Signs and symptoms
Women in Singapore are likely to get menopause around the age of 49. However, its signs can start months or even years before that because of the hormonal fluctuations in your body.
You’re likely to experience tangible symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, headaches, insomnia, loss of libido and mood swings during what’s known as the perimenopause stage. These signs and symptoms may continue well into menopause.
Weight gain and menopause
And if all that isn’t terrible enough already, there’s also a very high chance that you’ll get heavier as you enter menopause. Women typically put on five kilos on average.
You’ll gain weight during menopause due to a variety of factors.
The most common reason is that muscle mass shrinks with age. When you lose muscle mass, your metabolism goes into freefall. You can expect your body fat levels to balloon if you continue consuming the same number of calories.
Research has shown that you’ll lose three to eight per cent of muscle mass per decade after the age of 30. Over time, maintaining your weight will feel like an uphill battle.
The second reason involves hormonal changes. Menopause is when your oestrogen amounts start to run dry, which affects how your body stores fat.
You’ll stop storing fat on the hips and thighs, and instead pack it on around the belly. This is why many women say that they develop a paunch during this period of their life.
The dangers of belly fat
Don’t take belly fat – also known as visceral fat – lightly. A slight love handle may seem adorable, but in excessive amounts, it can be dangerous.
Here’s why: Visceral fat introduces inflammation to the body. Additionally, it amplifies your risk of diseases like heart disease, stroke and cancer.
Too much visceral fat can make you more resistant to insulin. Insulin is the hormone that commands your cells to use up the glucose floating in your bloodstream. When your body becomes resistant to insulin, the glucose has nowhere to go. The resulting buildup can lead to excessive blood sugar levels, increasing your risk to type 2 diabetes.
Measuring your waistline can help you understand how concerned you should be about your weight. You’re at higher risk of type 2 diabetes if your waist circumstance is greater than 80cm.
(We’ve written about all about belly fat and how to get rid of it for good.)
Keep the weight off
Clearly, menopause isn’t a walk in the park. But with incremental lifestyle changes, you can hope to maintain your figure in the long run.
You will have to exercise more to combat your slowing metabolism. There’s no shortcut! Spend some time working on a combination of aerobic activity and strength training.
Aerobic activity like brisk walking, cycling and swimming gets your heart rate up while strength training builds muscle mass. Do at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity a week and strength train at least twice a week.
If you’re time-pressed or dislike working out, go for high-intensity internal training (HIIT) to get results in less time. HIIT workouts alternate between short periods of intense physical activity and more relaxed recovery periods.
A study published in the journal Menopause found that obese postmenopausal women who did 10 minutes of HIIT five times a week lost double the weight compared to those who did traditional aerobic activity like brisk walking.
Aside from weight loss, exercise prevents osteoporosis by slowing bone loss. Plus, a post-workout endorphin rush doesn’t hurt, either!
If you’re a foodie like most Singaporeans, this part may devastate you. You’ll probably have to forgo your favourite local cuisines as many of these dishes contain a harmful amount of fat.
You’ll want to opt for a balanced diet that’s full of wholegrain carbohydrates, lean protein and fruits and vegetables. Pass up on sugar and fat, especially saturated fat and trans fat. Limit the consumption of sweetened beverages, and remember to stay hydrated with water.
Consider referring to the My Healthy Plate guide to help you eat well. The guide suggests that you ration half your plate for leafy vegetables and fruits, a quarter of your plate for whole grains and starchy vegetables, and the rest of your plate for lean meats or meat alternatives like tofu or egg.
Diet and menopause
You have other benefits to gain from a healthy diet during menopause. Your risk of osteoporosis increases with age – be sure to get enough calcium and vitamin D to keep your bones strong.
As a rule of thumb, menopausal women require 1,000mg of calcium per day and between 400 and 1,000IU of vitamin D per day. A blood test will help you find out if you’re deficient in either.
And to counter all those menopausal signs and symptoms we mentioned earlier, fill up on fermented beans and soya products like beancurd. These foods are loaded with phytoestrogens, which can rebalance the hormones in your body. Phytoestrogens are a natural alternative to the synthetic oestrogen used in hormone replacement therapies.
How CSH therapy® can help
With menopause comes a whirlwind of physical and emotional changes.
Which is why we’re here to help you look and feel your best self. Get extra support in the form of our signature CSH therapy®, which consists of all-natural treatments that stimulate your metabolism for long-lasting results. That means no rebound even when the treatments end.
The best part: There are no extreme diets, no supplements, no exercise involved.
Get in touch with us today to find out how our CSH therapy® program can help you stay trim no matter what stage of life you’re at.