The years leading up to full blown menopause can be turbulent times for women. This can be anywhere from 1-6 years before full blown menopause arrives. Many women try to endure these times hoping that they will "get back to normal". One of the hardest parts is dealing with our ever changing bodies. Once we think we have it "figured out" then a hormonal shift occurs and we trying to navigate through new hormonal waters.
The increase is body fat is one of the hardest symptoms to manage and many women try to deal with it like they were in their 20’s and 30’s only to wind up frustrated with the lack of progress.
We describe dealing with perimenopause to our clients by relating it to “The Perfect Storm”. It’s just like the movie when all of the possible worse scenarios collide to cause a cascade of internal, emotional and physical chaos which send women looking at themselves wondering “what the hell happened to me?”
Women come to us and say “In my 30’s I would just have to cut back and I could lose the weight. But now no matter what I do I can’t get the weight to come off.”
Women are confused about why their bodies are not responding to normal attempts at weight loss and then their doctor just tells them to eat less and exercise more. It doesn't make sense?
Then all you have is a woman that is FRUSTRATED, ANGRY and RESENTFUL.
If this sounds ANYTHING like you I can tell you that you are not "dealing well" with perimenopause.
INSTEAD YOU ARE LETTING PERIMENOPAUSE KICK YOUR BUTT AND TAKE YOU DOWN.
Most of our clients are in this stage of life and they describe themselves to be like Humpty Dumpty who fell off the wall and is all broken into a million pieces.
Many of them have at least 3 of these issues:
What's worse is that they think this is NORMAL or they have been told that this is NORMAL.
Well let me help you understand that these symptoms are not NORMAL. They are COMMON but they do not have to be NORMAL.
I, myself, have felt the majority of these symptoms at one point or another in my 40's. I will be 46 soon and can tell when my levels are imbalanced but fortunately I know exactly what to get tested and I know what my levels should be in order to maintain balance.
This is the way we describe dealing with perimenopause.
During this time so many physical situations come to a head simultaneously and the symptoms can hit a woman so hard they feel like they were hit by a bus and now they barely recognize their body or themselves. Nothing is the same as it used to be. They remember who they used to be and they are trying to fix the problem the same way they would if they were in their 20's or 30's but the formula DOES NOT WORK.
Sounds a bit like the
definition of INSANITY doesn’t it? Doing
the same thing again and again expecting a different result?
Stop the madness and learn to ACCEPT that your body is now different but you don't have to accept all the symptoms and issues that come along with it.
This is what we have found to be common among our clients after we have done a full workup including a blood chemistry analysis, cortisol test, etc.
Think of it this way - you buy a new car and you bring it in for your oil changes, tune ups, replace needed spark plugs, replace fluids that are low, change the brakes, get new tires, get new filters, etc.
Why do we do this??
Because we want our car to function so we can get from point A to point
The consequence of NOT doing this would greatly hinder our
day to day function.
Plus, if we did not MAINTAIN our cars we would blow out or
engine or transmission or something like that and it’s not always so easy to
just get a new car.
Think about it.
We are given our bodies and we assume that is should just
function and that it will alert us when something is wrong.
We are going to tell you that by then time our bodies
alert us that something is wrong – we are usually so late into the phase of
dysfunction that the pieces that we need to put back together is so much that it can be overwhelming ---- and many just give up and
assume that THIS IS THE WAY IT IS.
When was the last time you had your cortisol and sex hormone levels properly assessed?
When was the last time you had a full functional lab
interpretation done so you can understand all your levels, why they are out of
range and what to do about them so they don’t turn into a major issue?
When was the last time you checked your own blood sugar to
make sure that the levels are where they need to be?
When was the last time you really looked at your iron
levels, Vitamin D levels, magnesium, zinc and selenium levels?
