Hi everyone! I want to start off by saying how blown away I am by the response from the first “REAL TALK” post. When I started this blog, I did state that I felt that social media, or society in general, was not looking at the issues of women who are of a certain age. I can see that there are so many women who felt the same way! When I was checking the comments every day, I could not get over the positive response. There was not one negative comment out there. I also loved reading all the questions and subjects women wanted to talk about.
It’s incredible when you start a conversation and begin to have feedback, realizing that you are not alone in your thoughts. So THANK YOU to everyone who took the time to read, like the post, and give me your thoughts and/or feelings. It’s so empowering to know that we can start our own group and feel comfortable enough to discuss anything. I hope it continues, and more of you comment to let me know topics you want to address. That is what is driving the discussions we’ll have. I will provide answers to all of your questions based on my personal knowledge along with extensive research of trial and error on my part. I will never suggest a product or procedure that I have not personally used.
Now let's get right into it! I would say one of the most popular topics women were talking about was gaining weight during and after menopause. My feelings were confirmed by all of you who said:
“I’m gaining weight for no reason,” or
“I’m doing everything I can and just can’t lose weight, especially in the midsection.”
So, that’s the first thing we’re going to really get into and talk about for our follow up.
The reason I want to start with this topic is that menopause affects essentially every woman’s weight. At the very least, women will see some kind of change in their body type. So, I want to take an in-depth look at this subject. I also personally feel like looking your best makes you feel your best.
I was doing research on why weight gain happens during this stage in a woman’s life. What I kept reading was that menopause does not make you gain weight. Everything said that you just need to watch your diet and exercise more, which is definitely part of the solution. To read this over and over again was so frustrating for me to see. It goes back to that feeling that most women have throughout their lives, that this is all my fault. Which is commonly reinforced through society and the male perspective. Honestly, my doctor even said this to me at one point, but it really just comes down to a lack of knowledge on the subject. Mostly due to the faux pas of discussing menopause openly.
Gaining weight during and after menopause is a real thing, and it’s not your fault! Menopause does make you gain weight due to the change with your hormones. The fact that women lose estrogen during this stage in life will trigger the change in your body, especially in your midsection. This means you have to re-evaluate some of your eating habits as well as trying to incorporate more exercise into your routine. For any woman going through menopause, you have to tweak your diet. This doesn’t mean you are eating unhealthy by any means. It just means your body is reacting differently to certain foods during this time than it did previously. Strength training during menopause is also very helpful for many reasons, such as preventing osteoporosis. But, these are not the only things you should be doing.
Going to your doctor and getting on the right plan for you will really help balance your system. Whether it be a natural plan or HRT for menopause weight gain, find out what is right for you.
For me, the first two years of going through menopause were, simply put, miserable. I was extremely depressed and uncomfortable in my own skin. I ended up gaining about 25 lbs and it took a lot for me to start actively dealing with menopause in a healthy way. I first went to my doctor and started HRT therapy (hormone replacement therapy). This might not be the avenue some women want to go down, but as I stated previously, there are other natural options as well. After this, I began changing small things within my diet such as cutting out wine with dinner every night. When I lost the first ten pounds that's when I signed myself up for the gym. It took me about five years of working out to get me to where I am today. But, once you see even a little change, it will keep motivating you to continue.
I recently began seeing a nutritionist here in Vermont. One of my reasons for seeing her was because my immune system was really being taxed. After we got home from our vacation to Italy, I was sick with the flu for over two weeks. I was getting sick every time I traveled and it seemed to just get worse and worse. Also, I was ready to stop taking estrogen and progesterone and wanted to work with someone to keep myself healthy during that transition. My nutritionist's name is Paige Kelly, MSACN, who has worked in the health care field for over two decades. She has been a breath of fresh air because she is able to give me real nutritional solutions and reasons for the problems most women face. Since I always want to share expert advice with all of you, as well as my personal choices, I decided to ask Paige to collaborate with my blog for a monthly article. When I talked to her about the subject of gaining weight during/after menopause, here is just a bit of information that she gave me.
“Q: I seem to be eating properly, so why do I have such a difficult time with weight loss?
A: It may not be what you are consuming, but subtle clues from the inside out. Did you know that “inner tube” around the waist that decides to join the body during menopause can be a sign of adrenal stress?
This is one component of our endocrine system which is often overlooked as a reason for weight challenges, but is ALWAYS overtaxed and can be a cause of excess weight around the middle.
Let’s explore this possibility and many others when you join us in 2019 to gather tips on why you may be running into roadblocks to obtaining your goals and optimal wellness.
Until then, try to make good choices such as including protein and fat with each meal, one less dessert, one less drink, to minimize suffering when you begin your weight loss plan” - Paige Kelly, MSACN
Having Paige join our community is so special, and once again goes back to my original idea of women supporting women. Again, this just makes me feel so proud to be a part of something that I know will help other women going through the same experiences.
Another expert we are going to bring on board is my trainer, Charlotte Brynn, who I have been working out with for the last fives years. Charlotte is the Executive Director of the Swimming Hole, which is where I workout and swim in Stowe. She has been teaching, coaching, and mentoring for the past 30 years. You’ll find out more about her when we post her first video. I credit her with making me strong, fit, and confident in my ability to always push myself. This month we will be posting three videos with Charlotte. Our first video will be an interview with her and talking about how to get started. In the other two videos, we will demonstrate a basic beginner workout we came up with, and a more advanced workout as well. The workout video will come with a PDF of each workout, which might be easier for some to follow.
As I’ve said, getting into the gym was a big change I made in my life. I was not someone who was into working out, EVER! This was a real game-changer for me mentally and drove me to try other things out of my comfort zone. That was when I learned to swim. This also became a social experience for my husband and I. We found so many friends at the gym who became great friends in our personal lives.
Since I started working on this blog, which my daughter and I started in May, I’ve been busier than usual. Unfortunately, this means I wasn’t making it to the gym as often as I should. Due to this, I could see my body starting to change and put on weight. This taught me was that yes, the gym does work in keeping weight off. Plus, making me feel good along with giving me more energy. So, for the new year, I am going to get back into the gym and the pool more often. It’s always important to make time for yourself, which as women we sometimes forget to do. We have a tendency to take care of everyone else in our lives first and maybe think about ourselves last. Making your needs and your health just as important as everyone else’s in your life is something I think we can all work on.
I am again excited to share the expert information that these women are willing to give. I hope that you’ll be just as excited to follow along. I’ve been lucky enough to find people who are talented at what they do. It makes changing things in your life a bit easier. If you’re working with someone who loves their job, that in return will impart some of that love and enthusiasm to you.
My feeling has always been that there is an answer to every problem. You may not always like the answer, but there is an answer!! Stepping outside your box is scary, but believe me, it will make you feel great about yourself once you accomplish it. It won’t always be easy, and sometimes you may fail, but keep at it and you’ll love yourself at the end for just sticking with it.
There are so many other things we’re going to cover in 2019 based on your requests. I got a ton of comments about skin care and what I personally do to care for my skin. Let me just say I do a lot!! First, I consistently change up my skincare routine and the products I use. I will continue to share all my regimes with you ladies throughout the year. I’ve also been very transparent about getting Botox and fillers. I even posted a video of me getting Botox.
Another way I take care of my skin is always using sunscreen if I’m in the sun. If I’m at the beach, it’s a big hat and bigger sunnies. Growing up in Philadelphia, our vacations were always at the Jersey Shore. So from a young child, all the way through to my 40’s, I was a big sun worshipper. That ended after a very bad burn on my face, which resulted in my skin becoming a mess. With all the products and tools that are out now, you can correct sun-damaged skin and make it healthy again. We’ll discuss all of that along with going to a Medical Spa to talk about laser treatments. It’s amazing what laser treatments can do to help with all different skin issues.
One idea I decided to start this year is “Glowing Skin with Mrs. Stafford.” This will be a monthly post in which we ask all of you to share your skin issues for me to answer. Since each individual has unique skin, I thought this would be the most effective way to approach the subject of skincare.
We have so much in store and I can't wait to share with you what we’ve been working on. Again, I would love to hear your comments and what you are interested in since this blog is for all of you. So PLEASE keep those comments coming!
Happy 2019 to all of you and cheers to making the Mrs. Stafford community a great place to be!
Keep Reading: How To Lose Weight During Menopause: 10 Diet and Fitness Tips to Help You Feel Your Best