Menopause

We Need To Talk About…Finding Balance During Menopause

Menopause Update

How are you doing on your menopausal journey?? Have you found a way to treat some of your symptoms? Are you in peri-menopause or full-blown menopause?? I haven’t updated you in a while, but now, I’m actually in full-blown menopause. While knowing that it’s done does bring some freedom and certainty, it’s still not easy. Some days I just want to pull a Tom Cruise, aka Joel from Risky Business and say, “What the F?” And in some ways, I have done exactly that. More on that in a minute…

In the beginning of this journey, I was determined to fight, fight, fight. I kept saying to myself and anyone else who would listen, “I’m going to get to the bottom of this. I’m not giving up!” I think somewhere in my brain, I had equated menopause with Frumptown. Oh, here it comes, this is when all my hair falls out,  I gain a zillion pounds and start wearing velcro mary janes. Now, that I’ve been on the coaster for 5+ years, I can happily report that there’s something between the fight and Frumptown.

If you’re interested in understanding the signs and symptoms of menopause, you can find a LOT more information here.

 

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The Weight Gain

I’ve shared a lot about my menopause experience previously. If you missed it, you can read my last update on my weight gain and how I lost 15 pounds here. But my newest update is that I’ve gained the weight back and that weight gain is sucky and real. Did you know that during menopause your body stops produces estrogen and progesterone which slows down your metabolism, making it harder for you to maintain or lose weight? Even if you take hormone replacement therapy, it’s not the same.

Detoxing After Spain

While we were living in Spain, we had a kitchen with no windows and awful florescent lighting that I dreaded cooking in. As a result, I literally didn’t cook.  So we ended up eating out a lot. That didn’t help my cause and I definitely gained weight. I sure enjoyed my croissants, though!

Now that we’re back in Colorado, I’m working on detoxing and eating healthier!
I started ordering meals from Sakara, which has 100% plant-based, organic, ready-to-eat meals. I’m getting breakfast and lunch meals delivered for 2-3 days a week and it definitely makes life easier to have these ready-to-eat meals. They’re super healthy, packed with tons of greens and superfoods. But I won’t lie, they’re not very tasty. It IS helping, though.

By the way, if you missed our trip to Spain, you can get all of your questions answered here.

Weight Distribution

Something to note about menopause weight gain is that the weight distribution is very different. You may notice that you are gaining weight in the tummy and on the sides and lower back like me. I never really gained in these areas before menopause. If you appreciate science, I thought it would be interesting to note that there is a biological reason for this…simply put, you build up fat to make up for the lack of estrogen (because fat cells make estrogen). Of course, there are other factors that can contribute to weight gain like lack of sleep, decreased exercise, and croissants… but I want you to know that IF you are doing all the same things and you are still gaining the spare tire…there’s a scientific reason for that and it’s not just about “cutting calories and exercising more.”

It’s unreal how many people will say, it’s just MATH; eat less, exercise more. But the truth is that it’s not going to work as quickly or easily as it did before. And even if you’re doing everything right, there could be other issues like thyroid or other hormone changes. You really have to be your own advocate on this journey. And finding the right experts may not be easy.

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But, Is There Hope?

I received a comment on YouTube a few weeks ago from a woman who said that the pesky weight gain goes away eventually. Of course, this was music to my ears and gave me hope! She said that you deal with the weight gain for a while and then the pounds start to melt off. I posted the comment on Instagram and ask if any of you had experienced anything like it. Many of you said that it’s not true, but some of you said you experienced a point where your weight balanced out and leveled off. One of our team members who’s also going through menopause said she’s experienced a lot of fluctuations in her weight. Which leads me to believe, it’s different for everyone.

I was unable to find any studies or research that support that this is true but if you’ve experienced easy weight loss like this during or after menopause, please let me know in the comments! Mayo Clinic says “There’s no magic formula for preventing — or reversing — menopause weight gain. Simply stick to weight-control basics.” They then go on to list the things we hear over and over…exercise more, eat less, avoid sweets, limit alcohol, commit to a healthier lifestyle, etc.

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Yam Supplements

While I’ve come a long way on my journey and found an HRT regimen consisting of estrogen and progesterone that seems to be keeping most symptoms at bay, there is another major symptom I have yet to address… lack of libido. And, when I say ‘lack’ … I mean like dead. Muerta. This is not something I’m super psyched to share, but if you are feeling this way too, I want you to know that you are not alone. I recently heard about wild yam root to help with libido. Yes, I said yams! I’m going to try the liquid drops on my tongue to see if that does anything. And, as one of our team members joked, I might be creating a lot of yam recipes in the near future! 😉 Anyone have experience with Wild Yam root, yam therapy or yam recipes?? DO share!!

