The balancing act of enjoying food, while watching your waistline is a challenging task in your menopausal years.

It is also one that I would rather not spend too much time thinking about and considering.

This means I have made decisions about certain foods and drink, which takes the everyday choices out of the equation.

Wine is on my watch list.

Not just because of the calories. We know it can inhibit our good intentions so one glass can easily become two. While your brain may be thinking, “treat yourself to a wee glass”, your body is “oh we are on overtime tonight”.

In your menopausal years, your body has a lot of work to do coping with lowering hormones. Processing alcohol is an additional work and can exasperate some of your symptoms such as hot flushes.

I made the decision to buy small bottles of wine. In the UK, there is a good selection of 187ml bottles of wine; this is roughly two and a half units of wine. FYI: In the UK fourteen units of alcohol is the maximum recommendation per week.

Buying a small bottle means, that is all that I am choosing to drink, and I have made that decision at the supermarket. Buying a bigger bottle leaves room for negotiation of one glass or two that evening. However, it is also more likely that I will have a wee glass the next day as well. I was brought up not to waste food, I am sure you were too! Drinking on consecutive days is again more work for your liver. Bookend dry days around days where you do have alcohol is a good practise to get into.

Web link: Alcoholic drinks and units

Vegetables are also on my watch list for a different reason.

We all know five portions is the recommended allowance. There are many studies coming through that suggest eating seven portions a day would significantly increase health benefits.

“Yippee Broccoli” said no one, ever. We often need a nudge to help us ensure we are eating enough veggies. Five to seven portions is a lot of vegetables and a lot of chopping!

When I am shopping, I often buy prepared vegetables (as long as I can remove any butter). You can buy a rainbow of colours in one bag. It is convenient and most prepared vegetables are package by portion.80g is a single portion. If I know that I have bought enough when I am at the supermarket then I do not have to think about it when I get home. The decision has already been made, and my lunch is a no brainer.

PDF link: 5 a day portion guide

You may think you lack willpower, but it is often because we are continually making choices rather than making decisions. That is one reason why we can be stuck in patterns and eat in a way we do not enjoy.

When you next go shopping, can you change your habits and make decisions at the supermarket rather than still choosing your portion sizes when you get home?

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Samantha Valand is a Pilates teacher, Yoga Instructor and Personal Trainer. Who helps over fifties women fall in love with exercising again after the menopause. You can find some inspiration over on the blog If you are interested how coaching can help you can start here. Samantha has a free monthly newsletter to help you live healthy ever after.