menopause diet blog

Time for a Change

Day 54: Do you need to exercise to lose weight?

One of my diet rules is to exercise 5 days a week – for me this means either a run (about half an hour) or leg toning exercises. At one time exercise was considered an essential part of losing weight but I have been reading recently that current thinking reveals that exercising is not particularly necessary. In fact some studies showed that people who exercised actually lost less weight that those who did no exercise as the exercisers increase in appetite resulted in a tendency to overcompensate and/or self reward for their efforts.

However this theory is still quite controversial and a recent article in the press also reveals that people who exercise are much more likely not to put back on all the weight they have lost, not to mention the other health benefits of being physically active.

My experience bears out the theory that exercise is not necessary to lose weight, but I found that when I did exercise, the weight loss was easier and faster. Plus I feel better about myself when I exercise because of all those great feel-good endorphins that are released with physical activity and the leg toning exercises are definitely increasing my muscle tone and, as the adverts say, ‘reducing the appearance of cellulite’!!

I’d say, get out there, in moderation, and do what makes you feel good.

running motivation

Food Diary Day 54:

Breakfast: menopause muesli – see breakfast recipe page

menopause muesli

Lunch: 3 mini pittas, hummus, lentil & butternut squash dahl leftovers

Dinner: Salmon terrine, green salad, beetroot, tomato, sprouted peas and beans ready made salad

salmon terrine

Snacks & Drinks: herbal tea, 5 squares dark chocolate, 3 pringles

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DAy 44: Feeling Tired? Run Anyway!

Felt very lethargic today… perhaps the weather, perhaps going down with a cold, perhaps the diet… anyway by the evening I was feeling quite edgy and irritated too so I went for a short run… I figured if I started and it was too much then I could always walk! But it turned out great and I feel much better now. Sometimes you just have to push through and do it anyway.

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I wish my behind looked like the above when I am running… I can but dream!

For more about Running for Beginners see my Day 6 post

Food Diary Day 44:

Breakfast: Mango Menopause Smoothie – see breakfast recipe page

Lunch: Leftover cold trout and salad from yesterday

Dinner: I had the 9-bar snack late in the day… it is 250 calories and I didnt feel hungry after the run so I gave dinner a miss.

Snacks and Drinks: herbal tea, 9-Bar (ready made pumpkin seed bar), handful of nuts, 6 squares dark chocolate

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Day 32: The best leg exercises ever (No.1)

Over the next few days I’ll be posting some simple and very effective leg exercises that specifically target the thighs and butt. I used to do these and get nice comments about my legs all the time (and I don’t naturally have god legs) so they do really tone and shape. No special equipment is needed. Just do as many as you can and build up from there.

They are nothing new and have been around for years but they really work!

Todays exercise is the Fire Hydrant Kick Combo

  1. Get on the floor on your hands and knees. Back flat. Abs pulled in tight.
  2. Raise one leg out to the side, knee bent, so it is at 90 degrees, parallel to the floor
  3. Slowly kick the raised leg up, out and backwards – pushing with the heel, foot flexed
  4. Bring it back to the 90 degree position
  5. Then kick it slowly back and down towards the floor (but don’t touch the floor) – again with foot flexed
  6. Bring it back to the 90 degree position and repeat steps 3-6 as many times as you can
  7. Repeat for other leg

Food Diary Day 31

Breakfast: Mango menopause smoothie – see breakfast recipe page

Lunch: Smoked salmon, edamame bean and adzuki bean salad, beetroot, green salad, spicy hummus

smoked salmon salad

Dinner: Roast chicken and stir fried green vegetables – see dinner recipe page

IMG_1497

Snacks & Drinks: herbal tea. nectarine, 4 squares dark chocolate,

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Day 6: Running for Exercise

I used to run. About 3 times a week for 3-5 miles eachtime. I entered some local races, not to win, just to keep motivated. I loved it for the freedom and the ‘me time’ if offered. Now I walk a lot with my dog so I must have a basic level of fitness, but its not the same as running from an aerobic fitness point of view. So, as part of my plan to ‘do something’ I have been running again!

women running

First let me say that I have a bottom drawer full of lycra running gear. Slinky, clingy black leggings, 3/4 pants, shorts and cropped lycra vests that last saw daylight when showing my midriff was both fashionable and not embarrassing! For now I am content with borrowing my son’s ‘tracky bums’ (which are light, comfortable and baggy) with a couple of new running T’s that are less revealing.

