Most women in menopause or perimenopause are more likely to gain weight than in any other time in their lives. While some of the additional weight may be caused by hormonal changes, most can be attributed to eating habits and a more sedentary lifestyle. Sugar cravings in particular, can lead to increased weight, which can lead to increased risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease post-menopause. You can learn to stop your sugar cravings and avoid the weight gain that occurs after menopause.
Eat on a regular basis and don't skip meals. Skipping meals can cause your blood glucose to drop significantly, which can lead to unhealthy snacking on sugary foods. Eating a healthy meal or snack every 3 to 4 hours can help keep you from feeling hungry and avoid sugary temptation.
Exercise regularly, at least 30 minutes five days a week. Exercise provides many benefits, especially post-menopause, when weight gain and bone density can become more of a concern. The American Dietetic Association explains that you don't have to go to a gym or jog to get exercise. Everyday activities such as walking, gardening and vacuuming the house can also be counted as physical activity. Exercise also helps to control sugar cravings by stabilizing blood glucose levels and improving your mood.
Get rid of highly processed sugar-laden desserts and snacks in your home and replace them with fresh fruit, vegetables and whole grains. Getting rid of tempting foods that are full of sugar and deficient in fiber can help you avoid giving in to your cravings. This strategy provides an alternative to sweets when you're hungry. Fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains contain dietary fiber that slows your digestion so you can avoid blood glucose fluctuations and ravenous hunger -- precursors to binging on junk food.
Drink water instead of soft drinks or juices that contain sugar. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sugar-sweetened beverages constitute the largest source of sugar added to the American diet. Drinking these beverages feeds your body's taste for sugar, increasing cravings that cause you to drink even more of them. Make water your primary beverages and be sure to drink at least 64 oz. daily to prevent dehydration.
Eat sugar-free versions of your favorite desserts or snacks when the urge for sugar is unavoidable. Completely depriving yourself of something you crave usually doesn't work as a long-term strategy. The middle ground, or compromise, is possible by enjoying a sweet treat that won't elicit cravings for the real thing. Use sugar-free foods in moderation, however, since some sugar-free eats contain unhealthy fat to improve flavor.
Speak with your doctor before making significant changes to your diet or level of physical activity.