Menopause Has its Challenges

Sheryl Kraft

Part One, “Your Menopause Survival Guide,” explains the changes going on in your body leading up to, and during, menopause, and discusses treatment options like hormone replacement therapy and complementary and alternative therapies. There’s also a diet and exercise plan and beauty tips. The information is pretty straight-forward and obvious (like sleeping in cotton PJs and lowering the thermostat so you can sleep better), but sometimes things do bear repeating, like the list of alternative therapies (black cohosh, ginseng, ginkgo biloba) and their accompanying side effects and warnings. Because, face it, we all do not feel comfortable relying on the old standby fix of hormones.

Part Two, “Planning Your Transformation,” gives you a blueprint for creating a personalized Menopause Makeover, using tools for calculating things like BMI, ideal weight and target caloric intake. Here, you’re treated to the uplifting fact that it takes a 3,500 calorie deficit to lose just one pound (which translates into 500 fewer calories per day if your goal is to lose 1 pound per week). But that hopelessness you suffer from such knowledge may be eased by the authors’ philosophy that “you have an ideal weight unique only to you,” and a way to calculate your healthy weight, taking your frame, bone structure and body composition into consideration.

And then, the final chapter. “Your Menopause Makeover Essential Planner” doubles as a workbook to make keeping track of all the hard work (menopause takes work!) easy. There’s room to keep track of your emotional and physical concerns, your personal and family medical history, current medications and medical tests – even recipes like dark chocolate-covered strawberries. Included is a helpful guide to supplements and how they benefit your body, which foods to find them in, the recommended daily doses and other information.

Too bad this book was not around a few years ago when I was at my most desperate. It might have saved me a few unwanted pounds, some sleepless nights and those unpleasant and unnecessary nitpicky fights with my husband. But the way I see it is this: As my children emerged intact from my stomach-churning doubts as to how I was raising them, so will I similarly surface from the shaky, challenging rollercoaster ride of these menopause years.

But I sure could have used some help back then.

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