How to Thrive in the Menopausal Years, lose Weight, and have More Energy
How do we shift the scale in menopause, and have better sleep, energy, less moodiness and thrive in the menopausal years?
These are some questions I often asked myself and other women are asking me now.
My daughter had said to me awhile back, Ma tell me how you started not where you are now.
I have been thinking about this and I said wow! She is right. I have evolved over many years to where I am now.
When I was 40, I was very over weight as some of you that know me already know. I started out at 40 not knowing to much about diet or exercise, but I knew to exercise and move more.
I started at 40 losing the 100 pounds and it took to me a very long time about a year or so, drop from 236 lbs to about 152 lbs. I maintained this weight for a few months as I was very happy and felt so much better.
I was not having any menopausal symptoms or peri-menopause symptoms that I know of at this time.
I began running around this time and after those first few months did drop down in weight again to about 144-145.
That seemed to be where my body wanted to stay, and I stayed at that weight for years.
I got heavily into the sport. I hired a running coach to help me get better at my sport. My weight stayed the same, at this time I was eating pasta dishes, about 5 nights week, with things like anchovies swimming in olive oil and broccoli. Yep! What did I know, I wouldn’t do that now.
I wondered why as I wanted to lose more weight when I was about 48, that nothing happened. I was running very long distance at this time and lifting weights and eating healthy, and filling up on my starchy carbs.
Still no weight loss, why? At the time they were saying eat high carbs as you are an endurance runner.
At this time though I was not sleeping well, moody, brain fog at times, and I was bleeding heavily every month and running through all of it. I was in peri menopause now.
The no sleeping, long distance running and the pasta dishes every night was NO longer working for me. But I did not know this then, I was very frustrated as thought I was doing everything right.
Then around 50 years old I read a book about being alkaline, and I stopped eating the pasta dishes every night, and drinking a super greens drink two times a day. (more veggies)
I filled up on green veggies, big salads for lunch, protein shakes for breakfast.
No more oatmeal and grains, which oatmeal always made me crash an hour later and I limited starchy carbs now as well..
I really stopped having starch and just ate berries, and starchy carbs on occasion. My weight finally shifted I dropped down to about 136, and stayed there.
Now going through menopause, I felt tired all the time, still was not sleeping, was very moody, depressed, had no sex drive, hot flashes and my hair was falling out.
I was also diagnosed at my annual check-up at 50 years old with Hashimoto thyroiditis, which is auto immune, and they treat it with thyroid hormones as underachieve thyroid (hypo thyroid)
Yep! Its pretty bad when you would rather go shopping or take out the trash than have sex. I’m like Crystal really, the trash! Something is wrong with you girl. Some of the symptoms of menopause, are also some of those same symptoms you get with thyroid disease
I know now though that I needed some starchy carbohydrates. It was not until I was wondering around the book store in 2012 when I was almost 60, that I came upon a book called “THE METABOLIC EFFECT DIET” by Jade Teta, and Keoni Teta that I finally got it.
I was exercising to much for my body now as a 60 year old women, and that is also why when I was about 56 when our daughter got married I just wanted to lose 5-6 pounds to look better, for her wedding. And not one pound would come off, for 6 months leading up to our daughters wedding.
I did everything I knew of to lose that weight all the nutrition courses and knowledge I had. All my friends said oh you won’t have any problem losing weight with all that exercise you do you’ve got this. Well, guess what happened nothing not one pound would come off, not one pound, I was very discouraged.
When I read the metabolic effect diet book, I decided to give up long distance running. I felt I was getting to many injuries, feet problems, herniated disk a few years before that left me with weak foot and learning to walk again then run.
That much running for me, my BODY at my age was just causing my body to much stress. I was losing hair, and still not sleeping well. My doctor blamed the not sleeping well on menopause and my thyroid, which yes those things can happen in menopause and with thyroid problems.
When I read the book this is what I did that worked…what did I have to lose to try a new way
- I dropped long distance running, this had the most impact
- I kept my nutrition basically the same, except I added and cupped hand of starchy carbs
- I still kept my normal walking routine everyday
- I still lifted weights, But I changed how I lifted weights)
When I read the book, I was so excited and felt I had to give a new approach a try as my old way of exercising and some parts of my diet were not working for me any longer. The change in exercise made the most impact for me, as my diet was pretty close to what the book said, except for the starch part.
The new approach scared me though, I had NOT been eating starchy carbs and now it says to eat starchy carbs with your 3 meals. I was like OMG, I’m going to gain more fat, if I stop long distance running and I add starch.
How can that work?
At first I added the starchy bites of carbs as the book said for a mixed burner type. There are no true burner types I know that now. That is just a starting place a template to start with then adjust for YOU.