For vaginal dryness, you can try a laser treatment like ThermiVa. It’s a game-changer!

It’s also important to note that you should always talk to your doctor before trying anything new. Make sure you really advocate for yourself. There’s no “one size fits all cure” for menopause. Everyone’s journey is different and what works for me may not work for everyone.

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Surrender & Give Yourself Grace

Okay, so here’s the thing, I’m tired of fighting.

I remember going to a local talk during the early days of menopause and one woman saying to me that it’s important to surrender. I remember immediately thinking that I wanted to punch her… and also how dare she suggest I give up! Well, I understand what she meant now. It’s not ‘giving up’ to surrender. You still advocate for yourself and cook your yams or whatever you need to do, you just STOP putting so much freakin energy into the whole thing. So, that’s what I’m doing. I’m surrendering. Menopause is a marathon, not a sprint.  No more getting fixated on “the fix.”

IF you follow that road, you’ll likely do the same thing I did, wear yourself out. And you’ll probably gain and lose weight a few times too. I understand more clearly now that getting obsessive and super disciplined – think Tracy Anderson workouts 5 times a week and strict clean eating- isn’t necessarily the solution for me. I don’t think it’s sustainable. And in this long game, the name of the game is sustainability.

So… what I’m doing currently is taking the dog on brisk walks, doing some standing pushup sets throughout the day, and sometimes I’ll throw in a few wall sits. I’m also eating healthy (but, not obsessively healthy. No counting calories or macros or carb or anything). And, you know what…? I feel better. I’ve stopped berating myself too when I don’t exercise or eat Honey Nut Cheerios. That doesn’t help and it drains energy unnecessarily. The name of the game now is truly… grace and surrender.

So now, I’m happily living by the TC, Risky Business motto… “There’s one thing I learned in all my years, sometimes you just gotta say, what the f**k!

I would love to know how you are all doing on your journey. Remember that my sharing, you are potentially helping other women who likely need to read something only you can share.
If you’re interested in more ‘real talk’, here are some other important topics I’ve covered: societal ageism, the connection between mental health and success, and how to detach and let go of things.

Don’t miss any of our posts. You can sign up for my newsletter here.  Thank you so much for being here! I appreciate each and every one of you!!

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How To Manifest Anything, Fashion blogger Erin Busbee of Busbee Style wearing an orange and blue Staud Ina dress with white sunglasses walking around in Telluride, Colorado
Erin Busbee
After a decade in TV news, a desire to help women "look pretty" sparked a career pivot. I started my own wardrobe consulting business, styling "real" women for many years. In 2014, I changed direction again, using my TV background and styling expertise to launch this website and my YouTube channel. We are now a community of nearly 700,000 dynamic, vibrant, amazing women over 40... who know that age isn't something you need to hide from. For us, life is just getting started!!
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51 thoughts on “We Need To Talk About…Finding Balance During Menopause

  1. Yes menopause is so individual and there is no single remedy that works for all. My younger sister of 3yrs was thrown into after an ablation for uterine cyst, been 10 yrs of hot flashes and jacked her sedate diabetes back into swing. My end is tame, 1st bled like a stuck pig-yes a serious murder scene at work. Chair & some clothing was tossed-told go home, take ibuprofen every 4hrs & raise feet and it would stop. Didn’t work, but by 3rd day that was it, never a pad or tampon to be bought. No hot flashes, but sleep disturbances haunt me..stress level sucks! Met a woman many yrs ago who ran daily, ate Vitamin A,C,D&E-she said no issues for menopause. I am vitamin happy, multi one, then add C,D,E,B6 & B12 for energy. Also lecithin for hair & nails(soy based so cancer pts avoid, unless changed now?) The weight didn’t accumulate till @58 which was 4 yrs after that blood bath. 2 yrs packed on more weight than ever & it won’t vanish. Really don’t eat much, alcohol limited, walk dog & chunky belly from hell. Like I said sister totally different..I bought her camisoles & tank shirts so she can strip to lightest clothes. She buys me sweaters, sweatshirts & blankets as I am always freezing. That’s my story & sticking to it! Stay healthy! Ps libido..depends if he pisses me off. Water based jells are good, but oral sex helps best. Sorry for tmi. Lol

    1. WOW, Nancy… you and your sister have both had quite the menopause journey! This is a great example of how different everyone’s journey can be. Thanks for sharing your tips. ~Erin xo

  2. Thank you for this post. It made me cry because it resonates so well with my journey. I am struggling with all of this-menopause, getting older, adjusting to the things that change that you cannot undo. I have been on hormonal patches for 8mths but recently have felt the symptoms coming back so again I am taking the supplements I know helped previously. Yet every day I struggle with the fight to feel okay, to not get depressed about how my body no longer feels like me, how I so want to shed those last 15-20lbs yet cannot. I eat healthy and exercise when I have the energy, I try not to get angry with myself when I don’t exercise or feel like crap and want to just sit. It is exhausting, it is tiring, it is a 24hr experience and it is hard to explain to anyone who isn’t going through it. SO thank you Erin for making us feel like we are not alone.

