How to Lose Weight in Menopause

I’ve been very frustrated lately because I can’t seem to lose any weight on keto.  I started in January and now it’s mid-April.  During that time, I was in ketosis for 9 weeks.  I have lost .3 pounds.  I was really excited the other day, I thought I was going to be able to post that I had actually lost 2 pounds but, when I weighed myself this morning, both pounds were back!  There are no shortage of amazing before and after pictures of successful ketonians on Instagram.  So WTF@?#!?!

Today, I went back to the two sources of information that I really trust, the Diet Doctor website and Dr. Jason Fung of the IDM Program and the author of The Obesity Code, and The Complete Guide to Fasting. What I found wasn’t very encouraging, especially for someone like me…menopausal, insulin resistant, leptin resistant and significantly overweight.

The Diet Doctor website’s 10 Tips To Lose Weight on Low Carb for Women 40+  suggests that, as we age, the combined effects of a reduced metabolism, less movement, and increased muscle loss are to blame for weight gain and the difficulty in losing weight.  They recommend that you need to be realistic and “accept that weight loss in middle age will be slower”.

The list recommends that you cut down on alcohol and sweeteners.  I don’t drink so that’s not a problem and I’ve drastically cut down on my sweetener consumption already. It suggests that you get enough sleep and reduce stress levels.  I’ve been working on getting better sleep with the help of melatonin and my life isn’t that stressful, but a little yoga or meditation couldn’t hurt.

It suggests weight training to build muscle and increase metabolism.  The recommendation from Dr. Naiman is “not a lot, 90 seconds twice a week can be enough”  that works out to about 10-15 heavy lifts, squats or pushups.  I think I can handle that.

The list also includes specific diet related advice: don’t eat too much protein, don’t eat too much fat and keep carbs below 20 grams per day.    They suggest that once you are fat adapted, you should be able reduce the amount of fat in your diet.  You’ll know that you’re fat adapted once you can go for several hours without feeling hungry.  I haven’t gotten there yet. Using the recommendation in the article, I should be eating between 50 to 150 grams of protein per day.

I’ve been using Carb Manager to track my food intake.  I had originally set the macros based on 20 grams of carbs per day with 105 grams of protein and 130 grams of fat for about 1700 calories.  I thought this was a good start.  Apparently, I was sadly mistaken.  Today, I updated my profile info on Carb Manager with my date of birth and current weight.  If I wanted to lose 2 pounds per week the recommendation is 941 calories per day!  It then warns not to eat less than 1000 calories per day and to “select a smaller goal”. So, I down-graded my expectations and selected 1 pound per week instead and now my calorie goal is 1441, with 18 grams net carbs, 90 grams of protein and 112 grams of fat. Okay, I think I can handle that.

When reducing fat, carbs and protein doesn’t work, the next suggestion is intermittent fasting.  The recommended starting point is a 16 hour daily fast with an 8 hour eating window.  I’ve been doing that for quite a while already.

But wait…I thought this was supposed to be a high fat diet.  I’m  supposed to be able to eat lots of fat and still lose weight.  Right? That’s a nope.  Enter Dr. Fung.

In his excellent post on the IDM blog, Who needs to avoid Fat Bombs and BPC?,  the answer is: I need to avoid fat bombs and bulletproof coffee.   He states: “ if you are trying to lose weight, and have some problem with obesity/ insulin/ leptin resistance, then adding extra fat to your meals is NOT a good idea.”  His solution is, of course, fasting.  The science behind fasting and its effect on metabolism is above my pay grade.  Read more on the subject from Dr. Fung on his blog or better yet buy his book, The Obesity Code.

Well, maybe Jacqueline Eberstein, RN and former Dr. Atkins associate will have a more positive perspective for me.  I found a great interview with Dr. Andreas Enfeldt on the Diet Doctor website.

She says that the goal, as we go through peri-menopause/menopause, should be to maintain health and minimize weight gain (not to mention trying to lose weight).  We need to stop thinking that we can get the same results we did when we were younger.  She adds that we should try to avoid the emotional stress that comes from having unrealistic expectations or by trying to fight the natural changes that come with aging.  She warns against getting sloppy with the amount of carbs you are eating, especially cheese, cream and nuts and that you may have to keep your carbs closer to the 20 gram mark.  She suggests getting some exercise to try to retain lean muscle mass and keep the metabolic rate up.

And finally, she says, don’t just focus on the scale, but don’t quit trying either, because if you quit trying, you will gain weight. Cheery isn’t she?

So now, I’m eating less protein, less carbs, less fat, sometimes not eating at all and exercising more, while lowering my expectations. Hmmm…


The Obesity Code

IDM Program Blog


4 Comment

  1. Gosh this sounds very frustrating. One way I try to look at things is – OK, I really want the scale to move downwards and I want to wear a smaller pair of jeans….but if I don’t eat the way I do, where would I be and where will I be 10 years from now.
    The thoughts around keto diets and menopause or even menstrual cycles is really interesting to me and I admit to knowing very little. I am off to do some reading!

  2. Just want to send out a little support and empathy. I am in the same boat and embrace the notion this is about health and lifestyle, I don’t want to keep gaining weight and feeling like crap.
    I put away my scale, I find it sabotages my efforts. It’s hard enough to keep focused and positive. I am determined to reap the health benefits and remind myself everything worthwhile takes time. I keep trying to educate myself and make little tweaks to what I am doing. LOL, finding that sweet spot.
    I am doing IF now, never dreamed I could achieve that… To say I relate to ” I breath I’m hungry” is a gross understatement.
    At 6 feet tall, even when I lost significant weight in the past, no one noticed or commented. Buying clothes is no picnic either.
    I am surrounded by people who do not eat healthy.
    All in all, I have decided for my own well being I am giving this my best effort. The science is there .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *