Tag Archives | menopause weight gain

How To Fight Menopause Belly

Ah, the belly fat, the spare tire, or as I call mine – the storage depot. Menopause brings myriad changes – and one of those that afflicts many goddesses is unwanted adipose tissue (sounds better than fat, but not much) around the middle. Katrina Jane Rice tackles this sensitive subject in her guest post here – enjoy.

How To Fight Menopause Belly
by Katrina Jane Rice

One of the problems many middle age women face is belly fat. This excess body fat situated in the midsection of the body is usually caused by poor diet and lifestyle, but it also naturally occurs with aging. And for some reason, it is difficult to get rid of, even with strict diets and exercises.

Women are especially vulnerable to gaining excess fat around the belly. As they go through the perimenopausal and menopausal stages, their estrogen levels drop exponentially. When this happens, they will lose the natural contours of their body. And for that reason, excess fat is redistributed to their abdomen in particular, plus the buttocks, hips and thighs.

If you have accumulated belly fat around your abdomen and stomach, it is a priority to try to lose it earlier than later. This is not just for vanity and improvement of physical appearance, but also a precaution you can take to prevent diseases later on in life. Recent scientific research has shown that belly fat has a relation with the risk of diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and myocardial infarction.

Here are some tips for you to fight menopausal belly fat.

Eat Healthier Fats
Just because you want to reduce your belly fat does not mean you need to cut out fat in your diet for good. Not all fats are bad. Eating healthy fats such as omega-3 from fish can actually help decrease the size of your belly. This is the so-called good fat.

A study published in the International Journal of Obesity demonstrated that eating 3 ounces of salmon as part of a low-calorie diet every week for a month resulted to an average of 1 kilo additional weight loss than going on a fish-free diet.

You can also source other healthy fats from avocados, coconut oil and olives if you are not a fan of eating fish.

Include Exercises
Becoming physically active can help you deal better with your menopausal stage. Exercising and including a lot of cardio workout can help lose the fat in your mid-section. It also helps alleviate other symptoms of menopause like hot flashes, intense mood swings and irritability as reported by the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Yoga is also known to help women deal with this sensitive stage of their life. According to a published review article in the Journal of Mid-Life Health, yoga helps improve the symptoms of menopause. It is also a good exercise that can target some issues like belly fat and bloating.

Lessen Your Sodium
Cut back on processed foods. A normal American diet contains a lot of sodium. Too much salt can cause bloating and water retention in your belly so try to whip up your own so that you can regulate your sodium intake. The recommended daily amount of sodium among adults per day is 1,500 mg. Sticking to that requirement will limit bloating and lower your blood pressure.

Other Potential Causes of Menopausal Belly Fat
Overeating, imbalanced hormones and an inactive lifestyle are just some of the culprits of menopausal belly fat. However, the display of a fat belly may also be caused by other health problems like constipation, esophageal reflux, pancreatic problems, celiac disease, tumors or ovarian cancer.

If you feel like your belly has increased too fast in size, do not assume that menopause has caused the problem. It could be a sign of other health conditions. Check with your doctor to find out the cause of your enlarged belly and find out the best treatments you can get for it.

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Menopause Wellness Summit

For those approaching or already deep into perimenopause and menopause, a wealth of information will be offered at the Menopause Wellness Summit. Several experts will offer information and support for the Change. Hosted by Shirley Plant, the cost is only $49. Don’t miss it. Sign up here:  Menopause Wellness Summit.

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All You Want and Need to Know about Menopause

Painted Lady © lynette sheppard

I recently did a podcast for The G Spot, Genneve’s women’s health blog where I talked about all things Menopause. The gals there asked some terrific questions – definitely worth a listen and subscribing. Here’s the link:  The G Spot

Enjoy! Questions or thoughts? Put them in the comments or email me at lynette@9points.com

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An Affair of the … Body

Abbots Lagoon

Connected © Ashley Jeanne Ross

Yesterday I found myself diving into the depths of the earth – down, down, down into the fathomless, bottomless, infinite earth. Around me were other meditators diving down their own chutes. Yes, this is San Francisco, the land of the experimental. And yes, we’ve been know to explore some interesting landscapes. Only this time we were taking a journey with, and into, our bodies.

