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Weight Gain and Menopause – Why is it So Hard to Lose?

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Author: Candice Jones-Hughes

Many women gain 10-15 pounds during or after menopause. There are many potential causes for this, including the effects of lower estrogen and thyroid hormones and higher stress hormones. This is also a time that many women become insulin resistant or acquire metabolic syndrome. In addition you may find that the diet and exercise programs you have used successfully in the past no longer work.

If you've already tried everything for weight gain and menopause and it hasn't worked, don't panic! You can lose weight during this time, but it will take more effort. Whatever you do, DO NOT try to starve yourself. This could actually make you gain weight!

If you already had a weight problem, this is your wake-up call.

Check for insulin resistance or metabolic syndrome. These conditions become very common among overweight women, especially at midlife. If you have insulin resistance or metabolic syndrome, it is imperative to find diet and exercise strategies that you can stick with to regain your health. These conditions can be reversed with lifestyle changes, but left unchanged they can lead to faster aging, heart disease and diabetes.

If you have a long-term weight problem, you probably already know willpower isn't the answer. Here are some strategies that you can use along with diet to make the weight come off a little easier.

If you are stressed, this contributes to weight gain and menopause. There are many herbs you can use to help relieve stress, from chamomile tea to oatstraw infusions and ginseng. Yoga, meditation and exercise are also great for relieving stress.

Be sure you are getting plenty of high-quality sleep. Growth hormone is produced when you sleep, and will help with weight loss. Herbs such as valerian can help you get better sleep.

Avoid caffeine and artificial sweeteners. Both of these substances stimulate insulin, which can contribute to weight gain.

Also check for food sensitivities, even if you're one of those people (like me) who has always been able to eat anything. Many women find their midlife digestive systems aren't as effective as they used to be.
Wheat, corn, soy, sugar, eggs, milk and peanuts are the most common foods to create problems. If you are sensitive or allergic to any of these foods, you will not be able to lose all the weight as long as you continue to eat them. For more information on this, a great resource is "The False Fat Diet" by Dr. Elson Haas.

Eliminate MSG. MSG is known by many names, and it is in a huge amount of processed foods. There are some studies that suggest MSG contributes to weight gain.

Another strategy is to eat dinner earlier, say, before 6:00pm if you can manage it, and make it a lighter meal than lunch or breakfast.

If you have trouble staying on your diet, you are probably eating the wrong foods. You need to eat high quality fats (coconut oil, real butter). Avoid trans fats - they disturb your metabolism. You cannot be healthy without good fats, and good fats will not make you fat. Bad fats will however. If your body isn't getting what it needs to be healthy, no amount of willpower is going to get you to lose weight.

There are also many supplements that can help with cravings and moods.

If you have trouble limiting your carbohydrates or sugar, you may find "The Carbohydrate Addict's Lifespan Program" by Dr. Richard Heller and Dr. Rachael Heller, to be the one that sets you free.

As for exercise, you need to do whatever it takes to get it done. I don't care if it's five minutes a day in the beginning. If that is more than you're doing now, that is a fantastic start. After a couple of weeks, make it ten minutes a day. Any amount is better than none.

If you already have an exercise program, excellent! You may need to change it around now in order to lose weight. Try something new. Take a dance class. Have some fun while you're working so hard.

Candice Hughes studied herbal medicine at the Pacific School of Herbal Medicine in Oakland, CA. Do you want to learn more about herbs and supplements to help with weight loss? Find out more at http://www.natural-approaches-to-menopause.com/weight-gain-and-menopause.html


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