So what’s so good about running?

It’s free!

It’s in the fresh air and if you can, run off road in the countryside or park, getting back to nature is a joy.

It’s easy to fit into your day.

You can take it at your own pace.

It makes you feel good (especially afterwards!)

It releases stress.

It burns calories.

So why is it so difficult to get out there and do it?

Well there are lots of reasons, but here were my stumbling blocks…

“I don’t have time”

‘I’m too unfit”

“I’m too tired”

Lets face it, it takes a lot of mental and physical effort to start exercising again when it is not part of your routine. I have been thinking about starting running again for about 12 months. Whenever I saw other people running I thought “I could be doing that”, especially if I saw a local race going on. I did try to start again a few months ago but it was such a struggle I stopped pretty quickly. As far as having enough time goes… if you want to do it you will find the time. It’s making the decision and firm commitment to yourself to get out there and do it that is the real hurdle. So here are my rules to get out there again…

Pick a nice day: Motivating yourself to go out running in the winter, when its cold and wet outside is much harder than on a sunny spring day.

Don’t expect much: When I tried running the last time I was mortified and demotivated by how little I could do. I overdid it the first day and felt completely exhausted. There was no incentive to try again. I felt like a failure because I expected to find it much easier than I did. This is especially true if you are returning to exercise after a break. I think subconsciously I expected to pretty much pick up where I left off!

Get some decent running shoes: This is the one piece of kit I think you can’t do without. I tried running again in some old walking trainers and very quickly I had pain in my feet. They did not offer the right support or cushioning. Buy a size bigger than your usual size as feet swell when hot. Ideally go to a specialist running shop and try a few different ones on as they all feel very different. These shops are staffed by knowledgeable people who love running and cater for all levels. They are only too happy to help a beginner take their first steps!

Pick somewhere flat to start: Sounds obvious but make it as easy as possible for yourself at the beginning.

Walk more than you run: When you start from scratch, aim to run for only about a quarter to a third of the time you are out. So if you go out for half an hour then expect to only spend a total of around 10 minutes running. I run when I feel like I can and walk when I start to struggle. Sometimes I have to stop and walk after 100 yards, then I start back up again after walking. It doesn’t matter, I just listen to my body and expect little. I can’t do any hills yet and I’m not bothered. Its enough that I’m out there running. Recognise and accept that some days will be better than others. On the days when you struggle, just walk more. Aim for 3 times a week

 Eat properly: I think part of the reason I found a return to running so hard earlier in the year was that my diet was pretty poor. I was eating way too much sugary, fatty instant food which just doesn’t give you the energy you need to exercise and was mostly to blame for why I felt ‘tired all the time”.
Also I’m sure I’m supposed to say something about checking with your doctor before embarking on any exercise program, to cover myself in case you go mad and over do it and get injured (or worse)… so its good advice and if you are worried at all or very unfit or overweight, it won’t hurt to pay the doc a visit before you get going.
Food Diary – Day 6:
Breakfast: Menopause Smoothie – see Breakfast Recipe page
berry smoothie
Lunch: Prawn, Egg noodle, Pepper and Edamame Bean Salad – ready made
Dinner: Kedgeree – see Dinner Recipes page
kedgeree
Snacks & Drinks: Menopause Cake with tahini spread, blueberries, herbal tea
This morning when I picked up some groceries I really wanted to add a chocolate flapjack and raspberry iced buns to the basket. I managed to resist by keeping moving in the store, not going down the aisles that contained tempting items and, if passing them, just not allowing my eyes to even look at them! Worked this time anyway! I must admit I am feeling pretty hungry today!
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