
The record-breaking heat and humidity that smothered the East Coast last week confirm this. I survived the stifling temperatures without AC and couldn’t believe how my eating patterns and food preferences changed as a result. As I’ve mentioned in the past, during the colder months of winter, we often gravitate toward heavy, fatty foods such as stews, rich sauces, and meats. Consequently, most of us gain a little weight, which quite frankly, we need to help us stay warm but unfortunately rarely lose.
The accumulating effect of these additional pounds adds up over the years putting us at increased risk for chronic and age-related disease and leaving us discouraged about our changing bodies. Summer, on the other hand, is a time when we lose weight. Or do we? Often we surround ourselves with air-conditioning to keep us comfortable. We work, sleep, and even exercise in the cooler temperatures, and doing so allows our body to continue to long for the calorie-dense meals we enjoy during the winter.
If you expose yourself to the warmer temperatures of summer, I’m confident you’ll find your appetite waning significantly and your body craving foods that are cooling, thirst-quenching, nutrient-dense, and low in calories. Ironically enough, the foods that are in season this time of year, namely fruits and vegetables, are just that – loaded with vitamins and minerals and consist predominately of water.
For the next 6 weeks, try turning up the AC in your home, and at least during the day, go for a walk, eat lunch, and even relax outside to experience the heat. Consider rolling down the windows in your car when running errands or commuting and see if you don’t crave more produce. If so, replace some of your unhealthy snacks and heavier meals with volumes of fruit, veggies, and lighter, plant-based, fiber-rich dishes.
Below I’ve listed foods that are nutrient-dense, mostly water, and low in calories. These fruits and vegetables contain at least 75% water by weight. From now until Labor Day, overindulge in summer’s bounty to satisfy your hunger and quench your thirst. Get outside, take a hike, and enjoy the summer warmth. Notice how your body responds. Your mood and energy should improve and your weight should drop, naturally!
Do you need easy and tasty suggestions to incorporate the above into your day without sacrificing or depriving yourself of delicious food? Here are some easy and tasty suggestions.
The options are endless. Please note the emphasis on veggies, not fruit. They are not equal. As a general rule of thumb, non-starchy veggies rule; fruit is nature’s dessert. The volume of your meals should be vegetables. Indulge and enjoy the results and let this be the summer that you stop struggling to lose weight.
This article is for informational purposes only, is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, and is not a substitute for medical advice.