How to Adjust Your Wellness Plan After Menopause

My phone conversations with my mom have often followed a similar pattern of what we'll call the three Ws: Talk of my upcoming wedding, work, and weight. While all three topics lend themselves to varying degrees of ups and downs, the latter tended to be a steady pain point. We'd rather not give any sort of airtime to the numbers on the scale or the way our clothes fit, but considering we'd both put on weight in the past few years, getting back into shape had been an unwavering goal. The issue, though, is that we'd hit a plateau—a frustrating gridlock we'd worked ourselves into despite eating in such a way we both deemed "healthy."

But admittedly, there was no science behind our diets—we were cutting carbs, eating less, but indulging when we felt we deserved it—the result of two women who haven't done their research yet moan when their waistbands cinch. Eventually, I put my detective cap on and dove deep into studies, articles, and the advice of personal trainers for what I needed to do to tone up and lean out. The consensus was steady HIIT at least three days a week, more protein, healthy fat, non-starchy vegetables, and little to no sugar and refined carbs. Having finally gained muscle and a noticeable change in my body, I suggested my mom try this method too. But this only garnered more frustration.

In her almost 60 years of life, my mom's body has taken a toll: She's had major back surgery, experienced bone loss, and can't move like she used to, so to her, HIIT sounds more like n-o w-a-y. "Weight loss is so hard post-menopause—I can't do what these young women are doing," she pleaded to me one night as we approached the final W of our conversation. Her friends and her co-workers constantly share these same gripes. So given Byrdie's large network of nutritionists, doctors, and trainers, I wanted to find an answer for my mom and all women who find it difficult to move down from the plateau they've hit post-menopause, because as you'll learn below, there are some key changes that need to be made later in life.

Up next, take a look at these helpful makeup tips for women over 40.