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Best Foods & Drinks for Weight Loss

Unfortunately many of us are gaining weight in perimenopause and menopause and as I shared before, our hormones are a big culprit here. But we also need to work harder to keep our shape: we need to exercise (not more) but smarter and we can’t really cut corners anymore when it comes to our diet. At least not in that transitional phase. 

Go back to my previous articles on body composition after 40 and check out my hormone and blood sugar balancing cookbook if you want more guidance on the right diet in this phase of transition. 

There’s certainly no magic pill or magical foods that will make you drop a couple of pounds over night (unfortunately not). However, there are some smart foods and drinks that can stimulate fat burn and support weight loss, that can definitely not hurt incorporating in your daily routine. And some of these you are surely already eating/drinking, you may just need to adjust the portion or time when to consume them:

bottle of apple cider vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar: contains acetic acid, which helps regulate genes associated with fat storage and fat breakdown, improve metabolism, and suppress appetite. Studies suggest that ACV can enhance feelings of fullness, leading to reduced calorie intake. Also, ACV has been shown to help regulate blood sugar levels, which can prevent cravings, overeating and can therefore also have a positive impact on the midlife muffin top. And lastly, ACV will stimulate your gastric juices and can therefore have a positive effect on your digestion and nutrient absorption. 

Take one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a cup of water and drink before meals. I like to add it to sparkling water as well in summer. 

Water is a key player for weight loss: a glass of water can temporarily boost your metabolic rate by up to 30%, which means that it can help increase fat burning. But water is also essential for detox: without it your body can’t flush out toxins and waste products and excess toxins can slow down weight loss. 

Something really interesting that you might not have considered: when you’re getting dehydrated, it will trigger the release of your stress hormone cortisol (and you know by now that elevated cortisol is your biggest enemy in weight loss).

You probably need more water than you think: aim for your body weight in lbs/2= drink that many ounces of water per day. For example: 55kg = 121lbs/2 = 60.5oz/1.8L.

Green Tea: is high in antioxidants and helps your body release stored fat for energy. It also helps manage hunger-regulating hormones like ghrelin and leptin, meaning less cravings.

This is all thanks to EGCG, a compound in green tea that helps lower inflammation and can even increase your metabolism. It also contains an amino acid called L-theanine that can help lower cortisol levels by boosting the production of your calming neurotransmitter GABA.

Be aware that green tea (as black & white teas and coffee) is dehydrating so you need to drink extra water for every cup you are consuming)

Coffee: is known to stimulate digestion and fat-burning efforts. The chlorogenic acid in coffee increases the activity of enzymes responsible for fat metabolism, helping your body mobilizing fatty acids from fat tissues and making them available for energy. 

Caffeine also increases your metabolic rate, helping you burn more calories throughout the day. Coffee also slows down glucose absorption, so it’s ideal to drink it after your meal as a digestive and to support a more balanced blood sugar response. Attention though that for some caffeine can do the opposite as listed below. 

A few things to consider though, when it comes to coffee: 

  • Caffeine can increase cortisol so especially for women struggling with anxiety, it may not be a good choice, especially not in the morning. I always recommend drinking it AFTER your breakfast so that you lessen the effect on your blood sugar. 

  • It’s best not to drink coffee after 2PM anymore as it may interfere with your sleep

  • Quality matters: conventional coffee is often high in pesticides and/or mold, so make sure to get quality over quantity

  • The beneficial properties of coffee mentioned above don’t apply to oat milk lattes or similar sugary drinks

Protein: one of the best fat-loss strategies is getting a minimum of 30g of protein at every meal. Protein-rich foods help you feel fuller longer. This can reduce overall calorie intake by curbing hunger and preventing overeating. Protein has less calories than carbohydrates and fat, but digesting protein also requires more energy compared to fats and carbohydrates. This process, known as the thermic effect of food (TEF), means that your body burns more calories processing protein. Approximately 20-30% of the calories in protein are used during digestion and processing.This helps control blood sugar, as protein-rich meals have a lower impact on glucose levels than high-carbohydrate meals. Research shows that eating protein first before you eat carbohydrates can lower your post-meal blood-sugar levels.

For weight loss, it's crucial to maintain lean muscle mass, as muscle tissue burns more calories at rest than fat tissue. A high-protein diet helps preserve muscle mass, ensuring that most of the weight you lose is fat rather than muscle. 

Absorbing  your protein is as important: aging can impact your ability to digest and absorb nutrients because your stomach acid and digestive enzyme production decreases over time. I always do a stomach acid challenge with my clients to determine their need for stomach acid supplementation and see a need for digestive enzymes in a stool panel I’ll be running for most. 

Chili Peppers: Containing capsaicin, which is known to promote fat burning and boost your metabolism. Not recommended for women suffering from hot flashes though!

Probiotic/Fermented Foods: kimchi, raw sauerkraut, kombucha, yogurt, (regular, water or coconut) kefir, miso, tempeh come with a variety of beneficial bacteria, helping maintain a balanced and diverse gut microbiome. Research shows certain bacterial strains in fermented foods can support healthy body weight and boost fat burning, especially Lactobacillus rhamnosus (Source).

The fermenting process breaks down sugars in these foods, lowering their glycemic index, which is better for your blood sugar. 

Prebiotic Foods are the food your good bacteria feed on. They are key to promoting growth and diversity in your gut. Prebiotic-rich foods include chicory root, garlic, onions, asparagus, green bananas, dandelion greens, leeks and apples. 

They can increase satiety, support healthy digestion, and maintain regular bowel movements. Prebiotics also influence the production of appetite-regulating hormones like ghrelin. Keeping these hormones in check helps regulate hunger and promotes a healthy appetite.  

Omega-3 Fatty Acids: can help reduce inflammation and improve metabolic health. These essential fats help manage your body’s inflammatory response and that in return, can have a positive effect on weight loss. Omega-3s also improve insulin sensitivity. Excellent sources of omega-3s include fatty fish like mackerel, sardines, herring, wild caught salmon and grass-fed beef. 

Be aware that plant-based sources of “Omega 3” like chia, flax or walnuts actually contain ALA (arachidonic acid) that first needs to be converted by your body to DHA and it’s often not doing a very good job with this, so fatty fish and/or supplementing with a high quality fish oil is your best take on supporting inflammation.

In a nutshell: every meal should incorporate fat, fiber and protein.  

Incorporate these foods and drinks in your diet to support weight loss, but also consider eating protein-first: this is the most effective way to steady blood-sugar levels, feel fuller quicker and longer, support hormone balance, and optimize fat loss. 

3 other things that are essential for weight loss:

  1. Learn to manage your stress

  2. Relieve your toxic burden (if you have an accumulation of toxins, you cannot lower your cortisol and you also cannot lose weight)

  3. Move your body and push weights

If you would like help with any of this, don’t hesitate to reach out, I’ll be happy to help!

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