The idea of this body-focused meditation is this: by imagining you’re falling, you leave behind your regular or habitual thoughts, and discover who you are – when you’ve just got your body for company. It’s quite an eyeopener really. You’re forced into an intimate relationship with this one and only familiar ‘friend’, way down there.

Similarities with the journey of menopause abound. There’s that falling feeling when the bottom drops out, flailing in the dark depths, coming face-to-face with each ache and pain in your joints, in your heart, in your temperament.  It’s in the dark that your body begins to talk to you. 

Bodies talk really, really quietly and really, really slowly. So you have to tune in to hear it, especially if you’re doing a lot of running around.  If you ignore it – like when you don’t get enough sleep or when you hang out with that person who doesn’t treat you kindly – it has to start raising its voice so you pay attention. Then one day you begin to notice … 

The Language of Symptoms

The message is simple: tune in, learn to speak the language and the symptoms will show you what you need to change to regain balance in your life. Since you’re in The Change, your body is inviting you to join it – by changing the things that are no longer good for you.

Wait, why can’t you just find the things to fix your body so you can carry on with your life? Yes, by all means partake of the ingenious array of rubs and potions and modalities that we clever humans come up with (my recommendation is to stick with the natural solutions).  So then what’s all this about cultivating a relationship with your body? Isn’t it enough that you feed it, bathe it and use it for pleasure?

Let’s look at all this from your body’s point of view for a moment.  Day in and day out, you live mostly in your head.  Your life is made up of a pretty constant stream of thinking, talking, watching screens, reading, more thinking, more talking, more screens, etc, right? All the while, your attention is in your head. In fact you can get through your day without needing to be aware of your body at all. If your body was another ‘person’, we could reasonably call this relationship a tad negligent. 

You might go on this way, ignoring your body – until it rebels. Menopause is an open invitation for rebellion. Hello, hormonal flux. Hello, brain dissolution and restructuring. Hello, chronic aches and pains, weight gain, insomnia, constipation, vanishing libido, etc, etc.  These are the sounds of anarchy, right? 

Wanna know what to do about all this?  Throw in the towel? Kinda. Seek out help? Absolutely (and the best kind is from other women who are going through it too).  Tell everyone you’re no longer who you were? Pretty much. Learn a new language? Bingo!! It’s called the language of symptoms.  When you decode it, the clouds part and you’re on your way to a healthier, more appropriate life.

Appropriate life, huh? 

If you’re in peri/menopause, you have a decision to make. Either you can continue ignoring your body’s needs, or … you can enter into a conversation with it. If you choose to talk to it, here’s what happens: instead of blaming your body for your symptoms, you decide to collaborate. You support each other, you work together, you become curious about what’s really happening and why, and you look for solutions that address the cause instead of tending only to the symptom.  This close collaboration is what allows you to not only learn the language of symptoms but to begin to trust what you hear.

Here’s the good news: coming into your body is like coming home. Sure, the route home may be unfamiliar and the obstacles on the way may be uncomfortable or even downright excruciating.  But the gift of finding refuge in your self becomes yours when you tend to your most intimate and life-long relationship with love and respect – the one between you and your body. 

Adapted from Ashley’s upcoming book, The Conscious Menopause Survival Guide

I’m so curious to hear what you hear when you listen to your body? Or is it hard to hear what’s going on? And what are some of the ways you’ve cultivated your relationship with your body?  Let’s talk about it: as dear Lynette always says, it’s in sharing this crazy, fascinating, soul-wretching journey that we come through intact …

Ashley offers Conscious Menopause coaching in San Rafael and via Skype. Join Ashley and women from around the world for the live Conscious Menopause Circles Series online. You can read more on her website ashleyjeanneross.com.

