Transcript of Episode 1. Meno Weight & Nutrition Workshop with Nutritionist Barbara Sobel


Julie Gordon White: Well, hey, everybody. Welcome to the MenoLounge. It's not Tuesday because this is a brand-new monthly series that we've started for you. Today is the very first of one of two that we're going to have every single month. The first one is, I need to look at my notes. They're so new. That's why I have my readers on today.

You're like, why is she wearing readers? Uh, our first one today of our new monthly series is our menopause weight and nutrition. We get so many questions. I'm going to bring up Barb while I'm talking, about the nutrition bar, about weight management and nutrition, what we should be eating, etc. So, we thought we need to have a series and a workshop. And here comes Barb, our clinical nutritionist. I'm telling everybody about our new series. And then we're also going to have once a month, our OBGYN who specializes in estrogen hormones, Dr. Lareesa, and that topic is going to be hormones and more.  Watch out for the reminders and notifications that we're doing this because you asked and poor Barb, all the questions we thought, let's be organized about this and I'm worried, my readers, because we have like actual real questions today that you know people have asked us and hey Barb, how are you?

We are about business today. We need to talk about menopause and eye health one of these days. Okay, let's have Huberman on because that's you know, Huberman Lab, that's his specialty. I will tell you what, some of my friends call him like, it's like a Huberman, you know, that kind of thing.

Okay. I think she calls him Hubba Hubba or something like that, you know, but any who, we digress right away. I'm super excited because we have these conversations all the time, you know, and our own team, but then women ask us, which I'm tipping over my whole thing here. Women ask us also. And so, you know, this idea is that we can answer these questions and you can always share them.

You can DM them to us @mymenowell. Well, you can DM Barb directly @BarbaraSobel_nutrition with some underscores and things like that. We will collect all the questions and then come back. You can also ask us live. So, we're going to be monitoring the chat here as well.

We're going to try to do all the things. It's our NARG girls. So we got hearts on that. So let's do it together. Barb, how are you today? I'm good. We're here in the cold summer.

Barbara Sobel: It's freezing. I’ve got a wool sweater on today.

Julie Gordon White: Okay. I'm sitting here. It is a mock turtleneck, you know, but still I'm cold.

Barbara Sobel: know. I know. I always like wearing bright colors for this, but you know, it's the Bay area.

Julie Gordon White: What's that quote that the Mark Twain quote? “The coldest winter I ever spent was the summer in San Francisco. So, if you come to the Bay Area, come visit us and bring a sweatshirt, otherwise, you're going to spend $50 for one. That's not that cute at Fisherman's Park. All right.

Let's jump in. We're going to go straight to Q& A and then remember you can put…

Hey health coach there Angela! Drop questions here and we'll circle back on that. Let's jump right into the first question. Barb, is weight gain during menopause inevitable?

Barbara Sobel: No, it's common. Um, so common that I think people think it is inevitable, but weight gain is complicated and what happens in menopause is complicated and our body goes through all sorts of changes. And our lifestyle goes through changes. Most of us are not running after toddlers anymore, um, right, right?

But that does keep you active and moving all day long, right? So we have to look at what we're eating, how we're moving, how our body's changing, how we're, um, how we're dealing with stress, what's happening with our sleep. Are we really nourishing ourselves and other changes that might be happening.

So, it's complicated and it's not, I mean, we all have friends, sisters, whatever, who don't gain weight. It's not mandatory. It doesn't happen for everyone. But it's super, super, super common. Yeah. And our bodies also change in composition. So, we could still weigh the same, but maybe we don't look the same in our clothes.

Our clothes might be tight. That's a really good point. Right. But, especially in the waist. We didn't technically gain weight. It just shifted and redirected.

Julie Gordon White: We're going to talk about that. Yeah. That's one of the questions. And hi there, my medical mystery journey. That's a great name.

Um, okay. So, then to answer short version weight gain, it's not inevitable, but it's highly common. I know from my research you know, this is why I started Menowell, 90% of women in the stages of menopause gain 10 pounds. So, if that's you too, then don't feel horrible. Right.

Barbara Sobel: I mean, it's also, think about how long we're talking about all of perimenopause, which could be 10 years, and then menopause, which is a third of your life. So, it's not surprising we'd have some changes, um, in that big span of life.

Julie Gordon White: Lots of things can happen.

Barbara Sobel: Yeah.

Julie Gordon White: And I see my medical mystery journey. You're asking one of the questions. We're gonna get tissues right out of the gate.

