Hot flashes, mood swings and menopausal muffin tops—you get the picture. So does Dr. Mickey Harpaz (aka Dr. Mick), a leading nutritionist and exercise physiologist with offices in NYC and Fairfield County, CT, who has helped some 10,000 menopausal women beat the weight gain, fatigue and other dismal changes of “the change” in his popular “I Want My Body Back” seminars along with his book, Menopause Reset!. BA50 learned a lot from our interview – including – who knew? September is National Menopause Awareness Month and World Menopause Day is Oct. 18.
BA50: What is the biggest myth about menopause?
Dr. Mick: Women believe that it’s impossible to get rid of their “menopausal pouch,” and that they can’t lose the weight they gained. But that’s not true. It takes time, consistency and hard work, but weight loss for the menopausal woman is achievable.
BA50: As someone who just turned 50 — and gained l2 pounds as a result of menopause, I have to ask: Why is it so hard for us to lose weight at 50 -plus? I’m still exercising and eating the same so what gives?
Dr. Mick: The changes in the hormonal levels via the endocrine system, a decrease in metabolic rate, and an increase in fats deposit mainly in the center of the body, create a very difficult time for women at 50 plus to burn fat. One must change her eating habits and exercise routine in order to get results.
BA50: Is there an “easy” way to control menopausal weight gain? What do you recommend for the 50+ woman who’s either perimenopausal or in full-blown menopause? Is there different advice for someone like me who’s “over” it?
Dr. Mick: There is no easy way to do so. However, the best two tips I recommend are: First, exercise daily, and second regulate your blood sugar by eating every two hours. The advice will be the same at any age.
BA50: You mention in your book that we should be “kinder” to ourselves: why?
Dr. Mick: Menopausal weight does not represent who you are. You can be a great mom or a wonderful generous person, or a very successful career woman. Ten or 15 pounds of menopausal weight gain does not erase your life achievements. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Do something about the weight gain, but don’t lose perspective.
BA50: What’s MOST important to know about our bodies and menopause?
Dr. Mick: The most important thing to know about menopause is acceptance and knowledge. I believe that women should educate themselves about the upcoming menopause phase, re: the changes that may occur, the symptoms that may take over, and the strategies and actions that can be taken to alleviate all the sufferings. What will help to do so, is the acceptance and understanding that menopause is a physiological state. It is a change in the endocrine system, and it has nothing to do with you personally. Accepting this, will open the door to education, knowledge, and positive actions.
Just as important: Educate your daughters about menopause. It will help them to go through it when time comes. It also gives them the opportunity to prepare themselves for the changes