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Lorraine triumphs over menopause-induced weight gain

It gives me great pleasure to introduce you to Lorraine Oro, who has conquered menopause-induced weight gain and is now teaching other women to lose weight in my new Connect Over Coffee Coaching Program.

Lorraine, 49, first contacted me in early May to ask whether The Don't Go Hungry Diet would enable her to lose the 5 kilos she gained after going through menopause in her early forties. "PS", she wrote, "What do you think my chances are of me losing this weight by October for my son's wedding?"

If you've experienced the wrath of menopause, you'll know how badly it can throw your weight management strategies off track. And so it was for Lorraine.

Before menopause, Lorraine was a healthy 50 kilos for her petite 1.52 m frame. She never had to worry about her weight, even through three pregnancies. But with the onset of menopause at the age of 42, Lorraine's weight started slowly increasing. The more she tried to lose the weight, the more persistent the excess kilos became. Lorraine tells the story.

"To tackle the creeping kilos, initially I just increased my exercise levels by going to the gym, and I also cut back on my kilojoule intake. I became more hungry and irritable - my weight dropped down a little but then I became very hungry and my hunger defeated me. I ended up eating like there was no tomorrow and I regained the kilos I lost plus a little more.

I went up a clothing size, so I increased the intensity of my gym workouts and tried a soup diet. I ate soup until I was dreaming soup and the weight just seemed to dissolve. I was thrilled until eventually the soup just didn't seem to satisfy my hunger. Again hunger won and I binged like crazy on lollies, cakes and white crusty bread.

Yep, that dreaded yoyo cycle set in and my weight jumped beyond my previous high. The larger sized clothes that I'd bought were becoming somewhat snug.

I purchased a Slimming magazine from the supermarket that had a diet in it that was supposed to increase the metabolism of menopausal women. It stipulated that you must eat at least six times a day, and protein was to be included in as many of the meals as possible. I thought Great; this should keep my hunger under control. I found that in order to eat all of the allocated food as frequently as the diet stipulated, I was often eating even when I wasn't hungry, and I didn't even like much of the food I had to eat as I'm quite a fussy eater. I actually gained weight on that diet.

This pattern of yoyo dieting continued for the next few years. My middle son went away to live in Europe for two years and when he returned he gave me a massive warm hug. As he was hugging me he proceeded to tell me in a joking way that I'd become much chunkier since he last saw me. We laughed and joked about it, but deep down it was truly getting to me. I felt increasingly frustrated by my inability to lose the excess weight.

A few months ago a health professional recommended that I visit Dr Amanda's website. I was so absorbed by the logical simplicity of losing weight by connecting with your body as well as the scientific research behind it that I emailed Dr Amanda to ask if it was possible for someone like me - with just a few kilos in excess - to lose weight on her program.

Dr Amanda suggested I keep a Success Diary for two weeks, rating both my hunger and satiety before and after eating, measuring my waist and weighing myself on day one then not again until the fourteenth day.

All she said was "you'll see for yourself the results you can achieve".

During those two weeks, I paid extra attention to my hunger levels before eating and to my satiety levels while I was eating. I diligently wrote down everything I ate in my diary as well as my hunger and satiety ratings."

When Lorraine wrote to tell me the results of her two-week experiment with The Don't Go Hungry Diet, she was ecstatic. "By the end of these two weeks I am thrilled to have lost 0.6 kilos and 5 cm from my waist, all while eating what I felt like when I felt like it and stopping when I felt elegantly satisfied. I'm still jumping out of skin with the exciting results. Thank you and thank you!", she wrote.

Three months since she started The Don't Go Hungry Diet in early May, with a good two months to spare before her son's wedding in October, Lorraine had successfully lost 4 kilos and is comfortable at her new weight of 51 kilos.

Last week I met Lorraine for a coffee, and she was a picture of radiance in a graceful dove-grey knit that accentuates her fabulous figure and Moreno glass accessories that highlight the sparkle in her eyes and skin. Lorraine says that one of the benefits of being back down at 51 kilos is that all of her old favorite clothes now fit her perfectly.

Up until now, Lorraine had found it impossible to keep the kilos off after having lost them. This time, Lorraine has kept the weight off for almost a month and counting, and she tells how sustainable and energizing it feels to eat this way.

"I love the extra energy I seem to have since eating by connecting with my body and not fighting against constant hunger. I feel empowered and liberated from guilt about eating", she says.

And what was the role of physical activity in Lorraine's success? As you will read below, it's the combination of eating according to her physical needs and being active that has helped Lorraine to maintain her new lower weight.

"I have always loved walking, especially in the very early morning as I feel it helps me mentally prepare for the day ahead. This was particularly so when I was working in courts and having to deal with some very, very unpleasant cases. I would walk for about 50 minutes (about 5,000 steps) in the morning and I do try to get as much incidental activity as possible during the day. I also get about three workouts per week at the gym. At the time of embarking on the Don't Go Hungry Diet, I started wearing a pedometer and to my amazement, I was quite easily chalking up on average about 13,000 steps a day, which I have certainly maintained. Although I have been active for a number of years, it wasn't until I began eating by connecting with my body as well as being physically active that the weight actually remained off!"

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What our readers say...

"Dear Amanda, just wanted to say how much I love your book The Don't Go Hungry Diet. I gave up traditional forms of dieting some years back as I am so over counting points or fat grams etc. Counting anything in fact! Been there done that. And who wants to spend their life 'counting' and obsessing and stressing over food. I certainly don't. I knew there had to be an answer and I reckon I've found it in your book. Having gained a massive amount of weight from taking anti-depressant medication for some years, I was fat and fed up - in fact I was depressed about being fat! The anti-depressants make you crave junk food, and the more you eat the more you want, you just can't fill that hole. Anyway, I weaned off them and no longer crave the junk, I eat mostly whole foods, lots of fruit & veg (aim for 9 serves a day, often go over). I eat full fat everything, use olive oil in my cooking, plenty of avocado and nuts etc. and have dinner out once a week and enjoy the odd bit of chocolate. In the 2 months since April 1st I've lost 8 kg and feel like a new person. After about 5 weeks of weight loss and feeling quite good about myself, I started to feel really hungry, wanting to eat but that inner voice saying, 'slow down or you'll put that weight on again'. I thought of the 'Famine Reaction' you talk about and decided to 'go with the flow' and just eat bigger helpings of healthy foods. After a few days, as predicted in your book, the 'Fat Brake' kicked in and I went back to my weight loss eating. Such a good feeling to have faith in my body, listen to it's signals and act accordingly. Since then I have had ravenous days where I increase my food, as well as not so hungry days where I eat less. And sure enough, at every weigh in at the gym there is a loss. I am an avid reader of anything to do with health, weight and nutrition and have a 'library' of books regarding eating disorders that deal with the mental side of things but had not come across anything on the physiological side of weight loss before your book. Thank you so much - I feel as though I've been released from a prison sentence. Warm regards, Lesley. PS - My sister is doing Weight Watchers and stayed with me recently. She arrived armed with diet yogurts, diet this, diet that etc. One day she was complaining of being hungry but had used up all her points - and as I sat there chowing down on a chunk of my home made organic bread with humus, I thought, Thank God for Dr Amanda. Maybe I'll buy my sister a copy of your book!"

- Lesley, Wentworth Falls, NSW