Shape Shifting!

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I found this funky iron gate on my visit to the Shack Up Inn. Now that’s a lady whose figure won’t shift! No downward drift or sideways sprawl for her.

I’m not sure this is actually a lady, but let’s pretend, because she’s the perfect intro for Mary Buchan’s post on shape shifting

Take it away wellness nurse Mary Buchan!

Shape shifting occurs in mythology, folklore, and modern fantasy like the TV series “Fringe.” It’s the ability to physically transform into another form. That’s what I mean. My body is shape shifting.

As I get older, maintaining my ideal weight becomes more difficult. Perhaps you’ve found that, like me, you are becoming a shape shifter too. In fact, many women change shapes around the time of the menopausal transition. On average, women gain between 12 and 15 pounds between the ages of 45 and 55.

Sadly, this extra weight usually doesn’t distribute itself evenly. The weight tends to accumulate around the belly, and our figures slowly lose their hour-glass shape taking on a more rounded appearance.

The good news is that menopause shape shifting isn’t inevitable. The hormonal changes of menopause make it more likely to gain weight around the abdomen than around the hips and thighs. But hormonal changes alone don’t necessarily trigger menopausal weight gain.

For example, muscle mass typically diminishes with age, while fat increases. Loss of muscle mass decreases the rate at which your body uses calories, which can make it more challenging to maintain a healthy weight. If you continue to eat as you always have and don’t increase your physical activity, you’re likely to gain weight.

Age, Lifestyle, and Shape Shifting

Even though physical changes are an unavoidable part of getting older, lifestyle factors including lack of sleep, increased stress, and bad eating habits can lead to weight gain. Beginning at about age 30, physical abilities begin to decrease and continue deteriorating until about age 60 or 70. The rate of decline depends largely on physical activity and lifestyle. This decreasing physical ability affects weight, because a person becomes less able to engage in physical activities that would have helped them burn calories and maintain a stable weight. To compound the potential for weight gain with age, the metabolic rate begins to slow after age 30, which also leads to shape shifting.

Genetics and Shape Shifting

Genetic factors also play a role in menopause weight gain. If your parents or other close relatives carry extra weight around the abdomen, you’re likely to do the same.

Life Transitions and Shape Shifting

Sometimes menopause weight gain is triggered by factors such as the stress of children leaving — or returning — home, divorce, the death of a spouse, or other life changes that cause you to modify your diet or exercise habits.

Hypothyroidism Shape Shifting

Women with an under-active thyroid often experience weight gain because their metabolic rate slows. In some cases, hyperthyroidism can also cause weight gain, but that is rare. Thyroid hormones regulate calorie consumption. With an under-active thyroid, fewer calories are burned and converted into energy. Instead, they are stored in the body.

Hormones and Shape Shifting

A woman’s hormones fluctuate, preparing her for a permanently reduced hormonal level. Various hormones and hormonal conditions can affect weight gain and cause shape shifting: estrogen, progesterone, androgen, testosterone, and insulin.
It’s helpful to understand some of the factors that lead to menopause shape shifting.

But through it all, never forget the good news: Menopausal weight gain isn’t inevitable.  Your diet and lifestyle choices can help you keep the shape shifting to a minimum.

Mary B

Mary Buchan has spent the past 30 years as a wife, mother, registered nurse and singer/songwriter.  In 2012 she re-purposed her nurse’s cap to start her own coaching practice with a focus on life reinvention. Mary is also a blogger and the author of the soon to be released book  Over It: How To Live Above Your Circumstances and Beyond Yourself  (Spark Publications).

Check out Mary’s website, where you can also find her blog:  http://marybuchan.com/

3 responses »

  1. Thanks so much for this helpful and inspiring post. I think mid life and menopause provide us with an excellent opportunity to change things up!!! Loved looking at your website too!

  2. I’m definitely shape shifting. My 30s were extremely stressful and likely had a lot to do with it, and my weight yoyoed up and down during a prolonged divorce. I’m now 39, with a wonderful man, and about 20 pounds heavier than I’d like to be … fat and happy. I want to be healthy and happy though and feel like I need to be at a healthy weight by my 40th birthday or else. Any advice, Mary? Is my 40th birthday really a magic line in the sand?

  3. Love the chair. Don’t like how my shape has shifted.. and all the yoga and other exercise, including not eating doesn’t help. Age. And I can’t make myself do sit-ups all day.

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