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Managing Weight, Mood and Sleep After 50

By Charlotte on June 19, 2013 6:31 AM

Weight, Weight ... Don't Tell Me!

By Sara Gottfried, M.D., author of the bestselling The Hormone Cure: Reclaim Balance, Sleep, Sex Drive and Vitality Naturally with The Gottfried Protocol

DrSara_glasses 250.jpgThe stereotypical middle-aged woman is overweight. Cranky. Tired. Perpetually rushing from task to task, and between her family and her spouse, she hardly has a moment for self care. She's far from the glowing health of her 20s but not ready to be the doting grandmother she'll be in her 70s.

The reason? Hormones.

Women between the ages of 40 and 59+ get slammed with a tidal wave of hormone imbalances that leave them stressed, and unable to sleep or lose weight. The constantly on-edge, menopausal woman has become a stereotype of our society, but things don't have to be this way.

Sara Gottfried, M.D., author of The Hormone Cure

Boomers, I want to change the conversation we're having about hormones, and prevent you from falling down a hormonal flight of stairs.

Our busy lives and inconsistent food plan have created an environment of hormonal upheaval aside from the natural shift of menopause that women in their 50s experience. So how to calm these choppy waters? It's astonishingly simple.


Weight for Me!

Most of us are battling a muffin top. Some of us are battling a full cake. After 20 years and 20,000 patients as a practicing gynecologist, the main complaint I've seen is women's inability to lose weight.

Here's a newsflash: it's not your fault. Even if you've been trying to eat less and exercise more, hormones may be working against you to slow down your metabolism. Hard-to-lose belly fat is the result of elevated cortisol, the main stress hormone. Cortisol releases glucose into your bloodstream in stressful situations so you have extra energy to fight or escape; when we stress too often and for too long, this translates to higher blood sugar, a slower metabolism and extra pounds that refuse to move.

Women in menopause often have low cortisol during the day (so you feel tired and sluggish) and high cortisol at night (so you can spend sleepless hours in bed worrying about your mortgage and child's college career). Here are some steps you can take to lower your cortisol and jumpstart your metabolism right now:grassyoga 350.jpg

Yoga and other exercises that don't stress your body can jumpstart your metabolism.


Reset Your Mood

Past the age of 30, lower estrogen causes your mood and libido to tank. The resulting drop in serotonin can sometimes lead to depression or mood swings. Supplements like these can help you get back into the positive mindset:

You can take these at the same time, but I suggest trying one at a time to see what best moves the needle for you.


Reclaim Sleep

Whether you're 18 or 88, plentiful sleep is important for your mental and physical well being. Not only does sleep help your body stay in a healthy circadian rhythm and release hormones on time (cortisol in the morning when you need it, and not at night when you don't), but it is also the only time that your body is able to repair itself. The older you are, the more important this becomes!

Making a few simple changes can help you fall asleep and stay asleep:

By taking steps like these, you can be skinny, rested and joyful in no time. However, as always, I suggest working closely with your physician before starting a new exercise routine, nutrition plan or supplement regimen.


Sara Gottfried, M.D., is the author of the bestselling The Hormone Cure.

About the Author 

Sara Gottfried, M.D., is a Harvard-educated physician and author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Hormone Cure: Reclaim Balance, Sleep, Sex Drive and Vitality Naturally with The Gottfried Protocol. She teaches women how to balance their hormones regardless of age.

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Diabetes-Friendly Chicken Burrito Bowl

ChickenBurritoBowlEverydayDiabetes 600.jpg

By Laura Cipullo and Lisa Mikus, authors of Everyday Diabetes Meals
Image credit: Colin Erricson

Prepare your own Mexican quick fix with this Chipotle-inspired bowl. Carbs are moderated by filling the bowl with beans, extra veggies and chicken. No need for rice, since the beans count as carbs.


If you love tomatoes, increase the quantity to 1/2 cup, but note that the carbohydrates will also increase.

If preparing this recipe for one person, cut all of the ingredients in half. Or simply prepare the full recipe up to the end of step 2 and store leftover chicken and vegetable-bean mixture in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat in the microwave on High for 1 to 2 minutes, or until heated through, and continue with step 3.

Health Bite: The iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, copper and zinc in black beans help to keep bones strong and healthy.

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