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Celebrating Menopause

"So many women I've talked to see menopause as an ending. But I've discovered this is your moment to reinvent yourself after years of focusing on the needs of everyone else. It's your opportunity to get clear about what matters to you and then to pursue that with all of your energy, time and talent."

Oprah Winfrey

I love being on the other side of the menopausal journey. I was fortunate to go through menopause while I was in full-time study, so it did not disrupt too much of my life. I was also lucky to have minimal symptoms which included mild hot flushes and weight gain.

Looking back, I can see the weight crept on over 2-3 years, but I only noticed it when I could no longer fit into a Large at Zara. Prior to that, I had always been a Small. Being a model from the age of 16 I was always slim and expected to stay that way.

It was distressing for me when the weight piled on and all my attempts to control it failed. I had no idea that the main issue at the time was hormonal.

Understanding Menopause and Weight Gain:

Menopause is a natural transition in a woman's life, typically occurring between the ages of 45 and 55. During this time, hormonal fluctuations, specifically a decrease in estrogen levels, can contribute to weight gain. The distribution of weight may shift, with an increased tendency to accumulate fat around the abdomen. My weight gain was around my stomach and backside.

Factors Contributing to Weight Gain:

Several factors can contribute to weight gain during menopause:

1. Hormonal Changes: The decline in estrogen levels can affect metabolism, leading to a slower rate of calorie burning.

2. Muscle Loss: Ageing and hormonal changes can result in muscle loss, which reduces the body's ability to burn calories efficiently.

3. Lifestyle Factors: Sedentary habits, poor dietary choices, stress, and lack of sleep can all contribute to weight gain during menopause.

Strategies for Managing Weight Gain:

While weight gain during menopause can be challenging, implementing the following strategies can help manage and maintain a healthy weight:

1. Balanced Diet: Focus on a well-balanced diet rich in whole foods, including fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Limit processed foods, sugary snacks, and refined carbohydrates.

2. Portion Control: Pay attention to portion sizes and practice mindful eating. Listen to your body's hunger and fullness cues.

3. Regular Exercise: Engage in regular physical activity, including both cardiovascular exercises and strength training. Exercise helps boost metabolism, maintain muscle mass, and manage weight.

Post-Menopausal Health Coach, Tania Dalton was an invaluable source of support for me as she understood the specific needs of menopausal and post-menopausal women's fitness needs.

Join Tania's next masterclass, Age Beautifully Through Movement on Thursday 26th October. The link is in our Upcoming Events segment.

4. Stress Management: Incorporate stress-reducing activities such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises. Chronic stress can contribute to weight gain, so finding healthy ways to manage stress is crucial.

5. Quality Sleep: Prioritise getting enough sleep each night. Lack of sleep can disrupt hormone regulation and increase cravings for unhealthy foods.

6. Hydration: Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Adequate hydration supports overall health and can help manage weight.

7. Seek Support: We're fortunate to have many menopause experts in our community including Angela Counsel, Brenda Rogers, Chiza Westcarr and Sandy Davies. Check our site their details.

Menopause can bring about hormonal changes that impact our bodies, but with knowledge, proactive strategies, and expert support, we can maintain a healthy weight and overall well-being.

For me, self-care and self-acceptance were essential during this time. I had to embrace the changes in my body, prioritise my well-being, and celebrate the strength and wisdom that menopause brings.

I want to finish by acknowledging that many women have more debilitating menopausal symptoms than mine or just weight gain. Our journeys are unique, and all deserve respect and compassion.

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