Perimenopausal Weight Gain

February 6, 2018

What is perimenopause? Why do 80% of women gain weight during perimenopause? Are you dealing with unwanted weight gain? Learn how eating real food can help control perimenopausal weight gain.

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CASSIE:  Welcome Dishing Up Nutrition brought to you by Nutritional Weight & Wellness. I'm Cassie Weness, registered and licensed dietitian and I'm here today along with my colleague to talk about an interesting topic and one that I'm betting will be a popular topic.

What is perimenopause, and what are common symptoms and effects?


Today's show is all about perimenopausal weight gain. Now, because this is a pretty complex topic, we'd like to break it down for you into three separate parts. So, we're going to start off this morning talking about what exactly is perimenopause. For the second part of the show we are going to address the question, “Why do 80 percent of women gain weight in this country during this time of perimenopause?” And then for the third part of the show we will answer the question, “What can you do to control perimenopausal weight gain?” And joining me today to help answer these questions is my cohost Kate Crosby. Welcome Kate.

KATE: Great to work with you again. I've got a few little answers to some of those questions. But for years many of these answers haven't been available to women. So, as we dig into the research, we found really very compelling reasons to eat the Weight & Wellness way during this hormone-fluctuating, rather stressful time in a woman's life. But, let's start by asking the question, “What exactly is perimenopause?” Well, first of all, it's those months and years before the start of menopause. To help you understand, we want to explain exactly what's happening to a woman's body during perimenopause.

CASSIE: Yes. And I have had countless women over the years describe perimenopause to me as a time in their life when they feel like everything is changing and it's all beyond their control. So, the question then becomes what is causing all of these changes? Well, you have to stop and realize that peri menopause is a time when a woman's ovaries are becoming less active. They're slowing down. They're basically preparing the body to stop menstruating.

How can I adjust my diet when my progesterone levels change?


KATE: Exactly. Perimenopause is really a time when your body's getting ready to enter menopause and you may start seeing symptoms that you've never experienced before. And that's the shocker. Especially that weight gain around your middle. You hear that a lot.

CASSIE: That's the most common complaint from the women I've talked to. In addition, though, to your waist expanding during perimenopause, some women start having trouble sleeping. Some women’s hair starts to get thin. You might begin to feel more irritable. And it's out of your control in large part.

You’ll get some solutions today, but you feel like it's out of your control when it hits you. You might have adult acne for the first time in your life when perimenopause hits. You might start to experience anxiety. I mean the list goes on and on.

One that I think is really scary for a lot of women is sometimes during perimenopause they have an increased heart beat at intermittent times throughout the day.

Some women get really intense cravings, maybe for carbs, maybe for sweet treats. Some women get the bloating. Some women go into a depression during this time in their life. Some women start to have chronic headaches and then, again, the one that we hear a lot that's really frustrating is that weight gain around the middle. I think that's what seems to be the most stressful for a lot of women.

KATE: Exactly. So, I think we've got a really good picture now of what the symptoms of perimenopause are. And boy, they are varied. I mean everything from hair loss to cravings and then weight gain and anxiety all thrown into the same package.

We understand the ovaries aren't working as well as they could be and that our hormones are slightly out of balance and really all the time we're trying to keep that estrogen and progesterone in balance. But, during perimenopause it goes a little haywire. So, when that basic estrogen/progesterone balance is disrupted, that's when we end up with these symptoms.

CASSIE: Which begs the question, “What is it that's disrupting my estrogen to progesterone balance?” And the answer is multifaceted. Many different things can cause this imbalance. Let's start first by talking about the sugar piece. We always talk about sugar. Now, for some of us it's the obvious. Maybe you are eating a lot of pies or cookies or brownies or candies. That high sugar can cause that imbalance in estrogen to progesterone. But, for some people the sugar is a little more hidden. It might be coming from processed carbohydrates. Well, I was just thinking back when I was in college it was the low-fat, high-carb craze. I was that person that was eating a lot of hidden sugar. I was eating a lot of bagels, a lot of pasta. So, if that's you, those are turning to a lot of sugar. So do breads and crackers and potato chips.