When was the last time you did a WHOLE FOODS DETOX to
thoroughly cleanse your gut and break any sugar/carb addictions you may be
When was the last time you looked in to why you can’t sleep
instead of defaulting to an Ambien or Tylenol PM or a bottle of wine?
When was the last time you had a FULL THYROID WORK-UP (and
the DR doesn’t do this either – they scrimp on the panels they can run on
you.) You need to get a TSH, T4, T3 and
both thyroid antibody tests done at the very least!!! Most DR’s only run 2 markers at most which does not always tell the whole story.
What about a C-reactive protein or ANA test for systemic
Have you had these checked?
Or are you just assuming that the DR will alert you if something is
I hate to say it but many DR’s will not alert you enough until you are steps away from a full blow disease. They are not going to give you enough forewarning that you are heading down a path of disease until you are diagnosed with "pre-diabetes", for example. You may be told you need to "lose weight" or "watch what you eat" but often there are signs long before becoming "pre-diabetic" and the sign is being "insulin resistant" but those tests are not commonly run.
This does not mean that they suck at their job. Their job is to TREAT DISEASE and you are not quite there yet. Our medical model is not always designed to BUILD HEALTH. So don’t wait for them to give you a clue – take responsibility of your health and learn how to do this and what to ask for.
By balancing your levels (ex: progesterone, DHEA, blood sugar, thyroid, adrenal, gut function, assess for any autoimmune antibodies, etc.) you are learning to MAINTAIN your body – just as you have learned to maintain your car.
Instead we take our bodies for granted and assume that
we can beat the crap out of it for years and expect it to function well especially when we are headed for a major hormonal shift like perimenoapuse.
Dealing with perimenopause doesn’t have to be
so terrible if we knew how to manage this ever changing time in our lives and if we understood the compensatory effects in our body.
If you have been eating processed foods, drinking sugary
drinks, drinking too much alcohol, not sleeping consistently, not exercising, over
working, over-stressing, eating crap, going through a divorce or other tough
times, etc. then IT IS TIME FOR A RESET.
Many women over the age of 40 need to work on changing the COMPOSITION of their body (ex: gain lean mass) before even attempting to make the scale go down. Most women have done some type of traumatic or harsh diet at least once in their past which leads to a loss in lean mass. As we age we are vulnerable to sarcopenia (muscle wasting) and we need to think differently when it comes to changing our body. Accept that your body has changed. Accept that you need to operate differently and ACCEPT that what worked 10 years ago may not work today.
Getting adequate amounts of protein are often a game changer for many women as low protein intake leads to blood sugar imbalances which can lead to sugar/carb cravings. Protein also helps with increase energy, regulates appetite and protects your lean mass.
Getting enough protein (approximately 0.8 grams/lb of bodyweight) is associated with having less belly bloat in certain studies likely due to the amino acids in protein which are used to repair and protect tissue.
Download the FREE ALL ABOUT PROTEIN GUIDE HERE for what to eat and how much.
Get a full lab panel drawn and get a good analysis of it so you can have more control over how your body is slowly malfunctioning and what you can do about it. If you need to know what to get tested there is a good list in the THYROID 101 GUIDE - you can download it HERE.
Whole food programs incorporate a lot of leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables which help the body metabolize excess estrogen and they are protective against estrogenic cancers.
Start weight training 2-3 times per week and do cardio 2-3x per week (and I mean cardio that is a bit more vigorous than walking). Exercise daily to help your body fight off any effects of inflammation.
A few key to focus on is magnesium which is helpful to keep the body insulin sensitive, Vitamin D which is necessary for bone health and hormonal health as it supports the hormone testosterone. Vitamin C is helpful for the body to metabolize cortisol.
Find something to be grateful for. Find something to be happy for and thankful for.
90% of this battle will begin with your attitude. Your perspective will lead to success or self-destruction.
Also, don’t worry about being “selfish” instead you are being “SELF-FULL”. After all….most women have been giving to their families for YEARS and now it’s TIME FOR YOU.