Midlife Alert: Fat Watch in Effect Until Further Notice

Water and Soy

Drink lots of water. Women going through the transition to menopause are as prone to dehydration as the elderly and burn victims. Drink at least six to eight glasses of water a day -- until your urine is pale in color, Waterhouse says.

Move it to lose it. It may sound clichéd, but nothing could be closer to the truth. Aerobic exercise of moderate intensity four times a week for an hour each session will burn off fat, Waterhouse says. And it doesn't have to be at an Olympic pace. Again, you shouldn't be so breathless you couldn't sing a song.

Take a positive view. Berating yourself or obsessing because you can't fit into your college jeans is not only silly but destructive. "To treat your body well with food and fitness, you have to have a certain respect for your body," Waterhouse says.

Focus on the parts of your body you like best. Besides saying silent affirmations, such as admiring your soft skin, slender hands, or long neck, you should stop putting your life on hold until you lose a certain amount of weight. Adopt a man's mind-set on the matter. "For men, weight is around twelve on the list in important traits, yet for us it's number one," Waterhouse says. "Who we are is more important than what we weigh."

The soy of cooking. Soy is a great health food for women going through the transition of menopause because it is rich in plant estrogens. Though weaker than your body's own estrogen, these phyto, or plant, estrogens may help alleviate menopause symptoms.

To gain health benefits, strive for 30 to 100 milligrams of phytoestrogens a day, the equivalent of 3 ounces of tofu, one glass of soy milk, or 2 tablespoons of soy protein powder. Here are six easy ways to increase phytoestrogens in your diet.

  • Sprinkle soy protein powder on cereal or mix into beverages. It won't alter taste.
  • When baking, replace a quarter of the regular flour with soy flour.
  • Stir-fry tofu into vegetables and add to soups. Tofu has a reputation of being bland, but actually assumes the flavor of whatever you mix it with. Blended into tacos, burritos, and ravioli, tofu is often mistaken for cheese.
  • Add silken tofu to salad dressings, cream soups, sauces, and casseroles. You will get nutrients and a richer texture.
  • Snack on roasted soy nuts. Or try soy products, such as miso (soybean paste) soup, soy burgers, soy hot dogs, soy tortilla chips, or "peanut" butter.
  • Drink soy milk or mix with regular milk.