    1. I’m so sorry you are struggling, Charley… I SO get it and it’s debilitating and messes with your brain. I’m glad you aren’t feeling alone. I am sending a big virtual hug. ~Erin xo

  3. Erin, I know someone who can help – for REAL!
    Dr. Anna Cabeca, triple-board certified OB-GYN. She is the “Girlfriend Doctor” and her books on lifestyle and her supplements including topical progesterone and DHEA creams have saved so many women – including me!
    That Julva cream is magic. Stops leaks and brings back the drive. The Balance progesterone cream is calming and fades fine lines and age spots. Mighty Maca+ brings back the energy and eases nasty symptoms. I just can’t say enough good things about her Keto-Green program and products. I encourage every woman to check out her website. You will be SO glad you did!!! https://drannacabeca.com/
    I enjoy all of your posts and videos. Keep it up!
    Cheers!

  4. Hi Erin,
    I hope this will be encouraging; I’m 66, 26 years out from “instant menopause” due to an emergency hysterectomy at age 40. I know that a “complete hysterectomy” is not a medically accepted term but they scooped EVERYTHING OUT. That was in 1996. So HRT took care of all symptoms. But in 2007 I was diagnosed with estrogen receptive breast cancer: no more HRT. BUMMER.
    Very long story short — the weight problem has, for the most part, just gone away. I just don’t get as hungry, smaller portions satisfy and it’s not a conscious choice. Larger portions make me feel physically uncomfortable. Junk food has lost it’s appeal and I find myself gravitating towards fruit and veg, grilled fish and chicken– but I’ll never lose my love for a good steak! I just don’t eat it very often and a 6 Oz fillet mignon more than satisfies me. Anything more and I’m stuffed! Sugar doesn’t hold the appeal it used to. That’s not to say that I no longer have butter, breads, pastry, etc. I eat like the French to some extent. Good food in small portions, taking more time to eat and getting exercise in activities I want to do – walking, biking. Would this be a form of surrender?
    The thing is, I haven’t made cany conscious effort to change anything. I’ve just naturally gravitated into this so, yes! THERE IS HOPE! Most assuredly.
    I do still struggle to find well fitting jeans! Although I’m at a very healthy weight, my waist measurement is not as small as it used to me and my hips are a little narrow. So if I try on jeans that fit my waist my hips are swimming in an ocean of fabric and it’s not pretty! Add to that my fuller thighs (that’s not a new menopausal thing, just years of gymnastics)and I’m about to give up my denim! Oh, say it isn’t so!
    Erin, could you do a video suggesting jeans that work for slightly larger waists, if you haven’talready? I’ve found wide leg jeans to work best for me when I can find a pair that’s narrow enough in the hips. My one happy jeans find: Abrand A94 High and Wide Walk Away Jeans.
    If anyone has read this far, please take these things away from my long-winded-ness:
    Although YMMV, my weight problems have melted away so there is hope,
    And sometimes letting up on yourself a bit will let your body begin to make healthier choices for you. My food choices have certainly changed and it just happened.
    Be of good chere!

    1. Thanks for sharing your story, Carolyn! Concerning your question about a slightly larger waist, if your waist is your largest measurement then you may be a circle shape. Here’s a link to a video that will help you determine your body shape:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNDrVVoHtAw&list=PL6xMaBj8Zyg_HmEOvouHi4LZAqczgb5aL&index=2&t=4s&ab_channel=BusbeeStyle-FashionandBeautyOver40

      If you are indeed a circle, then I would suggest trying NYDJ jeans. Here’s a link to some options: https://rstyle.me/+iISjUYaThlw9bH9N9R8U7A

      And this video will help you to style a circle body shape: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rqtu42-Th1c&t=7s&ab_channel=BusbeeStyle-FashionandBeautyOver40

      I hope this helps! ~Erin xo

  5. Hi Erin, Thank you for the lovely, sincere, and heartfelt update on your menopause journey. Supporting each other as we go age gracefully is so important and you do a wonderful job of supporting women.