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Get Your Midlife Mojo Back

Butterfly Glowing © lynette sheppard

Butterfly Glowing © lynette sheppard

Dr. Joni Labbe’s new book “Why is Mid-Life Mooching Your Mojo” is absolutely my favorite book about those persnickety symptoms like brain fog, fatigue, and weight gain that afflict so many of us in perimenopause and menopause.

meno mojo

As she says, you are not crazy, lazy, or finished! Not by a long shot. And she offers down to earth wisdom for getting your mojo back. It’s like having an integrative practitioner and a girlfriend in one. She ought to know, she lived it when she went through menopause.

Those of you who’ve written me over the years when at the end of your rope with all the changes know that I highly recommend a holistic or integrative medicine practitioner to learn about and treat your menopause symptoms. I also believe that we cannot travel this journey alone and advocate starting your own Menopause Goddess group or staying in close touch with your virtual community on the blogsite and Facebook page.

Dr. Joni demystifies the changes (and many of the conditions that may accompany the Big M, like thyroid dysfunction, adrenal fatigue, and inflammation.) Her plain talk approach on what’s happening and what to do about it are brilliant. Allopathic medicine (aka the regular medical model in our healthcare system) has been woefully inadequate in diagnosing low thyroid, adrenal insufficiency, and quite frankly, menopause. Working with functional medicine as a model, Dr. Joni explains how you can find relief and feel like you again.

I was lucky enough to find my own Dr. Joni (Dr. Michael Gerber) after a few rough years who tested me and helped me make simple life changes (+ bioidentical hormones, which also helped). So much of what Dr. Joni says I fervently agree with and am proof that dealing with inflammation and hormonal issues can give you back your vitality.

What I love about this book is how clear, concise, and downright helpful it is! I believe that every woman approaching this transition or having any of the symptoms that plague us during the Big M needs to read this. Thankfully, it’s easy to read, interwoven with real life case studies and humor. And you can keep up with new info on Dr. Joni’s website:  MojoGirlfriends.com.  Buy her book on Amazon – click here.

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Metabolism Stuck? Time to Go For The Burn


My favorite nutritionist, Haylie Pomroy has a new book out. Called “The Burn”. The subheading is “Why Your Scale is Stuck and What to Eat About It.”

The Burn delineates three different “burns” to get you past the plateau and/or kickstart your metabolism. Based on your body symptoms, you choose the burn best for you. Or you can ultimately choose to do all three.

The I-Burn is to reduce inflammation – that’s the one I believe that I need first. At our annual goddess gathering, we all made a commitment to eat in a manner that reduces inflammation overall for the coming year. Even if we don’t have overt symptoms, we know that much of disease and dis-ease can be directly related to inflammation’s effect on the body. With this 3 day burn, you’ll reset and lost 3 pounds.

If you have swelling, puffiness, fat accumulation in weird places, mood swings, this might be the Burn calling your name.

The D-Burn is for detoxification. Gas, bloating, irritable bowel, constipation. If these symptoms plague you a little or a lot, this might just be the remedy you’ve needed to move the needle on that scale. A clean digestive system is a must for optimal health. Thankfully, this is not much of an issue for me, but a good detox now and again is important to keep the GI tract running well. Haylie tells us that we will lose 5 pounds over the 5 days of this burn.

The H-Burn is for hormonal balancing. Most menopause goddesses certainly need rebalancing of our hormonal states more than once. Dry hair, hair loss, low or absent libido, hot flashes, weight gain – hey sounds like a day in the life of a menopausal woman.  I definitely need to do this Burn second.

The H-burn takes 10 days – and takes off 10 pounds. I’m less concerned about x amount of pounds in x amount of days than I am about resetting my metabolism and cleaning out my systems. I think of it as getting the sludge out.

As an RN, I love Ms. Pomroy’s focus on science and WHY the burns help get the body working optimally again.

