Weight Gain in Menopause: Aging or Lifestyle?Fitness
By Guest Blogger Paula Jager, CSCS
One morning mid February I had an urge to try on my bathing suit–I don’t know why I just did. Most likely because it had been cold, spring was around the corner and I had been hiding out in my sweats enjoying mass quantities of comfort foods.
I didn’t gain much weight–the scale could not be right! If I had gained it had to be muscle. Well, I put on that swimsuit, grabbed a mirror and checked my rear. I almost threw up, that could not possibly be my body looking back at me. What in the world had happened?
Here I am a CSCS and owner of a fitness facility that eats “right” and exercises year round. I am passionate in my efforts as well as my nature. I practically get on a pulpit and shout it from afar. How in the world could I have gained 11 pounds? And 9 ½ of it was in my rear–that’s pure genetics there. Could it be my age, I am 51? Could it be because I am post menopausal? I had always had older friends tell me about the “inevitable weight gain around the middle” at that stage in life to which in my “youth” I always replied “it’s what you eat and whether or not you move your arse”. I was the heaviest I had ever been in my entire life at 126 lbs and 19% body fat and had a roll around the middle. Could I possibly have been wrong? Does the body change? Well of course it changes as we age but was it really out of my control? I decided to test my hypothesis and treat myself as if I were a client. . .
I first ask a client what they are trying to accomplish–what their goals are. For in order to evoke change one must have goals, they must be measurable and you must have a strategy or plan. My goal is to reach 115 lbs and approximately 12% body fat by May 22nd. My start date was March 15th of which the first 12 days were a raw milk fast to cleanse and detoxify the body.
I next ask a client to give me a food log; I must know what they are taking in before I can help them. So, for 3 solid weeks I logged everything I ate in www.fitday.com (an excellent free online diet journal) to see where I was. I changed not a thing as I wanted an honest assessment of what I had been consuming. Now mind you, I eat healthy, healthier than 95% of the people in this nation I would guesstimate. It is a priority in my life; for how I feel, for my health and energy levels and around this time of the year for how I look. It is my job and my life. I will give you keeping a food log is tedious, time consuming and not something I would do long term or for more than the duration of an occasional reality check. However, if I do not know what I am consuming and in what amounts I will not know what I need to change.
Here’s what I found. . .
The macronutrient ratios were near ideal: about 21% protein, 19% carbs and 60% fat on average. The foods were all from quality sources and home cooked. But my average daily caloric intake based on 2/19 — 3/10 was 2400 calories a day and my “indulgences” were averaging 2-3x a week coming from homemade ice cream, 70% organic cacao bars and grits. So maybe that’s why all that junk was in my trunk?
Based on the 3 week food log that I kept in Fit Day, eating as I had been all winter – I am surprised! Yet the answer is clear and I now know what to change. Most importantly, I have a plan. . .
Stay tuned for Part 2–where I am 5 weeks later and how I got there. . .
Paula Jager CSCS and Level 1 CrossFit and CF Nutrition Certified is the owner of CrossFit Jaguar.
Her exercise and nutrition programs yield life changing results