How do we get rid of visceral fat? My weight went from three to an eight as those in six months. I'm not sure what measurement you're using there from three to eight. Are you pinching it? Like, what did you get? So, tell us in the comments, but we feel you. All right, so let's go to number two. That's a good, um, segue, which areas of the body are most affected by menopausal weight gain?

Is it a belly fat thing?

Barbara Sobel: Yes, we see visceral fat, which is the fat around our organs increase. So sometimes we see, we notice, oh gee, legs might be getting a little thinner, um, but you're gaining weight around your middle and that fat is very different, it's very metabolically different than the fat around the rest of our body.

And when you think of, you know, think of a middle-aged man that has a little bit of a beer belly, that's visceral fat. It doesn't always happen to the same degree with women, but we tend to gain weight in our middle, around our organs. And that fat can lead to, um, higher levels, can lead to more risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes and things like that.

Julie Gordon White: Right. Which is the number one killer of women. So, all the more reason that we've got to get a grip on that. It's nice to feel good. I always say looking good, feeling good is like the bonus. It's the, uh, it's the outcome, but it's really about our heart health and longevity to make sure that we are keeping our hip to waist ratio.

Right. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Yeah. All right. Um, so yeah, it's belly fat.  

Barbara Sobel: Yes, it is. And you can also be, just so you know, it's something to keep an eye on, you can be skinny fat, where you don't really know you have visceral fat unless you, um, measure it. I know, someone in the comments just said they have a Tanita scale, which is a special biompedic scale that measures it.

 Dexa scans can measure it, um, sometimes you can go to a gym or a doctor's office and for a minimal fee, and if you're a member of the gym or one of the patients, they just include it in your membership or, or appointment

Julie Gordon White: Like In Body or something like that.

Barbara Sobel: Yeah, exactly. But the waist, if you don't have that waist hip ratio just google it. I mean everyone can do it. It's free. It gives you a good idea if you're within the ideal ratio. You're good point seven. You find the smallest point in your waist wherever that is. It's always different and the widest point around your hips and no sucking in or pulling the tape measure tight.

It doesn't really matter what the numbers are. It's the ratio that we're looking at, right? It's not like, you know, weigh yourself first thing in the morning so you get the lowest weight. It's really that ratio. So be honest with yourself. And if it's not what you want it to be, it's a good thing. You know?

Julie Gordon White: Get working on it. The truth shall set us free. Besides, you can't suck in your hips.

Barbara Sobel: It’s true. It’s true. You want your hips wider than your waist.

Julie Gordon White: Like, what can you do, right? Put on the Spanx. No. Sarah Blakely, I love you. But I stopped that. Like, no, no, no, no.

Barbara Sobel: And not for your measurements.

Julie Gordon White: So, what about, um, body fat percentage? This is something that I go around and around on, you know, what do you feel is a good body fat percentage for women in midlife? I know, you know, we're a little bit younger in that 20%, 22%. Do we still feel like that applies in midlife?

Barbara Sobel: I think you need. I think you need to make room for a little bit more.

I think that is pretty hard to, um, maintain for women as they get older. That said, you really want to focus on muscle building during that period. I think that's a more positive place to focus our energy because it We're, we're losing muscle as we age, and we have to work really hard to keep it up so we can prevent that loss.

I mean work really hard to keep it on and to build it back. So, if we can prevent that loss, I think it's more important than, you know, the fat that's just around our body, right? Because you know, no one really wants that, you know flappy arms or whatever but in the scheme of things, it's the visceral fat that's really the issue, so can you keep up that muscle tone and that muscle strength and muscle power?

Julie Gordon White: If we go for muscle, then losing some of that body fat is also going to be the byproduct of that.

Barbara Sobel: Exactly. Exactly.

Julie Gordon White: Yeah. And you know, easy measurement. Can you lift that overhead luggage into the bin without strain? We know it's full. Come on. We've got stuff. They always weigh so much, you know, but I can keep my clothes small, but the shoes…

But that's always a good test, you know, how is my upper body strength and you're still using your legs and your core, but that's really practical work of, you know, why we want to stay strong. Of course, longevity, of course, metabolism, you know, muscle burns so much.

Barbara Sobel: Even brain health is related to muscle health.

Julie Gordon White: Yeah. All those things. Yeah. Okay, good. So yes, it's a belly fat thing, but we can deal with that. All right. Hip to waist ratio is where we want to focus, and be real, can't suck in your hips. Okay. What are some of the best strategies for managing cravings and hunger during menopause? Hello. That is why Menowell was born in the first place, sugar cravings.

So, I'm going to let you approach it from a clinical perspective.

