How can we make going through menopause, easier on ourselves?
Why does our weight shift more to our waistlines when we hit menopause?
Excessive exercise and, or cutting calories can send stress signals to our bodies.
When our stress hormones are raised it can throw off our bodies, by lowering thyroid function, and just causing metabolic stress on the body.
Stress, sleep, diet, exercise, self-care, prioritizing ourselves, and movement, all of these things need to be in place to help balance our hormones and feel our best.
As we age are weight starts to shift to our waistlines because of the drop in our hormones especially estrogen. We can weigh the same but all of a sudden we look in the mirror and say what the heck is going on, I’m becoming more of an apple shape.
At my age now in my 60’s if I did not do some strength training I would be a lot weaker. By the time we hit 70 we lose a lot of strength if we do not do some exercise, and lifting weights.
Every time I get hurt, with a leg or hip injury it makes me realize how important it is to stay strong. Being strong and fit has helped me to recover from foot injuries, foot surgery, and hip and leg injuries faster.
It is a natural aging process, to have a slow small steady increase in our weight and a shift to more body fat, and less lean muscle. We can slow this process down though.
It is really hard on us, when we think we are doing everything correctly, but still see that shift in weight to our waistlines.
All of a sudden our pants don’t zip up like they used to.
We have a lack of sex drive, and would rather go shopping. Ha ! Yep I have felt that way, that I would rather even take out the trash.
I’m like Crystal really? The trash! Something is wrong with you girl.
I have had to practice self care, prioritizing myself, getting my stress and sleep under control.
Whenever I’m under a lot of stress or don’t take care of myself first, I’am no good to anyone else around me.
I have even noticed, more moodiness again, and crying over nothing and getting upset or angry over the smallest things.
I had a talk with myself recently, I said who is this women? Keep your mouth shut, you need some sleep, or time away from everyone, and everything.
I really hate when I feel moody, and on edge.
As soon as I notice that I’m moody, or feel on edge, or it is brought to my attention, poor Joe 🙂
I say wow! My hormones are off, how can I get back in balance what have I not been doing for myself ?
- Let’s take stress, the body as I have said before does not know where the stress is coming from, it just knows there is stress.
- This usually means increased hunger = Stress equals increased emotional hunger. The brain and the body 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.
- Sleep, Why is sleep so important? Everyone even Joe rolls his eye’s over sleep, and why I think sleep is so important. Whenever I do not get enough sleep, it really does effect my mood and food choices, which then causes me extra stress. Not enough sleep raises your cortisol which then leads to overeating, feeling moody, cranky, low energy and craving starchy salty food choices the next day.
- Diet, even though as we age and have the drop in our hormones, if we eat as optimally as possible, with plenty of fibrous green veggies, moderate good fats, and protein at each meal. That can help enormously with not gaining to much weight at menopause, or none at all.
Not all women gain weight at menopause, it does become more of a challenge as we age.
Because with hot flashes and night sweats that disrupts our sleep so we then have less energy, and crave the starchy, salty, foods, and then don’t even feel like exercising, because of the lack of sleep.
We will most likely need to change our diets, if we used to eat a certain amount of starchy carbohydrate foods, and stayed at our optimal weight, but now you notice you are gaining weight.
This happens because of the shift in hormones, so I would say just shift most of your carbohydrates to the fibrous vegetables, with limited starchy carbohydrates.
Try this one shift in diet and see what happens.
It could take some time to be your own detective to see what exact amount of fibrous carbohydrates and starchy carbohydrates, proteins and fats make you feel good, and lose weight if that is the goal.
Patience and practice is what usually works.
Prioritizing ourselves first, we all love our families and want the best for them. We will be no good to anyone else if we let our health slip away and we do not take care of ourselves first.
We all want to be around to see our children grow up, and grow old with our mate.
We are good at our jobs, or other projects. We need to make ourselves a number One project to take care of.
But how do we do this?
- We may need to plan our meals for the day, do some prep work so that we don’t find ourselves not having lunch. Then rushing to pick up the kids, and having to stop at a drive through.
- Plan on some time for exercise, and getting in our movement for the day. Have a self-care time, chatting with girlfriends, just reading, pedicure, etc..If we feel rested, and cared for we will be better able to care for everyone else around us who depend on us.
