The Menopause. Prepare now and thank yourself later
The road to menopause can be long. Or short. Winding. Or pretty straightforward. Bumpy. Or for some, smooth sailing. We might be afflicted by a myriad of symptoms. But we might not. We might be fortunate enough to breeze through it. But we might not. In fact, the only predictable thing about menopause – other than its inevitability – is that it really is very unpredictable.
Menopausal women are the fastest growing work demographic in the UK, many have dependent children at home, elderly parents to care for, busy lives to lead and a lot of responsibilities. We simply can’t afford to be blindsided by the unpredictability of our menopause so let’s prepare ourselves for the inevitable, then when it does come knocking at our door, we’re ready for it.
When it comes to Menopause,Knowledge is Power
For many years’ menopause was shrouded in secrecy and shame. It was as uncomfortable to talk about as it was to endure (almost!?!). But times are changing and so are attitudes to women’s health. Only last month MP Rachel Maclean and Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced that menopause would be included within the national curriculum, a step in the right direction.
It is vital we as women and role models for future generations - embrace our bodies and empower our minds freeing us to feel fulfilled at every stage of life. By knowing the facts from the fiction we are in a position to make informed choices and therefore take better control of our menopause journeys.
’10 years ago early menopause blindsided me’ says Livia, Founder of Menopause Lifestyle Solution. ‘One minute I was enjoying a successful career, happy marriage and great sex life, and the next my world was crumbling around me. It simply didn’t occur to me as a fit 40-year-old woman that I was in the throes of menopause. It’s not something you talked about, and certainly not something our mothers or teachers told us about.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing and Livia firmly believes that her own menopause experience would have been far more positive if she’d been better informed. Her message to others is simple. ‘Knowledge is power. There are some really informative podcasts, online resources and books available. Familiarise yourself with the symptoms. The first stage of menopause is peri-menopause – this is when oestrogen levels start to drop. The fluctuation can lead to irregular periods, tender breasts, and bad PMS. And don’t be afraid to talk about it – to friends, family, colleagues and of course, your GP – it’s a natural stage of a women’s life and certainly nothing to be embarrassed about.
Be ahead of the menopause game with lifestyle choices.
Needless to say, the choices we make in life have a significant impact on our ability to cope with menopause. Being ‘healthy’ and having a ‘healthy’ attitude towards food as we approach mid-life is important on so many levels. It helps us stave of menopause related health issues, manage weight gain and associated risks, and maintain mental well being.
Livia’s best advice is to start looking at your lifestyle NOW, before symptoms take effect. Simple lifestyle tweaks can make a huge difference to our menopause experience and general well being. Eating a balanced diet with plenty of calcium, regular exercise that’s age appropriate, getting enough sleep and equipping ourselves with stress management techniques can really pay off in later life.
Weight management is Menopause management
Weight gain in mid-life is common and often due to a number of factors; lifestyle and genetic, but it’s not inevitable. Being overweight can lead to serious health issues including heart disease and diabetes but by leading an active life, eating well and maintaining a healthy weight we can reduce those risks and manage certain menopause symptoms better.
Switch up your exercise routine to prepare for the menopause
As we progress through life we need to adopt different ways to train that take into consideration the change in hormones. As you prepare for menopause try using resistance training for fat loss rather than cardiovascular training. During menopause you will need lean tissue to counteract the fat increase. In addition introduce mindful ways to exercise - Yoga/Pilates etc . This will keep your stress levels in check, your joints healthy and your muscles stronger. There is no perfect combination but see exercise as an adventure over the years and refine it towards menopause.
The key to it all is healthy food choices
If you are aware of destructive eating habits work on eliminating these before your menopause. Find a system of eating that works for you. Increase the amount of green fibrous vegetables, decrease your saturated fats, reduce sugars and alcohol. Being aware of the foods that make you feel bloated and puffy (wheat, gluten and diary) awareness will then help you to gradually limit them towards your menopause.
Your skin is an organ, take care of it!
Take stock of your skin care regime. Our skin is the largest organ of our body and it absorbs whatever you put on it toxic or not. If the products you use contain harmful ingredients such as harsh, toxic chemicals, colours, and fragrances, those ingredients make their way into your body, your blood and lymphatic system so opt for non-toxic moisturisers, shampoos, hair dyes, skin and body care and be aware of bulking agents, mineral oils.
Sometimes we all need a bit of help from supplements
As we age our bodies are less responsive to the nutrition that we intake. The food from the supermarket is not as ‘nutrition rich’ as it used to be due to mass production of natural foods, the fertilisers and GMO foods are on the rise. Be aware of the supplements that will help you. Start taking D3, Vitamin C and a multivitamin, as a minimum, before your menopause.