Weight Gain During Menopause
Let’s talk about the belly bulge, love handles, hippo hips and wobbly bits that have made their home where my once reasonably taut abs used to be. How the hell did that happen and what the hell can I do about it?
From listening to ladies everywhere, it’s a common and frustrating symptom of menopause and not one we want to have hanging around, literally. It’s the sheer stubbornness of this new appendage to my body and its unwillingness to leave no matter what I do! Sound familiar?
There is a difference between being comfortable in my skin and having more skin than I used to, where the only position my stomach resembles its former self is when I lay on the bed with my head hanging to the floor admiring the room from a new angle. Some might call this foreplay, but that’s a menopause subject for another day.
HOW TO MAKE THE ‘F’ WORD DISAPPEAR?
Just to clarify ladies, the ‘f’ word is fat, but I am sure many of you are well aware of the struggles with a slowed metabolism and the creeping kilos that comes with this menopause stage of life.
As with any health issue, shifting belly flab is not one single issue alone. It needs a multi-pronged approach because there are multiple things happening in the body of a menopause woman.
- Hormone Imbalance - there is no doubt that an imbalance of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone and maybe cortisol will be contributing to the problem. Blood and Saliva tests can quickly assess this and give a qualified practitioner direction for rebalancing.
- Exercise – what we once did may not be what we now need. You will find far more benefit from slow, controlled resistance and weight training than exhausting cardio. While walking is fantastic, your exercise routine needs to be interspersed with muscle and bone toning movement.
- Gut Health – this is more important than many realise. Hormones that are recycled due to poor absorption and poor elimination can create chaos. You need to fix your gut! If you have IBS, bloating, belching (from either end), allergies or pain and discomfort, you need to fix your gut! I’m saying it twice because it’s that important. You may need probiotics, enzymes, cleansers, or soothers, and your practitioner will be able to guide you on what is best for you.
- Nutrition – understanding that your calorie input needs to come from quality wholefoods is the first step in giving your body what it needs for fuel and health. Make sure that your meals include fruits, vegetables, and quality protein sources. Reduce sugar, alcohol, and takeaway food permanently and reduce carbohydrate heavy foods after lunch. And don’t forget to stay hydrated with clean water.
- Sleep – If you are not sleeping, you are not healing, so whatever you need to change to make sure you restore your sleep patterns, do it! There is no compromise on this because lack of sleep can completely disrupt your metabolic function and lead you down a path of chronic disfunction.
- Mindset – All the above is useless unless you have the mindset to implement it. Make peace with where you are, forget about the past, and commit to making the changes you need to confidently move in the direction of your body dreams. Be realistic though, your body has changed, and you won’t be exactly as you were, but you can still achieve great results with the right mindset and a practical action plan.
Learning to love the body you are in changes through the different phases of our life. Menopause is just another phase, granted it comes with some extra challenges, but the trick is to not let it get to the point where the solution is insurmountable. Recognising the changes as they occur and tweaking your temple will always be the simplest solution to unexpected changes when they happen.
If you need help, ask! It’s not something women are always comfortable with, but it sure beats sitting in your own misery while the kilos pile on. Find a menopause buddy to keep each other accountable and share the fun in fighting the flab.
Just remember, this is a time to be kind to yourself, set realistic goals and know that this phase too shall pass with a little practical planning. Imagine where you could be in 6 months’ time if you begin today?
Written by Mona Hecke
Mona Hecke is a degree qualified Naturopath, nutrition specialist and health and wellness writer.
With over 20 years in the health industry, beginning with a focus on children and families, and a bestselling book ‘The Lunchbox Revolution’, Mona is now empowering women through education and conversation to take action and embrace change. Gut health, mindfulness, nutrition, hormones, and menopause are the topics that women want and need to know to create their healthy future.
Mona holds certifications in Lifestyle Coaching, Kinesiology, holistic herbal medicine, and nutrition.
A recognised leader in the health industry, Mona’s strong social media presence and passion for influencing change will continue to be a catalyst for health reform for the benefit of every Australian.