Food Cravings and the link to Hormones

WV Marshall

** “Everything in moderation, including moderation.” – Oscar Wilde ** Did your day go to hell in a hand basket? Count way too many sheep last night? Get into a little set-to with a friend, spouse or significant other? Yield to temptation and indulge in some comfort food from the holy trinity of chocolate, ice cream or baked treats? You aren’t alone if you say yes.

The thing is that food cravings – when taken to excess – for women during menopause can intensify the negative consequences. Hot flashes/flushes, restless sleep and mood swings – all manifestations of menopause – can drive women to reach for a tasty treat to counter their discomfort, the Cleveland Clinic said.

The kicker is that menopause typically occurs at a time in a woman’s life when her metabolism already is slowing as part of the normal aging process. Seeking succor from high-calorie comfort foods – whether sweet, salty, sour or bitter in taste – may make a woman feel better in the near term; they can also cause weight gain that’s harder to burn off.

Of course, it’s OK to give in to a food craving occasionally. No one’s asking you to be a martyr. But don’t mentally put yourself through the wringer. Accept the lapse in judgment and work to get back on track.

In fact, the Cleveland Clinic lists ways to offset the tendency toward weight gain. As with any health-related matter, please consult your healthcare provider:

  • The better health mantra: Follow a heart-healthy diet. Focus on veggies, fruits, whole grains and lean meats.
  • Iron isn’t just for pumping: Make sure your body gets iron and calcium daily.
  • Nix the “quickies”: Grab-and-go, pre-packaged foods often are high in calories that can add up quickly.
  • The dynamic duo: Pair carbohydrates with protein – it helps keep the hungries at bay.
  • Not soy fast: Soy has gotten a lot of media exposure as a possible aid to alleviate night sweats and hot flashes/flushes. But the Cleveland Clinic warns that there’s conflicting research about whether a soy-rich diet might increase the risk of estrogen-sensitive cancers.
  • Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes: Taking baby steps is the way to go when making life changes. Each success will motivate you to take the next (baby) step.