WHAT I did That worked (AT FIRST ) with my diet, then I had to adjust for ME
Breakfast: I added back into my diet, 1/2-2/3 cups of berries, or pumpkin or 1/2, of a banana to my morning whey protein shake.
Lunch: then I had my normal salad, with lots of fibrous veggies, (which are carbs) 1Tbs or 2 of olive oil, and vinegar dressing and a good source of protein. Starchy carb was 5-6 big bites of sweet potato, the bites were like a half of a medium sweet potato
Snack: an apple
Dinner: was protein and the fibrous veggie, I never measured even then, just a half plate of fibrous veggies, and the scariest was adding in the starch at my lunch and dinner, I would have a sweet potato small size.
What I changed that I dropped the extra weight finally
Breakfast: Now is still most days a Whey Protein shake, with 2/3 cup of berries, handful of spinach, 1 Tbs of fat source, I like avocado as I like my shakes thick. But any protein and veggie meal will work if you don’t like shakes.
Lunch: Is almost always A big tossed green salad, with lots of fibrous veggies on it, a good protein source, such as salmon, tuna, chicken, leftovers from the night before, makes it easy. Olive oil, and vinegar dressing, a sprinkle of a grated cheese for flavor. NO MORE STARCH AT LUNCH WORKED BEST FOR ME, as starch at lunch gave me cravings.
Dinner: Always a great protein source palm size about, half a plate of fibrous veggies, the only thing I changed from first dinner template, is now I have at least a medium sized potato at dinner, which helps me sleep great.
Exercise That worked for me Best at 60 the best
I dropped the extra weight finally when I cut my exercise down from hours a week. Long runs of 3 hours on the weekends or longer. To a fraction of that less than half that much exercise to like 2.5 hours a week of total exercise now.
- 3 spark workouts a week, each workout lasts 20 minutes, they are done in a circuit fashion, one exercise right after another one.
- 2 sprint workouts a week, for 20 minutes. In place of my long distance running
- Walking on all days in the morning and the afternoon ( I had a dog who got me in the habit)
The spark workouts are done in a circuit based fashion, one exercise right to the next exercise, with resting as needed. No timed rest, push hard rest as needed to push hard again about 4 rounds of 4 different exercises.
You can find examples of the workouts on www.YouTube.com look up metabolic effect channel. Plus I used the book when I first did the workouts as they are in the back of the book The Metabolic Effect Diet.
Since I was used to running, I picked sprints outdoors as my cardio. for 20 minutes. I would do 30 seconds hard then walk back to the start, and repeat 8-10 times. Or until the time was up, you can rest longer too.
At first I did rounds of 20, 30, 40, 60 seconds as in the boom and repeat. Until the time was up. I liked this as I would start off doing a short running warmup, since I loved to run. Then I would sprint the 20 seconds then either walk to cool down until I could go all out again, then do the 30 seconds and so on resting in-between the hard bouts. and Boom you are done so fast.
My weight finally dropped to 125, actually it kept going down to below 120, and I have now balanced out at about 125-129 my body seems to like that range. That weight is easy for me to maintain, and I look better, when it went to low that is really not as sustainable for me, and my face looked older.
Not good for our skin if the face is to thin, more wrinkles, Ha! Who wants those, well growing old gracefully with good health is my goal.
Every year we will need to adjust and evolve our diet, and exercise. As the body is always changing the metabolism does not stay the same. I’m always adjusting and learning what will work best for me now.
Now I only sprint 1 day a week, not my normal 2-3 days. Once in a while I might kick it up a notch.
For weights now I do either 2 upper body workouts a week with 2 lower body workouts a week, heavier weights. Or I do 3 spark workouts a week, say Mon, Wed, and Friday and sprint Saturdays.
Walking I can’t say enough about walking to lower our stress levels. It is one of the best things I do for myself. Which is a form of self care. Walking helps me chill out, reflect and relax.
Talking about stress, the body does not know where the stress is coming from it just knows there is stress, either from the diet, exercise, work etc.. It’s all the same to the body.
This means increased hunger = stress equals increased emotional hunger. Our brain and the bodies are designed to want to eat more during stress. This can lead to emotional eating and weight gain, from eating out of emotions and not true hunger.
Just like sleep, when we don’t get enough sleep, it really does effect our mood and then our food choices, which then causes extra stress. Not enough sleep raises cortisol which then leads to overeating, feeling moody, cranky, having low energy, and craving those starchy salty food choices the next day. We need our sleep and less stress in our busy lives.
I hope you found my insights on menopause helpful, I send out a FREE weekly newsletter you can “ADD YOURSELF HERE” to my exclusive list of amazing women, for my best tips and strategies on nutrition, exercise, lifestyle and mindset. or sign up through my freebies www.crystalpecora.com/freebies