Breaking the Sugar Habit - Online Class

If you're eating these processed carbohydrates they're turning into a lot of sugar in your body and that might be what's causing the imbalance of estrogen and progesterone. And if you're out of balance with your eating and then those hormones are out of balance, you're likely going to experience more symptoms of perimenopause than a woman who, say, follows a balanced eating plan like the Weight & Wellness way of eating. And, as we go on throughout the hour today we'll talk in a little more detail about what we mean when we say the Weight & Wellness way of eating.

KATE: And maybe you've just been one of those poor eaters your entire life. And this is a tough one because you've probably put pressure on yourself. For years you've said to yourself, “Well I'm going to do something about my nutrition.” But life keeps getting in the way. So, then you move on and you kind of make it a different problem. “I don't have time to cook,” you say. “I don't have the money to eat healthily” or “I'll just have to worry about my nutrition when I'm older.” And then suddenly you are older. You feel wired and you have a lot of anxiety. You're bloated, pants are getting too tight, the weight is coming on. It's not a happy place.

CASSIE: So, don't wait. Make today the day that you start eating right. Because poor nutrition, which often leads to excess insulin, lack of vitamins and minerals, all of these things can throw off your estrogen/progesterone balance. And in fact, something that I recently learned, speaking of this lack of minerals, if you're not getting adequate zinc, you likely won't make adequate progesterone.

KATE: So, what does progesterone do?

How do healthy fats affect progesterone?


CASSIE:  Progesterone does so many wonderful things for our body. I always think of it as our calming hormone. And I honestly, for years, even before perimenopause, I've been rubbing a little bit of progesterone cream on my skin before bed to help with sleep. It's very relaxing. And some of you may have heard when I was on with Marcie on this program a couple of weeks ago and I talked about how back when I went to college to become a registered dietitian I followed a low-fat eating plan because that's what I was being taught in college. I mean, truly, back then, 20 years ago, low fat was considered healthy. Luckily about 11 years ago I found Nutritional Weight & Wellness and I learned the importance of eating healthy, beneficial fats every day because we need fats to make our hormones. Isn't that profound? So, if any of you out there listening are still eating low fat, think about that. How are you making adequate progesterone and estrogen if you're not giving your body the substrate that it needs to make those hormones, which is healthy fat? I'm just so thankful that I learned this 11 years ago before I hit that perimenopause stage so that I could enter this time of my life much more even keel.

KATE: Absolutely. Now, of course, high stress can throw off those progesterone/estrogen levels. And stress causes your adrenal glands to produce another hormone called cortisol. And it's this excess cortisol that leads to that belly fat that women are so discouraged about. Cortisol stores the excess sugar that we often eat. And fat and stress and cortisol are really flip sides of the same coin. If you've got one, you've got the other.

The Connection Between Stress, Cortisol and Weight Gain - article

CASSIE:  Cortisol is not your friend, especially during this time of life and we're going to talk more about cortisol and how to control it as the show goes on. I want to let everybody know that perimenopause could start as early as your 30s. So, don't think it's meant for forty-five and beyond. Some women begin perimenopause in their 30s. And then, of course, this period of time continues until menopause.

At some point during those perimenopause years a woman is probably going to miss a period. She might miss several periods and then eventually you stop ovulating. When you stop ovulating, you no longer are producing any progesterone because that progesterone is what makes us ovulate. Keep in mind, sometimes even when there's no ovulation and no progesterone is being secreted, you might still be having your menstrual cycle and I know that seems a little confusing. We're going to come back and talk about that more on the other side of the break.

Nutrition Counseling

If you're just joining us you're listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. Before we go to break I just want to say if you are struggling with perimenopause or menopause symptoms and it's just not convenient for you to meet with one of our nutritionists face to face, be aware that we are available by phone appointment. We also do Skype appointments.

We want to meet you where you are and when it's convenient for you. So, maybe it's time to finally get your personal questions answered or to get a nutritional solution so that you can start feeling good again. You can call our office at 6516993438 and we'll be happy to setup your appointment with one of our Weight & Wellness nutritionist or dietitians or you can now also request to make an appointment through our online forms if that's more convenient for you by going to We'll be right back.