- Our families want us to be happy and healthy, if we are happy and healthy, and rested they will feel it, and see it.
- Movement, every where you hear about how movement is so beneficial to our health, and I have seen through my own health and going through menopause how the simple act of walking daily, has really helped my health and hormones.
- We can get more movement, by parking further away from stores, gardening, dance class, and the house hold chores.
If we exercise for only 20 minutes in the morning, yes that is good. But then if you sit the rest of the day and evening then it really negates the exercise. It is all the movement through out the day that really helps us to maintain our weight.
This past winter or year I was doing far to much sitting writing and studying, which made my already tight hips flexors tighter. Now I get up every few minutes and run downstairs for water, and do some air squats and stretching.
I stand to talk on the phone, and even read sometimes. I try to walk 2 times a day, a minimum of 10,000 steps, usually for me longer than that. I buy audio books now and listen walking around, that gets me off my butt.
It is hard though if you are in an office all day, I get that. Try to get up more often, that has been working for me.
What about belly fat, estrogen and women? It can all start in peri menopause with the decline in estrogen. The decrease in estrogen appears to cause the redistribution of our fat, making a pear shaped body more onto an apple shaped body.
This is what I have learned, even though I take transdermal estrogen cream, which helps plump the skin and helps me with the fat distribution. I have noticed lately my waist is a bit bigger, now at 64.
But my family genetics is to gain in the lower half first and waist and bust last…so I just work with that.
For better a menopause, a quick recap from above
- We need to try and eat optimally, lots of veggies, good protein and fats, with limited starch to our own tolerance.
- Portion control, the portions in restaurants are huge. Try a thumb of fats at meals, palm of protein, 2 fists of fibrous carbohydrates, 1 cupped palm full of starch
- Don’t multi task when eating, sit down and try and practice eating slowly, when we eat and watch Tv, or surf Facebook, we are not being mindful of what we eat or being in a relaxed state for better digestion. It makes it harder to realize you are full for portion control too. I’m guilty of this one not paying attention two what I’m eating, and eating slowly.
- Get enough sleep, aim for 7-8 hours, this one thing can spill into everything else, and make it easier to maintain our weight. Shut off the electronics a couple of hours before bed. I know a hard one I have many times been on my iPad to late at night, and guess what disrupted sleep. Have a bedtime routine, a nice bath, I do stretching and foam rolling most nights. Reading a good book, a real book to relax you.
- Stress, manage our stress as I spoke about, mediation, and self care, can help with our stress levels, walking in natures the best if you can.
- Walking is one of the best things I do for myself, which is a form of self care. Walking helps me to chill out, reflect, and relax. Walking lowers stress levels, if you are fortunate enough to walk in nature, stop and look at the beauty around you. Every woman is different, some women can work a million hours and feel good then others working a shorter amount of hours feel really bad
- Self care, prioritize it. Massage, pedicure, meditation, taking time for yourself, even if you need to lock yourself in the bathroom for a nice bath.
- Limit the wine and desserts if trying to lose fat or weight at menopause. Notice I said limit, find the amount that gets you results. I love having a couple of glasses on the weekend, and having a few bites of dessert here and there.
- Some road blocks toxins in the environment, plastics, PCB’s
Every woman is different, some women can work a million hours and feel good then others working a shorter amount of hours feel really bad, and react to stress more.
Being a stay at home mom is a full time job, especially when the kids are young, and your sleep is being disrupted even though it is joyful having a baby.
It is stressful on the body not getting a full nights sleep, which can cause hormonal problems. So making sure the diet is optimal and getting in all your nutrients is very important, at this time in your life too.
The hormones are complicated, and using bio-identical hormones is a personal choice. You can talk with your doctor about the smallest dose of bio-identical hormones to get your through the night sweats and hot flashes, estrogen usually helps with those.
We are not crazy, even though sometimes going through menopause can make you feel that way. With the crazy mood swings, depression, hot flashes, night sweats, and anxiety.
It is the imbalance in our hormones causing all those feelings, and symptoms.
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, mind set, hormones, and exercise.