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October 19, 2020

How to thrive during menopause with Amanda Thebe

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Perimenopause is a time when a woman's hormones are going amuck and it can literally ruin her life. Amanda Thebe's book, Menopocalypse, takes you through her journey and the journeys of 1000s of other women so you can know what to expect and thrive during menopause.

Also, Amanda wants to send you a signed copy of the book. Go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/menopocalypse for more details.

Transcript

[00:03:29.210] – Allan
Amanda, welcome to Forty Plus Fitness.

[00:03:31.230] – Amanda
Thank you for having me on the show. I'm happy to be here.

[00:03:34.860] – Allan
You know, the interesting thing is, you know, when you see a book about menopause and your book is called Menopocalypse.

[00:03:46.950] – Amanda
Think of the zombie apocalypse, this is similar to that only with menopause. Menopocalypse.

[00:03:51.610] – Allan
Yes. And the subtitle on that was How I Learned to Thrive during Menopause and How You Can Too. And so, you know, the book is basically addressed to women. But I'm going to be very honest with you as a man, with a woman, with a wife or anybody around you that's aged anywhere from sometimes as early as thirty-five, all the way up to mid 50s.

[00:04:14.250] – Allan
This is good stuff to know. You know, this is a playbook to understand what could be going on in their lives and your relationship and everything else. I'm really excited to have this conversation with you because even though it doesn't apply to my health, it does apply to my life because I have a wife that is going through some of these changes right now.

[00:04:33.900] – Amanda
I think it's that was one of the ways I approached writing this book is obviously I'm knee deep in the fitness industry. I've been in it for decades. And this is new information for me. I couldn't find this information on our usual fitness sources. I was really quite frustrated how fitness information went from like pre postnatal pardon, you call it pre postpartum fitness and health to the over fifty health. And it was like this big chunk in the middle that was missing.

[00:05:04.590] – Amanda
And it wasn't until I had my own personal experience of struggling through this time that I realized that if I could get information out there, it would be really helpful not just to women, but male trainers and husbands and partners and fathers of daughters. And my husband obviously has read the book. And as just as well, we had conversations during my time through perimenopause and menopause.

[00:05:32.760] – Amanda
And he just said, I think all men should read this because it just makes us feel like we understand what's happening and we can support, you know, and help. And the male trainer has been able to support your female client is really important if you have that empathy and understanding, it goes a long way.

[00:05:52.230] – Allan
It does. And because I've got I've got clients all across that spectrum and I think many of them think I'm not going to get this till I'm in my 50s. This is something that happens in the fifties, but it can start happening a lot earlier and in fact, run longer than I thought. You know, like I said, I learned a lot from the book, and I really appreciate the opportunity to have this conversation with you.

[00:06:12.190] – Allan
Now when we're talking about menopause, I think I just kind of thinks it's just this this day or as a guy I would relate it to say, OK, I went through puberty and it was an awkward two years, you know, where my voice was cracking and I was growing and hair started showing up where it was supposed to show up.

[00:06:32.610] – Amanda
We could stop there. I know.

[00:06:36.100] – Allan
Yeah. You know, and so it's just a couple of awkward years for most of us that we go through. But menopause is very, very different because you have the different stages, the perimenopause before and then the post menopause after. Can you kind of just walk us through that cycle of what's going on when it happens, why it happens and, you know, just kind of so we can lay the groundwork.

[00:06:58.920] – Amanda
Absolutely. And I really like the analogy to puberty. So, you know, I sometimes hear people saying, well, isn't menopause essentially like reverse puberty? Isn't it that type of thing? I mean, it's a life transition. Every every woman, if she's lucky enough, is going to go through it and go into old age. And essentially that is what it is. But it just comes with a lot of nuances and it comes and it doesn't just feel like a life transition because it can go on for a long time.

[00:07:27.790] – Amanda
It can start late thirties and I'll go through the three different stages. But essentially, once you've reached menopause, you're in menopause until you die. So it's half your life potentially that you're in this different state where you need to have an awareness about what's happening. So the three common stages that you will hear talked about through menopause is perimenopause, menopause and post menopause. Perimenopause typically lasts between eight and 10 years on average, depending on which data source you look at. Can start any time from late 30s into into your 50s.

