(Natural News) Of all the discomforts that can accompany menopause – including insomnia, mood changes and hot flashes – the most frustrating of all may be unintended weight gain. The fact is: the lifestyle choices women successfully used to maintain healthy weight in their 20s and 30s may begin to fail in menopause. According to nationally recognized metabolism expert, Dr. Jade Teta, natural solutions do exist – and they involve a complete change in attitude toward diet, exercise and other lifestyle habits.
According to Dr. Teta, there is a profound difference in the way women 40 and over respond to diet and exercise, as compared to women in their 20s and 30s. In other words, a “low-calorie” diet is often not enough. In order for weight loss to occur, calories must not only be reduced – but, hormones (particularly insulin and cortisol) must be balanced. “Insulin and cortisol,” notes Dr. Teta, “are a bad hormonal combination for fat loss.”
Dr. Teta notes that estrogen is an insulin-sensitizing hormone that helps to control the negative effects of cortisol – a “stress” hormone with fat-storing effects. Progesterone can work together with estrogen in controlling this negative impact. However, levels of estrogen and progesterone recede at menopause, causing the metabolism to slow down and the body to become more stress reactive – and more sensitive to carbohydrates.
Dr. Teta advises using an “insulin-centric” approach rather than a caloric approach. This involves controlling not only refined sugars, but all foods that have potential insulin-promoting effects – even if these foods are regarded as “healthy.” These insulin-promoting foods include whole grain breads, sweet fruits and dairy foods, and Dr. Teta reports that they may work against you in menopause – even if they formed a central part of your diet in younger, leaner days.
The answer is to reduce consumption of these foods – while increasing intake of low-starch vegetables, low-sugar fruits (such as berries, apples and pears) and healthy amounts of high-protein foods, such as ethically-raised (chemical free) chicken and wild-caught fish.
Because long-duration exercises can exacerbate the negative effects of cortisol, Dr. Teta advises short – but intense – exercise sessions for menopausal women. It is also important to balance intense training with moderate training – and alternate both with periods of rest and recovery.
In addition to balancing hormones, eating the correct diet and getting proper exercise, Dr. Tetawould advise managing menopause with the use of natural supplements and a detailed program to improve the quality of your sleep.