Mel Collie|5 ways to work with the Menopause
I was 50 this year..but my Menopause was apparant 10 years ago, I started going through it in my late 30’s, however, I was lucky, the night sweats and other things associated with the Menopause weren’t that bad, and the reasons now, looking back on that time, could have been because I was making different choices around nutrition and lifestyle due to a redundancy and change in career. Wow, thanks to that redundancy!
If you are going through symptoms right now, or are noticing that your body isn’t reacting to things like it did in your 20’s , then these 5 ways might just help you out too. (here’s a science bit first though…)
The hormone that helps us keep muscle tone and help keep belly fat stable and not increase is Testosterone. The hormone that increases belly fat is cortisol, even though we all need cortisol, too much of it doesn’t help us out. I will give you some ways to drop cortisol and increase testosterone. Keep reading…
Testosterone drops after we get to 45. Its less than half the level we had in our 20’s. So, staying the same with choices in nutrition and exercise, are a little bit crazy, doing ourselves more harm than good in expecting our bodies to react the way it did 20 years ago or more. Give yourself a break!
1. Grains and milk increase insulin in our bodies, this means that Testosterone drops too. Reduce the amount of grains you eat from day to day. If you drop them all immediately, you might not find that sustainable, so make changes you are happy with and are sustainable long term. If you love fruit or toast for breakfast and cereals too, change from having them every day to maybe 1 – 2 mornings a week only, and instead make time for omelettes, scrambled eggs, salmon and eggs (that’s a lot of eggs!) Green smoothies, protein shakes. If you don’t do breakfast, then thats fine if that works for you. Now, one way of breaking out of the “I cant eat that for breakfast!” is to look at that thought and question it…is that true? Is it really true? Maybe its time to change that thought and see the first meal of the day as just that, another meal, which means you can eat a stir fry, a chicken salad, a chicken omelette, soup, sounds a bit weird doesn’t it. Take a few times to realise that its not all that bad, and that it fill you up for the rest of the morning, so grabbing something to keep you going at 11am disappears.
2. Zinc – add some zinc into your day, 30 mgs a day is about right, no more as too much interferes with the bodies ability to absorb other minerals.
3. Sleep – get some quality sleep in, easy to say though isnt it…I was a terrible sleep, always taking at least an hour to actually get to sleep! If you are super busy, and using that as a reason that you just cant get to bed by 10.30 , for 5 times a week, look at why that is, and can you change a few things around? Can you get to bed by 10.30pm, for just say, 3 nights a week, and then build it up to 5 ? Is it possible to switch off the laptop/tablet/tv so your brain gets time to wind down. Replace the social media for a bath, reading a chapter of a book, walking around the garden, standing outside and looking at the stars as you take 10 slow deep breaths, simple things, doable things, like-able things that nourish your brain and body . Good sleep helps testosterone levels. Lack of sleep helps increase cravings for carbs the next day, also relying on caffeine too increases cravings for sugar and reduces quality sleep, increases stress and reduces Magnesium levels.
4. Exercise – ok, heres the thing, if you are still doing loads of exercise and thinking doing more and more is the answer, stop that right now. Here you are, not sleeping, stressing, running around, doing loads of things for everyone else, spinning all those plates and then you decide its also a good idea to train hard too, Its like a punishment for your body “Im going to beast you so you had better give me those results!!” Its going to dig its heel in and not budge, in fact over training and under recovering will increase belly fat. Switch those hour long classes at the gym for 20 – 30 minute sessions of HiiT (High Intensity Interval Training) BUT…only 1 – 3 times a week, that’s all, don’t do them everyday, that’s not the idea. Pilates and or Yoga will also help 1 – 3 times a week.
Now, the most important thing is to walk everyday. Yes, that’s all, that’s the magic ingredient, go for a walk. 30 minutes a day is something to aim for, 60 minutes even better, but don’t stress about trying to fit that in, start with the time you can do, then build it up over the weeks ahead. Me…I never walked anywhere..when I started to go for walks, I found it so BORING, unless it had a purpose, like simply walking to the shops, walking around the park (hated that…) had no reason why..until I changed my thinking and realised that just to walk was a gift, how fortunate to be able to walk and have the opportunity to walk in nature, see the trees, the flowers, say “hi” to others also doing the same, feeling the wind in your hair, just being on the planet – sounds a bit geeky doesn’t it 🙂 This simple walking in nature things reduces cortisol, reduces stress, helps our brains cope with the day to day stuff we have to deal with, calming and balancing, now thats what I call a purpose to walk.
5. Stress – already touched on this in the above, nut here’s the science. Stress is inevitable, it can be as simple as a deadline at work, kids driving you crazy, worrying about the future/past, financial worries, nutritional stress, judgements from others, worrying about fitting in and keeping up with others (stop comparing yourself to others on social media!) Cortisol (fight, flight or freeze) blocks the effects of Testosterone, they compete, so if sex life isn’t happening because your sex drive is low, this could be one of the reasons, plus, if your muscles find it hard to tone up and belly fat isnt shifting look at what feels like a threat to you right now.
6. Extra one for you, is nutrition. Apart from the grains we talked about earlier, how much fat are you eating? Good fats like avocado, nuts, eggs, coconut oil, olive oil, ghee, butter – good fats help boost testosterone, actually help drop belly fat, however, don’t then reach for a big bag of peanuts and eat the whole lot. A handful or 2 , find what your body needs. My favourites are almonds, a handful or 2 (maximum) 3 or 4 times a week, avocados 3 – 4 times a week , eggs everyday (I love omelettes, boiled eggs mashed with butter, fried eggs in coconut oil with watercress).
Join my Menopause help list, emails every week with advice and stories on how to cope and whats going on in your body and brain.
Heres the link:
See you there.