KATE: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. Are you aware that one out of four people in the U.S. has osteoporosis? And 50 percent of women will experience an osteoporosis fracture after the age of 50. That's discouraging news. According to a study published in The Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, we need only about 600 milligrams of calcium per day, but we also need adequate amounts of magnesium plus many other key nutrients to maintain these strong bones. Now, the bone benefits of calcium do not come from calcium alone, but rather from the interaction of calcium and magnesium on a variety of other nutrients. Very important that they're all together to help them get absorbed. We have a product called Pro Bono, developed by Ortho Molecular. It's a total bone-building product. It's also a multivitamin and we've had many, many clients rebuild their bone density by eating the Weight & Wellness way, while also taking Pro Bono in the morning and then in the evening. You take a small packet in the morning and small packet in the evening and I was one of those people. You can order this product, Pro Bono, online or you can stop in at one of our seven locations. So, if you want more information about Pro Bono why don't you give our office a call at 651-699-3438.

CASSIE: Money well spent. That is an awesome product. Great results. So, when we went to break I was in the middle of explaining a kind of confusing part of perimenopause, which is that at some point during perimenopause a woman stops producing progesterone. So, what does that mean? Well, progesterone is needed in order for you to ovulate, to be releasing an egg every month. So, at the point when you stop producing progesterone, you are no longer ovulating, but you might not even realize that because many times, even when you're not ovulating, so no progesterone is there, many times you will still bleed each month. You'll still have that menstrual cycle and a woman could go through several cycles on estrogen alone and zero progesterone. So, think about that extreme imbalance that's going on. You have a really high level of estrogen and zero of that progesterone.

KATE: That hormone that most of us love because it's so relaxing. Some women have these light, irregular periods for years and they're not ovulating. But when women don't ovulate for many, many months, then ovary secretion of estrogen can become really confused. It may get very erratic. Sometimes there will be a big surge of estrogen and then followed by a very low level of estrogen. Well, when there is this surge of estrogen, then symptoms start to appear. That's when you might experience breast tenderness or water retention. This is when those mood swings start out. You can actually see that when we talk about having a big level of estrogen and the sudden drop that's just like your mood. And it's at these times of surging estrogen and then drops that we also gain weight. Biochemically, hormonally, a lot of hormonal shifts are occurring. And all these shifts can lead to that weight gain.

What can you do to control perimenopausal weight gain?


CASSIE: And think about this. The more out of balance a woman's body is before perimenopause, the more symptoms she will no doubt experience during this time of hormonal shifts. And as we're talking about today, one of those symptoms is weight gain. So, the question to ask is, “How can women keep weight gain to a minimum during this time when their bodies naturally have less progesterone production and very fluctuating estrogen levels?” Or more simply put, “What can you do to control perimenopausal weight gain?” Oftentimes, I have heard this from women time and again in clinical practice and I'm sure you have. When women started to put on a few pounds when perimenopause hits, the first thing they say is, “I'm just going to work out harder. I am I'm going to exercise longer and I'll cut back on fat and calories in my diet.” But, that's old and wrong information. It's an approach that will fail you.

What kinds of exercises are best during perimenopause?


KATE: Absolutely. Incorrect information. So, let's kind of discover what's going on here. What happens if you go to the gym five times a week, you work out so hard you're exhausted. Well, believe it or not this is when most women are going to actually gain weight. Seriously, guys, workout too hard, you'll end up gaining weight. Why? Well, we call it the cortisol factor. New word. Big topic. Cortisol is that hormone that's produced by the adrenal glands. You've heard that adrenal glands are under fire when you're under stress. Excess cortisol is produced when we're under stress, so that excessive exercise is too stressful for your body. So, that excess cortisol is produced and excess cortisol leads to the belly fat.

CASSIE: Right. Like we said before, cortisol is not your friend.

KATE: Yeah. Perhaps, what we were told in the past about losing weight may have been all wrong. The wrong message really wasn't based on science.

