By Juliane Morris

By choosing to survey the knowledge we have around the unraveling mysteries of menopause, you can weigh-in on how you want to approach your options.

For many women, “the change” brings those hot flashes but also other unwanted biologically driven alterations in sleep, mood, energy and physical capacity; the often-inevitable menopause weight gain and related change of body shape.

Lifestyle changes may not always be sufficient to gain control over these changes.  You may have tried increasing your hours sweating at the gym; reducing your intake of calories, fat, carbs, alcohol; increasing lean protein, complex carbs, and diversifying your whole food intake of vegetables, fruits and berries, and still not see the desired reduction of your waistline.

Here are a few ideas you can use to help you get on the right track.  If you try these and still don’t have the desired results you want, check with your doctor.

Long-term solutions require long-term actions like these: 

  1. Move more and eat less.
    If there’s room for improvement, improve your exercise and nutrition habits, thinking long term routine-building and more vigorous working out that makes you sweat which helps weight control.
  2. Add to your strength training. Because women begin to lose muscle mass after menopause, it’s important to try to reverse the loss through weight training, which also naturally increases your basal metabolic rate — a measurement of the energy your body needs to keep idling when you’re not actively moving.  So yes, incorporating weight training twice a week or more increases your burning calories baseline.
  3. Try to reduce your stress levels. Midlife can bring new stressors to lives like providing care and support to one’s own children, aging parents, career changes and more.  Stress-reducing strategies include supportive social circles, mindful exercise like yoga, meditation and prayer, and improvements in communication and resolution.
  4. Work to resolve sleeping issues.
    Poor sleep, like stress, compounds issues that lead to weight collecting around the midline.  Try to keep a regular sleeping routine. Remove electronic screens from the bedroom at least one hour before bedtime.  Consider not eating after 6pm or 7pm, taking a warm bath or shower a couple hours before bedtime and even massaging your calves 30 minutes before bedtime.

Massaging your calves before bedtime has been known to improve sleep and boost serotonin.

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