Belly Dance Fitness for You

The Menopause Diet: What Belly Dancers Need to Know

Introduction of the Menopause Diet

Created by Dr. Larrian Gillespie in 1999 to mitigate the weight gain, hot flashes, bloating, irritability and loss of sex drive of menopause, the Menopause Diet effectively helps women sail through what is euphemistically called "the change." Initially well-received, itmenopause diet, belly dance, diets for older women was revised in 2003 and remains extremely popular today, averaging four out of five stars on Amazon's customer reviews.

Benefits of the Menopause Diet

More than a diet, Dr. Gillespie’s plan also incorporates exercise and hormonal balancing to achieve results. The diet focuses on fresh food, beginning a meal with protein and only eating good fats, thus ensuring that the body is well-nourished.  By following the diet, and supplementing with low-dose estrogen, hormonal balance is achieved, including lowering insulin and progesterone, resulting in less bloating and increases in metabolism and sex drive. Clearly, this popular diet will help a belly dancer transition into menopause with a minimum of disruption in her performance or appearance.

Five Simple Steps to Help Belly Dancers Maintain Energy

Step 1: Follow the Diet

The Menopause Diet provides for the belly dancer’s nutritional needs with small meals, plenty of water and limits on stimulants.  The frequent small meals will provide energy throughout the day and adequate water helps the body operate at peak efficiency. Although alcohol, caffeine and nicotine give an initial boost, the crash is often much greater than the initial rush and becomes a great drain on energy, so they must be avoided.

Step 2: Belly Dance Daily

A belly dancer should make a point to practice or perform at least 30 minutes each day, but monitor her body and not overdo it.  Moderate exercise increases energy-boosting hormones and decreases cortisol, but too much can increase fatigue and stress, thus cancelling out the benefits.

Step 3: Sleep Seven to Eight Hours a Night

With hot flashes, hormonal changes and mood swings, many find it difficult to achieve this goal. Try these tips: avoid alcohol, caffeine and tobacco, keep the room as cool and dark as possible and run a fan (many find the hum soothing). Estrogen replacement therapy may also help reduce the uncomfortable symptoms that keep women up at night.

Step 4: Relax

Belly dancers should make daily relaxation a part of their lives. Adopting techniques such as meditation, yoga or tai chi will lower stress levels (and increase energy). The belly dancer should be mindful of mood, prepare for stressors, and make conscious choices not to let anxiety and daily demands irritate, choosing, instead, to "go with the flow."

Step 5: Supplement

In addition to supplementing hormones, many find herbal remedies helpful. Soy is reputed to assist with hot flashes and bone density, St. John's Wort may help with irritability and mood swings, Valerian Root has been used for centuries as a sleep aid and ginseng is thought to reduce stress and boost immunity. However, we recommend that belly dancers should consult a physician before taking any supplement.

The Menopause Diet provides a strong foundation upon which any woman can build to ensure an easy transition. With proper attention to fitness and diet, and making a few lifestyle changes, the belly dancer should have no interruption of her practice or performance, and no loss of beauty, during menopause.