  6. The menopausal journey literally brought me to tears. I got hit with every symptom and some extra ones for good measure! Who knew my joint pain was related to it! When in perimenopause I took supplements that really helped but as I went in to full blown menopause they no longer helped. My body was not producing anything that could be supplemented. Through conversations I learned about pellets that are made from yams. I did my research and got the name of a nurse practitioner that specializes in them. They have been a game changer for me, including my libido! My traditional GYN was not happy I was getting them, but it’s what works for me, and I prefer to go that route than traditional HRT. The dosage is catered to what your individual body needs and my levels get checked to make sure I’m at my maximum best. It’s like my body is 20 years old again! haha The weight gain is still there, but overall I just feel so much better and more like myself.

    1. I’m SO glad you found something that works for you, Nancy! Thanks for sharing your story and your experience with yam pellets. xo

  7. Dear Erin~
    THANK YOU for your message on menopause and weight gain! It totally resonated with me and I REALLY needed to read it today! I appreciate you sharing your struggles and thoughts on this matter.

    My whole life I’ve been into diet/exercise, healthy eating, fashion, make-up, hair, etc. I’m now 54 yrs young and finding life to be a lot different now. I’m very down on my weight gain (used to be 130-135, now: 167lbs! ARGH! It is VERY depressing/discouraging. I still try to eat healthy and exercise, but the weight keeps creeping on. Plus, I’ve been diagnosed with Crohn’s within the last year and most recently, have a neck/shoulder injury (from doing some spring yardwork), which is causing some mobility issues.

    Despite all of this, I’m not giving up either! I still strive to watch my weight, eat healthy, do my hair/make-up daily, love to shop and look cute, BUT…it is a struggle. I talk myself out of working out too easily and at times, opt for some wine at the end of the day instead of the gym. So, your message was great to read….allowing myself to not be TOO hard on myself and surrender to the hard grind of discipline. Sometimes, it’s just not that important—resting and taking care of ourselves is okay too.

    I would like information on whether or not you or your team have heard about any type of pills/diet supplements that are specifically for women experiencing menopause to help with weight loss? I have not looked into HRT b/c I worry about increased chance of cancer. But, I am really struggling to lose weight, despite my efforts to eat healthy/exercise.

    Thank you again Erin–I really enjoy your posts and your blog!
    Wendy H.

    1. Hi Wendy… thanks for sharing your journey with us! In terms of weight loss medication, I think you’ll have a tough time getting a regular doctor to prescribe anything for weight loss. I would try talking to a weight loss doctor about your concerns. You don’t always have to be significantly overweight to be considered for treatment. Hope that helps… and please check back because readers might have insights here. Erin xo

  8. Hi Erin,
    Your channel and blog posts are a recent discovery for me. They have given me such joy and a sense of play around style but I truly appreciate your vulnerability and ‘real talk.’ It’s brave and I know it isn’t easy to share raw stuff in this format. I live near Boulder CO and feel such a sense of warmth toward knowing you are on your own journey in Telluride.

    As I read your post, I notice a lovely settling. As a friend recently said to me, ‘The self improvement project is exhausting. Allow yourself to know what you know.’ That seems to wrap up this moment of my 55 year old life in a nutshell. I’m a trauma therapist, ordained as a Zen monk 20 years ago (went a little wacky with meditation to help with anxiety when I started to run the trauma response team at CU Boulder at 27 and freaked myself out – right now I’m not loving formal meditation – “just looking out my window at the mountains with my morning coffee with my black lab’s nose in my lap” meditation).

    I’ve also been a full time step Mom to a 29 year old since she was 5 and my son turns 17 in a couple of days. I am still barely perimenopausal (it’s hanging on for dear life), a cherished friend is dying of ovarian cancer, and I just had a preventative mastectomy after all three of my older sisters made it through breast cancer (all successfully treated).

    Turns out I had Stage 0 breast cancer but now have a 2% lifetime risk. And weirdly, I am having a kind of second adolescence with my new torso playing with style. I have such a visceral sense of awe and reverence that my body could heal from two almost 8 hour surgeries three months apart last fall. (I’d never had major surgery and am a self-professed medical wimp. . . thank you preparatory EMDR/brainspotting – really helped shift my anxiety and capacity to take in support.)

    It is such a weird ‘bardo’ time of life – menopause with all these other things happening. My friend who is 60 got really good at life. She is naturally quite humble and generous of spirit in friendship. She is Dutch. . . maybe that helps. She’s so grounded despite moments of her own complete overwhelm with approaching the end of her life.