CASSIE: No, no, you can't just exercise more, especially during this time of life and expect the pounds to come off. Now, we're not saying to stop exercising, but rather find exercises that are non-stressful. For example, some people lose weight best at this time in their life when they practice yoga. Other good exercises to reduce that stress factor and reduce cortisol would be taking a long, leisurely walk several days a week. If you have a dog, walk your dog through the neighborhood. Or a great one-- swimming laps at your local gym or at the community center. 

The goal is move your body without excessive stress so that your cortisol levels are reduced and then belly fat is not produced. And for all of you type A personalities listening, you know who you are, those really driven personalities. Decreasing the intensity of exercise, I realize can be a challenge, but I promise you it will be so rewarding.

KATE: Absolutely. So that stressful exercise is one way that we create that belly fat, but I bet many of you never realized that when you, as busy women, skip meals, you could also be causing your body to gain weight. Seriously, that's why I always encourage my clients to eat breakfast within about 30 to 40 minutes of waking up because there's much less cortisol produced and so the fat cells don't hold on to all that fat now. Every time we women skip a meal and then we experience this low blood sugar, guess what happens? The adrenal glands come to the rescue. Because it's very dangerous to be in low blood sugar. The adrenal glands respond by producing cortisol. More cortisol. Which will then produce more of that unwanted belly fat. Now, when we were younger, our bodies could tolerate some of these lifestyle habits, like skipping meals or not sleeping near eight hours. But now, during perimenopause, these lifestyle habits can lead us right to weight gain.

CASSIE: Absolutely. And I want to reiterate that, Kate. Don't skip meals stop and instead take time for breakfast. Three hours later, take time, just a couple of minutes, to eat a mid-morning snack. Take time to eat lunch. You get the idea. You've heard me say it on the radio before: the magic number is 3. Grab a protein, a carb, and a healthy fat. Those three things about every three hours so that your adrenal glands will stop producing excess cortisol.

And believe it or not it's time for another break. If you're just joining us, you're listening to Dishing Up Nutrition brought to you by Nutritional Weight & Wellness. Before we turn it over to commercial, I want to ask you how many of you, both our local listeners and our podcast listeners, realize that you can go to our website for a lot of great nutrition and health information. We have blogs. You can listen to all of our past podcasts via our website. We have online nutrition classes that you can take in the comfort of your own home. We have a ton of delicious recipes that you can print off at no charge and so much more. All available to you on our website.

Eating to Reduce Pain and Inflammation - Online Class

Here's another question: Are you someone who struggles with aches and pains or have you been taking medication for your aches and pains and it's failed you and you've decided it's time to look for a nutritional solution? If this sounds like you, we've got you covered. Last February, Dar, who is the founder of Nutritional Weight & Wellness wrote a great blog called Sugar Aches and Inflammation. And this blog helped hundreds of people make the connection between sugar and their aches and pains. Well, because it was such a great blog, people asked for more guidelines. So, this year we recorded our one-hour class called Eating to Reduce Pain and Inflammation and so you can take it online. I'm confident this class has information that will help you feel better. We'll be right back.


What happens to hormone balances after a total hysterectomy?


Menopause Survival Seminar

KATE: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. As you know, we just can't cover all the information about perimenopause in an hour here on the radio. So, I'm going to encourage our listeners to sign up for the Menopause Survival Seminar on Saturday, February 17th. It's a full day of learning getting lots of all of your questions answered. Plus, it's a whole lot of fun. You get a great meal and snacks. We've had women in their early 90s attend who are concerned about osteoporosis. And a woman in her 30s who was concerned about insomnia. She had those mood swings and lots of anxiety. So, let me just repeat this seminar is being held Saturday, February 17th at our Maple Grove location. So, how would you sign up? Give our office a call at 6516993438. You could also sign up on our website. So, come with your sister and with your mother. Bring a friend, a co-worker. Make it a day. It really is a lot of fun. I've taught that seminar.

