Who would be a woman?
Women are so busy these days! We find ourselves juggling careers, children, home life, hobbies and family!
Hello I am Nicola, a 51-year-old mum of two lads in their 20’s, a wife, a supply teacher, a self employed storyteller and recently a nutrition consultant. So yes, I juggle!
We are masters of multi-tasking. But there are times in a woman’s life where our bodies challenge us and suddenly all that was organized, sensible, straight forward and happy can become foggy, confusing, difficult and stressful. You can feel low and lacking in motivation, and the life that you once coped with becomes all the more testing. I liken it to “The Invasion of the Body Snatchers!”. I am, of course, talking about the menopause.
It’s a subject that’s not always widely discussed and not all doctors specialise in it – all these confusing feelings creep up on you when you least expect it! When attempting to find help to deal with these issues, some women have actually been prescribed antidepressants by medical professionals who have not even thought to explore the menopause option.
Losing your confidence when you have been an outgoing, bubbly person can be a shock. In a demanding job like Teaching, getting support is vital. Speak to your friends – you will probably not be the only one going through it.
Technical bit – (not too technical….!)
When the perimenopause, menopause and post menopause occurs, estrogen levels drop in the body and changes occur. This can happen anywhere from 40yrs+ and can last for anything from few months to several years. Of course some women do not have any symptoms at all (Lucky Duckies!)
So If you are battling through with sleepless nights, hot flushes, night sweats, fatigue, aching limbs, lack of enthusiasm, memory loss (especially when it come to where you left the car in the car park – I wont go on….!) then it is vitally important that you consider your nutrition. As low estrogen levels slow your metabolism, unfortunately weight gain (especially around the middle, as if to add insult to injury!) can occur. Despite misgivings about calorie counting and diet culture in general, my experience has encouraged me to definitely be more mindful about my food and drink. I’ve listed a few of the small changes to my diet that I’ve found helpful (and why) below:
Cut back on…..
Plus, limit your alcohol intake (I can hear you groan!)
Add more of…..
Vitamins & Minerals – veggies and fruit (the more colourful the better!!!)
Healthy oils (avocado, olive oil, nuts, oily fish)
Lean meat and fish
Fibre (pulses, veggies, wholewheat, fruit & oats)
Seeds and nuts (Omega 3’s) especially almonds, walnuts, sunflower& pumpkin seeds, flax and chia seeds (these contain essential minerals which aid sleep, concentration, strengthening the immune system, strengthen bones, heal wounds and protection of cells).
Calcium-rich foods (milk, eggs, plain natural live yoghurt, cottage cheese) – essential for maintaining bone strength.
What’s not to like?
What else can you do?
• Try to eat three meals a day, with mid morning and mid morning non sugary snacks
• Drink plenty of water as at this stage (hydration for the whole body is essential!)
• A good night’s sleep is a must – try to have a calm bedtime routine – limit exposure to laptop/tablet/phone screens and stimulants such as caffeine.
• Try Yoga – it’s great for the body and mind
• A good relaxation app can be helpful (I used Calm)
• Exercise – A combination of aerobic and weight bearing is fantastic for your heart and bones – in fact, JUST MOVE MORE!
LADIES – if any of the discussed symptoms seem familiar with you…….
• Don’t struggle alone
• Go to your doctor and don’t be afraid to ask the practice who is their menopause specialist
• Talk to friends – you will be amazed how many of them are going through it too!
• Don’t be scared of HRT or Estrogen only medication – it has definitely turned my life around!
• Remember YOU ARE NOT ALONE! You are all amazing jugglers and you deserve to enjoy your lives!
Great reads and sources of further information
The Good Menopause Guide – Liz Earle
Instagram and Facebook
menohealthuk / menopause_doctor