    So far. . . this weird crossroads of menopause I am experiencing has soften something around food (which has always been my comfort default area) and all other self care/self love aspiration. Taking inspiration from my friend who is far wiser than I, I just want to gently hold all the parts of me that get stirred up around all these ways I tended to drive to improve and then get caught in disappointment and sometimes more of collapse than really good feeling surrender into being a good friend to myself. I just want to get better at life. Somehow I feel more dedicated to that out of my love for her and wanting to carry a sense of her with me. Not sure why doing it to honor someone else rather than just for myself feels helpful but it doesnt feel like it is coming from devaluing my self or my worth. It feels like I am allowing myself to know what I know.

    There is a lot of grace and surrender in that letting go. I am so tired of trying to be good. . . I love Mary Oliver’s Wild Geese poems first line and thought of it when I read your blog. . .

    “You do not have to be good.
    You do not have to walk on your knees
    for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
    You only have to let the soft animal of your body
    love what it loves.”

    (Here’s the rest of the poem – i know lots of people have heard it many times but ICYMI)
    Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
    Meanwhile the world goes on.
    Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
    are moving across the landscapes,
    over the prairies and the deep trees,
    the mountains and the rivers.
    Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
    are heading home again.
    Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
    the world offers itself to your imagination,
    calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
    over and over announcing your place
    in the family of things.”

    As I read your blog, I thought you are ‘announcing your place in the family of things.’

    Keep posting and keep on carrying on. . . In deep gratitude for your long time joy in styling. It feels like play to me after my recent medical journey. I told my husband (who is still very dear to me after 24 years). . . this style fun is just for me really. . . finally.

    Long post. . . Hopefully it resonates for you or some but intended it as a long gratitude letter. . .

    From menopausal wanderlands across the Rockys,

    Thank you Erin and your team.

    1. Amy…wow…thanks so much for sharing all of this, including the beautiful poem. I am announcing and maybe you are too? It is a strange time and yet such a beautiful stage of life where we get to really decide what’s next. I know how precious time is now and I plan to take full advantage, savoring each moment and trying to make as big an impact as I can. No more time wasted on the unattainable pursuit of perfection. Thank you again for sharing!! Loved reading your thoughts…Erin xo

  9. Hey there! Thank you for this information. I am an RN with 30+ years of practice and a breast cancer survivor. So I would gently suggest that while well-meaning, you may want to consider recommending that your ladies seek medical advice from their doctor. Anecdotal information is ok, but has the potential for harm and I know that that
    is not your intent. Specifically with regard to Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), this is not something a woman
    should pursue without first discussing with her doctor, and here’s why: while replacing hormones sounds like a good idea (keeps our skin & our lady-parts young), they can be a problem regarding cancer. My breast cancer was
    Estrogen & Progesterone +, so HRT is not advisable for women like me.
    Another thing to consider regarding our lady-parts… dryness is one thing, but it’s atrophy that is at issue here. We don’t want to have pain during intercourse, and Estrogen does keep us “young” in that area, so I spoke with my Oncologist. She was comfortable prescribing Estrogen suppositories for me- they treat just that area and not my
    whole body. I have been using them for years and they help! Please note that they aren’t cheap, but they are worth it.
    You may want to read “The Wisdom of Menopause “ by Christiane Northrup, M.D. It’s worthwhile reading.
    Thanks & Blessings,
    Susan Birley

    1. Thanks, Susan! Checking with your doctor first is ALWAYS a must! We amended the post to make that super clear. Appreciate your note. Erin xo

  10. I’ve actually had the opposite problem with my weight since becoming postmenopausal. Losing my hormones caused me to lose weight. I went from 122lbs in perimenopause to 108lbs postmenopause. I did not desire this weight loss and it has many of its own problems just like weight gain does. I have been struggling to gain weight using progesterone pills & estradiol patches for my hormone replacement therapy. I am currently maintaining 114lbs, but it’s been a rough two years getting there. I do try to exercise 6 days a week & I eat a clean diet.

    1. I am so sorry to hear you are struggling, Mindy… you have such strength and persistence! Sending light and love to you. Erin xo

  11. You have no idea how much reading this helped me. I have been struggling FOR YEARS now trying to lose weight. I exercise 5 days a week, count every calorie, weigh all my food and have gone vegetarian. Nothing has worked. It is so frustrating and helps to know others are going through the same thing.
    I know how hard the Tracy Anderson videos are and when I saw that’s what worked for you I felt discouraged. Simply because I know there is no way I could do that 6 days a week. Anyway, thanks for the great article. 🙂

    1. It is VERY frustrating, Kirstin… remember to show yourself grace. If you’d like to start the Tracy Anderson videos, perhaps start slow with just one day a week. You don’t have to go all-in at the beginning. This journey is a marathon and we are here with you. Erin xo