Barbara Sobel: So, the reason I like Menowell bars so well, is they are high in fiber, which helps keep us full. They don't have added sugar, which then it makes our blood sugar peak and then fall really fast, which makes us have…

Julie Gordon White: Only from dates, right…

Barbara Sobel: Not sugar, sugar. Um, and that makes us hungry. Also, Menowell bars have a good amount of protein for a snack bar and that helps us stay satiated longer. We've also got a little fat in there for same thing. So, it's really, there is no, you know, magic food, but eating real meals and snacks. that make your blood sugar stay fairly stable.

So, think rolling hills throughout the day instead of high peaks and valleys. And we're going to have less cravings for sugar, less cravings for simple carbohydrates. Um, if we are having cravings for salty things, maybe we need to look, are we getting enough salt in our diet? Have we been sweating a lot or working out a lot?

And that's our way of our body telling us that maybe we need to add a little more salt to our food. Don't necessarily need to be eating potato chips. Um, so we can, we can look at that, but really, I think having a, thinking about what we're eating, can really help us manage those cravings if we put a little bit of effort into it. If we look at the day as a whole.

Julie Gordon White: Yeah, that's a really good thing except for when you're in the moment of the sugar cravings. Like I forgot about the morning. I forgot about what's coming up.  

Barbara Sobel: Well and then I think that’s next thing is, what's your go to? Snacks that you can go to when you're having… I mean I love chocolate. I'm never, I'm not going to give it up. I'm just going to have it in a way that's healthier for me. So, you know, I might not have chocolate chip cookies, but I could have dark chocolate, or I could have a Menowell bar, or I could pick something that was a healthier version.

So, stocking your house with that. Those things, or your desk at work, or your bag, or your car, or wherever you get those cravings, is really important. It doesn't mean you can't ever have anything good again.  

Julie Gordon White: It can still be good.

Barbara Sobel: It can still be good, right?

Julie Gordon White: Right. Exactly. Treaty, treaty.

Barbara Sobel: Right, right. I think another thing. There's a lot that goes into cravings, um, looking at your cravings and looking for consistency. So, you're having a craving every day at the same time. Is that a craving because you need a break from work? Is that a craving because you're actually, your lunch was kind of skimpy and you're hungry?

Are you tired? You know, is it time to go get a cup of tea and sit down? Is it that you need more protein in your lunch? Like look for those consistencies. Is it the end of the day when you're exhausted and you really just need to be taking care of yourself? So really looking like what's our body craving?

Um, can help with, with, with connecting. Are we, do we really need sugar or whatever it is we're craving, potato chips or popcorn or whatever? And are we really hungry? Or is there something else going on in our life? And that's a pleasure. You know, all those snacks are pleasurable. Yeah. But, um, maybe we need to find a, find a way around that in a different way and think about it differently.

Julie Gordon White: Huge. And what you're, what I'm taking away, you're saying and it makes me think about my coaching days is, you know, what are you really hungry for? Yes. Maybe it's food. Maybe it's not. Maybe even you're thirsty, right? Huge piece of that. Or maybe you're hungry for five minutes of silence or five deep breaths, or a five minute walk. So, it's looking around. I love that. Noticing when you are having these cravings and then really getting quiet enough to understand, is it food? If it is, be prepared. Right, exactly.  

Barbara Sobel: Be prepared. Right, right. Right. Or have options and try and be willing to try new things. Yeah.

Julie Gordon White: I find that I'm really a much better eater than I used to be. And, um, being prepared is huge. And, uh, you know, of course I always have plenty of MenoWell bars, you know, hanging around, but, but dinner and lunch I can pretty much do. Dinner I can get caught off guard with really easily if I'm not prepared.

So having that protein pre-made is also helpful at lunchtime too. Because I'm tired at the end of the day, you know, working hard my brain, my menopause brain is pooped. So, to be able just to make a vegetable to go along with the protein that's already made, which sounds silly, but still 30 minutes of making some protein or 45 minutes, is usually not going to happen.

So being prepared, but that's all day when, when your snacks are, when your cravings are coming off. Yeah.

Barbara Sobel: I mean, we're kind of like toddlers. We have to be the grownup in the room for our toddler self and prepare for that. And it's different for everyone. So yeah, exactly.

Julie Gordon White: Know yourself. And then plan ahead. Really good. That's how we're going to handle those cravings. Okay. Can diet changes alone help prevent or reduce weight gain during menopause diet changes alone is the question?

