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Let's Talk About Menopause

Menopause, or more accurately the menopausal transition, is a challenging time in most women’s lives. As hormones like estrogen and progesterone fluctuate and eventually decrease, women experience a host of symptoms that impact quality of life.

Among the most frustrating is rapid weight gain. 

  • This occurs in part due to a decrease in muscle mass as estrogen decreases. Muscle mass is then more likely to be replaced by fat mass, specifically in the mid-section. 

  • The decrease in muscle mass is directly related to a decrease in metabolism, which means we need fewer calories than we did before and are more likely to gain weight.

  • This in turn can affect self-esteem and chronic disease risk.1

So what can we do about it?

  1. First, it is important to accept that your body is changing. It’s cliche, but we need to learn how to love (or at least tolerate) our body all over again. Try to choose other quality of life indicators to focus on besides weight (such as managing hot flashes, energy levels, and quality sleep).

  2. Get or stay active, even if this feels harder than before. Aim for 150 minutes of moderate intensity cardiovascular activity per week, like walking. Importantly, add resistance and weight training two or more days a week to rebuild muscle mass and boost metabolism. 

  3. Consider your portions and choose foods that are filling but lower in calories (think lean protein and fiber from vegetables, fruits, beans, and whole grains). Don’t over-restrict!

  4. Add some phytoestrogens to your diet like ground flax, soy, tofu, broccoli, sesame and sunflower seeds to help manage hot flashes.2 

  5. Meet with an RD to help tailor a plan to your tastes and life.

  6. And remember, you are still a vibrant and beautiful woman!



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