Our hormones, (or should I say lack of them!) have an awful lot to answer for.
As we hurtle along, full blast on this unstoppable journey through menopause, our body experiences massive withdrawal symptoms from oestrogen and progesterone and with it comes a whole host of unexpected and unwanted symptoms!
For example, the sleep you so desperately need, yet evades you night after night – You can blame that on declining progesterone.
That strange women who now resides in your body, full of anger, tears and forgetfulness – This is caused by plummeting oestrogen levels
Weight gain, loss of motivation, itchy wrinkly skin, hair loss, brain fog and just generally feeling pretty Yuk…… Yep, those pesky hormones are to blame for it all.
The Menopause Monster has totally invaded your body and made you become someone you hardly recognise anymore. It is not really your fault, after all, you don’t have the ability to control your hormone levels, or the trouble they are causing.
The first thing you need to do is STOP blaming yourself. This is not the time to drop a load of guilt on yourself, instead you need to up your game and not let this evil monster totally engulf you.
But how, I hear you cry….
Well, I can’t promise you it will be easy, you have to dig down deep and muster up all of your will power. Once you start taking those first few steps along the road to recovering yourself from the clutches of the evil menopause monster, you will start to feel more in control of your life. You will begin to feel a little pang of proudness that you are capable of kicking this things butt, and with that comes the enthusiasm that you really can do this.
Two important things to remember:
1.Believe in yourself
2. Want to do it
Do not put unrealistic time pressure on yourself. For example, If you’re looking to lose weight (and who isn’t?) don’t be influenced by those crazy headlines that advertise things like: “Guaranteed to lose 60lbs in six days” or “Burn off belly fat overnight”. While you’re body may have obliged you in your younger days with these extreme weight loss programmes (even though unhealthy), don’t expect the same now. Your metabolism is very different and it will be impossible to ever reach these unrealistic goals. You will only end up feeling disheartened and dejected.
Here’s your 3 step sensible approach to finding yourself:
First and foremost I will emphasise here, that exercise is not particularly good for losing weight – Yes, you did read that right!
You could spend 30 minutes pounding the treadmill and only burn around 250 calories – Much easier to forgo that sausage roll or piece of cake, right?
However, this is not your free pass to avoid going to the gym or doing some form of daily exercise.
While exercise may not be that efficient at burning calories, it is extremely beneficial for your health.
Living without the influence of hormones, especially oestrogen, brings about many health concerns. Two of the most important ones being heart health and bone health.
It is more important than ever now, to make sure that you do some form of exercise every day, to strengthen the heart, bones and muscles.
Also bear in mind that you’re working out for different reasons now – not necessarily to have a finely sculpted body, like you probably did in your 20’s and 30’s ( though that would be nice!) You are exercising to stay healthy and fit. You are investing in your future, so you can have the best quality life possible and you can keep on jogging past that nursing home, instead of ending up in it!
Im not suggesting you go and do an intense full body workout every day, just make sure you do something every day! Brisk walking, swimming, cycling, tennis, whatever you enjoy most.
If you put enough Ooomph into it, even housework and gardening count as exercise (sorry, ironing doesn’t count!)
By this I mean cut out or at least down on refined sugars, caffeine, alcohol, processed foods, fried foods, cakes, pastries and smoking.
Eat food as close to its natural state as possible and don’t be tempted to add unhealthy sauces. For example grill fish and chicken with a few fresh herbs and steam vegetables.
Add lots of hormone balancing foods such as dark green leafy vegetables, cruciferous vegetables, freshly ground flaxseeds and Maca root, all rich in plant hormones, known as phytoestrogens.
Eat fish at least 3 times a week
Eat red meat occasionally
Eat vegetables every day
Watch your portion sizes. Try eating off a smaller size dinner plate.
Stress has to be right up there on the menopause pedometer, along with hot flushes, fatigue and anxiety and is undoubtedly emphasised by lack of sleep.
Oestrogen is responsible for maintaining the levels of the cortisol in the body. As you go through menopause and levels of oestrogen begin to drop, your body is unable to regulate cortisol levels as effectively as it once did, causing you to experience stress more readily.
Being able to manage your stress levels is not a luxury but vital for keeping you healthy.
Meditation is a good place to start. If you’re not used meditating it may take a little time and dedication, but could make all the difference to your day.
Meditation affects the body in exactly the opposite was that stress does, restoring it to a calm state and helping the body repair itself.
If you don’t meditate already, make it your goal to practice and perfect, so you can de-stress and reap the benefits of a focused, calm mind.
Make time for yourself and pursue actives you enjoy, whether it’s gardening, reading or a particular hobby. It will help you to relax and take your mind of stressful issues.
A healthy body and peaceful mind will go a long way in helping you stay one step ahead of the clutches of menopause.