Did you know that the average 45-year-old woman has been on 61 diets since the age of 16?
And despite the endless number of apps, tracking devices, and hyped-up diets, long-term success is elusive for many women. Keto? Intermittent fasting? Paleo? Carnivore? Vegan? It’s enough to make your head spin.
Many women in perimenopause and menopause struggle with weight loss due to the many myths out there!
There are many reasons for midlife weight gain (estrogen dominance, sluggish thyroid, cortisol dysregulation). Still, they rarely involve the tired “calories in/calories out” formula (despite what your doctor may tell you).
In addition to confusing advice, we have a lot of pain regarding our relationships with food and the body. We assign “good” and “bad” labels to foods. But really, food is neutral. It is neither good nor bad unless we decide it is. We resort to strategies focused on pushing, white-knuckling, under-eating, and over-exercising, which further damages metabolism and hormone balance. None of this works!
Several years ago, I created a program called Scrap the Scale, designed to help women lose weight AND create a different relationship with their bodies and food. It had a structured eating plan because that is what the participants wanted and needed to get them started.
When creating my class, I found a book called The Slow Down Diet by Marc David. I was so blown away by his message and method that I incorporated it into the class material. Even though I no longer teach Scrap the Scale, I still use his principles to work with my 1:1 clients because the weight gain issues in perimenopause have NOT disappeared.
As I begin this series about weight loss for January, I’d like to share 4 myths he touches on in the book.
Weight Gain Myth 1
The best way to lose weight is to eat less and exercise more.
The truth is that undereating and overexercising (which should result in weight loss) fails miserably. Partly because of what it does to cortisol levels (increases) and partly because punishment and deprivation do NOT lead to success! True nourishment of your body on every level and movement that feels like love is ultimately how you reach your destination.
Weight Gain Myth 2
The reason you eat too much is a lack of willpower.
Wrong. We don’t overeat because we lack willpower but because we are biologically driven to do so when our meals lack quality nutrition, pleasure, relaxation, and the tendency to eat on auto-pilot.
Weight Gain Myth 3
As long as you eat the right foods in the right amounts, you’ll ensure good health and lose weight.
Let me tell you, I have more clients than I can count who eat like rock stars and are still gaining weight. Why? Because they are in a constant state of fight-or-flight. You cannot lose weight if your body believes it is constantly under siege. What you eat is important, but how you eat is just as vital.
Weight Gain Myth 4
The experts are your ultimate source of reliable and scientifically accurate information.
If only. YOU are the expert on yourself. And the nervous system that lives in your gut is the best guide for day-to-day dietary advice. The problem here is that many people are not responding to their bodies’ signals. They know particular foods don’t make them feel well, but they eat them anyway. We lose touch with hunger signals and just eat by the clock. Let the expert inside you guide the experts to follow outside you.
In the coming weeks
I’ll touch further on the concepts in this book and more. If you’re struggling with weight, I HIGHLY recommend digging into this (don’t worry, it’s a short read) and thinking about the messages the book offers. You find it at your local bookseller or on Amazon.
Dr. Anna Garrett is a menopause expert and Doctor of Pharmacy. She helps women who are struggling with symptoms of perimenopause and menopause find natural hormone-balancing solutions so they can rock their mojo through midlife and beyond. Dr. Anna is the author of Perimenopause: The Savvy Sister’s Guide to Hormone Harmony. Order your copy at www.perimenopausebook.com.
Also, she offers a membership group, Hormone Harmony with Dr. Anna Garrett, which provides women in midlife with affordable expert guidance and community support.
Dr. Anna is available for 1-1 consultation. Find out more at www.drannagarrett.com/lets-talk.