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3 Steps You Can Take Now, to Beat Menopause Weight Gain
September 16, 2011
Beat the Bulge! For confirmed subscribers only: newsletter from: Beat Menopause Weight Gain
Do you feel energised at this time of year? I know I do - it's something to do with the start of a new season, and a last blast of summer giving me the oomph I need to firm up on resolutions made earlier in the year, and set a few targets for the months ahead.
At the start of the year, I encouraged you (and myself!) to take three steps over the months ahead, to help keep menopausal weight gain at bay.
Here are those steps again, with positive suggestions on actions you can take TODAY, to keep your body in trim and prevent the onward creep of extra, unwanted weight.
- Review your diet You know you need to eat less junk food, more fresh fruit and veg; less processed, ready-prepared food, more freshly cooked, natural foods.
But how do you break the junk food habit? I often recommend dropping one unhealthy item per day, and replacing it with a healthier option. Once the new habit is established, replace a second unhealthy item, and so on.
While this approach works for the more disciplined among us, there is another path you could try. I've been reading Gretchen Rubin's fascinating book The Happiness Project this week.
Gretchen was hooked on unhealthy snacks, and couldn't shake her addiction - '...this habit was a daily source of guilt and self-reproach. Each time I thought about buying some fake food, I told myself that I shouldn't - but then I did anyway.'
How many of us would recognise that feeling!? What did Gretchen do - and what might you like to try?
'I gave up fake food cold turkey - and it felt good to give it up...When it comes to fake food, I'm like Samuel Johnson, who remarked "Abstincence is as easy to me as temperance would be difficult." In other words, I can give something up altogether, but I can't indulge occasionally.'
Is there a particular unhealthy treat which you know is your downfall? For many women, it's drinking sodas and fizzy drinks through the day, instead of water.
Try making a note, every time you eat or drink one of these suspect items. You may be surprised, and even shocked, to see how much junk you're having.
Capitalise on that feeling, and resolve to give up completely - today.
And let us know how you get on - I love to hear from readers, so please share your experiences here.
- Explore exercise options What's stopping you exercising? Is it the enormity of the task?
Too often, the very thought of trekking to the gym, or struggling into your joggers to go round the block is just too much to even contemplate.
One way to tackle exercise-inertia, is to find an exercise buddy. Dr Jane, our medical advisor, is a great advocate for this approach.
She enjoys running, knows it does her good both physically and mentally, but has the devil's own job to get herself up and out of the door.
What works for her, is making a plan with her running mate, that they'll meet at a specified time, run a specified route, then relax together over a cup of tea. First the pain, then the gain.
Who could you ask, to pair up with you? It needn't be running - a companion who will go for a brisk walk, join a yoga class or take a weekly swim, could be just the motivation you need to get more movement into your life this autumn.
- Relieve stress What midlife women don't know about stress, isn't worth knowing. Seems this time of life can be particularly fraught with life issues, and problems.
This week, I've spent time with three friends, all in their fifties - one is afraid of losing her job in the current round of public sector cuts, here in the UK. Another has just lost her elderly father, after years of anxiety over his wellbeing as he carried on determinedly living alone. The third is struggling with a major crisis in her marriage.
The forties, fifties and even sixties are times when we often have maximum responsibility for other people's wellbeing. We're under pressure at work. Our kids, if we have them, are growing up and away. And often we've begun to experience loss, as elderly parents, and sometimes even friends, become ill and even die.
All of this makes it ever more important for us to look after ourselves. If we burn out, everyone close to us suffers.
This week, think of one simple thing you enjoy, and haven't done for a while? What will it be - a long bath, a walk with a friend, a lie-in, a quiet hour with a book? Then take steps to make that thing happen, this week.
Yes, I know it can be difficult and take some organising. But many of these simple and refreshing pleasures are possible, if you have the will to ask for co-operation from your nearest and dearest, and set your mind to the job of enhancing your own wellbeing, and thereby lowering your stress levels.
What lovely thing will you do for yourself this week? Please let us know how you got on.
Find a path through the menopausal years and beyond, and keeping our bodies in the best shape possible, means paying attention to every aspect of our wellbeing. That's at thought to keep at the forefront of your mind through the autumn.
Make the most of the new season's energy and...
...be happy in your body!
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