Guest post by Jody Goldenfield: Managing Weight as You Age
She’s small and mighty — mighty inspiring! Today’s guest post comes from a baby boomer friend we call “The Golden One,” Jody Goldenfield. You can trust her to share truth about what she admits women may not want to hear: “Menopause sucks!” But it can suck less if you follow Jody’s story and advice.
At 55 years old, I have had 7 plus years of experience with the “change.” Women can begin having hormone changes from the early 40’s into the 50’s with numerous symptoms from irritability to night sweats to hot flashes to depression to anger to hair growth – just to name a few! I KNOW – aren’t you all looking forward to this if you are not there yet?
As much as all of the above symptoms are a pain in the arse, I think the one part of changing hormones that drives women crazy the most is the dreaded weight gain! We are minding our own business and living a healthy life when all of a sudden our bodies decide to fight us!
I started perimenopause in my late 40’s. It was not too bad then. Once I hit 50, well, all hell broke loose! I could do a whole other post on symptoms beyond weight gain, which come and go and come and go and come and go for years. For this guest post, I am going to focus on weight gain and what we can do to manage and reverse it.
Experts’ words of advice most often are:
- Start resistance training/weight training if you have not done that already. I HOPE you are already doing this because it is so important beyond weight management for aging Bone health is on top of that list! Muscle burns more calories when your body is at rest so make it a fat burning machine by lifting weights. If you need help, find an accredited trainer. There are also fitness professionals specific to the aging population – like the twins here!
- Up the intensity of your cardio sessions. Try to do more in the same amount of time or you may have to add in a couple more sessions per week. I know this is not what many want to hear but you may have to do this depending on your goals.
- Manipulate your food intake to find what works best for you regarding FOOD! 75% to 80% of weight loss and weight maintenance is all about the food. Unfortunately, you can’t out-train a bad “diet.” As we age, the same amount of food can now be too much food due to changing hormones. You most likely will have to reduce how many calories you consume depending on your current intake. Managing weight gain will be a mixture of food swaps, calorie intake, and exercise.
- Be careful about the types of carbohydrates (carbs) in your diet. Carbs are not the enemy as some say BUT the types of carbs are crucial to weight loss and maintenance. Vegetables, sweet potatoes and complex carbs are great.
- Protein fills you up so add in lean sources of protein at each meal.
- Healthy fats also help fill you up. Do not be afraid to eat your healthy fats. This was a mistake of mine as a young woman. I learned my lesson once I started to add them to my diet.
Now, let me tell you what I did so you can get an understanding of someone that has been through this and is still going through this change.
For me, I was already doing all of the above. I was weight training with intensity. I was doing cardio sessions with intensity. I was already eating very cleanly – lean protein, healthy fats, the carbs that the experts were saying to eat to manage the weight. It was frustrating to know I was already doing everything I was supposed to do and still gaining weight, so I had to find a way to make it work for me.
I was already a person in tune with my body. I like to say I “listen” to what my body tells me in terms of how exercise and food affect it. I make sure to notice how my body changes when I eat certain foods. Learn to get more in tune with your body rather than going through the motions.
I started to SLOWLY change some of the foods as well as the ratio of protein to carbs to fats. I reduced the calorie intake – SLOWLY – I would say every 6 months or so starting at age 50. Sometimes the changes were less than every 6 months and there were times it was more than every 6 months. This is where that “LISTEN TO YOUR BODY” comes into play – so important!
There were times when absolutely nothing I did mattered & the body just refused to change. PATIENCE is your friend! Don’t give up and work through this!
Also, pay attention to how your body looks and how your clothes fit. The scale, if you do weigh yourself, may not move but your clothes may fit tighter. The weight on your body starts to shift to different places during perimenopause to menopause so be aware of this otherwise the scale and/or your clothes are going to provide a rude awakening one day!
You are going to have to decide what is most important to you in terms of how hard you are willing to work to maintain your pre-perimenopause/menopause body. From experience, I can tell you it is very very hard to keep the weight down and the same body appearance as we age. Only you can decide how hard you are willing to work to keep the weight in a range that is comfortable for you.
I know this all sounds depressing and you want to say, “screw it all”! This is life for women. Some have it worse than others but we all will go through it. All you can do is accept it for what it is and decide what you are willing to do, how hard you are willing to work and honestly, how important it is for you to stay at your pre “change of life” weight. It is hard to stay there so it is not a bad thing if you decide that 5 pounds’ extra is OK. Everything in life is relative to what works for you long term
I have found a couple wonderful sources of information I would like to share with you.
Ellen Dolgen at http://www.shmirshky.com/ is an expert in this field. Her website has resources to help you through this along with a directory of doctors specific to “the change”. She has also written books that will make you laugh out loud while still giving you the information you need to manage this time in your life.
If you are looking for sleepwear to help you through the night sweats & hot flashes, check out Dry Babe at http://www.drybabe.com/.
I am open to questions if any of you want to email directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. I could have written another 5 pages on “my life during perimenopause & menopause” but I am sure this has gone on way too long already!
Bio: For those who don’t know me, my name is Jody Goldenfield & I blog at Truth2BeingFit, http://www.truth2beingfit.com. I am 55 years old and have been working out for over 30 years. I love to weight train but I also do my cardio! I admit to having done many things wrong when I was younger but I learned from those mistakes. My motto is “always learning” and “always a work in progress.” I plan to continue to challenge myself each and every day no matter what age. Age is just a number!
Thank you to Kymberly & Alexandra for allowing me to guest post here today!
We hope and suggest that you check out Jody’s blog. You’ll start each week out positively with her “Gratitude Monday.” You’ll end your week pumped up by a woman whose enthusiasm for resistance training will motivate you. Hop over now!
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