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Is There a Magic Pill for Menopause Weight Loss?


As we know, peri/menopause brings about a myriad of changes to the way our bodies feel and respond to the environment, to foods, to exercise, to stress etc. As a result of fluctuating hormones and changes in metabolism many women will experience changes in their weight, body composition and shape.

Naturally, women facing these changes may seek solutions to manage their weight effectively. In recent years, discussions around hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and medications like Ozempic have gained attention as potential aids in menopause weight loss.


But are these truly the magic pills you are hoping for?


Menopause Hormone Therapy

Menopause Hormone Therapy (MHT) (also known as Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)) has been suggested as a potential solution for menopause-related weight gain due to its ability to address hormonal imbalances. However, the efficacy of MHT in promoting weight loss is questionable and is not supported by robust scientific evidence.

While MHT may alleviate some symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes, night sweats and mood swings, there is no evidence to suggest that MHT inhibits (or causes) weight gain, neither does it facilitate weight loss.

While hormone therapy will not prevent weight gain, it may influence fat distribution leading it to be stored around the hips and thighs rather than around the “belly”. Conversely, while MHT does not cause weight gain, it may result in some bloating that may be interpreted as abdominal weight gain.

It is important to note that MHT/HRT is not recommended for women with a history of breast cancer, cardiovascular disease or venous or deep vein thrombosis.

 

Weight Loss Medications

Weight loss drugs, including semaglutides – better known as Ozempic and Saxenda - have gained attention for their potential to aid in weight loss in individuals with obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Semaglutide mimics a hormone called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1). GLP-1 helps regulate blood sugar levels by stimulating insulin secretion, slowing down digestion, and reducing appetite.  Essentially, it signals your brain to feel full, so you eat less. Clinical trials showed that this has been effective for blood sugar regulation and weight loss in people with obesity and Type 2 Diabetes.

Studies also showed that these medications were most effective when combined with diet and lifestyle modifications.

While the short-term effects on weight loss appear to be positive, it is important to remember that the effects of these weight loss medications only last as long as the individual keeps taking it.  In fact, results of a clinical trial published in 2022, showed that participants who had lost weight using semaglutide regained two thirds of the weight they had lost within 12 months of withdrawal from the drug, with those who lost the most weight regaining the most weight.

Additionally, like any medication, Ozempic comes with potential side effects, which can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and pancreatitis as well as an increased risk of thyroid tumours. These side effects may outweigh the benefits, especially if the medication is not addressing the root cause of weight gain during menopause.

 

Over-The-Counter (or Online) Weight Loss Products.


“Fat Blaster” or “Metabolism Booster” supplements.

Fat blaster or metabolism booster (thermogenic) supplements are often marketed as quick solutions for weight loss, particularly during menopause. However, their effectiveness and safety are questionable. These supplements typically contain a blend of stimulants, herbs, and other ingredients that claim to increase metabolism and promote fat burning.

A comprehensive analysis of 21 studies assessing the efficacy of fat burners and thermogenic supplements aimed at boosting metabolism, revealed no statistically significant advantage in reducing body fat or improving cardiometabolic health. Moreover, researchers observed that these supplements were less effective compared to diet or exercise, particularly in individuals with excess body fat.

Most importantly, weight loss products found online might not be authorised for distribution in Australia. Consequently, it's difficult to ascertain the quality or safety of the product since it has not received approval from the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).


Meal Replacement Shakes

Meal replacement shakes are often marketed as convenient solutions for weight loss and weight management. While they can provide a quick and easy way to control calorie intake, it is important to approach them with caution. Many meal replacement shakes lack essential nutrients and may be high in sugars and artificial additives.

If this approach to weight loss appeals to you, why not replace breakfast with a homemade, high protein smoothie containing berries, yogurt, leafy greens and protein powder? This smoothie is filled with fibre, protein, vitamins & healthy fat, as well as being quick, easy and more cost effective than off-the-shelf meal replacement programs.

 

An Important Note About Weight Loss vs. Fat Loss: 

It is important to distinguish between weight loss and fat loss, especially in the context of menopause. While many individuals may focus solely on the number on the scale, true success lies in reducing body fat while preserving lean muscle mass.

Crash diets and quick-fix solutions may result in rapid weight loss, but they often lead to the loss of muscle mass rather than fat. This can have negative implications for overall health and metabolism, ultimately making it more challenging to maintain weight loss in the long term.

Instead, a balanced approach that combines regular physical activity, healthy eating habits, and behaviour modification is essential for sustainable fat loss. This approach not only promotes healthy weight management but also supports overall well-being during menopause and beyond.

 

5 Key Strategies to Support Healthy Weight Loss


  1. Increase Protein Intake: Incorporating adequate protein into your diet is essential for supporting muscle retention and promoting satiety, which can help prevent muscle loss and overeating. Including protein-rich foods in each meal and snack can help regulate appetite and support muscle mass to achieve fat loss.

  2. Cut Out Sugar and Reduce Refined Carbohydrates: These low nutrient, high calorie foods can lead to spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels, which may contribute to increased hunger and cravings. Instead, focus on whole, unprocessed foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, which provide essential nutrients and fibre to support weight loss and metabolic health.

  3. Incorporate Heavy Weight Workouts: Incorporating resistance training, such as heavy weight workouts, into your exercise routine is crucial for preserving lean muscle mass during weight loss. Resistance training not only helps to build and maintain muscle but also boosts metabolism, allowing you to burn more calories at rest. Aim to include strength training exercises at least two to three times per week.

  4. Don’t skip breakfast: Skipping breakfast is a common practice for many individuals seeking to lose weight, but evidence suggests that this approach may not be beneficial, especially during menopause. Breakfast kickstarts your metabolism, provides essential nutrients, and can help regulate appetite and energy levels throughout the day. Skipping breakfast may lead to increased hunger later in the day, potentially causing overeating and poor food choices. Additionally, research indicates that breakfast consumption is associated with a lower risk of obesity and better weight management outcomes. Therefore, incorporating a balanced breakfast into your daily routine, can support healthy weight loss and overall well-being. Opt for nutrient-dense options such as whole grains, lean protein, healthy fats, fruits, and vegetables to start your day on the right track.

  5. Practice Mindful Eating: Practicing mindful eating involves paying attention to your body's hunger and fullness cues, as well as your emotions and environment, while eating. This approach can help prevent overeating and promote a healthy relationship with food. Take the time to savour and enjoy your meals, chew slowly, and listen to your body's signals of hunger and fullness. Avoid distractions such as screens or multitasking while eating, as this can lead to mindless overeating.

 

In conclusion, there is no magic pill for menopause weight loss. While hormone replacement therapy and medications may offer temporary relief for some symptoms, their efficacy in promoting sustainable weight loss is limited and comes with potential risks and side effects.

Instead of searching for a quick-fix solution, women navigating menopause should focus on diet and lifestyle strategies that prioritise overall health and well-being. By adopting a balanced approach that includes regular physical activity, healthy eating habits, and behaviour modification, women can achieve sustainable fat loss and improve their quality of life during this transitional phase.


If you are struggling with menopause weight gain, perimenopause symptoms or working out the right diet for you, book in for a Free 10 minute Discovery Call to have a chat with me and find out how I can help, or if you are ready to get started jump in and book your Initial Nutrition Consult.


In good health

Melissa x


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