by Francine Kanter

What causes weight gain at menopause? Why are the low calorie diets that worked in your younger years no longer effective? What changes can you make to your diet, exercise and lifestyle regimens to combat menopausal weight gain?

While going through menopause, there is a huge hormonal combination change. Estrogen and progesterone are the two main hormones in which are found most imbalances. A change in either of these hormones can produce hot flashes, insomnia, vaginal dryness, mood swings, increase in body weight, lack of energy, depression and anxiety.

During the menopausal transition, there is a natural redistribution of fat over the abdomen and hips. This may be due in part to changes in the endocrine system, but weight gain most likely results from reduced muscle tone, reduced physical activity, increased appetite and calorie intake and other effects of the aging process.

As menopause is a natural phase in a woman’s life, there are a few alternative treatments that are very effective in relieving symptoms and returning a woman’s body and life to balance. Realize you are far more carbohydrate-reactive and stress-sensitive after menopause, which means the carbs you used to be able to eat that did not affect your waistline may now be too much and do just that. The stressful exercise and lack of sleep you could tolerate in your younger years, while still remaining lean, will now start to show itself on your waist. To deal with these hormonal impacts, you will need a hormonal approach to body change.

Hormonal changes can be controlled and lowered nicely by relaxing activities. These include leisure walking (to be distinguished from power walking), restorative yoga (to be distinguished from intense yoga) and tai chi, as well as massage, sauna and other restorative non-exercise practices, including meditation. Increase the amount of vegetables and proteins ingested and avoid sugar and starchy foods. Drink plenty of fluids.

Upon implementing an effective change in your lifestyle, consider homeopathy along with it in order to support the hormonal system and bring deep healing. Homeopathy can help in dealing effectively with stress, fostering a stable mood and restoring healthy sleep patterns. It is a safe and effective alternative medicine that can balance hormones and re-establish health in a woman’s system on all levels—mental, emotional and physical.

Francine Kanter, CCH, RsHOM(NA), is a board certified homeopath practitioner, with an office in Coral Springs. For more information, call 754-484-7988 or email [email protected]