[00:08:08.290] – Amanda
It's a time when your sexual hormones will start to decline, which are estrogen and progesterone. And what happens is they don't just stop. You know, they don't you don't just stop producing them. The end result is that you don't produce any you can't produce anymore babies. Right. Like you, you cease to reproduce. But the hormones don't just want to say, OK, that's it, you're done. Time to tie up your tubes and then move on into old age. You have an eight to ten year period where these hormones decline, but not always in a linear fashion. Progesterone tends to fall in a more finite, linear fashion but estrogen just goes crazy. It jumps all over the place.

[00:08:52.600] – Amanda
And these wildly fluctuating hormones can cause a horrendous amount of symptoms for women that are often unassociated with hormones, hormones often not recognized by the medical community, and often can impede a woman's quality of life. And I don't just mean so she feels crap. I mean, so that it ruins it can ruin her life. And we'll talk about that later. And it can be managed. But not many people talk about it or are aware of how it can be managed.

[00:09:26.230] – Amanda
Then we move on to menopause, which is supposedly like a line in the sand, like a timestamp of when a woman hasn't had a menstrual cycle for twelve months and she is considered to be in menopause, and then she would that day forward, she is then postmenopausal or menopausal.

[00:09:45.550] – Amanda
I mean, they're words and interchangeable, but essentially you have a period of time before your periods stops and then the time after your periods stop. And that's what happens. When a woman goes into post menopause, we typically see a lot of those crazy erratic symptoms die down, but a woman can still have symptoms that impede her quality of life and will stay with all of her life after that. And then she is then also at considerable risk because of the lack of the protective hormone estrogen for major diseases that will kill her, that can kill us. And so we need to be aware of the symptomatic side of perimenopause and then the health protective side of post menopause.

[00:10:33.010] – Allan
Yeah, and I think that's the thing. You know, this is this is the rest of your life. And once it's kind of starts down the perimenopause, there's a period here you've got to manage. And then after that, there's going to be a period afterwards that you then have more of a steady state. So, you know, I think one of the things that was surprising as I went through the book was how many types of symptoms there are that are associated with this, because I just thought, you know, from my wife's perspective, having the conversation is like, I'll be glad when I don't have periods anymore, you know, because she's not going to have any more children.

[00:11:06.340] – Allan
So she's. It's no use for the periods in her mind, but losing your period or sporadic or erratic periods is not really the end all be all this is this is massive, the conditions that you can suffer through. Can you talk about the most common symptoms?

[00:11:24.620] – Amanda
Yeah, and actually, I'm referring to my book as I talk to you, because there is so many I often can't remember to quote them all. And it's interesting because I also had the same, I might add, the same sort of viewpoint. I can't wait till this is all over. I don't need my periods. And I also assume that menopause really was just a case of you stop having your periods and you might have a few hot flashes.

[00:11:47.150] – Amanda
And we know it's so much more than that. And interesting enough is that the symptoms are very individual to every woman. It's a common journey that we all share, but no one woman is going to have the same experience as another. And so these symptoms are broad scope. You may have them, you may not have them, but these are some of the more common things that women talk about during especially perimenopause.

[00:12:16.330] – Amanda
So the regular periods may or may not happen. And some women lose their periods for months and months. Some have them continually. And so there's no rhyme or reason to when a woman's period can well, come on. And some continue to have regular periods right up until they reach menopause.

[00:12:35.450] – Amanda
But some other things they can happen to them are things like depression, anxiety, chronic fatigue. And it's a fatigue that you just can't sleep off. It never goes away. Migrans, hot flashes, weight gain, which is like a bit of a you know, I touch on this in the book and it's not really a symptom, but it's something that seems to happen to women and when they put weight on, it definitely doesn't help with their feelings of low self-esteem and depression.

[00:13:06.230] – Amanda
And sleep problems are huge. Insomnia, which is often exacerbated by night sweats, which are essentially hot flashes during the night. And women can have multiple like twenty, thirty of those a night. And losing sleep, as we know, is just terrible for our overall health and cognitive issues like short term memory loss. Even just remembering words. I mean, I've literally changed the sentence I was going to say because I can't remember a word that I was going to use.

[00:13:38.120] – Amanda
And I know that that's part of aging as well. But these things are really exacerbated when our estrogen levels start to fluctuate because we have estrogen receptors all over the body. And so they're in our blood brain barrier. They're in our joints. So many women have aching, sore joints that feels like a rheumatoid arthritis. And that's essentially from the estrogen fluctuations. Sex drive is another thing. It can, it usually falls off the edge of the planet. But sometimes you can crawl the wall, but not very often.

