Losing Weight After Menopause: Weight Loss for Women Over 50

Improve Relationships and Lower Risk of Injury and Disease with Harvard's Dr. Suzanne Koven.

Two people hugging and smiling.

The correlation between obesity and widespread diseases like diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, and cancers is common knowledge in America, along with the fact that aging increases the risks and also makes it tougher to lose the weight. Postmenopausal women face even more difficult challenges in this area, due to body changes in hormones, slowed metabolism, osteoporosis, fatigue, and sleep disturbances.

That’s why Harvard Medical School Assistant Professor Dr. Suzanne Koven has authored a book called Chicken Soup for the Soul: Say Hello to a Better Body!: Weight Loss and Fitness for Women Over 50, which combines the latest scientific menopausal research with true stories from women who made lifestyle and psychological changes that helped them to lose the weight – and keep it off. The information and stories can help guide, motivate, and inspire their women over 50 who struggle to lose weight.

Many women have tried fad diets and exercise programs, only to later regain the weight and feel a sense of disappointment or failure. Dr. Koven states that there are no quick fixes or magic formulas for weight loss, but the actual solutions for losing weight are less complicated than we make them out to be: things like exercising daily, reducing the amount of saturated fat in one’s diet, and seeking a social support network. The most important factor in determining success, however, is a psychological shift away from our “story” of why we can’t lose weight, dropping the emotional baggage, and making small daily adjustments to our routines. The attitude shift must be there for any changes to work long-term.

Fortunately, even small changes can have tremendous health benefits – namely, a decreased risk of injury and disease. Dr. Koven cites even women in their 90s who, after weight and balance training, are then able to walk without a cane or a walker.

“No health professional can ignore the impact of obesity, poor diet, and lack of exercise on our patients,” she says.

Dr. Koven also notes that the very best way for health professionals to help their patients in this area is to lead by example and “heal thyself”; it is difficult to inspire others if you are not addressing your own weight and fitness issues. But the benefits of doing so can extend well beyond your professional life, including increased vitality and energy, improved mood, and also better relationships through the sharing of activities (walking or exercise classes, cooking together, supporting one another’s efforts). :

Losing weight and getting fit can be difficult, but resources like Chicken Soup for the Soul: Say Hello to a Better Body!: Weight Loss and Fitness for Women Over 50 provide motivating stories grounded in the latest science written in an accessible, common-sense tone.