Menopause and weight loss

Are there any MFP users out there suffering through menopause and weight gain related issues? I am 48 and have been in peri-menopause/menopause for a year and a half now, main symptom being intolerable hot flashes (at least 10 per day). A year ago I started taking effexor for the hot flashes. At that time I was about 35 pounds overweight. While on the effexor my hot flashes went away completely and I slept like a baby. The only problem was that I only wanted to sleep, ever. I had no ambition to exercise and I didn't really care what I ate. I gained about 4-5 pounds during that time even though my goal was to lose 35 pounds! So I made the choice to wean myself OFF of the effexor and take my chances with the hot flashes. I expected to be able to lose weight once I was off the effexor but NO, I proceeded to GAIN 5 more pounds, for a total of 10 extra pounds during a time when I was logging my food religiously. So frustrating! MFP had me at 1270 calories and I would always eat back my exercise calories because I was hungry...and of course I cheated occasionally (lack of sleep because of hot flashes=lack of willpower against cravings) but I logged my cheats and my total calories were usually still <1600 calories on a cheat day. I started a running program and do my best to strength train at least once a week (I know I need to do more than that). I am contemplating trying hormone replacement to assist with the hot flashes and I just upped my calories to 1310., thinking that maybe I wasn't getting enough fuel (?). My plan was to try that calorie level for a few weeks to see if I have any success.

I guess what I am looking for are any helpful tips or hints that other unfortunate menopause sufferers have for me for successful weight loss! Thanks!


  • Sabine_Stroehm
    Sabine_Stroehm Posts: 19,270 Member
    There's a whole supportive group of folks who understand what you're going through!
    Lots of good advice too!
  • ME !!! Im 50 and I dont "get" flashes., im always Hot :( harder to loose weight, harder for everything... help !!! lol
  • dont eat off your extra calories for exerise., my hubby tells me thats if you want to maintain yr weight, i dont eat them back into my calories...
  • dwn2erth
    dwn2erth Posts: 156 Member
    I know it's been a HUGE issue for me too!!!
  • jillebean60
    jillebean60 Posts: 79 Member
    After tons of research, here's what I found out and what is working for me: No way are you going to lose weight unless and until you get your progesterone: estrogen ratios back to manageable. You'll know they're back in good ratio when you #1 aren't so irritable #2 don't have hot flashes #3 have energy again #4 notice it's easier to lose weight again.

    I don't believe in HRT. I believe in letting the process happen and managing as naturally as possible. I use Remefemin and Estroven nighttime both of which have black cohash as main ingredient. It works!!!!!! They can both be purchased at any local drug or large grocery store OTC.
  • gabi_ele
    gabi_ele Posts: 460 Member
    I am 53 and in the middle... or near the end of Menopause. I have found that soy helps me with the hot flashes and I take a supplement that helps with the mood swings and sleeping (5 HTP you can get it at Walmart for around $10.00) but I suggest you talk to your doctor if you are on other meds, just in case. My problem is I get a period every time I drop around 10 pounds or so:( Hope this helps
    Oh and those are not hot flashes they are power surges:)
  • lizziebeth1028
    lizziebeth1028 Posts: 3,602 Member
    I'm almost 54 and in perimenopause. After being able to maintain a healthy weight all my adult life through healthy eating and exercise I began to pack 'blubber' (ewww) around my mid-section about 2 years ago and noticed my all around appearance was getting doughy-er. It was very frustrating because I've always been such a stickler for a healthy lifestyle and working out!! Here are some changes I made that helped me lose weigh and improve my overall appearance -

    1 - EAT MORE TO WEIGH LESS - it's true, it works! I've upped my calories to 1500 - 1700, somedays reaching 1800. Eating at 1200 (give or take a few) causes the body to plateau, metabolism becomes sluggish, weight loss stalls. Eat more!!

    2 - LIFT WEIGHTS/ STRENGTH TRAIN/ CALISTHENICS - like most women I was stuck on the perpetual treadmill!! Too too much cardio in an effort to lose weight. Strength training helps maintain lean muscle mass which ladies you want LEAN MUSCLE MASS!!! Muscles burn calories and rev up the metabolism. Ditch the 2 and 5 pounders and Pick up something heavy!! Recommended read - NEW RULES OF LIFTING FOR WOMEN

    3 - PROTEIN PROTEIN PROTEIN - I took a good look at my diet and realized I was sadly lacking in protein. Now I shoot for 100g a day. You need protein to help fuel your muscles and workouts!!!

