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When Hormones Change your Shape


woman over 50

Article by Dr Ravi Jain

The menopause and the associated symptoms varies enormously from woman to woman – however, most women find that the change in hormones also means a change in shape.    

 The waist can vanish as fatty deposits settle around the middle.  That pert derriere suddenly descends to a lower level and seems to have attracted a softer, flabbier consistency.  Trousers that used to fit perfectly around the thighs now strain the seams.Dedicated dieting doesn’t seem to be having much effect – except perhaps that the bits that haven’t attracted excess ‘flab’ have become scrawnier looking!  Is that it?  Are you destined lose your elegant silhouette and you just have to put up with it?
Fortunately, the answer is ‘no way’ – there’s plenty that you can do. It takes a little effort !

Of course, diet and exercise plays a big role – and you may have to be more conscious of what you’re eating and make healthy choices.  You can’t abandon exercise and expect to retain the all-over body tone that you had before your hormones kicked in and caused all these changes.  It’s a good move to talk to a personal trainer who knows about what works to keep you fit post menopause – and doesn’t put unnecessary strain on your skeleton and musculature.

You’ve probably heard about the increased likelihood of osteoporosis – but the right diet can ensure you keep that at bay.  The challenge is retaining a balance – an orthopaedic consultant will tell you to eat plenty of dairy (milk, yogurt and cheese), seeds, nuts, protein, fruit and vegetables to keep your skeleton healthy – and if you follow that you may find that the high calorie content of some of these simply adds more weight for your skeleton to carry around!
Then the cardiologist will warn you about the dangers of excess weight putting strain on the heart.  You don’t seem to be able to win!
A healthy diet, combined with sensible exercise will make a difference, but you do need to get the balance right and sometimes that can be a real challenge.

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  1. karen

    June 3, 2011

    This is so helpful. I have been confused about what is happening to my body now that I am in the perimenopausal stage. I was used to pretty much eating what I wanted and walking/exercising 4-5 times a week for about 30-60 minutes. This no longer works! Now, I deliberately watch what I eat and am choosing more toning/weight lifting exercises. My body shape has changed especially in the stomach area. True – dieting doesn’t work for me, but eating right does. It seems as if starving makes my body crave the wrong food. The positive is that I am learning more about myself. Wisdom is so much more appreciated at this stage. I don’t sweat the small stuff, and I am actually happier now than at any other time in my life!

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