WHAT HAPPENS DURING THE MENOPAUSE?
The menopause happens when levels of the female hormones, estrogen and progesterone fail and the body stops producing eggs. This can bring on a whole myriad of changes, both emotional and physical, and symptoms such as insomnia, hot flashes, night sweats, lack of energy, dry skin, mood swings, loss of libido and weight gain.
Despite these unwelcome symptoms, the menopause is not a time for doom and gloom. The symptoms do not last for ever and the consequences, such as weight gain, can be very efficiently managed with a sensible healthy eating plan. Many women feel that “middle aged spread” is an inevitable by-product and that they cannot lose weight during menopause, but this not true and it is simply a different approach which is required.
Tips for a Happy Menopause
Avoid Heat And keep Cool – This will help reduce hot flashes. Even hot, spicy foods and tea and coffee which can raise your temperature could trigger off a hot flash
Keep A Check on Your Health – Every woman over 50 should have a health check. When you reach the menopause, your risk of certain diseases such as breast cancer and osteoporosis increases. In addition, high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol are also more common in overweight women
Control Your Cravings – Your body may crave sugars in an attempt to keep the estrogen levels up. Combat this by eat regular meals, little and often
Make Time for Yourself – Enjoy time pampering yourself. Have a massage, take a walk or just visit friends and family
Get Support – Talk through your menopause fears with a trusted friend, partner or a health professional. Talking can help you understand your fears better
Try Natural Therapies – Hot flashes can sometimes be reduced by acupuncture and anxiety can be controlled with hypnotherapy
Take Supplements – Omega 3 and Black Cohosh are good for hormonal balance. A multivitamin supplement is also good for general health. It is also useful to consider a calcium supplement to protect against osteoporosis
Take Exercise -Do exercise you enjoy, even if it is just a brisk walk. Weight bearing exercise is particularly good for osteoporosis prevention
Have Sex – Being intimate with your partner is very good for your wellbeing. Regular sex is good for your pelvic floor muscles which can sometimes weaken during the menopause
Eat Well to Ease Symptoms – Foods containing phytoestrogens are good at easing menopausal symptoms. Foods rich in this nutrient include soya, chickpeas, lentils, nuts and seeds
Shed the Pounds – It is common for women to put on between 10 and 20 pounds around the time of the menopause
WHAT CAN BE DONE ABOUT THE WEIGHT GAIN?
Many women find that weight gain is the most distressing side effect of the menopause. It is certainly harder to lose weight during menopause than at any other time. Unless lifestyle changes are made before the onset of the menopause, most women will put on weight. Naturally, most women do not even think about weight gain until after they have gained the weight and so this is a problem many women are faced with.
Most experts agree that “crash” or “fad” diets are bad for your health and do not help you to lose weight in the long term. Of course, you may lose pounds in the short term but this is always regained once a normal eating pattern is re-established. The worrying thing is that the weight lost through these unhealthy diets is often muscle and water rather than unwanted body fat so the body fat remains and the muscle lost during the unhealthy diet is actually replaced by even more fat.
The best diet to help you lose weight during menopause is a low fat, healthy, balanced plan which does not exclude any of the main food groups. Nor does it advocate eating or drinking strange combinations of foods, such as syrup and water or apple vinegar. Common sense tells us that these types of diets just cannot be good for us! During the menopause, our bodies need to be nurtured rather than starved. This is a time when missing out on essential nutrients could have serious potentially harmful repercussions for our future health, so it is not worth taking a risk by participating in a fad diet.