Monthly Archives: March 2015

PERIMENOPAUSE AND THE BATTLE OF THE BULGE

 

Spring is right around the corner and while I can’t wait for it to finally arrive, something did occur to me that made me sit up a little and say to myself “oh my!” And that would be my wardrobe. Yes, I said,“my wardrobe.” Let me explain. It’s not exactly the clothes in my closet so much as me fitting into those clothes.

Soon it will be time to shed those long sweaters, the cute coats of winter and long scarves that we have hidden ourselves in while we plodded our way through this excruciatingly brutal bitter cold winter, (did I make myself clear how cold I think it was)? While I am looking forward to shedding the boots and slipping on a pair of cute sandals, the thought of shorts, short sleeves and bathing suits causes me to pause just a little.

It’s funny how you can hear about something for years and you know it happens (to other people of course) but when it happens to you you’re a little taken back. For some reason, some of us can tend to think maybe it won’t be like that with me. But then you start to notice some changes and then you realize Ugh! This must be what “they” were talking about.

There is so much information out there about perimenopause and weight gain. And frankly, you can find some differing opinions about what causes it. Just like everything else health wise it seems like information is always changing and you don’t know who to believe. Some say low estrogen and some say high estrogen. Meanwhile you just want to know why you can’t button your pants even though you haven’t changed any of your eating habits or physical activity level.

I guess what makes sense to me is that yes, our hormones are changing and during perimenopause our estrogen levels have decided to take a ride on a roller coaster. I’m sure many women can attest to the fact they can tell their hormones at this time are all over the place. However, there is only so much we can do about that. Nature IS going to happen whether we want it to or not. What we CAN do though is to be aware of our body changing and figure out how to cope with it to the best of our ability.

Staying positive and informing yourself about perimenopause and its physical effects is a good start. It’s also important to figure out if your weight gain is due to physical (hormonal imbalance)
or psychological factors (e.g. anxiety, emotional stress ) Once you have that established you can work out the most effective method for weight loss. Here are a few things to be aware of:

EMOTIONAL EATING

As hormones change at perimenopause, emotions can run wild and it can be easy to slip into patterns of emotional eating. Maybe the emotional triggers were always there to a lesser degree but suddenly they can ramp up a notch. Or, they are showing up for the first time as we try to work through the complexity of changing hormones and emotions and we start looking for emotional comfort and stability. The problem here being, no one reaches for a bowl of steamed broccoli when looking for comfort. It’s more likely a piece of chocolate cake or something else that isn’t too nutritious. So we need to be diligent in eating healthy and not just focusing on the quantity of food but quality of nutrients and the right mix of fats, proteins and complex carbohydrates we consume.

LACK OF SLEEP

Most women do not get enough sleep. We actually need between 7-9 hours every night but most women get between 5-7. There are so many processes that take place in our bodies at night while we are at rest. When that cycle is disrupted, hormones are disrupted, mental processing can become impaired, as well as our ability to maintain a good mood and manage anxiety, anger and depression.

Many experts believe that sleep is as important to our overall well being as diet and exercise. There are multiple studies that reveal weight gain can be associated with inadequate or inconsistent sleep. It may be challenging to get a good night’s sleep when your body is out of whack, but it has been noted that one of the most effective sleep inducers is making sure you take enough magnesium. Calcium and magnesium need to exist in our bodies in a ratio of 1:1 but we tend to be calcium heavy and lack the magnesium our bodies require for a good night of uninterrupted sleep.

STAY ACTIVE

As we age, our bodies begin to lose muscle mass and this naturally decreases our resting metabolism, as muscle uses up more energy (calories) than fat. Even though we tend to exercise less as we age, it is perhaps the most important time in life that we DO exercise and combine it with some form of strength training to build up our muscle mass.

Our bodies are complex beings and hard to understand but absolutely awesome when you think about how everything comes together and does its own job keeping us up and running. However, with that being said, perimenopause and through menopause is a period of time that even though it is a “normal” process that every women will go through, it can play havoc with our system and sometimes we need a little help.

If you find that you too are in the “battle” and would like some help working through it or are feeling discouraged, I would like to meet with you and together see what we can do to help you achieve your weight management goals. You can either call me at (616) 516-1570 or use the contact form on the website.