  12. Thank you for sharing! I’m just 1 and 1/2 years into my menopause journey. I agree about the weight gain – 20 lb and all in my mid-section. My research and what has helping me is carb cycling, weight lifting (twice a week), walking the dog and yoga. I’ve read that we (menopause ladies) should not do extensive cardio which is great for me because I hate running etc. I enjoyed VShred toned in 90 days because it is short workouts with great ab exercises. I just recently signed up with their nutritionist which is going well. Of course my advantage is that my kids are at college so I don’t have to cook for anyone, but myself and occasionally my husband. I’m still struggling with hot flashes and the decreased libido.

    1. Thanks for sharing, Kelly! It will be helpful to many. I’ll give an update on the yam drops in the near future. Erin xo

  13. Erin
    I read you blog here I
    Missed the first part of your menopause journey. I am on the same Journey . its been a year now I started using youngliving essentials oils Progesterone plus and taking femigen supplements, also working on my thyroid I use endowflex I feel so much better but it is journey. For sure .
    Elaine

  14. I’ve been in full blown menopause for three years now and I’ve had the weight roller coaster ride too. I’m on HRT and I have found that if my estrogen level isn’t high enough I will immediately start to gain weight; I swear by just breathing! Once my levels get back up where I don’t have any symptoms, ie, night sweats, etc., then I lose the weight right away. Mine is all in my belly so it’s really easy to see! I do have celiac disease and don’t eat gluten so I can’t blame the weight on croissants! Also, my libido is definitely helped by an increase in estrogen and a low dose of testosterone.

  15. I am almost 65 and have been dealing with gradual weight gain over the last twenty years as I’ve gone though the stages of menopause. I’d tried dieting, obsessive exercise and maybe would loose five pounds and then put on eight, nothing worked long term. Pre menopause I was always able to easily keep my weight in check. One year ago I looked at pictures of myself and was so upset with how I looked I decided something had to change. I was seeing lots of posts about intermittent fasting and after reading Feast, Fast, Repeat and researching pros and cons I decided to give it a try. I’ve done a consistent 16:8 since last April and have lost over thirty pounds. I have not changed what I eat just when I eat. Your body will change, give it and yourself grace, good luck.

  16. Thanks for your openness and honesty on this topic! I honestly feel like I’ve been very fortunate. I am post menopause and have had none of the terrible symptoms that I was expecting and had witnessed others enduring – no mood swings, not one hot flash and I sleep like a baby! BUT right when I felt as if I had breezed through completely unscathed, I noticed an unusual “thickness” developing around my waist. I’ve always kept my weight within a 7 to 10 pound fluctuation but the extra pounds always showed up on my hips and thighs. NEVER my stomach! So I am currently battling this and doing my best to get it under control before it gets out of hand. My question is this – would hormone replacement be beneficial for this reason only? I’ve never been tested because I wasn’t experiencing any severe symptoms. I’m definitely willing to try if there’s a possibility it could! I would love to know your thoughts.

  17. Love this post!! It’s so true. I find many positive things about menopause as well and have decided I choose not to believe all the doom and gloom comments 😉 This can be an awesome time of life and we don’t have to be competing with 20 year olds anymore! How freeing to just enjoy this stage of life and do our best to take care of ourselves.

  18. Hi Erin:

    I’ve been following your menopause journey for the past couple of years and have had so many thoughts about your posts and journey. First, and I know you will probably disagree, I just don’t buy that losing and maintaining a weight loss is all that different or difficult during and post menopause. Obviously, everyone’s chemistry and metabolism are unique, but I speak not only from my own experience but also from observing the weight loss journeys of other post-menopausal women. At the age of 58, I decided I wanted to drop some weight before a school reunion. Like you, I had assumed that, at my age, being heavier than I liked was just a part of late middle age. So, I didn’t have any great expectations about losing a substantial amount of weight.

    In May of 2019, I joined WW. WW does not seem to get a lot of cred this days because it is old school, not trendy and doesn’t have the “shiny object” hook of a lot of newer diets that promote veganism (nutritionally deficient, in my opinion), vegetarianism, paleo, Hard 75, etc. To me, the 2022 version of WW is absolutely wonderful because it is sustainable. I lost 35 pounds on WW and have maintained that loss for two years. I lost very slowly. It took 11 months to lose 35 lbs. The first 20 lbs took 4 mos. The last 15 took over 6 months. Why? because I was eating essentially the same foods while losing that I was going to also eat at my lower weight. It wasn’t drastic; I wasn’t starving myself. I couldn’t have cared less about the slow weight loss because each day I was feeling better and better, more energized; I was becoming a great cook too!

