THE BLOG

The ABCs of Obesity in Menopause

06/11/2013 03:18 pm 15:18:55 | Updated Aug 11, 2013

After taking care of over 10,000 patients, one of the commonest questions I'm asked by menopausal women is how to best control their weight. I think the answer depends on the person and the reason that the person is overweight. Once you have the answer to why you are gaining weight, it is much easier to create a plan to help you lose weight.

This is an issue I have some personal experience with. At 2.5 years old, I was front-page news as "Mighty Might," the fattest kid in the county. It was not until I reached middle school, or junior high, as it was called, that I had the insight to understand the source of my obesity and how to manage it.

Here is what I call the ABCs of obesity. Which one of these do you fit in? Answer that and it will be much easier to create a plan for weight loss.

A stands for Access. It's amazing that in the United States, there are areas where good nutritious food is limited. Often it is urban areas where the poorest live and fresh food is limited. The less-expensive processed and junk food finds its way into the daily diet of millions and obesity becomes rampant. We are making headway into this problem of "food deserts," but there is still much to be done.

B stands for Behavior: How do you handle stress? Do you work out at the gym or look for a quick oral fix that temporarily satisfies your anxiety? Learning what stimulates you to reach for a candy bar or a food fix is essential to breaking that habit.

C stands for Community. In some communities, being overweight is attractive. My song Phat Fat Rap says it best: "How you look's not the problem, Jack. It's just unhealthy being fat." But it means that education is not only of the individual but also of the community. Diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure are not attractive, but they are directly associated with being overweight.

D is for Depression. Obese individuals are more likely to be depressed and depressed individuals are more likely to be obese. It is a vicious cycle that feeds on itself. Fortunately, depression can be treated so that people do not have to suffer.

E is for Exercise. How much do you exercise? A regular regimen of 30 minutes daily helps with depression and anxiety and also burns calories. Lack of exercise does just the opposite. Creating a healthy habit of daily exercise is a key ingredient for weight loss.

F is for Food. Fast food and junk food are bad for you. Too much fat, salt and sugar. Also, eating food fast is bad. It takes 20 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain you are full. So eating fast gives you more time to eat and you don't realize you're full. So people eat till they're stuffed.

G is for Gut. There is an evolving science that the bacteria in your intestines are a key factor in your health. Eating healthy, whole foods and fruits and vegetables supports the "good" bacteria. Junk food and fast food support the "bad" ones.

H is for Hormones. Estrogen is helpful to making insulin more efficient in getting sugar out of your bloodstream and into your cells and menopause is a time of lower estrogen. Also, low thyroid hormone is a common problem in menopause that can lead to weight gain.

I is for Insomnia. Too little sleep contributes to obesity by turning down the hormone that curbs appetite (leptin) and turning up the hormone ghrelin, which stimulates hunger.

To continue this conversation and to expand it to other areas of menopause, I want to invite you to join my upcoming no-cost webinar on June 13 at 8 p.m. EST. The webinar is completely FREE, but the room only holds 100 people, so grab your spot: http://www.doctorseibel.com/free-webinar ... This is going to be a great learning experience with answers to some of the most common questions I'm asked by amazing, intelligent women. If you have questions (or worries) about how your body is changing with age, what to do about those extra pounds, the latest on estrogen (and estrogen alternatives!) or even how to achieve better sex then you're going to find this webinar extremely valuable. Be sure to place it on your calendar -- and definitely REGISTER ASAP. The webinar is completely FREE, but the room only holds 100 people, so grab your spot: http://www.doctorseibel.com/free-webinar ... See you Thursday, 6/13!

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