Facts about Food and Lifestyles

Eating is social; it’s pleasurable; it’s soothing. All cultures use food to celebrate the special occasions of life. Food, in our society, is less synonymous with our body’s survival than it is with the concepts of celebration and reward.

At midlife, you should be seeking a balanced life and beginning a lifestyle that will enhance and ensure your good health. You are looking forward to living longer and living better. Therefore, it becomes necessary to create a balance between overindulgence in food and quasistarvation, and to create within this balance room for the celebrations of life. It is time to replace both the Rubenesque image of the too well-rounded female of the seventeenth century and Tom Wolfe’s image of the “social x-rays” of the late twentieth cen­tury. In order to foster long-term health, a dietstyle has to be practical and useful.

The Menopause Dietstyle means the end of yo-yo dieting, in which you can’t win for losing. With each upswing of the diet yo-yo your body becomes comprised of more fat and less muscle. It is a metabolic fact, proven time and time again. Here’s how your metabo­lism sabotages you. Let’s say you go on a strict diet and you lose twenty pounds quickly. Of the twenty pounds you’ve lost, fifteen pounds were fat and five were muscle. Once off the highly restrictive diet, you regain the weight, faster than the last time because your body has slowed down its metabolism in order to make the most of the very few calories you have been allowing it. It cannot handle the sudden in­crease in postdiet calories. Now that twenty pounds regained is com­prised of about eighteen pounds of fat and two pounds of muscle. Each time you yo-yo you become fatter. It’s a no-win, or perhaps we should say, a no-lose weight situation.

To make matters worse, medical research has demonstrated that as a woman ages, her percentage of body fat goes up and the percentage of lean body mass or muscle tends to go down. Women often decline in size following menopause. It is lean body mass or muscle mass that is shrinking. As much as 10 percent to 20 percent can be lost through the aging process alone. This percentage increases substantially for the longtime yo-yo dieter. Statistics show that a decrease in size plus a decrease in exercise requires a substantial decrease in the number of calories you eat as you get older, if you want to keep from gaining weight. You must exercise to keep and build lean muscle mass and to fight the body’s natural desire to store fat.

Benefits of the Menopause Dietstyle

When you incorporate the Menopause Dietstyle into your life, your entire being benefits. It is not a quick weight-loss diet. It is a wonderful beginning with no end in sight. It makes allowances for mistakes and transgressions, and it enables you to celebrate with a gourmet meal on occasion knowing that you can face yourself, your family, your friends, and your scale without having to face the music tomorrow!

Studies are just beginning to show that better nutrition, increased weight-bearing exercise, and HRT that is appropriate for you may work to arrest the decline in bone mass that puts women at risk of osteoporosis in midlife and later. Such studies also show the benefits of supplemental calcium in the diet. Earlier we believed that bone loss was permanent, but new studies point toward a more hopeful path for women with osteoporosis. Thus, as women grow older, the balance between the various food groups—carbohydrates, proteins, and fats— the types of calories eaten, and the nature and amount of exercise to offset calorie intake become increasingly important. Calories are en­ergy, and regular exercise doesn’t just burn more calories when you are doing it; it also gears your body to burn more calories for hours afterward.

Appropriate nutrition is a natural pathway toward healthy bone. Bone requires a healthy foundation of protein, in which minerals— especially calcium—are deposited. Successful bone-building requires a diet of well-balanced foods containing adequate calcium.

If you are premenopausal, you need at least 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day. After menopause, your need rises to 1,400 milli­grams daily. The average woman in the United States between the ages of forty-five and sixty-five receives far too little calcium: between 460 and 650 milligrams per day. You need to double that amount.

Research is underway to study whether increasing calcium intake during the formative adolescent and young adult years will increase the amount of bone in the later reproductive years. The facts are not in, but it appears that there are no disadvantages to trying that ap­proach.

There have been no studies that prove that a decrease in osteoporo­sis-related bone fractures can result from dietary changes alone. Nor. can calcium supplements alone reduce the incidence of fractures. Mak­ing new bone requires the presence of estrogen in your system. This process is enhanced by adequate weight-bearing exercise and a good diet that provides the right amount of calcium. Diet and exercise alone will not prevent bone loss!

Determining Your Menopause Dietstyle

When you follow the Menopause Dietstyle program you are taking responsibility for your own body and body image. Once you determine your Dietstyle Program, learn the total number of calories you can consume, and select the number of calories you will expend through exercise—you can then forget about counting calo­ries! It’s easy.

When you follow the Menopause Dietstyle program you are taking responsibility for your own body and body image. Once you determine your Dietstyle Program, learn the total number of calories you can consume, and select the number of calories you will expend through exercise—you can then forget about counting calo­ries! It’s easy. We will teach you how to customize your dietstyle through appropri­ate food allowances and exchanges. Once you start doing this repeat­edly, you will soon be able to judge portion size by sight. The ability to “judge” a portion will become second nature: Half orders and shared orders will become an integral part of your home and restau­rant dining. Of course, no one should begin any dietstyle or exercise program without consulting her physician.

Before you can individualize your dietstyle, it is important to know where in the Menopause Dietstyle you should begin. So, it’s time to categorize yourself. Be honest. Using your current weight and your current exercise program, put yourself in one of the three catego­ries listed below.

Average/Active

Are you of average body weight and an active exerciser? Find out by checking your weight range prescribed by your height and body build in the weight chart.

Is your minimum output of exercise at least thirty minutes, four times per week, at 60 percent to no more than 75 percent of your maximum heart rate? (That rate is calculated by subtracting your age from 220 and taking 60 to 75 percent of that number.) Thus, if you are fifty years old, you do the following equation:

220 – 50 (your age) = 170 (your maximum heart rate)

Now, take 60 percent of 170 and you learn that 102 is the lowest number of heart beats per minute that you should aim for when doing aerobic exercise. Take 75 percent, which is 128, and never exceed that number. Calculate your rate now. If, after doing your calcula­tions, your answer to both these questions is yes, you fit comfortably into the Average/Active Dietstyle category and you can consume up to 2,000 of the right calories per day to maintain your current weight.

A woman falls into this category if she does not exercise three to four times per week for at least thirty minutes at 70 to 80 percent of her maximum heart rate on a regular basis. Here, the operative word is regular. If you are this woman, the consumption of 1,600 calories per day should maintain your average body weight. A change in your exercise pattern from occasional to active will create significant weight loss.

Overweight/Nonexerciser

This category is for women who are 25 percent above their average, or ideal, body weight. This dietstyle will enable you to achieve significant weight loss. It is impor­tant to understand the unalterable fact that 3,500 calories constitute one pound of body weight. Therefore, in order to lose one pound of body fat per week, you must consume 3,500 fewer calories per week. The most you should ever try to lose per week for a healthful and long-term effect is two pounds, which means eliminating 7,000 calo­ries per week through diet or burning more calories through in­creased exercise. Once you fully understand the expenditure of calo­ries through exercise, you can understand the whole secret of weight loss. No magic, just mathematics! As a woman in this category of the Dietstyle, you will need to drop your calorie intake to 1,000 calories per day and add exercise to your daily routine. If you are more than 40 percent over your desired body weight, for faster weight loss you can drop to the 800-calorie-per-day dietstyle and add regular exercise to your program until you reach your appropriate weight. Then return to the 1,000-calorie dietstyle. You should never consider eating fewer than 800 calories per day, and these calories need to be carefully balanced between the six basic food groups.