    Importantly, I have completely incorporated a WW lifestyle into my way of life and I wake up in the mornings feeling happy, healthy, and full of energy. Of course, I have bad days and of course I’m not perfect on the program. What’s fantastic about WW is that you make the program work for YOU. It is points-based and nothing is off limits, so you don’t feel deprived. I have curated the most delicious meal plan full of foods and recipes that make me feel great. It is a combination of whole foods I love – lots of fish, chicken, lean red meat, fruits, vegetables, potatoes, flat breads. I eat fun foods (e.g., pizza, desserts, fancy cream cheeses) as a treat and in moderation. WW has a really easy to use app where you track your food, sleep, water intake, and exercise.

    You need to prioritize sleep and hydration. Losing weight and exercising are going to be tough without sleep and water. We’re part of the animal kingdom and we need good sleep and lots of water. Then, create a 24 hour meal plan either the night before or first thing in the morning. I know you don’t like cooking. But, Erin, to a certain extent, I think you need to embrace cooking somewhat. Lots of take-out and meal delivery will never be as good and personalized as your own cooking, even if the prepared foods are healthy. There are lots of easy ways to put together a great meal plan for you and your family. The WW app has thousands of fantastic recipes. See also, skinnytaste.com and Emily Bites and Pounder Dropper. Over time, it will get easier. Batch cooking is really helpful. Or Food Ninja that cooks foods in half the time.

    Erin, you know how you always emphasize that we need a wardrobe founded on the basics? In my opinion, what I have just described to you are the healthy weight loss and maintenance basics. And think about it – for millennia, human beings have roamed the Earth functioning and thriving by sleeping, hydrating, eating foods that sustain our health, and moving!

    Now the most important element that I saved for last: MINDSET. Mindset about food, body image, weight loss, etc drive the entire journey. Weight gain does not come from eating when we are hungry. It comes from eating for emotional reasons, be they stress, boredom, anger, sadness, etc. So – you must ask yourself in a calm moment: why do I over eat? How can I support myself better? Why do I want to lose weight? (Write this in your journal, keep it on your phone, and when you’re about to eat something you really know is not going to support you, remind yourself of your whys). When I want to eat when I am not hungry, I do simple breathing exercises. When I am feeling stress, I do breathing exercises too. To deal with chronic stress, I go for long walks or go to the gym. And I always ask myself: why am I living this lifestyle? What do I want from it?

    But in order to keep your head in the game you need: COMMUNITY SUPPORT. On WW, there is a Connect feature where all of us WWers post our journeys, our successes and our failures, tips, recipe recommendations, and non-scale victories. In my opinion, if you want to lost your weight and keep it off, you need to be part of a weight loss community for the rest of your life that provides you support. You might also check out No BS Women. It’s lead by Corinne Crabtree and she has a great weekly podcast, Losing 100 Pounds with Corinne. She is actually anti-WW, in that she thinks the point system is nuts. (I like it; to each her own). She is the queen of weight loss and maintenance Mindset, in my opinion.

    I hope some of these comments help you. Again, I don’t think weight loss during menopause needs a lot of special, different approaches. Although I will say one thing: for me, eating plant-based does not work at this stage of my life. I’m hungry every couple of hours eating just plants. Eating animal protein keeps me full for hours. By the way, I have read that, as we age, the body needs more protein because our systems are less efficient at absorbing the essential amino acids from protein. Maybe there’s something there; not sure. All I know is that adding more animal protein (and getting rid of sugar and highly processed foods) was a game-changer for me. Another game-changer: weight lifting. I have muscle tone at age 61! I think the weight lifting has revved up my metabolism and it’s fantastic feeling so strong and fit!

    I wish you all the best on your journey.

    Best,

    Cat
    P.S. As probably know, Oprah Winfrey has been a spokesperson (and major shareholder) for WW for years. However, the fact is, she does not follow the WW program and has not maintained a significant amount of weight loss on the program. Therefore, I don’t think she’s a good model and I hope you would not be dissuaded from trying WW for that reason. Obviously, her presence is probably good PR for WW nonetheless and WW is, after all, a profit-centered enterprise.