[00:14:14.270] – Amanda
But I mean, that's something that can impact relationships. And women put a lot of, you know, stress and fault on themselves. And GI issues are also another thing that women complain about. They can not get food, food, sensitivities and bloating, some irritable bowel, those type of things. And and then some of the things that, like lesser known things that women experience and I think are really relevant to the fitness crowd, are things that impact their self belief, their self-esteem and their confidence.

[00:14:46.220] – Amanda
We see a real decline in that in women and that sort of lack of belief in their athletic ability. And I think that's really sad because we know women are very strong and very capable, but we see it presented to us in the gym that I can't do that. I don't think I can do that anymore. And so and that's really not a symptom, but it's definitely something that happens through menopause as well. And it's something you can work on with your clients.

[00:15:15.310] – Allan
Yeah, you know, I think as we went through the book and I went through a lot of those, one that really hit me is that there's this relationship between estrogen and oxytocin. And those that don't know oxytocin is basically the love hormone. It's the feeling close and and connected. And so if you're if you're if you're dealing with some of the physical changes because, you know, when your estrogen goes down, you're more apt to store fat in your belly.

[00:15:45.010] – Allan
So you're going to notice some changes in your body shape. As you mentioned in the book, I think people tend to put on about 10 pounds during that period of time. Men do it, too. So just so you know, it's not it's not just a woman thing, but 10 pounds. And even if you don't gain or lose weight during that period of time, you're storing it differently. And so it's going to be it's going to pick up from the places where you liked it and it's going to set down on some places that you might not like it so much. But all these changes to your body, all these changes in your emotions, you know, sometimes, you know, I'm not going to use the word, but women can get a little abrupt, a little stressed and a little crazy.

[00:16:28.240] – Amanda
The abruptness is actually one of the positive aspects of menopause because we just don't want to stand for your crap anymore. So, you know, as far as weapons thats a good thing.

[00:16:35.680] – Allan
And that's perfect. Yeah, that's a good thing. But during that transition, it's you're feeling like you're a different person. You're looking like a different person in many senses. But then now you also have this hormone change where you're just not feeling as close to people and that can really impact relationships.

[00:16:56.020] – Amanda
You know, it's one of those really interesting things that I never even thought about. But I have a community on Facebook and we often talk about just how we are feeling and how we're doing. And women just kept saying all the time, I just don't feel like as close to my husband as I used to. I just I just don't I just want to be on my own more.

[00:17:15.850] – Amanda
I really I really feel like I need to start looking after myself more. And it often happens at a time, you know, just statistically that our teenage children also may be sort of like being more independent and they don't need us as much. And it all sort of links together.

[00:17:33.700] – Amanda
And so I dug deep into the research and I found the genuine connection between the lowering of our estrogen levels and the lowering of our oxytocin too and as you said, it's like our love hormone. And it's the thing that bonds us. And it's at our highest when we have children, when we're breastfeeding. It's the thing that sort of connects us to our partners and helps with orgasms. I don't know if that's OK. It's still on the show, but it does and and also helps, you know, with anxieties and our ability to thrive and sort of take chances.

[00:18:07.270] – Amanda
And we see all of that sort of ultimately shift. But what happens is at the same time like menopause is happening. There's so many things that are changing Allan. Like you say, we are the ultimate shape shifter. We we can shape our fat deposits where they land change. We feel different about ourself. The change is happening and we're not really in control of it. And then we start to pull away from our partners and maybe our children and we start to feel as though, well, what about me?

[00:18:38.410] – Amanda
And they often call it the like the we to me transition for women. And while that might seem like a little bit selfish, hearing me say this, I actually think it's a good thing. Because as mothers and as wives and as just women who are nurturers, we give, give, give all the time and we put ourselves on the back burner often. And one of the things that menopause made me realize is that.

[00:19:04.800] – Amanda
Well, actually, I have to start taking care of myself now because I'm really important to their whole puzzle of my family, and if I'm not functioning properly, then the rest of it just goes to pot. Nothing works. And that's often the keystone of a like a relationship or a family. And so even though all of these changes are happening and relationships may feel different or strained or unusual, I think it's just a really good time for reflection and for us to sit down and say whats important to me right now? What makes me thrive? How can I make this situation work for me and my family and my partner?

[00:19:46.770] – Amanda
And so, like for me, I went through something very, very similar to the analogy you've said, and I am with my husband at one point, like I didn't realize, but his mind was wander and he had no idea what I was going through. I was riddled with depression. And migraines that sent me to bed for days on end with no help from the medical community and I know we're going to touch on that. I eventually went to my annual gynecological checkup I suppose, like, you know, the tune up that you take in your car and follow.

