Weight Gain in Menopause: Aging or Lifestyle?
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
Sarah Pope has been a Health and Nutrition Educator since 2002. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Weston A. Price Foundation.
Sarah was awarded Activist of the Year at the International Wise Traditions Conference in 2010.
Sarah earned a Bachelor of Arts (summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) in Economics from Furman University and a Master’s degree in Government (Financial Management) from the University of Pennsylvania.
Mother to three healthy children, blogger, and best-selling author, she writes about the practical application of Traditional Diet and evidence-based wellness within the modern household. Her work has been featured by USA Today, The New York Times, National Review, ABC, NBC, and many others.