CASSIE: It's just packed with great information, but there's always some laughs because if you can't laugh a little bit about it and all the ladies are kind of in the same boat. It's a team of teachers that teaches the seminar. It is a great day of learning. We have a caller on line one we should take before we get back to what we were discussing. So, Dawn, welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition. You had a question for us?

CALLER: Yes, good morning. You were talking about the protein, carb, and healthy fat for someone in perimenopause. I had a total hysterectomy years ago. Does my body still need to work on that progesterone? I don't even know if I still have that. And me having the total hysterectomy.

KATE: No, you don't.

CALLER: What is a suggestion for me as far as the belly fat and the belly bloat and that type of thing?

What are some healthy breakfast ideas for people in perimenopause?


KATE: Very similarly, the protein, fat, and the carb, but just one thing I want to remind you of. So, your ovaries aren't making any progesterone because they aren’t there. But guess what? Fat cells continue to pump out a little estrogen. So, that balance between progesterone and estrogen gets off.

CASSIE: I know what you’re going to say. You're going to suggest some progesterone cream?

KATE:  I would very much do that.

CASSIE: Yeah. Are you having any trouble sleeping or any troubles with anxiety or any of the symptoms that we talked about?

CALLER: Not really.

CASSIE: OK. Let's just describe the food.

CALLER: I’ve lost 40 pounds since April. That was through a diet program. And I am maintaining now so I'm very happy with that.

CASSIE: OK. Well, what we would recommend at Nutritional Weight & Wellness as far as eating goes for somebody that is in perimenopause or that has had a total hysterectomy, still that protein, carb, and healthy fat, those three things about every three hours. And for you having had that hysterectomy, it just becomes that much more important to really be mindful of your carbs and choose healthy carbs and choose them in moderation. So, for example, I'm thinking of a good mid-morning snack. I like to make deviled eggs regularly at home because it's a quick grab and go snack, so let's say those were in the fridge. If you grabbed maybe three deviled egg halves, the egg is your protein, the mayonnaise and there is your fat, and then you could grab a clementine. Something small, either a fruit or a vegetable for your health and carb.

CALLER:  I've been doing the apples and the banana. That's what I've been snacking on is either an apple or a banana.

CASSIE:  And that works too, just watch serving size. Some of those apples are really big so you might want to just eat half. I always say never eat a whole banana. A half of a banana should be fine. But of all the fruits bananas turn to a lot of sugar and that can get your cortisol out of balance, which can lead to that belly fat.

KATE: But, I just want to make sure you understand with that half a banana or half an apple you need some protein and you need some fat. So, simply running out of the house with that piece of fruit is only going to jack up your blood sugar, possibly causing more cortisol, which leads to more belly fat. So, make sure you balance it. This is usually the biggest challenge for people who are new to Weight & Wellness is to take a snack that includes protein, fat, and a carb. Magic number three. Does that help?

CALLER: Yeah it does a lot. Thank you. And that progesterone cream, I heard one of you say that. But would that help me for any reason?

KATE: Not necessarily.

CASSIE: No, you don't seem to have the symptoms that would call for that. You’re obviously doing great. I would just say going forward to maintain this great weight loss that you've achieved, just remember member that magic number three: protein, carb, healthy fat. Those three things about every three hours.

CALLER: Perfect. OK thank you.

CASSIE: Thanks for your call. Have a great day.

KATE:  Speaking of meals, let's talk a little bit about eating breakfast. Now, for some women this is a typical breakfast: coffee with their soy milk, a bagel with jam, a glass of orange juice thinking just to make sure they get that vitamin C, right?

CASSIE: Right. I do think that is a very typical American breakfast for a woman. But, what I think of, Kate, when I hear you say bagel with a glass of orange juice. I just think sugar, sugar, and more sugar. Everything that you described is a source of sugar and then the caffeine in the coffee drives the sugar up higher and faster than it would have gone otherwise. On the flip side, for breakfast, your nutrition goal should be to eat foods that balance out your blood sugar, not foods that drive at sky high like the bagel and the jam. When our bodies are in a good, balanced state, our bloodstream, on average, should have about two teaspoons of sugar, or what we sometimes call blood glucose circulating. So, for example, if we're eating, let's say, half a cup of sweet potato for our carbohydrate at breakfast, I love leftover sweet potato at breakfast, then we will perfectly supply that amount of glucose to our bloodstream.