[00:20:19.530] – Amanda
Well, I went in for mine and the doctor recognized that something wasn't right. And he said, I think you're going to perimenopause. These are very typical symptoms and you don't need to suffer needlessly. I can help you. And I just felt this massive relief and I felt, oh, there's an answer to why this is happening. And I went to see my husband afterwards for dinner, for lunch, sorry. And I said to him, yes, I've got perimenopause and I've got depression and, you know, migraines and. Oh, my God. So you're not going to leave me then?

[00:20:54.440] – Amanda
Because the poor guy the whole time had been thinking that I hated his guts, that I couldn't stand to be around him and all those things were true. But I don't feel like it was what I was feeling. I feel like if they were being masked by these horrendous symptoms that were just consuming me. So we are also good by the way.

[00:21:15.180] – Allan
That's good to hear. You know, again, going through some of your story, going through some of the things that you've talked about in the book, I was like, OK, my main problem getting older is that hair is growing out of places I don't want it to grow out of. So I think I've got it pretty easy. I can figure out how to get along with my wife. But that said, there are ways that you can improve your chances, improve and thrive through this period of time.

[00:21:40.370] – Allan
But you have to take a proactive approach. You can't just sit back because this is not going to just go away in a couple of days or a couple of weeks. And, you know, it's not like just getting through one migraine or saying, oh, I'm a little depressed, I'll take an antidepressant and we'll just we'll just move on.

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[00:23:25.590] – Allan
Now, in the book, you talked about hormone replacement therapy, hormone therapy and bioidentical hormones, but there are also some natural remedies like black cohosh and natural Ashwagandha. Yeah, and so but there's some, you know, I think when we start talking about some of these things, because there was a study, of course, there was a study that tied breast cancer to estrogen. And while the study might not have been the best in the world at the way it was done, there's still lingering effect.

[00:23:57.150] – Allan
People think that they can't do these hormone therapies or do these things because of the potential problems. Can you talk about what's available and how how someone can kind of evaluate what's right for them?

[00:24:09.750] – Amanda
Yeah, it's a bit of a minefield out there. And I have to admit, I was one of those people, too. When my mom went through menopause, I was like, you are not going on any hormone therapy. I knew about this study. And I was like, that's not for you. And it was about that time for my own mom. When I went to the gynecologist and he sort of said, yeah, this is perimenopause. I can get you on hormone replacement therapy, it will help you.

[00:24:30.960] – Amanda
And I was like, no way. No, I mean, this is nine years ago almost nine. And I said, I don't trust it, I don't feel good about it. So I actually opted to go on an antidepressant and the antidepressant helped with both my migraines and my depression. But when other symptoms started to come up, because they do they come and go, they you know, they fluctuate like your hormones. It wasn't enough. And by this time I'd spoken to lots of experts and I dug deep into the research and I felt very confident with my choice.

[00:25:04.520] – Amanda
And I just thought it was so difficult to get this information and I didn't understand why. And so that's sort of why I wrote a whole chapter on this, because women and well, humans sorry. We hold on to the fear. It's just what we do. And so in 2002, the WHI, which is the Women's Health Institute, published a report and the report said that there was an increased risk of the following diseases. Cardiovascular disease, stroke and breast cancer by using estrogen therapy.

[00:25:38.840] – Amanda
And so what their advice was right then in 2002, they said the risks are too grave to issue estrogen as a treatment and it should be stopped immediately. And so that's what happened. Doctors all over the world just stop prescribing estrogen. What happened, though, since that date is the WHI. Some of the researchers in that study came up and stood up and said we didn't even research their findings properly. We didn't actually have the chance to. It was as soon as there was an inkling there was a risk, it was published and we didn't actually analyze the data properly.

[00:26:19.010] – Amanda
And so some of them have come out post hoc and analyzed it again and come up with completely different, a completely different viewpoint. And it's the viewpoint now that's shared by all of the medical bodies, including the North American Menopause Society and the British Menopause Society. And they have categorically stated that there is no increased risk for any of those diseases.

[00:26:42.320] – Amanda
Specifically, breast cancer is the one that women talk about by taking estrogen therapy. No more so than lifestyle choices. And, you know, like if we drink or heavy drinkers, smoker, if we do carry extra weight, if we're on the up on the obesity, I don't really like talking about obesity like it is, but it's considered a risk factor that there is no significant statistically significantly different risk. And and in science, the statistical significance is something that they talk about. And it's it was minuit and it was so small it wasn't worth considering.

