How are you doing on your menopausal journey?? Have you found a way to treat some of your symptoms? Are you in peri-menopause or full-blown menopause?? I haven’t updated you in a while, but now, I’m actually in full-blown menopause. While knowing that it’s done does bring some freedom and certainty, it’s still not easy. Some days I just want to pull a Tom Cruise, aka Joel from Risky Business and say, “What the F?” And in some ways, I have done exactly that. More on that in a minute…
In the beginning of this journey, I was determined to fight, fight, fight. I kept saying to myself and anyone else who would listen, “I’m going to get to the bottom of this. I’m not giving up!” I think somewhere in my brain, I had equated menopause with Frumptown. Oh, here it comes, this is when all my hair falls out, I gain a zillion pounds and start wearing velcro mary janes. Now, that I’ve been on the coaster for 5+ years, I can happily report that there’s something between the fight and Frumptown.
If you’re interested in understanding the signs and symptoms of menopause, you can find a LOT more information here.
The Weight Gain
I’ve shared a lot about my menopause experience previously. If you missed it, you can read my last update on my weight gain and how I lost 15 pounds here. But my newest update is that I’ve gained the weight back and that weight gain is sucky and real. Did you know that during menopause your body stops produces estrogen and progesterone which slows down your metabolism, making it harder for you to maintain or lose weight? Even if you take hormone replacement therapy, it’s not the same.
Detoxing After Spain
While we were living in Spain, we had a kitchen with no windows and awful florescent lighting that I dreaded cooking in. As a result, I literally didn’t cook. So we ended up eating out a lot. That didn’t help my cause and I definitely gained weight. I sure enjoyed my croissant, though!
Now that we’re back in Colorado, I’m working on detoxing and eating healthier!
I started ordering meals from Sakara, which has 100% plant-based, organic, ready-to-eat meals. I’m getting breakfast and lunch delivered for 2-3 days a week and it definitely makes life easier to have these ready-to-eat meals. They’re super healthy, packed with tons of greens and superfoods. But I won’t lie, they’re not very tasty. It is helping, though.
By the way, if you missed our trip to Spain, you can get all of your questions answered here.
Something to note about menopause weight gain is that the weight distribution is very different. You may notice that you are gaining weight in the tummy and on the sides and lower back like me. I never really gained in these areas before menopause. If you appreciate science, I thought it would be interesting to note that there is a biological reason for this…simply put, you build up fat to make up for the lack of estrogen (because fat cells make estrogen). Of course, there are other factors that can contribute to weight gain like lack of sleep decreased exercise, and croissants… but I want you to know that IF you are doing all the same things and you are still gaining the spare tire…there’s a scientific reason for that and it’s not just about “cutting calories and exercising more.”
It’s unreal how many people will say, it’s just MATH; eat less, exercise more. But the truth is that it’s not going to work as quickly or easily as it did before. And even if you’re doing everything right, there could be other issues like thyroid or other hormone changes. You really have to be your own advocate on this journey. And finding the right experts may not be easy.
But, Is There Hope?
I received a comment on YouTube a few weeks ago from a woman who said that the pesky weight gain goes away eventually. Of course, this was music to my ears and gave me hope! She said that you deal with the weight gain for a while and then the pounds start to melt off. I posted the comment on Instagram and ask if any of you had experienced anything like it. Many of you said that it’s not true, but some of you said you experienced a point where your weight is balanced out and leveled off. One of our team members who’s also going through menopause said she’s experienced a lot of fluctuations in her weight. Which leads me to believe, it’s different for everyone.
I was unable to find any studies or research that support that this is true but if you’ve experienced easy weight loss like this during or after menopause, please let me know in the comments! Mayo Clinic says “There’s no magic formula for preventing — or reversing — menopause weight gain. Simply stick to weight-control basics.” They then go on to list the things we hear over and over…exercise more, eat less, avoid sweets, limit alcohol, commit to a healthier lifestyle, etc.
While I’ve come a long way on my journey and found an HRT regimen consisting of estrogen and progesterone that seems to be keeping most symptoms at bay, there is another major symptom I have yet to address… lack of libido. And, when I say ‘lack’ … I mean like dead. Muerta. This is not something I’m super psyched to share, but if you are feeling this way too, I want you to know that you are not alone. I recently heard about wild yam root to help with libido. Yes, I said yams! I’m going to try the liquid drops on my tongue to see if that does anything. And, as one of our team members joked, I might be creating a lot of yam recipes in the near future! 😉 Anyone have experience with Wild Yam root, yam therapy or yam recipes?? DO share!!
For vaginal dryness, you can try a laser treatment like ThermiVa. It’s a game-changer!
Surrender & Give Yourself Grace
Okay, so here’s the thing, I’m tired of fighting.
I remember going to a local talk during the early days of menopause and one woman saying to me that it’s important to surrender. I remember immediately thinking that I wanted to punch her… and also how dare she suggest I give up! Well, I understand what she meant now. It’s not ‘giving up’ to surrender. You still advocate for yourself and cook your yams or whatever you need to do, you just STOP putting so much freakin energy into the whole thing. So, that’s what I’m doing. I’m surrendering. Menopause is a marathon, not a sprint. No more getting fixed on “the fix.”
IF you follow that road, you’ll likely do the same thing I did, wear yourself out. And you’ll probably gain and lose weight a few times too. I understand more clearly now that getting obsessive and super disciplined – think Tracy Anderson workouts 5 times a week and strict clean eating- isn’t necessarily the solution for me. I don’t think it’s sustainable. And in this long game, the name of the game is sustainability.
So… what I’m doing currently is taking the dog on brisk walks, doing some standing pushup sets throughout the day, and sometimes I’ll throw in a few wall sits. I’m also eating healthy (but, not obsessively healthy. No counting calories or macros or carb or anything). And, you know what…? I feel better. I’ve stopped berating myself too when I don’t exercise or eat Honey Nut Cheerios. That doesn’t help and it drains energy unnecessarily. The name of the game now is truly… grace and surrender.
So now, I’m happily living by the TC, Risky Business motto…”There’s one thing I learned in all my years, sometimes you just gotta say, what the f**k!“
I would love to know how you are all doing on your journey. Remember that my sharing, you are potentially helping other women who likely need to read something only you can share.
If you’re interested in more ‘real talk’, here are some other important topics I’ve covered: social ageism, the connection between mental health and success, and how to detach and let go of things.
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