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By Lisa Shaker-Knopp (

A very common complaint I hear from my female clients is they can’t lose the weight they’ve gained over the last few years no matter what they do, especially once they get to the premenopausal or postmenopausal state.

The weight seems to go right to the belly or the upper body. Most of the time the frustration is coming from the fact that these women report that not much has changed with their daily diet. So what the heck is the problem?

What happens to us gals once the process of menopause starts, is the decline in both estrogen and progesterone. This process makes our ability to burn fat less efficient. These hormones, although not as powerful as the hormones insulin and cortisol in fat burning, play an important role.

Estrogen is an insulin sensitizing hormone that controls the negative impact of cortisol. Cortisol is known as the “fight or flight” hormone, produced from the adrenal glands. Progesterone opposes the action of estrogen on insulin, but works together with estrogen in controlling the cortisol.

When there is an excess production of insulin and cortisol, that can spell disaster for your fat burning abilities. The longer they hang out together, the harder it is for you to burn your stored fat.

How can you fix such a problem, when menopause is imminent for all women? Do we just “lay down” and take it? Do we continue to just put on those pounds, and throw the towel in? I know my clients and friends think I sound like a broken record, but you must cut down on the carbs, sugars and fats! Mostly the carbs and sugars, especially the ones that are processed!

We are far more reactive to those carbs in menopause. Gone are the days when we were younger and could eat whatever we wanted and not gain a pound. Now we eat the same, but have to hide under leggings and oversized shirts (thank goodness that style is in again).

Reducing the sugars, even the ones from fruits and starchy vegetables, will help control the release of insulin. When we do that, we can lose the fat, especially from the belly.

Managing stress during menopause is very important on weight management, as well. So, don’t forget to pray, laugh, meditate, do light exercise, and rest. You can fight menopause, and get your body back. That is my plan!

What have you done to help your menopause symptoms?

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