[00:27:22.820] – Amanda
And so they now, all of the medical bodies, like I say, have agreed that estrogen therapy is safe and estrogen is not a carcinogenic substance. We know that. Right. So then but what happened in the meantime is during that period of 2002 and recently, I think probably in the last 10 years, I don't actually know when when people started using HRT more confidently.

[00:27:50.270] – Amanda
But there was a period of time when doctors refused to prescribe estrogen therapy. And the compounding pharmacies then were like, this is our chance to like to help women out. And they did. So they were prescribing uncompounded hormones that weren't regulated. And that's just the difference, right? They were issuing women hormones that the FDA had not approved. And so there was a there was a concern about the efficacy, the safety, and also the fact that when you take an estrogen, you have to take a progesterone with it.

[00:28:27.920] – Amanda
The progesterone protects your uterus. There's the compounding pharmacies were issuing a progesterone cream to women that wasn't providing enough protection to the uterus and was put women at high risk of uterine cancer. So it was an opportune moment for them. They made millions and billions and trillions probably.

[00:28:47.900] – Amanda
I actually don't have never looked at the numbers, but but now we're in a situation where if a woman wants to go on a hormone therapy and she is a candidate and there's parameters that women have got to fall within, a doctor can safely prescribe FDA approved hormones for a woman to take.

[00:29:08.210] – Amanda
Now, I just want to touch on bioidentical hormones because what happened, the compounding pharmacies use the word bioidentical because they said that the only hormones you could get from your doctor was synthetic and they weren't natural and they could give you natural hormones. And it's a false equivalency because it's it's just not true. The FDA have bioidentical hormones. And all that means is that the hormones are produced to match the molecular structure of the hormones in your body. And they're derived from plant sources.

[00:29:45.680] – Amanda
And you can get them and have been tested for efficacy and safety and they usually covered on insurance for a couple of dollars a month, whereas the unregulated ones can cost women hundreds and hundreds every month, and it doesn't make sense to me when you're talking about cost safety against safety and lower costs. So that's where we are with bioidentical. So my advice to women and I'm not a doctor and so I'm not telling you what to do, but I've talked to experts and I've done my research is that if you want to go on hormones, you go and speak to your doctor.

[00:30:18.460] – Amanda
If your doctor is not informed because many aren't asked to speak to a referral to a menopause specialist and get regulated hormones. Now, when it comes to doing things outside of medical intervention, and I have no problem with medical intervention and I just don't see why it should be a problem for people. I hear the idea that menopause is medicalized. And I'm like, yes, so what? It's a micro dose of hormones that literally gives the woman back her quality of life.

[00:30:49.570] – Amanda
It can help with the symptoms. And we know it's protective against some of these major diseases that kill us in post menopause. But things, other things that a woman could do to support her journey. Like you said, the black cohosh and Ashwagandha, there have been some studies on this. But the problem is, is none of those medications are regulated. So you just don't know the quality or the efficacy of the supplements like all supplements.

[00:31:17.860] – Amanda
You know that, right? So and for women with really bad symptoms, sometimes it's not enough for some women with some mild symptoms, it can be enough. But neither of those natural things will replace the estrogen that your body's lost. Neither will food. You can eat as much phytoestrogen based food as you want, which is like soy, tofu. And it will help you and it will support your body, but it will not replace the estrogen that you are losing.

[00:31:45.430] – Amanda
So you can do things to add the journey and smooth the journey. And I definitely recommend that women speak to a specialist, talk about different options and see what works for them. And then also know that you may need to change it, because as your hormones change, you may not need to do everything you've been doing all along. It's like literally I don't even know how to describe it.

[00:32:10.500] – Allan
Whackable

[00:32:13.630] – Amanda
Something like, yeah whackable. But the upshot of it is that women do not need to needlessly suffer. There is help available for them. They should grab it and they should advocate for it and actually give women ideas on how to advocate in the medical profession, because it can be hard. We've got to we've got to be tough in there. But honestly, we deserve to be helped.

[00:32:38.120] – Allan
Absolutely. Now, one of the things you got into in the book, which I thought was was really important, was one, you kind of went through some things with the healthy diet, you know, to avoid processed foods, limit your alcohol intake, those types of things that people should be just doing anyway. But you got into something I thought is critically important when it comes to food because it's not talked about enough is not just what you eat, but how to eat.

