There is so much talk about menopause and all that’s involved with that such as hot flushes, mood issues, sleeplessness, dryness all over, aches and pains and of course absence of menstruation. There is less said about peri menopause which is that time when there are hormonal changes 2 to 10 years prior to menopause. This is unfortunate because the number and extent of the bodily changes and symptoms at this time can be immense and a time that women can struggle, even more so than menopause. Perimenopause isn’t often revealed on a blood test so unless a woman is proactive and investigates further or sees a Naturopath, it can be a confusing and miserable time.
One aspect of perimenopause that really upsets many of my female clients and friends of a certain age including myself is the unexplained weight gain.
Not only does the weight gain seem to appear with no change to diet or exercise regime it often settles around the middle and even the back! It can feel like any indulgent drinking or eating can rapidly add to an increase in body fat composition but also feel like it’s VERY difficult to lose again.
Perimenopause is a time of recalibration so there are several factors that contribute to this. One of them is that the fluctuating female hormones causing our insulin to become less sensitive, not only does this contribute to weight gain this also has an impact on brain fog.
The body’s reaction to certain foods especially sugar and white flour products changes and our need for more protein often occurs. A dietary change that addresses this not only assists with weight loss but also reducing brain fog, cravings, and anxiety.
There are a few stages of perimenopause and then there is menopause itself. These stages can impact the body in different ways such as metabolic syndrome, which influences insulin and lipids, raised histamine levels which increases reactivity, phases of elevated oestrogen, changes in levels of neurotransmitters which can has a potentially huge impact on mood, elevated testosterone which can contribute to weight gain and suboptimal liver and thyroid function all of which may play a role with weight gain and most importantly general wellbeing.
Bio individuality is important as perimenopause and menopause can be expressed in different ways, this is why not one treatment protocol and diet suits everyone.
From my experience and supported my research, peri-menopausal women wanting to lose weight respond well to an initial green keto style diet. Following this, presenting symptoms and responses can be monitored whilst rotating through a liver supportive detoxification diet or intermittent fasting or a Mediterranean diet often brings about success.
Diane Pascoe, has three decades of experience helping her patients to overcome and manage chronic fatigue, stress and anxiety, low mood, and weight loss, with a particular focus feeling good in every way and enjoying the journey of getting to that point.