On the other hand, the breakfast that Kate just described contains way too much sugar. The bagel alone turns to 14 teaspoons of sugar. I think that's always a shock. People think of a bagel as sort of a health food, but it's not. You can't grow it in your garden. You can't pick it from a tree, it's not a real food. Then, add jam to that bagel you're going to get probably right around another three teaspoons of sugar. Even just a small glass of orange juice has about six more teaspoons of sugar. If you do the math on that that's a whopping total of 23 teaspoons of sugar circulating in your bloodstream in a fairly short amount of time after that typical American breakfast.

KATE: And so, your body really only needs about two teaspoons of that sugar or glucose. What happens to all the extra? It gets stored as body fat. So, eating that type of breakfast, a woman could easily store those 21 teaspoons of sugar as body fat every single morning. So, that's a bad start.

CASSIE: And that woman eating the bagel and jam might have thought she was doing it right, but that's not the right breakfast. And I want to explain a little more of the science behind what's going on when you grab that typical American breakfast full of sugar when we come back from break.

Nutrition for Weight Loss series

You're listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. Before we take a quick break, I want to remind all of you that after this weekend all of the holiday parties for the year, including the Super Bowl party, will finally be over. Can I get a “Yay!” So, now may be the perfect time for you to focus on your health again. Let your focus start with our Nutrition 4 Weight Loss program. Our Nutrition 4 Weight Loss program is not a diet, it's a plan to help you reduce your sugar intake and your sugar cravings, while at the same time it helps you focus on eating foods that will give you energy, foods that will balance your moods, and we give you foods that will reduce your aches and pains. Now, as women, we are all so done with those low-fat, starvation diet plans. I know that women today are looking for great health. And losing weight, yeah, it's a nice side benefit, but we want great health. Feeling great is the ultimate motivating factor to eating well. We have our Nutrition 4 Weight Loss classes starting the week of February 26th. Or you can start anytime by going online. We are now offering that entire Nutrition 4 Weight Loss series online. So, decide what works best for you and for your schedule. Is it a class in person or is it a class online taken from the comfort of your own home? Once you decide you can call the office at 6516993438 to get started today. We'll be right back.


Nutrition Counseling

KATE: Well, welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. So, I want to get back a little bit to perimenopausal symptoms. And if you're struggling with these perimenopausal symptoms you don't really have to wait for a class. You can call our office. You can set up an individual appointment with one of our nutritionists at Nutritional Weight & Wellness. So, for instance, if insomnia is your problem, we can really help you. Mood swings, anxiety, if that's the issue for you, we can help you there, too. And of course, we're going to help you preventing that weight gain. Remember it's the magic 3 again: protein, fat, and carb. Now, if a lack of libido is your problem, well believe it or not we can help you there, too. We've helped hundreds of women feel great again. So, how would you set up this appointment? You can call our office at 651-699-3438. You can have an appointment in person but you can also have an appointment by phone or via Skype. So, all possibilities there for you.

CASSIE: Lots of options and we had a caller that didn't want to go on air that if I heard right was asking the difference, if any, between partial hysterectomy and total hysterectomy. In terms of eating the protein, carb, healthy fat, we would recommend the same thing. You're still at that time of fluctuating hormones. And there's lots of other reasons to eat in balance with that protein, fat, and carb. And balance out your blood sugars. It's just great for your overall health. Now, before we went to break I was saying that I wanted to explain a little bit more of the science that's going on when you eat that standard American breakfast that is full of sugar. So, Kate was mentioning the bagel with jam, or if it's not a bagel with jam maybe you're having a bowl of Raisin Bran and a piece of toast. Cold breakfast cereal and toast are processed carbohydrates. If it can't grow in a garden or on a tree it's a processed carbohydrate. So, bagel, jam, cereal, toast, all processed carbs, all turn to way too much sugar. And once we have too much sugar circulating in our bloodstream, it causes a sharp increase in insulin.

