100 lb. Club - Could menopause be causing my lack of lbs. lost?

09-25-2007, 07:12 PM
I think I'm doing everything right. But the scale is showing me almost no weight loss for the last month. 1 lb in 5 weeks. I stagger my calories from 1200 - 1400 and average about 1300 a week. I exercise doing strength and elliptical. My calories are healthy choices like vegetables, low fat yogurt, wild salmon, bison, ostrich, light soy milk, veggie burgers, kashi and fiber one cereal, nuts. I don't understand it.

09-25-2007, 07:33 PM
Sharon, I was just reading this article, from AOL:

by Katherine Steinberg

Every woman knows that she will reach menopause, but not every woman is clear what happens next. What changes may occur in your physical well-being and in your appearance? We’ll take you through what to expect from menopause and answer your questions about hormone replacement therapy.

What is menopause?
Menopause is the cessation of a women’s period for at least 12 consecutive months with no other underlying medical condition. Menopause occurs when your body stops producing the hormones that regulate your period. Over the course of a lifetime, women average between one and two million eggs, housed in follicles. As you menstruate, this supply dwindles and eventually the follicles are entirely depleted. This is important because it signals your body to stop the production of estrogen and progesterone, the hormones that have been regulating your periods.

What is the earliest age women experience menopause?
The average age to reach menopause in the United States is 51, but some women may have their last period as early as their 40s. If menopause occurs before age 40, it is technically considered premature. However, premature menopause only occurs in about 1% of the population. What many women might think is menopause – hot flashes, irregular periods, even missing your period for 6 months at a time -- may just be the beginning. Dr. Rogerio Lobo, Director of the Center for Reproductive Sciences at New York Presbyterian Hospital, says that women experience symptoms 2-3 years before actually entering menopause.

Will my appearance change?
During menopause there is an increase in weight, most of it in the abdomen. This is due to a drop in estrogen production -- which was keeping your weight distributed around the hips and lower body. That’s just part of it though, says Dr. Lobo. As you age your insulin sensitivity changes, which is very important in terms of mobilizing fat. Some hair on the face can occur, but it tends to occur much later on in older women.

How will my body change?
The most common changes associated with menopause are hot flashes and vaginal dryness. Hot flashes usually last about 3 years after menopause, but in some cases persist much longer, even indefinitely. They are intended to cool your body, much like an internal air conditioner. Vaginal dryness can occur because of decreased estrogen and a thinning of the vaginal wall.
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I would say that it is certainly a possibility. But that does not mean that you are doomed to never lose another pound. Maybe it's tiime to change things up a bit. How about trying a different form of cardio? Perhaps swimming, biking, dance, or a DVD? Or maybe try increasing the intensity, duration or frequency of what you are currently doing.

Then of course, there's the old cut back in calories choice. I know you probably don't want to do that, but it may be worth a shot.

At least you're still losing, albeit at a slow rate. So that's a good sign. I personally would try increasing my exercise and cutting back my calories by 100 to perhaps give it a little boost. But please, and I know that you will, keep this up. Something is bound to give if you stick with it. The closer we get to goal, the harder it does get. And sometimes we've got to pull out all the stops. With a little (all right, a lot of) patience, a bit of tweaking and that neverending determination that I know you've got, that scale will be moving once again. Hang in there. Just hang in there. You are bound to be rewarded with a nice drop in the scale very soon. Good luck. Let us know how it's going. :)

09-25-2007, 07:43 PM
Thanks Robin, once again you've been a great help. I will never give up even if I maintain this for a year and then start losing again. I know I will eventually lose if I keep it up. I am going to try the bike and the elliptical. I love the elliptical so I don't want to give it up. Maybe I'll give it a break for a couple days or increase the time on it.

09-25-2007, 08:01 PM
I, too, really like the elliptical. Maybe if you want to burn more calories you could increase the intensity or change the program. I understand that interval training is a really good way to increase the calorie burn.

I have total admiration for your ability to stay on program in spite of the scale frustration. Even if you stay at this weight for the rest of your life (and I know you won't), you will still be an amazing success story!