[00:33:05.650] – Allan
Would you would you take us through that? Because I think this is important. We forget this. We forget this a lot. And as a result, we end up not getting the results we want or getting the health outcome we want. And I just think it's really important for people to recognize that it's not just when, it's not just how much, or what kinds of foods, but actually how we eat.

[00:33:27.710] – Amanda
Psychological process around. Right. It's really important. And so like the nutrition part of my book. So the essentially the second part of the book is broke down into four areas. We have a strength training component. We have nutrition component. We have a stress management component. And we have a mind set component as well.

[00:33:47.290] – Amanda
And then the nutrition component, there is no menopause specific diet. So this nutrition component is actually valid for most people. Like there's nothing in there that's rocket science, right? Like I tell you what the micronutrients do, how they respond in the body. There are some nuances when it comes to menopause for sure. And I talk about those, but essentially the whole how we, the what we eat shouldn't really change much from what we know from nutrition science.

[00:34:16.630] – Amanda
But the how we eat is so important because, you know, I always think that, like menopausal women are targets. Like, you know, we are lion's share of the like the fitness world, whether with a desperate women, we have probably a bit more disposable income.

[00:34:31.900] – Amanda
And so they see our vulnerability and go try this keto green diet, try this, try that supplement. And it's just, stop. Please stop doing that because it is unethical also. It's not necessary. And I think that what I've tried to do in the nutrition component is simplify everything so that a woman can just go into this with valid choices. And so I talk about like the how to eat, right?

[00:35:00.120] – Amanda
So we're a nation of people that eat too quickly. We don't consider what hunger feels like. We don't know when to stop. And we eat mindlessly. We don't eat mindfully. And so don't sound like a bloody hippie, but like it really matters how you approach eating. And so I try and break that down. And so, you know, I try and explain to people that, you know, hunger won't kill you. It's OK to feel hungry. And that where we can become like robots. We can say, oh, it's noon, I better eat my lunch instead of like like sitting there and saying, I'm hungry. Am I am I ready to eat? Is it appropriate?

[00:35:43.790] – Amanda
Like because sometimes we eat because it's what's expected and not what our body needs. And so the cues that I talk about help you try and understand your body signals. And these are things that can stay with you for life. And it's amazing. So some of the key things are, recognizing true hunger. Is it true hunger or is it boredom? And so I always, even just take a simple pause, even just by your tummy starts to rumble a little bit.

[00:36:13.220] – Amanda
I want I ask people to sit and just think about it and say, OK, am I actually bored? Like, am I eating because I'm bored. I'm eating because I'm like, thirsty. Should I take a drink or is this true hunger and then sit for 30 minutes and just see if that hunger dies away. If it dies away, then you probably weren't hungry. If it doesn't, then eat. Right. You actually recognize what true hunger feels like.

[00:36:39.320] – Amanda
And I give like a scale in the book to sort of like try and pinpoint because we boredom eaters and we will have chips on the desk and we'll eat them without even thinking and wonder why we've consumed an extra eight hundred calories a day. And so my family, no electronics at the table ever.

[00:36:59.390] – Amanda
We put our electronics off, we all sit down and we converse and we actually make family meal times again where we sit down and we appreciate the food I've made because I make sure they do, that when they appreciate the food that they're eating and they enjoy food and that they appreciate like all of the cultural stuff that goes around it. Instead of just wolfing it down, watching the telly and, you know, not actually focusing on what you're doing.

[00:37:26.840] – Amanda
And then specifically in menopause, the estrogen has an impact on our ghrelin and leptin hormones, which are our hunger and satiation hormones. And so if you if your body's a bit screwed up and it doesn't know if you are really hungry or if you're really full by slowing down and sort of recognizing what true hunger feels like, slowing down the eating process and stopping before you are full, you know, like stopping when you're satisfied instead of like opening the button of your jeans type full.

[00:38:03.730] – Amanda
Like those are really good ways to suck you back in and recognize what real hunger and what real satisfied feeling feels like when you're eating. And I talk about that a lot in the book because it personally has worked for me and others, you know. But I truly believe in building up those type of habits.

[00:38:23.530] – Allan
Now, and one of the strategies they had in the book that I thought was pretty cool was you said one of, leaving just a little bit of food on your on your plate. You know, we were taught as kids, clean your plate, clean your plate. You know, kids in India are starving, so you have to clean your plate.

[00:38:38.820] – Amanda
Why did we say that?

[00:38:40.680] – Allan
I don't know.

[00:38:41.620] – Amanda
It's so true. It's always India.