And another term for insulin is our fat-storing hormone. We don't want that. We don't want too much of our fat storing hormone circulating. Now, what our longtime listeners might not realize is that during this time of perimenopause, our bodies are extra sensitive to sugar and they're extra sensitive to insulin. And our bodies show that extra sensitivity by very easily putting on extra weight around the middle even though you likely have not changed your eating or your exercise habits. So, it really can be frustrating.

KATE:  Yeah it is. But, to your point, at that point in time, we're really sensitive to sugar and insulin. So, that's why we watch exactly how many carbs we are eating. So, what would be a better breakfast? I think people really need to understand what some options are here. Well, here's a kind of nummy one: half a cup of egg salad spread over two wassa rye crackers. And then have your coffee, but instead of the soy milk, why don’t you add heavy cream. So, that breakfast only contains two teaspoons of sugar and that will prevent that weight gain.

CASSIE: Only two teaspoons of sugar. And so delicious. And it's so true that a few small, but very powerful changes in your nutrition and lifestyle habits can help you get a handle on the unwanted weight gain that could come with perimenopause. As a registered dietitian, back when I was seeing clients, I helped women every day to get rid of the habits that damaged their metabolism and to start practicing the habits that support an active metabolism. If you haven't gotten the message already, eating too many processed carbohydrates, because that turns to too much sugar, right? And now skipping meals creates too much cortisol, and eating low fat, remember, we can't make our hormones if we're eating low fat. All of these are habits that slow down our metabolism and they encourage belly fat.

KATE:  So, what's another example of a breakfast that's going to support a healthy metabolism?

CASSIE: Oh, I have a good one. This is something I just did earlier in the week. I had leftover sweet potato wedges in the fridge. Those are out on our website for any of you that have made them. They are simple, but they're so delicious. So, I had made them for them for an evening meal several days back. And I quadrupled the recipe because I wanted leftovers for breakfast. So then, about mid-week, I heated up a little coconut oil in the pan on top of the stove. I put some leftover sweet potato wedges and the coconut oil in the pan and then I cracked a couple of eggs over the top of the sweet potatoes. I am making myself hungry. I cooked those eggs too over easy because I like the yolk a little runny and to let the sweet potatoes soak it up a little bit. And so, once I got that on my plate I also grabbed some strips of raw bell pepper strips. Because I wanted a little crunchy alongside it and get some vitamin C there. And that was my breakfast. The eggs were my protein, the pepper strips and the sweet potato were my healthy carb, and then the coconut oil that I cooked all of that in was my healthy fat. And it was so good.

KATE: That sounds delish. Now, remember that breakfast example where we suggested to eat the egg salad and rye crackers and the coffee with that heavy cream? We replace that soy milk with heavy cream. Why? Well, that soy milk is going to slow my metabolism and make me gain weight and at Nutritional Weight & Wellness we know that soy foods, including the soy milk, especially available in the U.S., is overly-processed, usually genetically modified. And there are many ways to look at soy, but none of them are good. There are two sort of outstanding features that we don't like. One is that it has estrogenic properties. OK. More estrogen. Well that's going to lead to the bloating, fluid retention, breast tenderness, and the weight gain again. The other feature of soy that we don't particularly like or we have to be careful of is soy contains goitrogens that grab on to iodine and prevent the iodine from being absorbed by the thyroid. So, the goitrogens affect your thyroid. Well, your thyroid needs iodine to function properly, so this low thyroid function equals low metabolism and then weight gain.

CASSIE:  And there's a whole other show just about thyroid. And you don't want to mess that up, especially during perimenopause.

KATE: And it all kind of happens when perimenopause kicks off. So, if you want that smaller waistline, maybe the soy latte has to go, but instead switch to using that heavy cream in your coffee. You'll love it.

CASSIE: You will love it. And our goal here is to help each and every person experience better health through eating real food. It's a simple message, yes, but it's a powerful message. Eating real food is life changing. Thank you for listening and have a healthy day.


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