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Death, Taxes, and Body Shape

Menopause Isn't a Menace

As a woman gets to the age of about 50 (give or take), she goes through the change of life, or menopause. This process starts as early as age 30 with perimenopause. Her body changes in many ways as the production of estrogen slows down. Menstrual periods cease; metabolism slows; and the skin gets thinner.

Unfortunately, plenty of myths about menopause abound, such as menopause being a time when a woman can expect to gain weight. As inevitable as menopause is, it doesn't have to go hand in hand with weight gain. Yes, some women gain weight at this time, usually because their metabolism is slower and they're eating the same amount of food as they did at age 25.

But if a woman eats just the amount of food that her body needs for fuel, eats nutrient-packed foods, and exercises for both strength and stamina, she can stay at her ideal size with ease.

In other words, menopause is a fact of life. It is not an excuse for being overweight.

That Useless Spare Tire

Men tend to carry “spare tires” around their waist come middle age. All the crunches at the gym don't seem to help much. In fact, a man can have terrifically strong stomach muscles and still have a larger waist and midsection.

The spare tire is often caused by stress. Adrenaline is the “fight or flight” hormone you secrete during stress from normal daily events such as driving, working, and so on. The more stress you experience, the more adrenal hormones your body excretes. One stress hormone, cortisol, causes the body to store fat specifically around the waist. So the more stress, the more cortisol production, the more waist. Can this be changed? Yes, in several ways: through eating nutritiously so that you get plenty of stress-busting nutrients, by doing those crunches with complementary stretching, and by decompressing everyday.

When “Baby Fat” Isn't on the Baby

Many women complain they never lost the weight they gained during pregnancy. Of course, a woman naturally weighs more during pregnancy and even up to a year after childbirth. She's biologically programmed to gradually release her “baby” weight during the first year after birth. Some women, however, don't lose the weight. This can be caused by hormones and also because the women continue to eat as they did when pregnant.

Weighing more during pregnancy is a fact of life. Not being able to lose the “baby” fat doesn't have to be. Your youthful shape can return just as it has for many other women.


Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Healthy Weight Loss © 2005 by Lucy Beale and Sandy G. Couvillon. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit the Idiot's Guide web site or call 1-800-253-6476.

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