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When I speak with women who are transitioning to menopause, we often have a discussion on how the change in hormones affects body composition. It is well documented that in the two years before and after a women’s last menstrual cycle, the loss of estrogen triggers an increase in fat mass near the abdominal region. The sleep and mood disruptions also commonly experienced during this time, in addition to the general decline in muscle mass and physical activity as a natural consequence of aging can also contribute weight gain. To offset these changes, there are three initial steps I take with women:

  1. Blood work to confirm a woman’s hormonal status and identify other barriers to weight loss. The tests most commonly run include FSH, Estradiol, TSH, fasting glucose, fasting insulin, cholesterol and A1C.
  2. Complete a diet diary to gain a clear understanding of what is being eaten throughout the day and at what time, whether or not she is getting enough protein, and how often she’s eating because she’s hungry or for another reason (for example, bored, habit, emotional).
  3. Screen for obstacles to physical activity/exercise such as fatigue, joint pain or lack of time.

The next step is to review the patient’s blood test results, diet diary, and outline a 3-month care plan. Treatment often involves nutrition coaching, strategizing how to overcome the identified obstacles and biweekly momentum check-ins for accountability and ongoing motivation. The goal is to create a plan where the woman feels good, can stick to for the long term, and helps her sail through menopause.

Interested in learning more?

Click here to book a 10-minute complimentary “meet the naturopathic doctor” visit. You’ll have an opportunity to speak with Dr. Gri ND, ask questions, and find out how naturopathic medicine may help you achieve your health goals. Please note that treatment plans will not be presented at this time.

References:

Greendale, G. A., Sternfeld, B., Huang, M., Han, W., Karvonen-Gutierrez, C., Ruppert, K., Cauley,
J. A., Finkelstein, J. S., Jiang, S.-F., & Karlamangla, A. S. (n.d.). Changes in body composition and
weight during the menopause transition. JCI Insight, 4(5).
https://doi.org/10.1172/jci.insight.124865

Santen, R. J., Allred, D. C., Ardoin, S. P., Archer, D. F., Boyd, N., Braunstein, G. D., Burger, H. G.,
Colditz, G. A., Davis, S. R., Gambacciani, M., Gower, B. A., Henderson, V. W., Jarjour, W. N.,
Karas, R. H., Kleerekoper, M., Lobo, R. A., Manson, J. E., Marsden, J., Martin, K. A., … Endocrine
Society. (2010). Postmenopausal hormone therapy: An Endocrine Society scientific statement.
The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 95(7 Suppl 1), s1–s66.
https://doi.org/10.1210/jc.2009-2509

Williams, L. T., Collins, C. E., Morgan, P. J., & Hollis, J. L. (2019). Maintaining the Outcomes of a
Successful Weight Gain Prevention Intervention in Mid-Age Women: Two Year Results from the
40-Something Randomized Control Trial. Nutrients, 11(5). https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11051100

Williams, L. T., Hollis, J. L., Collins, C. E., & Morgan, P. J. (2013). The 40-Something randomized
controlled trial to prevent weight gain in mid-age women. BMC Public Health, 13, 1007.
https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2458-13-1007