[00:38:41.650] – Allan
I don't know, but we did. And so it's just you just clean your plate. And yeah, we want to multitask so we're on the social media or we're watching the television and we're not paying attention to eating. And, you know, before you know it, you've cleaned your plate. And so kind of having those strategies in place, you know, serving yourself a good a good portion a plate, you know, knowing your portions, getting it all on your plate and sitting down at the table and and really focusing on that food.

[00:39:16.580] – Allan
Putting your fork down between bites, having a conversation, you know, actual face to face conversation with your family. You know, those are those are the moments where you're taking care of your food, you're taking care of your body and you're building social connections and relationships that you know, we need.

[00:39:35.610] – Amanda
And you know, they're valid ways and they're proven ways to show how to stop overeating. I mean, clearly, it matters what you put in your mouth, but I think the two things go hand in hand. You can eat the best food in the world and have all of these plans in place on what to eat. But if it feels like restriction and it feels like it's a job or it feels like this is limiting you in some way, then you're just going to fall straight back to where you were.

[00:40:02.240] – Amanda
But if you approach this with a mindset that this is doing you good and that you're actually supporting your body and understanding what the body needs, then when you eat the food that you've chosen because of your knowledge that, you know will support your body, it just makes it such a smoother ride. And the chances of you stick and adhering to this long term are increased.

[00:40:25.520] – Allan
Amanda, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

[00:40:34.540] – Amanda
You know, I think the hardest question, you know, I know I had this coming and, I was like, oh, God, you make it sound so easy. And I was like, how can I give you three when I have like, a hundred?

[00:40:44.500] – Amanda
And so but I think if we're talking about menopause, the first thing I would do, the first thing I would say is that you should control the things that you can control. Because it's the time of a lot of change and things are out of your control and so the certain parameters within your life that you actually can take a handle on. And I encourage women to do that. So whether that's like actively moving every day or choosing the food that they eat or the company that surrounds them, I would suggest that that's the first thing. So take control of those things that you can control.

[00:41:20.360] – Amanda
The second thing is for a menopausal woman is build a community and that community can be just your sister or your aunt or a group of friends. It's a bit more difficult in a pandemic. But like I have an online community where women exchange stories, where talk about their problems and lessen the burden.

[00:41:42.190] – Amanda
When you know that you have something that's eating away at you and literally you can't get out of this hole that you're in when you share that story with someone and get somebody else's opinion, even if they just say, hey, I hear you and I'm listening, that can just make you feel so much happier.

[00:42:00.220] – Amanda
And then the last thing is do exercise that brings you joy. I'm a big believer in moving every day. And sometimes in perimenopause and menopause, you're exhausted and you don't feel like you can move. But even if it's just a patrol around the kitchen, consider that to be active movement. And so while I'm a big pusher of strength training for women and as we age, it's so important if you want to do them three times a week because it just makes you laugh and brings you joy, then do it. Like do some type of movement that makes you smile and makes you feel better about yourself when you're finished.

[00:42:39.680] – Allan
Well, if someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about the book Menopocalypse, where would you like…

[00:42:48.860] – Amanda
It will fall off the tongue soon, don't worry.

[00:42:50.810] – Allan
Soon enough, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:42:54.710] – Amanda
Yeah, you know, everything is off if you go to my website everything there are links to my social media page, links to purchase in the book. The book came out yesterday, October 18th, which was, well, menopause day. But everything is on www.fitnchips.com. You can find everything there.

[00:43:20.400] – Allan
OK, you can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/456 and I'll be sure to have the links there. Amanda, thank you for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:43:31.160] – Amanda
I'm so happy to have been on the show and thanks for having me.

[00:43:39.300] – Allan
Where Ras. Pretty good episode, you know, women's health is the highlight of October, you know, breast breast cancer awareness and things like that. And, you know, I like getting on some guests where we can talk about a single issue. But again, I hope men, you're still listening because if your significant other is going through this, you're going to have some experiences, too.

[00:44:02.960] – Ras
Thanks for doing this episode on menopause. I know. I appreciate it. And it's pretty timely for a lot of women. And in October, this is perfect, perfect timing for this topic.

[00:44:15.330] – Allan
You know, I think a lot of people are concerned. You know, when you start talking about hormone replacement and some of the science that was out there before talking about how it could cause cancer. And, you know, obviously that's been refuted. So if you're not on an estrogen because you're afraid of cancer, go back and do your research again, because I think you're going to find what's written out there is very different than even maybe what your doctor knows.

