Yes, You Can Lose The Post-Menopause Weight
By Debra Atkinson
Change takes change. If you have recently been through your major change may argue that point. You kept exercising and eating right and still gained weight during menopause.
Were you the lucky one? You sailed through menopause without noticing it happen. Were you the hot babe having a flash on the rowing machine at the gym? Either way, you may have a few extra around the waist. Maybe have some creative packing to do around bra straps in the morning. Wonder why the cottage cheese got there when you are still exercising.
Post menopause weight gain is a bitch. So let us consider the things you are doing without intention that sabotage you.
You changed. Thus, what you did before is not going to work anymore. Say goodbye. Have a little going away ceremony if you must. The reality is just continuing down the same path that got you to the menopause threshold is not working anymore. Doing the new things, you tried during menopause are not going to work anymore. Let us see what is going on.
1. You have less of the sex hormones.
I did not say less sex, though that might be true too, it does not need to be. Estrogen and Progesterone that helped you have an hourglass shape when you were 30 have left the building. So, you are going on weight around your middle. That does not constitute an absolute but it is a more welcoming spot for fat to land these days.
2. You quite possible have more cortisol.
If you are reading this with thoughts about removing your belly fat with the kitchen knife I would say you are a bit stressed. That cortisol makes you crave things. It does not make you crave tuna and kale. If you give in to the carb, calling insulin and cortisol act as your belly fat bullies.
3. You may not be sleeping as much or as well as needed.
Your personal need might be more or less than the average 7-9 hours recommended. The biggest point is that if you are hacking into sleep to work, surf the internet or even exercise. You are less likely to make a success at losing weight. Sleep deprivation means so many things. You have even more cortisol helping you store fat. You have more of the "hunger hormone" telling you to eat carbs. You have less of the "stop" hormone telling you that you are satisfied. That is a bad combination unless your goal is to gain fat.
4. Chances are you are grabbing at straws.
You are vulnerable. A quick 5-lb weight loss sounds so good. If you could just begin, you would feel better. Thus, you crash diet and cut calories. You start exercising every day. You are body responds the way that is logical. It thinks you are running from wild animals and that you are starving. It is going to provide you with more stress hormones and slow your metabolism so you can survive. That means you will still gain weight eating less and it will be fat. In the slim chance, you lose weight like this; you will be losing muscles along with any fat. When you go "off" the crazy diet, you could never maintain you will gain it back in all fat.
That is the bad news. The good news is there are things you can do. Things that will get the belly fat bullies off the playground. Things that help you turn your post-menopause metabolism around.
- Change your stress level. That does not mean to avoid it. In fact, recent research is suggesting that just changing the way in which you think about it can change the biology in your body. If you start to think of stress as an opportunity to get stronger, your body will respond completely different. Negative stress hormones reduce and your immune system will strengthen. Yes, yoga, meditation, along with laughing, and other methods of buffering stress can still help. The real bottom line though is shifting from one of avoiding stress and thinking it is bad to embracing it.
- Improve your sleep habits. If you are not getting enough you cannot get hormones on your side. Your exercise and nutrition dedication will suffer sabotage by a lack of quality and quantity of sleep. This is the most passive way you can be successful at weight loss. Enjoy it. Do not hesitate to seek support if not all your attempts at better sleep work. Longer sleepers lose more weight, more fat and perform better than short sleepers perform.
- Dietary changes are likely to be necessary. A diet is no longer something you can afford. If you cannot do it for the rest of your life, it is not a good choice. Whatever you put in your mouth is going to bring you closer to your goals or further from them. You do not have to go hungry. Yet, you may need to reframe. Healthful fats will help you lose. Lean protein is something you need in greater amounts than you have been led to believe in your last 30 or more adult years. You do need carbohydrates. You just need to choose them and their timing. If you are eating to lose or to lean you will never be hungry.
- Start small. Starting a sudden dietary change, an exercise program, deciding you are going to sleep at 8 o'clock is too much at once. Focus on one thing at a time. If menopause lasted three years, give yourself a little time to catch up and readjust. You have decades ahead of you to bring back the sexy (and the sex).
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