09-25-2007, 08:05 PM
I have found the same thing to be true for myself. I had a hysterectomy 5 years ago but kept my ovaries. That was OK except for the fact that I couldn't base my determination of menopause on "lack of periods" but only on symptoms, such as hot flashes. As they increased, I tried bio-identical hormones, but found them ineffective. I get headaches with hot flashes, and was having such poor sleep, I decided to try an estrogen patch. Ever since that time I have had trouble maintaining a 30# weight loss and have been slowly gaining weight.

I am a Lifetime WW member and was able to eat 24 points with an occasional splurge on weekends. Now, every time I "splurge", I end up with a gain. Going back "on plan" does not seem to drop the weight, so the scale keeps going up. I don't know if it is the estrogen I'm using, or menopause to blame but it's making me miserable. I have dropped back to 19-20 pts. per day and I will see if this helps, but I also seem to have a lot more cravings and seem to binge more. I definitely need to increase my activity level, just finding it hard to do. :(

09-25-2007, 08:41 PM
Menopause could certainly be the cause, Sharon. I too, am in menopause and it took me 9 months to loses 12 lbs. I then took a break and have put back on a few pounds but I'm working to get those off again.

When in menopause I find that my weight has settled around my tummy and my metabolism has slowed down alot. But, never fear, it is possible to lose weight. In all honesty, I really could have tried harder and probably lost a lot more weight :o

It sounds like your doing everything right and sometimes it drops off a few pounds at a time. I know I went several months and only lost 1-2 pounds about every 5 weeks, but sometimes I would drop 2-3 pounds at one time. Your doing great! We can do this. Keep up the good work. It will come off :hug:

09-25-2007, 09:58 PM
I, too, am in menopause and find I really have to work pretty darn hard for the weight to come off. Weight lifting has helped immensely because as I've gained muscle mass, I'm burning calories better. So I encourage you to lift as heavy as possible as often as possible (I lift almost every day--splits, not total body) and try to develop some serious muscle. I also do some fairly intense cardio most days of the week.

Quality of calories also seems to be an issue (perhaps that's where the insulin sensitivity the article mentions comes into play). Processed carbs linger even though the calories are within my target range. For me, eating every three hours and eating more protein has helped.

Weight certainly can come off in menopause. The fat distribution is a little annoying (the fat really does settle around the waist), but it gets better. Just hang in there!

09-26-2007, 09:21 AM
Yes, Sharon. Menopause can make losing weight more difficult. I fight hard for every single pound I lose. I had a total hysterectomy (no ovaries) in October 05 and I've been diagnosed as insulin resistant. Apparently, insulin resistance is very common in women who are menopausal. Before the surgery, I was in perimenopause for over a year and gained 32 pounds. Within the year after the surgery, I gained another 42 pounds. I tried numerous diets with no success.....I just couldnt lose one more pound after the initial two weeks loss. After a lot of trial and error with hormone therapy, I am now on a bioidentical hormone combination that works well for me. I also tried Southbeach and it worked! I think Southbeach works for me because I am no longer eating white anything....bread, potatoes, rice, pasta...everything is now whole grain. I no longer consume anything with added sugar or high fructose corn syrup, I eat tons of veggies, protein with every meal and snack and I limit my fruits to one or two servings a day and only fruit that is low on the glycemic index. For me, it is no longer simply a case of calories in versus calories out...the calories have to come from the right source. I also have to exercise, or the weight will not come off no matter what I eat.

This slow weight loss can be extremely discouraging, but the weight can come off. Please don't give up.

Mrs Quadcrew
09-26-2007, 09:45 AM
Sharon, I know when I eat more fruits I REALLY slow down in the weight losses. I now know this and even though it slows the losses down, I wanted the melons and pineapple this summer.....so I had them. I am now ready to get the numbers lower, so I have quit buying the fruits. Not sure if that is information that will help you, but thought I would throw it out there.

09-26-2007, 04:27 PM
Thanks for all the support. Fruit is definitely an issue with me. I do consume small amounts now. I do find the quality of the calories is just important as the quantity of calories. I am going to do more weight lifting I think that will help.

09-26-2007, 09:15 PM
Sharon, remember that often when you start lifting more often, the scale will show a gain because the muscle retains water during repair. Just don't want you to be upset if you should have that happen. :)

09-26-2007, 10:29 PM
Thank you Sheila for the reminder.:carrot: