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The symptoms of menopause are no joke. I remember being around my Mom when she was going through menopause. The hot flashes, weight gain, insomnia and …mood swings (sorry Mom!) were brutal and not only that, for my mom, it lasted for YEARS! I wish I knew then what I know now about menopause and how diet plays a huge roll in the severity of symptoms. Hopefully, by getting it all down here I can help others battling through menopause and help them come out with fewer symptoms and weight loss.
So What Exactly is Menopause?
Menopause is caused by imbalances in the sex hormones; estrogen and testosterone. This is a normal change for women and usually occurs between the ages of 44-55, though a hysterectomy or removal of the ovaries can also trigger your body to begin menopause.
Like I said about my Mom, menopause started years before her last period which is known as perimenopausal. She had all the symptoms of menopause like the hot flashes but still was getting her period (so fun right!).
All these changes happening to your body will not go unnoticed by you. I listed some symptoms, but most menopausal women can look forward to:
- Weight gain from a slowed down metabolism
- Abdominal fat gain
- Overall reduction of muscle mass
- The texture and appearance of your skin changing
- High highs & low lows of mood swings
- Loss of your sex drive
- Hot flashes during the day
- Night sweats while you sleep
- Fast forward of the aging process
This is also a time which opens women up to other conditions like osteoporosis and even heart disease.
So let’s focus on the positive and see how the ketogenic diet helps. Let’s first focus on what the keto diet actually is first.
What Exactly is The Keto Diet?
In the past two years, the Keto Diet has exploded on the diet scene with so many people wanting to give it a try. This is amazing and I love the enthusiasm because I love Keto, but have noticed a lot of people spreading misinformation and a lot of people not doing it the right way.
At its core, the Keto Diet is a low carbohydrate, moderate protein, and high-fat diet. This diet will put your body into ketosis and you will begin burning fat (instead of carbs) for energy. You get into ketosis by limiting your intake of carbs NOT ingesting a ton of fat. I see a lot of people encouraging a binge on tons of butter and oils and creams to get into ketosis. You could eat all the butter in the world, but if your carbs aren’t low enough, you will not get into ketosis.
What Can I Eat on the Keto Diet?
Now let’s get to my favorite part – the eating! The keto Diet does set pretty strict guidelines for the amounts of what you can and cannot eat. This is what is called a macronutrient ratio.
Generally, for Keto, your macros will resemble 60-75% of calories from fat, 15-30% of calories from protein, and 5-10% of calories from carbs. It’s best to see what works for you and what your body responds the best to then to force macros on yourself so listen to your body’s needs!
Healthy fats are the cornerstone of a proper Keto Diet. As I stated above, eating massive amounts of fat will not put you into ketosis. Cutting carbs and having a limited supply of glucose is the only way to achieve ketosis.
You should also look at your fat macro not as a goal but as a way to help satiety and taste. I get a lot of questions from clients about not being able to complete their fat macro and should that eat a spoonful of butter or oil to get there. No!! If you are not hungry, do not force feed yourself fat just to complete the macro. Especially if your goal is weight loss, eating more fat than your body needs will not help.
Protein is an important macronutrient and very important to the Keto Diet. I see a lot of ‘experts’ saying that protein can turn to glucose in your body and actually make you gain weight. Well, that’s not true. And because of this misinformation, I have people coming to me with complaints of low energy, feeling of nausea, and even their hair falling out! Unlike the fat macro, you should always try your best to complete your protein macro goal for the day. Protein is important to prevent lean muscle loss which can already be an issue for women in menopause and dieters in general.
Most keto-ers stick to under 20-40 grams of total carbs per day, which works out to be about 80-160 calories from carbs. It’s important to stick to high-fiber carbs like dark, leafy greens, avocado, and berries.
Fiber helps with your digestion and decreases bloating, lowers cholesterol levels, helps control blood sugar levels, and helps with weight loss and feeling full. I recommend people on the keto diet still get around 10-20 grams of fiber in their diet a day (this can easily be achieved by eating an avocado!).
Do I Need to Count Macros?
I am not a fan of counting calories or macros. It usually makes me and some of my clients crazy and obsessive and it’s just not for me. It’s really just not a great way to live either. What I suggest is approaching the way you eat in a more holistic way. Be aware of when you are hungry, what foods you are choosing, and eating foods low in carbohydrates to stay in ketosis.
How Does the Keto Diet Help with Menopause?
So after all that, why is Keto so great for menopause? With a diet high in healthy fats and low in sugar intake, keto helps with weight loss, balances your hormones, strengthen your bones, help avoid loss of muscle and more.
Lose Weight Now
The number one overall complaint from women in menopause is weight gain. You aren’t overeating, you’re still working out but you can’t seem to shake the extra pounds from creeping on. As we know, loss of estrogen occurs with menopause and this is why you gain weight. There are a few reasons why a low carb diet works so well for menopausal women.
During menopause, your metabolism takes a hit and begins to slow down. Cutting carbs and using fat for energy actually increases the speed of your metabolism. Keto also helps to balance your hunger hormones so you won’t be ravenous or snacking in between meals.
No More Hot Flashes & Night Sweats
Seeing these first hand, its pretty obvious how terrible and annoying hot flashes are. Out of nowhere, you become hot, your skin flushes and you begin to sweat – the worst! While it is not completely known why hot flashes happen when they do, they have been linked to inflammation. When you are in ketosis and eating healthy fats, keto will actually help alleviate inflammation and you will see a reduction in hot flashes and night sweats. Yay!
Say Goodbye to Low Energy
Since Keto is a diet rich in healthy fats, your energy levels will go through the roof! You are removing sugar and super processed foods from your diet which can make you feel sluggish. Once you start Keto, your energy levels will spike.
Livin Up Your Libido
Did you know sex hormones (estrogen and testosterone) are made from fat? With the low-fat diet crazes and low-fat foods constantly targeted to women, its no wonder that sexual dysfunction happens to unsuspecting dieters. A diet rich in healthy fats, just like the Keto Diet, is perfect for anyone suffering from a low libido and helps to get you back in the mood.
Get Some Rest
Insomnia affects a lot of people especially those suffering through menopause symptoms. The great thing about the Keto diet is that it helps with inflammation which helps with hot flashes which helps you get a better night’s rest. Also, since our hormones will be regulated, we will just naturally have an easier time falling asleep and staying asleep.
Ready to try the Keto Diet but need someone by your side?
I understand how overwhelming learning new habits can be, especially with all the contradictory information online.
Self sabotage, talking down to ourselves, and feeling stuck in a cycle of bad habits can be so difficult to break out of out. I know, I’ve been there. That is why I want to approach your coaching from a personalized, holistic place.
If you are ready and 100% fully committed to creating a healthy lifestyle for yourself, then my 1:1 coaching package is for you! We will work together every week to achieve optimal nutrition, conquer the goals that have been set, and then maintain them for life.
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