One of the wonderful things about being a part of Women to Women for over thirty years is that I have seen so many women heal their bodies and their lives. Thousands of women overcome by disruptive symptoms such as joint pain, night sweats, digestive concerns, anxiety, depression, mood swings, or hot flashes, have gone on to restore hormonal balance and to feel like themselves again.
It’s incredible to see the physical transformation first-hand and watch them leave the clinic feeling good, often for the first-time in years. But more and more, I am seeing women transformed by menopause in other ways: emotional healing, the emergence of a new understanding of who they are and what they want, expression of dormant creativity, and even total reinvention.
I can’t tell you how inspiring it is to see women heal emotionally and physically and go on to create incredible amazing lives after menopause. So often we speak about menopause negatively, focusing on symptoms and discomfort and the physical challenges it brings. But menopause also brings a wonderful opportunity to get to know our bodies and ourselves in a much deeper way and to use the information we gain to chart a new course for the second half of our lives. How exciting is that?
Like all big opportunities, however, it’s not completely effortless: the mid-life transition of menopause brings with it some challenges and requires a little time and effort on our parts. But the pay off is so worth it! If you’re feeling down or discouraged about the state of your body and/or your life, I want to reassure that there is hope. You can get your symptoms under control. You can feel good again. You can turn your life around and create a new future by using this time to explore emotions and dreams you may have put on hold or buried away and forgotten long ago.
Before we can look at the emotional aspects, however, we need to deal with the physical ones. If you are not feeling well or not feeling like yourself, you won’t have the ability or the space or the emotional stamina to look deeply within yourself. Over the past three decades at Women to Women, we have seen the power of nutrition and lifestyle choices first-hand: now more than ever, food is medicine or poison, depending upon how you use it.
It’s important at all times, but especially during times of transition such as menopause, that we make the best choices we can to nourish and support our bodies and our lives. That’s why we encourage our patients to eat whole foods, organic when possible, and not packaged or processed foods. We also suggest to our patients that they try to cook at home as much as possible since restaurant food is often as bad — or even worse — than packaged and even fast foods.
Balance is key: aim for meals with healthy proteins, fats and fiber. That means grass-fed beef, organic free-range chicken, wild-caught salmon, bison, and whole and complete plant-based proteins like quinoa. We also need to consume healthy fats in the form of olive oil, avocados, grass-fed butter, and nuts along with lots of (organic when possible) fruits and vegetables.
We’ve shared with you before, however, that even adopting this healthy eating plan, it is very hard to get all of the nutrients we require from todays food supply, especially during a time of transition and hormonal imbalance such as menopause. That’s why even if you eat well – but especially if you do not – we believe every woman needs high-quality bio-absorbable nutritional supplementation like we offer in our multi-vitamin and omega-3 support products.
Most of our patients find that the right high-quality supplementation, along with some simple dietary changes such as cooking more and eating out less and making sure meals are balanced with protein, fat and fiber, brings significant and fast symptom relief. If your hormones are out of balance, additional plant-based support to restore that balance is also provided in our PMS and hormonal balance support systems to help speed relief and heal and restore balance. Quite frankly, we find the results to be amazing!
If you’ve read our previous newsletters on probiotics, you know that we also recommend a probiotic support product to all of our patients. If you have digestive concerns of any kind, this is definitely a must. But as we’ve seen from recent studies, the gut flora balance our bodies rely on for wellness can so easily be disrupted by antibiotics, stress, lack of sleep and poor food choices, so it’s important to ensure that your second brain, your digestive system, is in balance.
If you can make small dietary changes and then also add in some basic lifestyle shifts such as getting more sleep (start with 15 more minutes a night, then work up to 30 or 60 more minutes over time); finding ways to reduce and relieve stress (it may be physical such as yoga or tai chi or it may be more spiritual such as journaling, meditation or a hobby; I like using both); adding in more physical movement in our day (take a walk at lunch, take the stairs or simply make sure you stand up every hour); and looking to find exercise we truly enjoy doing (I’ve begun ballroom dancing and I love it! But many women I know have taken up training for a run or cycling charity event, started hiking again, or tried Zumba or boxing classes at the gym), you’ll be well on your way to feeling good again.
As women begin to feel better physically, at the clinic we often see that emotions they have buried previously may come to the surface. Perhaps feelings or issues from your childhood that you never fully addressed may emerge. While that may surprise you, it is a gift and a call from your body to explore them, feel them, release them and heal them so that you can experience greater physical and emotional health going forward.
Much like a physical symptom showing up that invites us to look upstream to see what actually caused it, (and it may be something very different than what it initially appears to be), an emotional memory or experience is your body’s way of shining a light and asking you to delve deeper to explore the root cause so that you can release the symptom or its expression.
For other women, it may be more of an opportunity to finally take some time for themselves: their career may be more stable, kids may be older, perhaps they are on their own or their relationship affords them more “me time” at this stage; it is a chance to ask questions about who and where they are now… and where they would like to go.
Is there enough joy and sweetness in my life?
What can I imagine myself to be?
What could I do with the second half off my life?
Who am I now? What do I want? How could I get there?
There are no right or wrong answers and unlike the pressure of an imminent graduation or wedding, there is no time constraint forcing an immediate decision or action. So finally, sometimes for the first time in a woman’s life, she can explore these questions openly, playfully, spiritually, enthusiastically and individually, focusing on herself, and see what comes up. It may be a little scary but mostly it is fun to imagine a variety of future possibilities, to take time to sit with what comes up and see how it really feels, and to focus on what lights us up and ignites us with passion.
I have seen so many women take the time to explore these questions and emerge from menopause clear and excited about where they would like to go — and then go off and create it. I admire and am inspired by these women reinventing themselves and their lives and using menopause as a time of transformation, healing and growth.
I invite you to consider menopause as more than just annoying symptoms but also as a wake up call to your physical body and to your spirit to look deeper and see what is really going on, what lies within that is calling for you to discover it, and to explore the possibilities for the second — and quite possibly best half — of your life.
Our menopause support products can help speed symptom relief so you are free to explore the gifts that menopause can bring. Our multi-vitamin, omega-3 and plant-based support products work together synergistically to heal and restore hormonal balance.
If you are not feeling well, you don’t need to suffer. We can help. We have helped thousands of women to feel like themselves again; we can help you too. To learn more about our life-changing menopause support products, click here.
To take our hormonal balance symptom quiz, click here.