It seems that (unfortunately) not much conversation takes place around menopause, and yet everyone with a uterus will go through it at some point in their lives. Preparing for menopause and understanding it before it actually occurs can set you up for a much smoother transition, and as it was recently World Menopause Day, I wanted to clear up some of the biggest myths around menopause…
Our metabolism (the amount of calories we burn at rest) actually doesn’t lower until our 60s. As we age, however, our lean muscle mass lowers, which impacts how many calories we naturally burn, our insulin sensitivity and how well we use carbohydrates for fuel. We can offset these effects by prioritizing protein at every meal (I recommend 25-30g), incorporating strength training 3-4 times a week and doing our best to manage stress.
Menopause is a retrospective diagnosis and lasts just one day. We know you have been in menopause if it has been 12 months after your last menstrual bleed, so it is the one day 12 months after your last period. Perimenopause is the time leading up to that day, during which your will experience flucatuations in levels of sex hormones, causing the challenging symptoms often associated with menopause. Post menopause is the period after your one day of menopause.
Studies have shown that a lower BMI (body mass index) is associated with fewer occurrences of hot flashes and less severity of menopausal symptoms. Consequently, working on lowering your BMI, if needed, can help with perimenopausal symptoms, especially hot flashes. I recommend my Lean & Clean approach for sustainable weight loss which includes eating protein, healthy fats, fiber and greens at every meal and eliminating ultra processed foods and added sugars as well as staying active through strength training and HIIT workouts.
Even if you are in your 20s, 30s or 40s, you can begin to lay the foundation for a healthy perimenopause and menopause transition. Having your sex hormones tested and checking thyroid function will give you a better picture of your general health, and any imbalances are so much easier to deal with when you’re younger and before going through menopause. Making sure your blood sugar is balanced is also one of the keys for healthy hormones – don’t leave it until it’s too late!
There is a possibility that not all of your symptoms in your 40’s & 50’s are related to perimenopause, so you should never be told ‘its just your hormones’. I recommend checking blood sugar, lipid panels, thyroid health, adrenal health and essential nutrients at least twice as year as these symptoms (and many more) may have another underlying cause.