Barbara Sobel: Yes, I think that diet changes alone can make a difference. I don't think diet changes are the one answer for everyone and if we're not getting enough sleep or we are having a lot of hot flashes or night sweats or heart palpitations or something that's really disturbing in our day is diet.

Diet can help but is it the only thing? I'm food first, I'm a nutritionist, but I don't think it's always the only thing, but it's easy to start with and play with. If it doesn't help, then go on to the next step.

Julie Gordon White: Yeah, I agree. I think food, food is a big lever. Yes. You know, we can do a lot with food. We can satisfy ourselves. I mean, calories in, calories out. Boy, there's so much chatter around that. But at the end of the day, I like to think about it as energy in, energy out. Energy is food. Energy out is movement. And if I am putting in more energy that I'm putting out, eating more than I'm moving, you're going to have a surplus.

Right. So, you don't need to fuss about, you know, argue about, well, what about with the hormones? And yeah, that has, that's all part of it. But at the end of the day, what the energy we put in and then the energy put out has to, has to balance out. Or be out of balance.

Barbara Sobel: And if your food is making you feel symptomatic in some way, it's just not agreeing with you, it's making your blood sugar spike and fall.

It can make a big difference to change that. Um, you know, just the, the nourishment of the food. Um, but it's not always the only thing. Yeah.

Julie Gordon White: Well, and you just tipped on it when you said nourishment, which is one of our favorite words. Micronutrients, you are so wonderful about micronutrients and, and we should just touch on again, macronutrients are your proteins, fats, and carbs.

Those are the macros. But micros like all the other good stuff, which is sometimes why we're craving things, vitamins, and minerals and all those things. Yeah.

Barbara Sobel: That’s a big part of our diet that we can be missing, right? Without all those. Right. Which is why we want to eat a variety of different foods all the time, so that we can get in a lot of vegetables and fruits and um, so we can get, get that, all those different nutrients.

Julie Gordon White: You're so good about that. And also, you cook with a lot of herbs too? Yeah. They're kind of magic.

Barbara Sobel: I know. And they last forever in the cabinet, so they don't go bad, you don't have to get that, you know, you can take a simple, whatever, chicken, and you can use herbs and flavor it a million different ways, and all of those different herbs have different phytochemicals in them that do different things in our body.

Julie Gordon White: I always think about you because I, I'm pretty much, you know, my mom's from Louisiana. So, I was raised seasoning things with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Even though my mom's a foodie. Although now rosemary, she really loves cooking, which I love rosemary too.

Um, but fun little note. My son had a friend here who was accepted to a Lake Cordon Bleu cooking school. I know. Right. And so as a thank you for having him here, he cooked a meal for us. I forgot to tell you this part and he used, um, I'm gonna see if I say right d p. Oh, my gosh, was, um, dill, parsley.

What would be the third thing? Oh my god. I just had a menopause moment There were three things that were in there dp something and it was… It'll come to time. No, it was something simple dill parsley Mint mint mint. Yeah That's what he said, which apparently is a cooking school thing. Did you see that menopause moment?

I just had to reach for that, but you figured it out. I love that combo so good and it really brightened the whole meal. Beautiful couscous with sauteed kale and then a salmon perfectly cooked. Man, this kid can cook. He's 22 years old. And he said, oh yeah, “I just had the DPM.”

I'm like, “What's that?” And so, he left me a whole little chopped up concoction of it. I've been using it so good. Don't be afraid to add those. It's delicious. Uh, herbs.

Barbara Sobel: I love those herbs in eggs. Good way to start the day out. Yeah.

Julie Gordon White: Hmm. Not mint though.

Barbara Sobel: Yes, mint.

Julie Gordon White: Get out of here. You put mint in your eggs?

Barbara Sobel: It's good.

Julie Gordon White: Okay, we're going to have to try it. Okay. Mint in your eggs. You heard it here. Has anyone else put mint in their eggs? Let me know. Um, my medical mystery journey, do you have a real name? She has 25 grams of fiber every single day. 30 grams of fiber and 100 grams of protein, but still gaining weight. Oh she's talking about Mediterranean, which we're going to talk about that.  So, does that go back to the whole? Even those are those are fantastic macros… We need that 25-30 grams of fiber minimum, 100 grams of protein to support our muscle metabolism, but if you are still, your calories in addition to your macros, right?

But, if your energy in is more than your energy out, even with great macros, you can still have an excess. Is that right? Yes.

Barbara Sobel: Your carbs and your fats are still going to contribute to your calories. And we're all different sizes. We all have different activity levels. So, it depends I think on the individual.

Yeah, and what else is going on? What else are you eating?