As a woman, I love her no-nonsense approach and her non-judgmental style, realizing that hey, we all need and want a margarita fest or a nacho/buffalo wing fun hog evening once in a while. And as a HUGE fan of her fast metabolism diet – which I still follow as just the way I eat now – I’m more than willing to try the Burns.

And as a lazy girl, I love that she gives me no brainer recipes and how-to info so that I don’t have to think too much. Perfect.

Sound too good to be true? She challenges us to notice how hot we look on a Friday night and after a weekend of fun food and drink how that changes to puffy, not glowing, tired looking versions of ourselves.

Honestly, how I look is of less interest to me than it used to be. My “hot” days are mostly in my rear view mirror. These days, I just want to feel vibrant and strong. As my husband says,  “healthy is the new buff”.

Alas, I cannot do the burns just yet. Living on this tiny dot in the Pacific means that I can’t get a number of the foods prescribed for each one. So my burns will have to wait until this summer when I am on the mainland with access to so much more. Stay tuned. Better yet, try the Burns and let us know how it goes for you.

For more info, visit Haylie’s site or buy the book on Amazon.

Haylie Pomroy’s site

Amazon.com  The Burn

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5 Keys to Effectively Manage Weight during Menopause and Beyond

Holiday Table © lynette sheppard

Holiday Table © lynette sheppard

Here it comes, Thanksgiving (in the US, at least.) Wherever you are on this pretty blue planet, holidays are in the offing. A time for family, fun, and feasting. And fear – of the numbers shooting up on the scale. Pamela Brown shares her best weight management tips for Menopause Goddesses in this timely guest post. Enjoy it – and have a joyful Thanksgiving full of gratitude.

5 Keys to Effectively Manage Weight during Menopause and Beyond
Do you want to feel sexy, desirable, energetic, and strong all throughout life, no matter what? Just because you are in menopause transition doesn’t mean that life stops; in fact, life is just beginning anew.

When it comes to taking charge of your body and life after 40, there are 5 key areas that if addressed will leave you feeling healthier, happier, and more satisfied in life.

5 Keys to Body and Life Transformation Success:

1. Hormone balance
This is a very necessary and primary step if you want to lose weight during menopause. Without getting your hormones working in harmony with each other, it will be harder to lose the excess weight you desire to lose.

Visit a competent hormone specialist that will test all hormone levels and help you find healthy, alternative ways to get all back into balance.

2. Stress reduction, both internal and external
Stress can include low self-esteem, low body-image, lack of social support, work-related and family stress, etc… Stress leads to excessive weight gain, not to mention hormone imbalance which prevents weight loss.

When you deny yourself self-care, such as movement, relaxation, fun, and any other enjoyment in life, you immediately turn to substitutes. These substitutes, when done excessively, can further keep your desired body away from grasp. Examples of these substitutes include food, drinking, drugs, and even sex.

Also, when you don’t do things to lower stress, your stress hormones rise drastically, which helps you to gain more weight, regardless if you eat or not. It also becomes harder to lose weight, even when you’re exercising or eating healthy.

3. Personal development
Are you working to develop a positive mental attitude towards menopause, your body, the exercise you do, or the food you eat? For instance, do you exercise because you want to be a better woman and have a more fulfilling life, or do you do it only for appearance reasons?

Or, do you see food as fuel to keep your body moving efficiently, or as fat calories? Personal development is necessary to transform how you think and feel about yourself. Those thoughts and feelings you carry about yourself determines the food you eat, the exercise you do, your lifestyle behaviors and health.

Body transformation becomes easier when you build a strong personal foundation from which to begin.

4. Movement
If you are not in a structured exercise program, how do you find ways to be more physically active? Do you make common household duties into intense exercise sessions, such as performing squats while putting up groceries?

Do you try to get into more yard work, or take walks around the block with your children or grandchildren? Movement is necessary if you want to feel complete, sane, relaxed, balanced, strong, and capable.

Get creative and find more ways to move each day!

5. Nutrition awareness
We are so busy these days that many times we don’t pay attention to what we put in our mouths, especially if you have family, career, and personal obligations to fulfill each day.

When you slow down and pay attention to what you are about to place into your mouth, and why you are eating those foods, you are better able to change any unhealthy eating behaviors you may practice daily. You can’t change what you don’t understand.

So, if you want to create the best life and body possible during menopause, follow these 5 keys to success. Movement and nutrition is important, but neglecting personal development, hormone balance, and stress reduction will make your journey harder and lower motivation to get healthier or lose weight. What areas do you need to work on? Please feel free to leave your comments below!

Bio: Pamela Brown, The Body Confidence Fitness Coach, helps women over 40 who are dissatisfied with their bodies and having problems losing weight to build the confidence and inner strength to create the extraordinary body and life you deserve and desire. If you want to keep in touch, then subscribe to Pamela’s free online fitness and magazine at www.pamelabrowncoaching.com.

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Beat the Summer Heat with this Survival Kit

Mele in the Grass © lynette sheppard

Mele in the Grass © lynette sheppard

The dog days of August are upon us, which is a double whammy for an already thermically challenged Menopause Goddess. Time to head for water – a pool, riverbank, or beach. Or even your back yard. And to help you cope with the summer heat wave, we are offering a giveaway to one lucky goddess.

Estroven, a well-known company in helping women manage hot flashes and more through the menopause transition, has sent us their “Beat the Heat” survival kit, designed to keep you cool while you enjoy summertime. It includes a beach towel, a water bottle (got to stay hydrated), sunscreen, (wrinkle prevention), a two month supply of Estroven weight management (which also helps with hot flashes – sort of a 2 for 1 supplement, woo hoo), an ice sphere which is a cute little plastic thingy that you can freeze water and fruit in and add to any beverage for extra cooling and flavor, and a booklet of nutrition tips from Estroven’s expert, LeAnne Skinner.

And of course, you’ll need reading material, so I will throw in an autographed copy of “The Big M”, the chronicle of our Menopause Goddess group adventures, guaranteed to make you laugh out loud. (And there are lots of helpful tips for surviving, even thriving during menopause and beyond.)

OK, so the contest. All you have to do is “like” Estroven (click here) and Menopause Goddess Blog (click here) on Facebook. Once you have “liked” both pages, send your mailing address and email to me at lynette@9points.com. We will draw a lucky winner from the contestants in one week – on Monday, August 11. (BTW, I only need your address, etc. to facilitate getting you your prize, should you win. I won’t use it for any other purpose.)

Oh, and if you have already “liked” Menopause Goddess Blog FB page in the past? Then just “like” Lusome’s FB page and send me your info. You don’t get left out just because you are an early adopter or loyal follower.

Note: The Estroven supplement contains soy isoflavones and black cohosh. If you are allergic to soy (like me, sigh), then you may not take the supplement. OK, stay cool and start liking!

PS. Congratulations to Peg Daley, who won the Lusome sleepwear giveaway!

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DIET Means Did I Eat Today?

Hummus and Raw Food Crackers © lynette sheppard

Hummus and Raw Food Crackers © lynette sheppard

It’s not a diet; it’s a whole new way of eating. How many times have you heard that about the latest weight loss cure? From the Ornish diet to HCG to Jenny Craig to Adkins, the list goes on and on. I’ve tried them all. Last New Year’s Day, I decided that I was over it. Fat and happy? So be it.

Around the first of May, my handsome hubby, Dewitt, said that he’d like to try a new diet. A friend of ours was embarking on the Fast Metabolism Diet and wanted us to do it too.

“Great!” I thought to myself. “Yet another way to lose weight so I can put it back on again when we start traveling or eating out.” After several heavy sighs, I agreed to try it.

A 28 day regimen of no soy, no wheat, no dairy, no corn. Ohhhhkayyyy. No sugar, no alcohol, no caffeine. Less appealing, but in for a penny, in for a pound.

Eat five to six meals a day – I can do that. What? Eat breakfast within 30 minutes of waking? And this without caffeine? Sheesh. I’m equal parts irritated and intrigued.

