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Bestselling Nutritionist Reveals 4 Keys to Weight Loss After Menopause

Bestselling Nutritionist Reveals 4 Keys to Weight Loss After Menopause

I recently sat down with nutritionist and bestselling author Dr. Diana Fleming to ask how women can lose weight after menopause.

Read on to find out her answers to my questions:

Why is losing weight after menopause so difficult?

Well, first I want to say, as a woman who has been through menopause, I know how frustrating this process can be, and I want the ladies reading to know there’s hope. You can have a healthy, attractive body after menopause, but it is challenging and I’ll tell you why.

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In one word, the problem is “change.” Menopause is a time of change for your body. Your metabolism has been slowing down since your 30s, and certain hormone levels change, which makes it more difficult to lose weight or even to simply keep weight off.

Also, one of the most frustrating parts of menopause, as it relates to your appearance, is that in this period, body fat migrates and concentrates around your stomach, hips, and butt. So even if you don’t gain a single pound, you may notice yourself looking pudgier in the mirror.

Unfortunately, the changes I’ve just mentioned are largely unavoidable, which is why losing weight after menopause is difficult. But you can change your lifestyle, which is a huge part of weight loss, so you can feel confident in your body after menopause.

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What are some things women can do to lose weight during and after menopause?

One of the biggest things I would say is to get more physically active. As we get older, we often experience a decrease in physical activity, and that makes sense. We’re busy with work and maybe children. We don’t have as much energy. And honestly, it can be intimidating for a woman in menopause to hop on a treadmill surrounded by 20-somethings who look like they can eat whatever they want without gaining a pound. As someone who has been there, I’m very sensitive to this. But I would encourage women to find ways to be more physically active. Go for a walk after dinner – just in your neighborhood. Use this time to listen to an audiobook or call a friend. Turn it into “me” time that you look forward to. That may sound counter-intuitive, but I’m actually serious. Exercise is a proven stress reliever, and it can be very enjoyable.

Of course, there’s more to slimming down than being physically active. The food you eat plays a huge role too. But I don’t want to step on toes by promoting one type of diet, so I’m focusing on exercise since you can add it to any eating plan.

What are some specific exercise tips for women in menopause?

Okay, I’ll give you four, but you should talk to your doctor before you make any of the changes mentioned in this post. These are not specific recommendations. They’re principles I use to stay slim, and I’m in my 60s, by the way.

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1. The first thing I do is try to sleep 7-8 hours at night.

I said I was going to talk about exercise, but let’s face it, we all know we should be exercising – and we don’t do it. I’m convinced one reason is because we’re tired. And a good night’s sleep helps me get the energy I need to follow through. Plus, lack of sleep has been shown to increase carb cravings and slow metabolism, both of which are problems when it comes to weight loss.

2. Along those same lines, I stay hydrated by drinking water throughout the day.

Kind of like being sleep deprived, when you’re dehydrated, you won’t have as much energy, and you won’t feel like being physically active. A simple method for staying hydrated is to drink water until your urine is clear instead of yellow.

3. I make regular aerobic exercise part of my weekly routine.

And to improve my results, I use a method called high intensity interval training (HIIT). That probably sounds extreme, but it’s basically just alternating between mild activity and more strenuous activity. This can speed up your metabolism and burn more fat in a shorter period of time.

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I personally do HIIT on the treadmill. I alternate between walking and running on a treadmill for about 25 minutes, and I do this twice a week. My particular version of HIIT is to alternate between walking and running every tenth of a mile, gradually increasing the speed of the running every time.

4. I do strength training.

A pound of muscle burns more calories than a pound of fat. But women generally have lower muscle mass, at least compared to men, and our bodies lose muscle as we age. If you’ll invest the time to build some muscle, your body can burn more calories every second of the day.

Obviously, the best way to build muscle is strength training – lifting weights. This is something I personally do twice a week. If you’re interested in giving it a try, make sure to learn the mechanics from a professional to avoid injuring yourself.

What would you say to someone who is discouraged?

Well, as I’ve mentioned, you can have a healthy, attractive body after menopause. So I would want them to know there’s hope for that. But I would also encourage women in this position to realize that, even though it’s frustrating, aging is a natural part of life. I still want to look and feel beautiful, but I know that means something different for me now than it did when I was 30. So I work hard to stay active and look good for my age, and I celebrate all of the attractive things about me that have come from being a bit older.

Featured photo credit: Dr. Diana Fleming/Paul Martin via flickr.com

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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