I really want to help my mom!
My mom, who was ALWAYS thin before menopause, has just been slowly gaining weight and it won't budge! I tell her to go on these high protein, high fat diets and still nothing has worked. I spend a lot of time with her and I can definitely say that she eats maybe 1,000-1,200 calories a day. She is allergic to eggs and cow dairy, so she avoids those things, usually starts her day with goat yogurt, chicken sausage or maybe some smoked salmon. Lunch is always protein again, she loves to eat tuna out of the can on lettuce leaves, or sometimes just a can of sardines and maybe a salad. Dinner, roasted chicken, lots of roasted fish and some sauteed/roasted greens. She rarely eats starches, NEVER eats grains except maybe Ezekiel bread once or twice a month. She never overdoses on nuts (in fact she doesnt really eat snacks or anything too caloric) and very very rarely eats fruit.
In terms of exercise she runs up and down stairs all day long, does some light kettle bell training and walks on the treadmill 30 minutes a few times a week.
I seriously cannot figure it out for her and she is at a loss as well. Her thyroid is normal and everything else seems to be balanced. This is post menopause but still, you see people able to lose weight on this site all the time.
What else can she do? Is there anyone else that has experienced this and made some change that we haven't looked at yet? This is a healthy, active woman who needs to lose about 20 pounds.
Are you sure those calorie counts are correct? Is she weighing and measuring everything?
I ask because I, too, am post-menopausal, and the metabolism slows so that I am eating far less than I ever imagined I would just to maintain my weight. But I also know (from experience) that unless you're really paying attention to portion size, it's really easy for those 1200 cal to become 1800.
A person who is eating as well as your mother and just maintaining her weight (i.e., not losing) needs to create a caloric deficit to lose.
While I wouldn't dismiss thyroid issues (I'm hypothyroid) because it's really difficult to get an accurate diagnosis, weight gain is only one of many, many symptoms. You should check out a symptom list (Google hypothyroid symptoms) and see if she has several of them. My primary doctor told me that I was 'normal' during 5 years of progressively debilitating symptoms. That's fairly common because many of the hypo symptoms are also common in aging. It was only when my symptoms were so severe that it was obvious to me that there was a problem--and I self-referred to a good endo--that I was diagnosed.
But during this period of untreated hypothyroidism, I lost 65 lbs through carefully controlling my calories. I mention this because everyone thinks 'thyroid' when there's any weight gain, but that's usually not the case.
My mom is the same way, though she has more carbs from fruit and she won't drop some bread (a couple of slices a day). But she bikes, digs her garden for hours and swims daily. She has bony-thin limbs, but a large belly that doesn't go away.
She was interested in weight training but after learning it involves gym & barbell lost interest, saying that her gardening & biking pumps her muscles.
That's the only thing I can think off that I believe she could have done differently, i.e. reduced biking and trained heavy instead.
On the other hand, I am inclined to believe that after a certain age it is simply impossible to be slim if you are not genetically gifted or undergo endless surgeries or eat like a bird, the body just keeps gaining weight like Dorian Grey's portrait suddenly starting to show every piece of cake consumed when you were 14 or 20.
It sucks, but what can you do.
Perhaps she is eating too little? Perhaps the light kettlebell training should be more intense to increase testosterone and growth hormone? Just thoughts.
My suggestion would be for her to eat as she normally always did, but then do a fasting protocol.
Eat normally 5 days, then do two days eating only 25% of her normal amount (two consecutive). I know several people who are post menopausal on a variety of diets who just couldn't shift any weight who do this protocol and have seen great results.
If she is interested in switching to primal, all the better.
The fact she has belly fat only after menopause means it is entirely hormonal. Her progesterone is probably very low. Progesterone is required for thyroid function, bone density and a lot more like proper organ function.
Get her a Suzanne Somers book on bioidentical hormone replacement. The difficulty then is finding a doctor who understands them.
After my post there will probably be a "medical professional" who will come in and say I am talking crap. I say don't tell me horse piss premarin is the same thing as what our bodies used to make. Also a lot of studies have used " progestins" not progesterone.
She will feel a million times better, the brain fog will go, she will guard herself against cancer(with vitamin d too) and the belly will lean out.
To the naysayers I will say don't knock it unless you have tried it properly. Download Suzanne Somers or doctor lee and read, read, read
She swears by Suzanne Somer's books and has been working with a great doctor that deals with healing the body with natural formulas, but also bioidentical hormones. Last time she checked her hormones were in balance, but I told her to get her thryoid and hormones checked again recently. So we will see if that has anything to do with it.
For a while she was using estrogen creams and progesterone creams/capsules but I am not sure if it really made any difference.
If it is really all hormones and she is eating well/exericising enough, once all of this is in balance she should lose the weight right?
Originally Posted by Rueben
I agree it could be low progesterone most women of that age do have low progesterone. I'm in menopause and I decided to use progesterone cream for other reasons and to my surprise I started loosing weight. I like the cream because it's more gentle on the system and I found it very effective.
FAQ's About Progesterone Cream
Maybe she should look into bioidentical hormone replacement. It gets difficult to loss weight for many women after menopause.