I read Haylie Pomroy’s book on the diet – and speaking as a nurse, I like her reasoning very much. You have to have fuel in order to burn fuel. Eating is not the problem, but what and how we eat.

The hard part for me was figuring out what to eat and serve on the phases of the diet. I kept flipping back and forth through the book to find all the info. The food combining is fairly regimented for cleansing and detoxing. My Menopause brain was working overtime to figure it all out.

And then, drum roll, I discovered that there was an app for that. With the Fast Metabolism Diet app, I could easily keep track of what to buy and how to structure all those many meals. Phase 1: two days of low fat, lots of healthy grains and fruit. Phase 2: two days of low fat, certain veggies in large quantities, and lean protein. (Definitely my least favorite phase but great for detoxification. I complained a lot during those two days every week.) Phase 3: three days of healthy fats, lean protein, some grain and fruit.

Best of all, the app has tons of recipes. Finally, we had to drink LOTS of water every day.

And after 28 days? We lost 12 and 14 pounds respectively. More than being happy with our weight loss, we were thrilled with our energy levels and general well-being.

These days, we continue to eat healthy grains: amaranth, quinoa, kamut, sprouted grain baked goods, and brown rice. BTW, you haven’t lived if you haven’t eaten red quinoa!

We eat lots of fruit and vegetables. We eat sweet potatoes instead of potatoes.

I used to believe that fat was the enemy. No longer. We don’t avoid fat –  we embrace it. Olive oil and coconut oil are our staples for cooking. Almond butter is our spread. We eat lots of raw nuts and seeds. We snack on hummus (here’s a link to the best hummus recipe ever!). We eat corn chips occasionally that are non GMO.

Protein is chicken, beef, pork, and eggs. We avoid hormones, antibiotics, and nitrates. We eat organic as much as possible.

Our sweeteners are stevia and agave nectar in small quantities.

Want a great dessert? Laughing Giraffe Organics makes Snakaroons – chocolate is my favorite flavor although Goji Maca is a close second. They are raw, vegan, and delicious. Ingredients: Organic unsweetened coconut, organic agave nectar, organic cacao, organic coconut sugar, organic vanilla extract, and Himalayan pink salt. That’s it. No weird stuff I can’t pronounce.

Sure, we have a glass of wine now and again and drink some coffee, mostly decaf although it too has some caffeine. And I never met a birthday cake I didn’t like. But we love our new way of eating. It’s January and we remain within a pound or two of our achieved weight at the end of the diet.

I’m not saying this diet is for everyone. But it sure makes all kinds of sense to me. And if I eat something not on the list? I don’t worry about it and continue my mostly good eating habits.

I now travel with almond butter, sprouted bread, and raw nuts. And  it’s becoming much easier to eat out as so many more restaurants serve healthy grains and fats.

Want more info? Check out the Fast Metabolism diet here. Even if you just want a good cleanse or detox, it’s worth doing the 28 days. And it may just change the way you eat. Haylie Pomroy tells us “DIET stands for Did I Eat Today”. And I can say, “Oh, yes I did!”

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Learn All About Menopause At The Free Menopause Summit


I am so excited to be a part of this event (and to partake of the wisdom of so many experts!) From September 22-29, Kris Smith of My Menopause Fix is hosting 20 presenters on every aspect of Menopause Health and Wellness. And this summit is online, so you don’t have to leave home or your office to partake.

Topics include:

How to naturally balance and stabilize your hormones
How to get even keeled moods
How to get better sleep
How to reduce anxiety and decrease stress
How to lose or maintain your weight
How to deal with diabetes and menopause
How to have a better sex life and stronger libido
How to create a new and improved you

Each day there will be 2-3 online video presentations from Menopause experts (yours truly is on the first day – I hope to “see” you there.) For more info and to sign up, just click here.
And please forward this link to all your Menopause Goddess sisters or those who love them so we can demystify and ease the Change together. I only wish I’d had such a wealth of information when I started my transition. Lucky us, it’s here now!

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