A switch is flipped. One second you’re comfortable and going about your business, then, the switch is flipped again. Suddenly, you’re freezing and piling on three layers of winter clothing, mittens, and scarf, then, the switch is flipped yet again. Now, you’re racing through your home ripping the layers of clothing from your body as you try to escape the sudden waves of molten heat lapping at your toes, relentlessly washing up your extremities, with a tidal wave pounding your head. What the hell is happening, you might ask! It’s your body’s ability to regulate temperature teasing and mocking you! Mix your body’s fluctuating temperature with a “healthy” dose of cakes, cookies, pasta, bread, soda, and lattes, and you have a recipe for a svelte body, right? NOT!
Then, there’s this little thing called fatigue which seems to be ravenously seeking you out and turning you into a seeming narcoleptic walking zombie! You find yourself yawning at the most inappropriate of times. Like when your boss is trying to give you the rundown for the day … “Oh, am I keeping you awake,” they might think or ask! Or when you’re partner becomes amorous and you yawn as they come in for the kill … I mean, the kiss! Or at a funeral when an emotion-filled eulogy is being read. Or when … you fill in the blank! If I could just get some rest!!
Then there’s the thought at the end of a busy and stressful day of a cozy night of blissful rest, cocooned in your pillowy soft bed, snuggled comfortingly within the folds of your comfy blankets. So, you hop into your bed prepared for a refreshing night’s sleep, and then … the heat factory turns itself to full capacity! It’s time for the thermostat to party like it’s 1999! Sweat begins rolling from your body as you toss and turn—so much for your partner getting any sleep! Then you think, well if I can’t get any sleep at least I’ll have company—what’s the saying, misery loves company? By the time the alarm goes off at 6, you’ve already been up 3 or 4 hours!
And thus begins another day’s cycle of insanity!
Sounds like a horror story, doesn’t it? But, it’s the reality countless women face when their body switches off (aka transition from) being a baby-making factory and turns on the reward of PEACE! Unfortunately, the transition is anything but peaceful!
Menopause creates the “perfect storm” of stress within a woman’s body. But it’s not your typical day-to-day kind of stress, it’s a massive onslaught of constant, seemingly never ending, pressure as a result of the body undergoing its “evolutionary” change from one form to another—much like the caterpillar evolving into a butterfly. Profound changes occur causing us to experience fairly common “side effects” such as weight gain, extreme fatigue, ungodly hot and cold flashes, and intense food cravings, all the result of significant levels of stress hormones (and other hormones) coursing through our bodies.
So how the hell do we deal with this natural and anticipated event in our lives? Do we give up and just go with the flow and live in complete misery for however long it takes us to evolve? Do we commit murder of our partner in their sleep because we are both jealous of their ability to sleep while we are suffering, and their apparent heartless refusal to wallow in the mud with us? (Just kidding … I think! 🤔)
No! We do not give up and we do not kill our partners! There are definite actions we can take to minimize, and in some cases eliminate, the side effects of menopause. So what are those actions we can take? Just like the warning labels you see on things that could harm you, I’ll give you this warning:
WARNING: Doing these things may be good for you. These actions may, and probably will, result in CHANGE! These actions require consistent implementation for maximum benefit. To NOT implement these actions will most likely result in countless sleepless nights, an unwanted increase in body weight and an inability to shed those damn pounds, not to mention the depression, pain, hopelessness, guilt, and feelings of shame that will inevitably occur as a result of inaction.
STEPS/ACTIONS TO ACHIEVE HEALTHY WEIGHT LOSS DURING MENOPAUSE
1️⃣ Make a Plan, Follow the Plan, and Reduce Stress. Probably THE # 1 action that will get you your greatest results!
2️⃣ Reduce/Eliminate Sugary Desserts and Drinks. Believe it or not, sugar actually adds stress in your body. And don’t be fooled into reaching for the “diet” drinks. Scientific research has proven that they not only do NOT aid in weight loss, they actually ENCOURAGE weight gain and cravings! Learn how to just say no!
3️⃣ Exercise. This not only aids in weight loss, building lean and healthy muscle, and increases strength and stamina, but it also significantly reduces stress within the body and increases vitality!
4️⃣ Avoid Caffeine, Alcohol, and Nicotine. Despite the popular belief that these substances reduce stress, the truth is that they not only increase stress within the body, they also decrease our ability to shed those nasty pounds easily!
5️⃣ Stay Well Hydrated. Our bodies are an average of up to 60% water, with our brain, heart, and lungs being as much as 73-83% water. Water is required for virtually every metabolic function and cellular activity within the body. When the body is deprived of proper hydration, the body begins a slow and agonizing decline. Keeping the body well hydrated significantly reduces bodily stress and allows the body to function normally, which in turn allows us to shed them pounds, baby, shed them pounds!
6️⃣ Practice Relaxation Techniques. Meditation, Yoga, and Tai Chi are incredibly effective at reducing mental and emotional stress, relaxing the body, and increasing flexibility, strength, and balance.
7️⃣ Journaling and Find Someone Safe To Talk To. Finding someone (or multiple someones) who is both safe and willing to allow you to vent when your stress levels get a bit too high, without them trying to “fix” you, is incredibly important. Even if you do have a person like that, journaling is one of the best ways to reduce immediate stress levels. The act of putting your jumbled and chaotic thoughts to paper can bring peace and clarity.
8️⃣ Manage Your Activity. Notice I did not say manage your time. Time is unmanageable. We all have the same 24 hours every day. Nothing we do can change the relentless movement of time. BUT we can manage our activity. Don’t just passively allow life to dictate your directionless actions, with the result nothing changes or ever seems to get done. DO set daily achievable goals and then take the necessary action to achieve those goals. You’d be surprised just how much this will not only relieve stress, but how much will suddenly be accomplished. It will be magical and feel as though you were given the gift of more time.
9️⃣ Don’t Be Afraid to Rest. You’re body is undergoing tremendous stress and change. It’s hard at work! It’s in overdrive! The resulting fatigue is your signal to take a moment to get a little (or a lot of) extra rest. A short spell of rest will enable your body to recover faster.
🔟 Eat a Diet Rich In Nutrients and Absent of Highly Processed “Fake” Foods. Choose whole foods, and eat meals that are colorful with protein at every meal. If you find yourself needing a snack then make sure it is wholesome and healthy—and no sneaking those Snickers Bars. Make sure during this stressful time that you supplement your healthy diet with the extra vitamins and minerals that your body is screaming for, so as to bring it into a state of well being and effective functionality. If you would like more information on how to achieve a healthy diet, email me.
Finally, and most importantly, give yourself (and others) grace during this time. Be kind to yourself and stop beating yourself up!
If you found this article helpful, I’d love to hear from you! Please comment and tell me what you found most helpful.