Although heard time and time again, healthy habits are incredibly important to incorporate into one’s life. This is especially true for women as they age, specifically right before and during menopause, since your body is experiencing so many changes. Below are 4 simple habits to get you started on the right track.

Fight Abdominal Fat Gain

Fat in the abdomen is a huge precedent to many chronic conditions. Unfortunately, as you age, you gain more fat in your abdomen than anywhere else in your body. Be wary, however – this does NOT mean to cut all fats out of your diet via a low-calorie diet. As soon as you are off that diet, the weight will come back immediately and usually you’ll weigh more than when you started it. For reference to this point, a study was done in 2014 in which all participants were asked to eat 750 extra calories 7 days a week for 7 weeks. Those who ate primarily saturated fats for this extra 750 calorie challenge gained excess weight in their belly and even increased their insulin resistance. However, those who consumed polyunsaturated fats (examples: fish, nuts, seeds, etc.), gained muscle mass as opposed to abdominal fat.

Bring on the Weights

Since osteoporosis, or bone deterioration, is a major concern associated with aging, habits can prevent the severity and onset of this condition. Research has shown that although cardio exercises have cardiovascular benefits, weight lifting/high-intensity resistance training is absolutely essential and best for healthy bone mass and aging in general. Thirty minutes of exercise a day can have a drastic effect on preventing bone loss and enhancing one’s overall health and mood.

Listen to Your Body

Many women ‒ especially by the time you hit menopause ‒ have spent a majority of their life looking after and caring for others, whether it be through your job, raising a family, maintaining relationships with friends, caring for your parents, or a combination of any/all. By no means is this bad, but it is unquestionably essential to your health and wellbeing to care for yourself. Make it a priority to get enough sleep, practice mindfulness, make time for exercise ‒ whatever you need to do to be contempt and satisfied in your life.

Watch Your Plate

You are going through so many changes during menopause. The least you can do for your body is to watch what you put in it. The Mediterranean “diet” is the best way to go during menopause. This diet consists primarily of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and olive oil; the high fiber content associated with this diet likely stabilizes estrogen levels. Focusing on your diet will allow for clearer mental capacities, letting you focus on daily tasks, and lessening the symptoms of menopause.

You don’t have to make immediate changes to your habits for them to become effective. In fact, making drastic changes probably won’t last. Rather, make slow, gradual, lasting changes to your habits and lifestyle. Slowly but surely you’ll see progress and lead a healthier, more fulfilling life.

If you’re frustrated with weight loss programs that were developed for 25 year-old athletes, and are looking for a way to prevent middle age weight gain, learn more about the Galveston Diet.