Mastering Menopause

Yay!! I’ve lost 25.6 pounds total so far with 54.4 pounds to go to reach my goal!  My BMI has dropped from 36.9 to 33.1 and my goal BMI is 24.9.

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Mastering Menopause

Muscles droop, your sex drive diminishes, and weight seems to pack on your belly, rear, and thighs no matter what you do.

That’s right – you’re headed for menopause.

Menopause naturally happens to all women between the ages of 40 and 55, and during the years preceding menopause – aka perimenopause – all face some degree of unpleasant symptoms, some more dramatically than others.

Shorter periods

Longer periods

Heavier periods

Lighter periods

Hot flashes and night sweats

Insomnia

Vaginal dryness

Thinning hair

Facial hair

Fuzzy thinking

Moodiness

Loss of muscle tone

Abdominal obesity

Many of these symptoms, especially the night sweats and vaginal dryness, are believed to happen because our ovaries stop producing estrogen and progesterone – and, to a lesser extent, testosterone.

When you’ve gone 12 months or more without a period, you’re considered fully menopausal.

After we go through menopause, we’re at greater risk for a number of conditions:  breast cancer, hypothyroidism, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes.

The loss of estrogen can also lead to osteoporosis and heart disease, which is why menopausal hormone therapy used to be standard care for women.

That is, until 2002, when the Women’s Health Initiative study found women taking hormones faced much higher risks of heart disease, stroke, blood clots, and cancer.

Now women are seeking out alternatives, and many are learning about antiaging medicine.

But why not start with some diet and lifestyle tips, choices that not only help you manage menopausal symptoms but also improve your overall health?

Get enough protein.

Sacropenia, or loss of muscle as we age, has been seen as an inevitable outcome of aging, but a great deal of the severity is dictated by our diet and exercise.

Protein helps:  One study found men and women between 70 and 79 who ate the most protein lost 40% less lean mass than those who ate the least.

Muscle burns more calories, increases your insulin sensitivity, and keeps your testosterone production higher so you can help stave off age-related conditions like metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and loss of libido.

Eat soy before menopause.

Soy has phytoestrogens that may help relieve hot flashes, although studies are mixed on this issue.

Stick to whole soy foods, like tempeh and miso, and steer clear of soy bars and other products with isoflavone extracts.

The active compounds in processed isoflavone products may be very different from how they’re found in nature.

While believed to be safe for the short term, long-term use of concentrated soy extracts has been linked to increased cancer risks, especially for women on the pill or with a family history of breast, uterine, or ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids.

Don’t bother with many “menopausal” supplements.

Some herbs traditionally taken to relieve menopause symptoms, like dong quai, and red clover, probably don’t work.

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, an arm of the National Institutes of Health, looked at all the research on these and found no evidence they helped with hot flashes.

It also found red clover, a phytoestrogen, carries the same cautions as soy; black cohosh and dong quai are safe.

One supplement that may help is ginseng, but while it may help enhance mood and sleep, it doesn’t help with hot flashes.

Ditto for kava, which can help lessen anxiety, but also increases your risk of liver disease.

Small studies have suggested DHEA, the precursor to estrogen and testosterone, may provide some benefit for relieving hot flashes and increasing libido, but controlled studies have shown none.

Considering it might up your risk of breast or prostate cancer, exercise caution and talk to your doctor before you start taking DHEA.

The one supplement you absolutely must take is calcium with vitamin D.

If you’re a woman, especially if you’re over 35, you should be shooting for 1,200 mg of calcium per day.

Once you hit menopause, up that to 1,500.

Use hormone creams.

If you’re not at risk for breast or other hormone-related cancers, but you are having trouble with hot flashes, vaginal dryness, or an overall lack of well-being, consider an estrogen cream.

Applied directly to the vaginal mucous membranes, the estrogen goes where you need it most and not throughout your body, the way earlier forms of HRT did.

Many women swear by testosterone cream as well – studies have shown it helps increase libido and relieve vaginal dryness.

As will all menopausal hormone therapy, minimize any risks by asking your doctor for the smallest dosage for the shortest amount of time to be effective.

Balance energy out.

The holy trinity of sleep, exercise, and stress relief comes into serious play at menopause, too.

Most women in this age group are caring for parents and kids at the same time.

Experts say in addition to the endorphin release you’ll get, exercise also flushes out your system, and helps you manage anxiety, irritability, and depression much better.

Come join me on my weight loss journey!  I’d love to have you along!

Have an awesome day!

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If you’d like to read Jillian’s book, you can get it here: Master Your Metabolism: The 3 Diet Secrets to Naturally Balancing Your Hormones for a Hot and Healthy Body!

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Dick and Lenay

email: Lenay@dickandlenay.com – 715-431-0657

P.S. If your diet isn’t working for you, join me on my weight loss journey here – http://bit.ly/13lxgzD


 

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