    4 - CHEAT DAYS - I was guilty of over indulging on weekends. Now I do a 'cheat meal' and try my best to not go over 1800. Staying consistent in your calorie range will get you results

    So this can be done!!! Best of luck everyone! Feel free to friend me :flowerforyou:
  • sherdenise
    sherdenise Posts: 11 Member
    Thank you everyone! I have written all of this down and will take it all into consideration!
  • Hi Sherdenise! I am 51 and had the same situation as you which started about 1.5 yrs ago. I was on 1400 kcals and exercising 5x/wk and no wt loss. In fact, one month, I gained 2 #! I have tried soy, ground flax, black cohosh, evening primrose oil. Have met wtih OB/GYN who wants me on HRT. (No thanks!). At one point, the hot flashes were so unbearable during day and night I almost opted for the Effexor.

    Over the past 3 months, I have been on a low carb diet and have seen improvement all the way around. Hot flashes are minimal, I have lost 14 pounds and actually feel somewhat "normal" again as i am able to sleep well most nights. I had full labwork panel done to check lipids, liver, thyroid, inflammation level, glucose before I started this new diet. I am having the labs done again in Oct and if they show improvement, I am sticking with this diet. There are many low carb diets out there, but I am working specifically with an MD and my whole way of eating has changed. If you would like more information, please reply back. Also, there are no supplements or weight loss plan to BUY, this is just a different way of eating. I feel good, full, not hungry all the time and i swear the diet is related to improvement in my peri-menopausal symptoms that I experienced. Lisa
  • sherdenise
    sherdenise Posts: 11 Member
    Thanks nogieira22, I also have cut way back on white flour and processed foods along with artificial sweeteners....I feel better in some ways but still have the hot flashes and joint pain. I've added glucosamine to my multivitamin and calcium/magnesium regimen, hoping that helps somewhat. I am waiting to hear back from my MD regarding the hot flashes. I want to see what he or my female PA have to offer next. If I don't like their plan I'll research natural options again. I tried black cohosh 3 or 4 different times and it always made me nauseated...every time no matter if I took it with or without food and any brand I tried---same thing. :cry:
  • slkehl
    slkehl Posts: 3,813 Member
    That is so frustrating! If you haven't already, it may be a good idea to talk to your doctor about it, who will understand hormone interactions and the extent of these issues
  • chelledawg14
    chelledawg14 Posts: 509 Member
    Do you know what your BMR and TDEE are so that you can get an idea of what the minimum number of calories you should be eating? I'm sorry to hear about the awful hot flashes; I haven't reached them yet, although I know it is near as I'm going to be 46 in a month and a few days.
  • gatorginger
    gatorginger Posts: 947 Member
    bump for later
  • elka67
    elka67 Posts: 270 Member
    Bumped for later
  • bump
  • Ann1964x
    Ann1964x Posts: 76
    low carb works best for me too
  • Ann1964x
    Ann1964x Posts: 76
    Oh my I feel your pain.
    I am 48 and have not had a period in 13 months. I am not doing hormones.
    I am not having hot flashes as bad since I try to eat gluten free, watch caffeine and try to eat better. I still sweat a ton while sleeping.
    I started pre-menopause at 41. I am thinking I am post now, and have my annual coming up in September.

    I am 15 pounds overweight & can't lose weight to save my life. I love to workout, but I started logging here about 3 weeks ago. I need to improve my eating for sure.

    I did start using Femgest creme about a month ago & it does help with moods and sleep.

    I am hoping you get relief soon.
    Its miserable , I know!
  • lmastl
    lmastl Posts: 3 Member
    I'm 53 and thought I was having hot flashes the last couple years because I would get all sweaty during my sleep. Well, I soon realized that wasn't anything compared to the "real" hot flashes of literally throwing back the covers, turning on the lights and making sure my skin wasn't on fire. It was really affecting my sleep.

    I mentioned it to a few girls as work and they asked me if I had tried Vitamin E? I said no and I had never read anything about it helping either. Well, I tried it and the first couple of nights, my HOT flashes reduced in half and now I don't have any...unless I forget to take a pill for a couple of days. I take 1 400 capsule each evening, a couple of the girls here take two, so it's whatever works for you.

    I say hey, it's inexpensive, not risky, very easy, and definitely worth trying.

