During my menopause journey I was most concerned with how to stop the dreaded hot flashes. I had my first hot flash in my early 40’s and did a lot of research on how to stop them. They’re awful.
Within a couple of months I had the hot flashes licked and promptly forgot about menopause. Several years later, when I started getting hot flashes again, I re examined my dietary habits, cleaned up my diet and the hot flashes vanished.
Other Menopausal Symptoms
Over the next 10 years I watched what I ate (more or less) and all was good. All was good until about 6 months or so ago. My clothes were getting a bit snug so I realized I needed to do something about it. I modified my eating and added a little exercise.
I became frustrated because my modified diet and sporadic exercise wasn’t making the weight go away. I couldn’t understand why it didn’t because such attempts had always worked in the past.
Blaming Menopause Again
I blamed menopause for hot flashes, not weight gain. I always felt that if I ate too much and moved too little I’d gain weight, and I did. Now I’m eating better and moving more but the weight just sits.
Time to Ratchet Things Up
Not liking my lack of results, I spent a little time researching why women gain weight during menopause. Aside from the obvious of eating too much and moving too little, we have the added burden of:
- Less muscle mass
- Slower metabolism
- Hormone imbalance
With these things stacked against us, we have to ratchet things up to a different level. In addition to watching what we eat (and eating less), we MUST exercise more and build muscle. Those half-hearted attempts to lose weight that used to work in the past don’t work now, sad to say.
It’s All Good
Now that I have a better understanding of what I’m dealing with, I’ve come up with a new game plan. I’m putting myself through a menopausal boot camp. Time to get serious about shedding those extra pounds and keeping them off.
My first week of boot camp is as follows:
- 5 days of aerobic exercise (M-F): Week one’s aerobics consist of 4 days of 1-hour power walks and 1 day of leisurely biking. Because of my recent sciatica flare up, my chiropractor wants me to ease back into my biking routine. To make the walks less monotonous, I’ve charted out several 1-hour routes in the neighborhood of varying intensities. One of the great things about living in the northeast is you can always find respectable hills to climb.
- 3 days of weight training and toning (M, W, F): Currently toning includes quite a bit of upper body work and some core exercises. I’ve been doing gluteal exercises to retrain muscles causing my sciatic condition, but nothing too strenuous.
- Dietary changes: None. I eat a healthy diet void of processed foods and meats. I eat plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. I drink plenty of water and take my vitamins. I don’t think I need to make any dietary changes.
Today is only day 3 of my boot camp, but so far so good.