To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1
It is estimated that by the year 2030, 1.2 billion women will be in some phase menopause. Talk about global warming! Most women simply want to eradicate the symptoms of perimenopause and menopause. However, it is important to address the whole woman, body soul and spirit.
See Danna’s interview with Revive Our Hearts Ministries on this subject HERE
Menopause is not an illness!
God designed women’s bodies with a finite number of eggs. As those eggs run low, the body is signaled that her need to be ready to grow a baby within her womb is winding down and various hormonal changes begin occurring (peri-menopause) as early as ten years before we enter “full menopause”. In medical terms, we are in menopause or post-menopausal once our monthly cycle has stopped for 12 consecutive months.
This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24
Embrace the Change
Though this season of life can be challenging and it is often a daily reminder that we are indeed aging, it is also a time to celebrate the woman you’ve become over the decades. Hopefully, you’ve matured emotionally, relationally, and spiritually. This can be the richest time of your life if you nurture yourself well (inside and out) and lean into God’s beautiful plans and purposes for this season. Let’s not waste a single day just because we sweated through our sheets last night and slept poorly. Let’s not let our fluctuating hormones (which truly can cause us to feel depressed or extremely agitated) to be an excuse for bad behavior. Yes, some days will be harder than others, but as the psalmist declares, we will rejoice! It’s the only day we have for sure and our response to it is a choice. And while we cannot always think our way out of our feelings, we can take our negative thoughts to the Lord and ask Him for wisdom and solutions that will help us through our physical and emotional menopause-related challenges. He alone has all the answers for what will best help your body discover its “new normal”. I encourage you to start journaling your prayers on this subject and recording God’s answers. Perhaps this post is even a small answer to some of your menopause concerns!
The changes that occur as women age are complex and multifaceted.
Every woman has her own unique experience. Some sail through the whole transition without any negative symptoms. Others get moody, hot, sweaty, sleepless, and feel like they are living in someone else’s body. As a woman who’s “been there done that”, at 70 years old I can give you some really good news: you will survive! However, most of us want to thrive in this life transition.
I wrote my second book, THE HEAT IT ON…Health, Humor, & Hope for Women Facing Menopause in 2005. At 53 at the time, I had found many helpful solutions. But, I still remember those five years of wondering, “will I ever feel normal again?”. In fact, I experienced so many emotional symptoms, I included a chapter in the book called: Hormone Hostage Husbands in which my husband even wrote a few pages for the husbands!
Fast forward 15 years and we’ve learned a lot about what is and is not working for mature women as we transition into menopause. While 80% of women will experience the dreaded hot flashes and night sweats (a little or a lot), the things women most loathe about this phase of life is the weight gain – especially around their middle – and difficulty sleeping.
GET BACK TO BASICS FIRST
As a veteran health and weight loss coach, I would be remiss if I did not encourage you to evaluate all aspects of your lifestyle and notch them up as best you can. There’s no supplement or magic bullet that can address your menopausal symptoms effectively if your diet, exercise, sleep, and stress management habits are less than optimal. Quality nutrition can be one of your most powerful tools for bringing balance to your body. Exercise is a great stress reliever and also releases your “feel good hormones”. And while HRT (hormone replacement therapy) is always an option that can be very helpful, it is not an exact science and needs to be monitored very carefully. I am not a medical doctor and I cannot give you advise in this area. I will share that my naturopathic physician, Dr. Mark Stengler – a nationally renowned N.D. – only uses bio-identical hormone therapies. He told me years ago his philosophy is to provide the lowest possible dose for the shortest period of time necessary to keep peri and post-menopause manageable.
6 THINGS THAT MOST INFLUENCE MENOPAUSE: (You can control 5 of them)
Let’s break down the top 5 items briefly. I’ll give you a little insight and a suggestion or two to get you started in each category:
Most of us are fully aware that our daily diet greatly influences our health and weight gain and yet we may be eating and drinking things that we don’t even know are increasing inflammation, promoting disease, and influencing our body’s response to our hormonal changes. No matter if you are trim and fit or over weight – your food choices matter – a LOT! Most experts not only agree that most women eat way too many processed foods, but also that too many grains can further disrupt our hormone balance.
