Editor’s note: If, like so many women, you’re confronting the issue of weight gain and menopause, here’s some advice from Dr. Deena Solomon, a Santa Monica-based weight management expert and the author of Immaculate Consumption: The Path to Lifelong Weight Management:
Develop Patience: Neutralize your mindset by reframing menopausal types of experiences. Being informed about the effects of estrogen provides a greater sense of control. First and foremost, women will need lots more patience to achieve weight loss during menopause, since the process is ultimately more demanding. It’s important for women to understand that they will have successful weight loss, but it will just take a bit more time to see results.
Recognize Various Hormonal Changes in the Body: Women may feel depressed for long periods, but it may be the hormonal changes going on in their bodies. It’s very possible to experience mood swings from being sad for a time, to feeling very happy overnight.
Consume Less Salt: After eating Chinese food, which is high in sodium, I typically show a three- or four-pound weight gain the following day. Pre-menopause, it might have taken only one day to lose this gained weight. Post-menopause, it can take two to three days.
Take Control of Emotions and Anxiety: Becoming familiar with physical sensations during hormonal changes will de-emotionalize the event. Saying to oneself, “This is not something bad but merely my body’s natural reaction to hormonal changes.” This will provide an immediate sense of relief. If people start to experience counterproductive emotions because of their body’s changes and resistance to dieting protocols, I suggest doing exercise to get a handle on these negative feelings. Finally, becoming aware why dieting protocols, which were once effective in the past, seem to be ineffective now will help manage anxiety during this time. As noted previously, knowing more about the effects of hormonal changes during menopause will allow women to begin to experience less frustration and feelings of hopelessness regarding weight management issues.
For more on Dr. Solomon’s work, click on her byline, above.