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It’s so frustrating with weight gain, hot flashes, insomnia, dryness, depression, fatigue and more. You’re happy to be done with your boring rules just to have another set of boring problems. Whether you have all the peri- and post-menopausal symptoms or just gaining weight, it’s disheartening, especially when doctors say it’s normal and you just have to go through it.
“The good news is you don’t,” says Dr. Roberts of Health Utah.
Although this article will only discuss weight gain, it is important to know that other symptoms of menopause can also be managed with the right protocol. You don’t have to survive them.
So what does the research say to help reverse menopausal weight gain?
Prevent muscle mass loss – eat more plants
According to a 2009 study, one of the main reasons postmenopausal women gain weight is that they steadily lose muscle mass. Because muscle needs more energy to maintain itself, losing it results in less energy being used and more energy being stored as fat. Unfortunately, this muscle loss can lead to more than weight gain. It has also been linked to higher rates of chronic kidney disease and diabetes, according to an article published in the journal Mediators of Inflammation.
Reducing the rate or reversing muscle loss is a high priority for health and weight maintenance. The most obvious way to decrease muscle loss is to increase exercise, especially weight-bearing exercise. But that’s not the whole story. As always, what you eat plays a big role.
For nearly 30 years, Dr. Roberts has been working to improve his methods for maintaining optimal health and weight. He relied heavily on the latest research as well as his own clinical experience.
A 2020 study found that increasing protein intake by as little as 0.6% can significantly slow muscle loss. You might be surprised to learn that plant protein was more effective in aiding weight loss than animal protein. A report published in Current Osteoporosis Reports explains that increasing plant proteins such as those found in legumes, decreased bone loss. Another study found that women saw their insulin sensitivity improve. and another study found a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease.
Clinically, Dr. Roberts has seen the same health and weight benefits when patients increase their intake of plant protein (compared to animal protein). One way he has monitored this is by measuring each patient’s lean body mass and muscle mass before and after participating in his weight loss program. This is part of the fairly comprehensive metabolic test and 17-page report that everyone receives with a consultation at Health Utah.
Find and eliminate stressors you can control
To make a bad situation worse, stress often increases the severity or frequency of the symptoms you experience, according to the journal Menopause. It’s not enough that you experience stressful situations, but researchers from the Journal of Behavioral Medicine say that you also have more symptoms such as hot flashes.
Why does stress make symptoms worse and why is this important?
Dr Roberts says: “This seems to happen if your adrenal glands are struggling to multi-task. I know it sounds strange, but the adrenal glands take over the production of estrogen and progesterone once the ovaries stop making hormones.In fact, if the adrenals are strong, you need to produce as many hormones as necessary to prevent symptoms.The problem is that when you are stressed, the adrenals must also produce stress hormones. If they are weaker than they should be and can only keep up with a set of hormones, scientists believe the body chooses survival hormones over sex hormones Lower sex hormones make symptoms worse one of these symptoms is weight gain.
The remedy is easier said than done: reduce your stress. For some, it’s like telling them to stop breathing. For them, life is stressful. What’s interesting, says Dr. Roberts, is that stress comes in many forms. It’s not just the mental and emotional stress you have to worry about. Your body can also be stressed by the food you eat, lack of sleep, toxins, infections, fluorescent lights, etc. For example, the color red was a very serious stressor for one of Roberts’ patients who learned of her son’s death as she sat in her truck looking over the red hood.
The trick is to identify those stressors and then remove the ones you have control over. Dr. Roberts and his team at Health Utah make it easier than it looks. A combination of physiological tests and a review of your history helps identify these stressors. Once identified, Dr. Roberts prescribes clinically proven methods to reduce the negative effects of these stressors.
Try herbs like monk pepper
Sometimes looking to the past provides the best solutions for the present. In the Middle Ages, monks supposedly sprinkled their food with an herb to help them stay chaste. They called it the pepper of the monks. Today, interestingly enough, it is called chasteberry. Although it has a blood sugar-lowering effect in men, it has been shown to increase and balance female hormone levels, according to an article in the Journal of Women’s Health Care.
The first medicinal accounts of the use of chasteberry for menopause were recorded by the father of medicine, Hippocrates, in the fourth century. Although popular in Europe for centuries, it is relatively new to American women. It is, however, gaining popularity as scientific research begins to confirm the wisdom gained from centuries of traditional medicine.
Other herbs such as black cohosh, licorice, St. John’s wort, red clover, and wild yam have also traditionally been used to relieve menopausal symptoms, including weight gain. Since herbs and medications may be contraindicated in certain circumstances, it is best to seek the advice of a physician before taking them. After doing a thorough background check, Dr. Roberts can determine if chasteberry or any of the other herbs are safe and likely beneficial in your particular case.
The take home message
Weight gain is one of the many common symptoms that women experience during the hormonal changes of menopause. These symptoms are frustrating. You don’t change your diet or your activity level, but your body changes and you feel helpless when you see the pounds piling up.
Fortunately, scientific and clinical advances prove that you don’t have to put up with these changes. The key to knowing which of these methods works best for you is to test.
Same-day testing is included in Dr. Roberts’ $59 weight loss test and consultation package. Call 801-810-CARE (2273) or visit Health Utah today to schedule your weight loss testing and consultation.
If your loved one also wants a consultation, mention this article and you can schedule the second appointment at no additional cost. That’s a savings of $59.