Weight Gain In Menopause
Just tried on my new ski pants, size 10, and they’re uncomfortably tight! What happened to being a 6 Tall? Granted that was probably a nicotine-induced skinniness, but geez, size 10 ski pants cut off my circulation when I get into a tuck. Harsh! Let’s talk about the irritating weight gain that always seems to accompany menopause. As if hot flashes, not sleeping, or brain fog aren’t enough.
It’s pretty common to gain about 10 pounds during menopause. That’s obviously not what us middle-aged women are looking for. We may have already been getting a little thicker around the hips and menopause just pours lemon juice on the wound. Ouch! What if I were to tell you that gaining those extra pounds could actually help and make your menopause symptoms better? Hallelujah, there’s a silver lining! There’s some thoughts out there that extra fat stores estrogen, thus helps a woman have a more balanced hormonal experience in menopause. I’d say that is soooo worth my needing to look into size 12 pants. I’d way rather go up another size than go back to hot flashes, brain fog, and never-ending PMS for sure.
Before I get into suggestions to help combat weight gain, I’d like to take this one step further and suggest it’s ok to gain a few pounds now. We live in a society that’s constantly dictating how we should look, and I say f-em. Let’s take back control of that too. I’m in charge of whether I feel hot and good about myself. Not some photo-shopped fake image in a magazine. Not some unconscious guy with a spare tire around his middle. Definitely not 30-year olds checking out 20-year olds. Let’s get our power back in this arena too and be alright with letting our bodies do what they need to do to take care of us. If that’s 10 pounds then rock it sexy mama! I’ll bet there are still men of all ages who fantasize about Marilyn Monroe and she was no skinny mini. Let’s age gracefully, meaning with grace, and that includes loving our whole selves for exactly who we are and how we look.
Ok, ok, not buying it? Here’s what you can do to fight the bulge.
Tip 1: Our metabolisms are changing, so stop eating so much. You don’t have to get all psycho on your diet and take out every food or drink you enjoy, just eat less… of everything. I can’t eat nearly the same quantity of food I used to. Bonus, cheaper food bills! For a while, I keep mindlessly eating as I had and kept going to bed overfull and not sleeping well. Embarrassingly it took me quite a while to figure out this wasn’t working. You only have to hit me over the head a hundred or so times to get the message across. Plain and simple, eat less. Tune into your body and the new needs it has now. Don’t follow what you’ve always done before. Your body is changing, so a new normal has to be found.
Tip 2: Use grapefruit essential oil. It’s an appetite suppressant, metabolism booster, and a mood elevator. All super helpful on the menopause journey. If you find you’re reaching for comfort foods beyond your “fill to here” line, then throw some grapefruit oil in your water or tea to help you calm your appetite. Using grapefruit daily, I like in the morning, gives you an uplifting boost for your day, makes you feel more sunny and positive, and revs up your metabolism. Learn more about grapefruit essential oil in my mini class here.
A word about overexercising to lose weight. Yes, exercise is good. It is still a stress on the body, usually a good one that causes our body to adapt in ways we like, get stronger, thinner, more cut, etc. Menopause takes a lot of energy and can already be a huge stress for a woman. Exercising harder and longer to combat the weight can actually backfire and hurt us more than help us, worsening our symptoms. Listen to your body. If you’re tired then rest and do gentle exercise. Once you’re through the bulk of menopause, you can get your Rocky back on then.
Use this time to dive deeper into yourself. Why do you need to stay skinny? Is there anything unhealthy underlying that drive? Are you having some general looks issues, such as getting super freaked out by your wrinkles or some grey hairs? Sure, it’s normal to marvel in shock at your changing image in the mirror, but are you obsessing over staying young, looking like you’re 30 still? No pressure, but it might behoove you to dig around into those feelings a bit and see if there is something underneath them that isn’t serving you in being the beautiful, empowered, shiny wise woman you’re becoming.