    1. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, tips, and story, Cat. Everyone’s bodies are so different, that it helps to read other perspectives. Erin xo

  19. I am in my 2nd year of being fully “paused”. I have gone through the weight gain, too. (Friends also warned me about the potential for postmenopausal weight gain.) I am 5’2″ and was creeping towards a size 12 when my employer allowed 10% of us back in the building. At that time there were about 6 items on the cafe menu – things like burgers, philly cheesesteaks, traditional sandwiches and grilled chicken. Sides included fries, steamed veggies, onion rings. I knew I could eat grilled chicken and steamed veggies for lunch every day as the other offerings would make my cholesterol sky rocket. It was about 9 months later I realized my clothes were starting to fit looser. Fast forward to now and I have really changed my eating habits – high protein dinner, gave up most sugary drinks (still like the occasional Chick-Fil-A lemonade), rarely eat fast food or even out in a restaurant, try not to eat/snack after 7:00 p.m., and I’ve worked hard to stop grazing mindlessly on the weekends. I also run and use a Peloton bike 6 days a week. I have been a (slow) runner for many years and love the way I feel after 30 minutes of getting my heart rate up with some high intensity cardio. To date I have lost 20 pounds and am in a 6 or 4 depending on what the article is and the manufacturer. Now….I don’t deprive myself. I’ll have pizza, chocolate, carbs, etc. just in moderation. I am not dieting, just eating healthier. One side affect of menopause for me is rosacea that is triggered by too much sugar or processed foods. So now I really consider how much it’s worth having sugary/processed foods.

    Remember ladies – each of us will have our own journey in finding what works for weight loss/maintenance. In the meantime – find find those outfits that make you feel great and rock them!

  20. Most importantly, give yourself some grace. Women are beautiful in all their shapes and sizes. Accept the changes and think about it as leveling up!

  21. Another comment… I went to an anti-aging doctor who prescribed estrogen, progesterone, DHEA, and a bit of thyroid. The thyroid increased my energy and helped me lose weight. My libido returned with the estrogen. Some women also take testosterone. And lifting weights regularly will help with everything. But not just a casual visit to the gym. If you can afford a personal trainer get one. Ok, the downside to all of this. I felt and looked great for a long time. Then 3 years ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I don’t know if the hormones played a part. I was luck because I caught it early. What am I trying to say??? Just be careful when you play around with hormones and drugs. Find a good doctor. Get one of Suzanne Summers books – Ageless. You can also try liposuction for your tummy if it really bothers you. I know we should be accepting of age, etc. but we have so much pressure to look a certain way. Do you think those movie stars have special genes?? No – they have good doctors and lots of money.

    1. Thanks for sharing your story, Denise! I totally agree, there isn’t a one size fits all answer. It’s so important to talk to your doctor before trying anything new. Erin xo

  22. Erin, I love your site, your sharing, your tips. I too have started gaining weight in menopause and it’s totally pissing me off. I’m a singer and I’m used to looking pretty sexy frankly and now the wtf inner monologue is screaming. I really appreciate your updates and honesty. Now I need to go buy some yams.

  23. Thanks for this post. It came at exactly the right time. ❤️ It’s interesting that you are talking about surrendering because that’s exactly where I am. I’ve gained weight and had a bunch of other typical peri menopause symptoms for probably 5 years now. I’ve fought it, too – doing all the cleanses, changing my exercise routines(some harder, some easier), tons of supplements, avoiding even more foods and household chemicals than I already avoided, tests and medical advice that has added up to a very expensive obsession. I ended up with a plethora of nutritional deficiencies, exhausted, frustrated to the point of tears, hating how I look and feel. I noticed about a year ago that something quiet in my mind told me to stop fighting so I started to stop coloring my hair with the excuse that I’m avoiding chemicals. While I don’t always love my salt and pepper hair, it hasn’t changed my life for the worse…it hasn’t changed it at all other than not spending time and money coloring my hair constantly. I think my hair is actually getting thicker now! My body is speaking but I’m not listening.

    I recently broke my foot and am now in a boot for 14 weeks so my exercise routine is destroyed. I’m convinced it’s my body’s scream telling me to slow down, listen to what I need, and just plain surrender. I’m now ready to stop with the madness and roll with it. I want to be in good health more than I want to fit in my old clothes. Thank you for the inspiration. ❤️

    1. I agree… the broken foot is a sign.
      I totally get it, Kim… and I was on that train too, but no more. I think the more we obsess, the worse it gets. Personally, I think surrender and self-love is the way forward.
      Sending you so much love and strength as you heal.
      ~Erin xo

  24. Truly helpful!
    We fight and fight this weight thing. In the end, it is better to buy clothes that fit and flatter your new size and shape. Trying to squash into our skinny clothes is totally discouraging.
    We’ll all get very thin when we are 80 or 90. Let’s enjoy medium!!

    1. Yes, when we wear pieces that fit and flatter, we feel good about ourselves. Glad you enjoyed it, Isabelle! Erin xo

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