Menopause is the beginning of your “third age.” As you move into this time of your life, you want to feel well, and happy, and free. Sometimes, though, it seems as though midlife is ganging up on you to have just the opposite effect. If you continue a lifestyle that encourages you to gain weight, you are increasing your risk for Heart disease, Cancer, Diabetes and Osteoarthritis.
As estrogen and progesterone decline, they take with them the physical advantages that they have been offering all these years. These are not things you have probably been aware of, but they have protected you from conditions like heart disease, bone loss and weight gain. Now that hormones are diminishing, you will begin to notice the physiologic changes that come along with the slowing down of your ovaries.
In the slow graduation to menopause (also perimenopause), you could possibly experience these cues and symptoms, viz:
- Vaginal dryness
- Hot flashes
- Irregular periods
- Bladder problems
- Chills and Electric shocks
- Tingling Extremities
- Aching joints and muscles
- Night sweats
- Mood changes
- Burning mouth and bleeding gums
- Sleep problems
- Turning Obese (Slow metabolism leading to overweight)
- Thinning hair and dry skin
- Loss of breast fullness and aching breasts
- Heart problems and palpitations
Signs and symptoms, include unusual menstruation in different women. In all likelihood, you experience a bit of irregularity in your periods before they end.
Psychological symptoms could be in the form of dizziness, anxiety and depression, loss of libido and mood swings
Besides the waning of hormones, you may be more sedentary in your life and may be managing stressful life events. This entirely means that your body is:
- Having a harder time regulating insulin, which will encourage weight gain
- Releasing more stress hormones, like cortisol, which signal your body to hang onto fat
- Losing muscle mass, so you burn fewer calories all day long
- Moving less, and therefore burning fewer calories
During and after menopause women must balance nutritional needs with maintaining a healthy weight. It’s a great time to take stock and make dietary changes that will maximize your health throughout menopause and into the rest of your life.
Dietary Management During Menopause
A sane, healthy diet is your first step toward a healthy menopause. As you adopt these suggestions, your body will feel better and staying within a healthy weight range will be more possible.
- Increase the calcium in your diet up to 1200 mg. Calcium helps your body maintain weight, and is essential for strong bones
- Choose foods for their high fiber content. Fiber helps you regulate your insulin, and generally keeps your intestinal system in working order. Choose fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and legumes to boost your fiber intake.
- Drop the salt. Read labels and take the salt shaker off the table. Try cutting your current sodium intake in half.
- Reduce the sugar. Again, read labels.
- Drink more water. Try to get at least 8 glasses a day.
- Decrease the fat in your diet. Choose lean meats or fish instead of fatty choices; limit fast food to a couple of times a month; read the labels and avoid saturated fat.
- Keep the alcohol at a minimum as it adds to the calorie count.
- Take a multivitamin, and be sure it has vitamin D.