    Signed...sleeps like a baby:)
  • gatorginger
    gatorginger Posts: 947 Member
    The information below is my Journey as I have wrote down what I have done. I am 51 and I am going through pre-menopause. I was having a hard time losing weight and my daughter told me about this site and I have had great success since so yes it can be done at least it has worked for me

    The reason I started out at 1000 calories a day is because I was used to skipping dinner during the weekdays so it wasn't hard for me to do that.

    My Journey
    2/27/12 started with myfitnesspal at 146 pounds eating 1000 calories a day

    5/25/12 weighing in at 128.8 increased my calories to 1100 a day

    6/8/12 weighing in at 126.4 increased my calories to 1200 a day

    7/6/12 weighing in at 124.8 increased my calories to 1300 a day

    7/20/12 weighing in at 124.6 increased my calories to 1400 a day

    8/3/12 weighing in at 124.4 increased my calories to 1500 a day

    I am at my goal weight and have been increasing my calories every two weeks to find my maintenance level. I just got back from a vacation is why I haven't increased them again yet but may be doing so Friday depending on the scale

    6/11/12 started doing 20 lunges to tone my legs every day but one

    6/13/12 started doing arm lifts 3 sets of 10 every other day

    I walk about 25 minutes 4 times a week

    For any of you ladies going through being emotional I highly suggest vitamin B-12 1000 mg. Before I started taking the vitamin just about anything would make me cry, now I don't have that problem

    Another thing that has helped with my inflammed joints is vitamin B6. I was very close to having to get a prescription for this until a co-worker recommended the vitamin.

    Since I have dropped 22 pounds my hot flashes intensified. I have been eating rasins every day as my doctor said one of her patients said that helped her with her hot flashes. I still get them but not as severe.

    Hope this helps
  • vibegirl
    vibegirl Posts: 69 Member
    Ah yes...Menopause and all it's glory!! lol - in the midst of peri-menopause...still get periods but they have been a bit odd with duration and occasional spotting. So I know it's making it's way to me!

    As far as the 'dreaded' weight gain...I 'know' about this stuff and yet I didn't prevent it! - Plus up till 3 yrs ago if I wanted to lose a few pounds I just cut back and it happened! A VERY sedentary job and daughter in college (moved out) made my eating habits less than stellar these past few yrs. One thing I do know...the body does slow things down for us females as a 'safety mechanism' - to actually put more weight on the mainly the 'mid' section -so the body acknowledges the added weight by strengthening our bones as we get older. Osteoporosis wasn't an issue many years ago, as women didn't panic when they gained 20 lbs or so and were more active with their lifestyle out of necessity (less modern conveniences) - Anyway my point is that it is our body's weight that puts a variable amount of stress on our bones, and "tells" them how calcified or strong they should be. The slimmer person will not have the day-by-day, hour-by-hour stress of weight and gravity that will result in strong bones. Hence the body has a back up by slowing things down (menopause) and adding some extra weight so we have strong bones as we age. Kinda cool, other than the weight it self ! ;o)

    I'm looking at Menopause like a change of seasons in a way...we tend to shift our perspective/mindset if we live in a climate with changing seasons - we change clothes, foods, temperatures, holidays, activities etc - we prepare for each I'm trying to use menopause in that context...just prepare a bit and it can be smooth, with minimal upheaval for us! I mean, hell, I KNOW I stopped working out and got lazy, I KNOW I started grabbing easy foods, instead of well planned meals. So now I have to start 'planning' again - I'm also an herbalist and natural health practitioner so I've used herbs to keep me happy (PMS) for over 15 yrs- Not to mention 100s of other women. I know many of you spoke about a few various items/herbs/products you've tried. I gotta tell you they do work (quality herbs, that is) - quality counts for results, like anything else...and of course knowing how to take them and how much etc! Black Cohosh is good, works on other issues in the body besides hot flashes...but doesn't work for each person and since there are so many more aspects to Menopause than hot's usually not enough. Other herbs combine nicely to cover more issues/women. Some get lucky though and Black Cohosh is all they may need! Someone mentioned B vitamins...I think they are more important than a multivitamin (IMHO) as stress is a HUGE factor in how our hormones fluctuate DAILY - yes daily! The B's also help with hair and nails, energy, and soothing the nervous system. Can't go wrong there!

    So - after that long-winded reply...I'm getting myself back on track - stepping things up and Oh I forgot to mention weight resistance/weight training is also our friend ladies!! :o) Quicker results, more fat burning and 'weight bearing' helps with bone strength

    Here's to each of our success and better than expected transition through middle-age puberty! lol