We wrote the Eat Live Thrive Diet specifically with mature women in mind and thousands of women have finally learned how to not only lose weight in this season of life (and keep it off) but also how much better they feel when they participate in all three phases of the diet. We make it very doable and enjoyable because of all the tasty recipes and health snack suggestions.
Take Our 14 Day Challenge:
Consider eliminating all grains and added sugars for the next two weeks. (We make it doable with our delicious treat recipes – see links to faves below.) You will likely be amazed at how you feel after completing this challenge. First, it is highly likely that you will lose 3 to 10 pounds (depending upon your current weight and eating habits). Since carbs make your body retain water, you will feel and look lighter within a couple days. But, wait for the health benefits to kick in. It is very possible that some of your menopause symptoms will be less severe.
3 Recipe Faves:
Snickerdoodle Muffins or Cake
Peanut Butter Chocolate
You can find lots more recipes for treats, entrees, sides, and snacks in our book and on this website. Just find the recipe link in the right column search bar.
Most women gain 5-8% of their body weight during menopause. As an example, a 140 pound woman will gain 7-11 pounds on average. In the Eat Live Thrive Diet, we teach in depth on how women 45-50+ can lose weight and keep it off and enjoy a sustainable eating plan that serves you well for life. If you’d like to participate in one of our 30-day group challenges with live coaching and accountability, Click this Link.
An active lifestyle that includes daily exercise is essential for not only reducing the symptoms of menopause, but also revving up your metabolism, losing weight, increasing your energy, decreasing stress, and more! When should you exercise? Whatever time works best for you? What kind of exercise? To start: whatever you enjoy. Making exercise a habit means it needs to be as enjoyable as possible. Don’t like exercise? Learn to like it. Tell yourself you do. Go out and do it and over time, you will believe it!
I know. I know. At this season of life quality and enough sleep can be a challenge. Robyn and I write about this in the ELT Diet and have several natural remedies we’ve used that have been helpful. Having a consistent bedtime, turning off devices, darkening your room, and taking one or more natural supplements can help. This short video we created may give you some answers:
CLICK HERE TO WATCH
Your attitude about this season of life matters! God created us with an amazing mind/body connection that literally can change our physiology both positively and negatively. If you have the attitude that your menopause journey is unbearable or that your life and vitality are “all downhill from here”, you body will respond in agreement. I have learned through going through menopause as well as facing off breast cancer that my thoughts and beliefs will affect my health. Proverbs 3:7-8 says: “Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your body and refreshment to your bones.” Our right attitude about our own wisdom (or lack thereof) and “fear” (reverence/awe) of God puts our mind in the right place to bring healing to our bodies! That’s amazing. It’s not always an easy task when we feel like we’re living in someone else’s body. But, it is worth the effort. God rewards us with peace and perseverance when we surrender everything (including menopause) to Him. Pray for wisdom to choose the best solutions for your body and I believe He will bring people and resources into your life.
A Few Supplements We’ve Found Helpful:
FemmenessencePRO (Maca-Go) for Post-Menopause
FemmenesscePRO-Peri for Peri-Menopause
HRT Considerations – My Personal Thoughts – NOT Medical Advice!
In peri-menopause women’s progesterone usually drops which causes her to become estrogen dominant. This makes it very hard to lose weight. Have your hormones tested and ask your doctor to prescribe an appropriate dose of progesterone to bring you back into balance during this transition. Another over-the-counter hormone, DHEA is often deficient in women over 50 and while you can take it without a prescription, it is unwise. Ask your doctor to test your DHEA level and recommend an appropriate dose.
Now is the Time for Self-Nurturing
There are so many decisions and choices to make in this sometimes challenging season. It is a time when self-nurturing is not only important…it is essential. How you feel impacts those around you. So, indulge in extra self-care. Try different things as what works for some, won’t work for others. It is definitely a time to experiment and discover solutions that work for you. Be sure to have a health advocate that agrees with your health philosophy and always remember: YOU are the CEO of your healthcare team. Hire and fire wisely!