[00:44:39.950] – Ras
That's a really good point. And menopause itself is really a scary topic for a lot of women. It kind of seems like a homeless or hopeless part of our lives that we just have to suffer through. And then when you add hormone replacement therapy to that, that's another huge red flag for us, because we've always heard that estrogen replacement is a danger. And personally, I actually have a higher propensity for breast cancer, it runs in my family. So that's always been a huge red flag for me as well. So it was really refreshing to hear from Amanda that that may not be what I had always thought it was.

[00:45:16.850] – Allan
Yeah. And if you if you resonated with this episode, I just want to let you know, I try to do a menopause episode about once a year. So I've actually had a few other episodes about menopause. And if you'll go to the show notes for this episode, I believe this is episode 456. So if you go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/456, I'll be sure to have links to all of the other episodes where we've discussed menopause, because there's a lot of, a lot of new information out there and a lot of authors, you know, they don't write about this very often.

[00:45:52.070] – Allan
So, you know, get a book about once a year. I do try to get them on because I think it's a really important topic. But even men, you know, I again, we are going to start talking about men's health over the course of the next couple episodes. But, you know, for you to recognize that you're struggling with andropause, you know, you're watching your testosterone and growth hormone and all those, those men feel good things going on. Your wife's going through complete chaos.

[00:46:21.470] – Allan
And, you know, the link between estrogen and oxytocin is just scary because, you know, that's the empathy that's that's that's her giving a crap about what you're going through. And she might be struggling with that. So just recognizing that that hormones not only impact what our body physically does but impact what's going on in our brain. And that can actually change our mood and behavior and make someone seem like an entirely different person. So I think that's just worth paying attention to. If you value your relationship, just recognize that as a symptom. That is an issue and something that can be addressed if you take the time to do it.

[00:47:06.260] – Ras
That's a really good point. That was actually a kind of a light bulb moment for me in your interview with her. The connection between estrogen and the ocytocin. Is Yeah. And and how that changes our emotions and how we cope or react to certain situations, I'm 49, so I'm right in the middle of this whole perimenopause program. And as she was checking off all these symptoms, I'm like, yeah, I felt that. Yeah, I've noticed that as well. But that that estrogen oxytocin, that's a huge light bulb moment for me. And I think this is a perfect storm situation. Allan, you mentioned that men's hormones are fluctuating as well, right along with ours.

[00:47:54.550] – Ras
And then in my family, I've got another situation where my kids are in college. So my role as a mother has changed greatly. And so there's kind of like a perfect storm of situations that happen. And and how to get through all of these challenging moments is just difficult.

[00:48:14.280] – Allan
Well, that's why you run.

[00:48:15.890] – Ras
Yes, it is no doubt about it. it's why I run. And that's a good point, because for me, getting through all of these kinds of perimenopausal symptoms that I experience, running actually does make a huge difference.

[00:48:30.330] – Ras
And I notice on the days where I have too many rest days in a row or just can't get out to run because life gets busy, I can feel it. I can feel the change happening with my emotions. And I get tired and irritable for sure.

[00:48:45.210] – Allan
And so that's why you need to experiment with a lot of different things. Exercise, nutrition, in some cases, even hormone replacement might be something that's a fit for you. You've got to you've got to study this. You've got to do that N equals 1 experiment, and you've got to make some decisions. Your health care provider is a provider. They're not there to to make you do something. You have to be a part of that team. And so recognizing that if you're not exercising and you're not eating right and you're not feeling well, there might be a correlation there.

[00:49:17.430] – Allan
And you've got to solve those two problems. And even when I talk about men's health with guys are like, you know, yeah, you could you could do all this stuff. You could take all these hormone replacements. But they're not going to fix you if you're not doing the other things or other things have to come first. So if you get joy out of running, run. If you get joy out of lifting heavy things, lift heavy things, you should probably do a little bit of both, to be honest with yourself.

[00:49:45.480] – Ras
Yeah.

[00:49:46.050] – Allan
You're given your body, all of it needs. But, you know, just find the things that give you joy, find the things that make you feel good. And particularly during this period of time, if you know is do them together. If you can, you know, you and Mike run together. We do. Which, you know, that again is beautiful, you know, because that's that's where relationships are kept. That's where you have that in common.

[00:50:06.630] – Allan
And much like we talked about running clubs and how close you get to people, even when you're not running close to people these days, you know, it's just something, a bond that you have between you that that just keeps going. And so.

[00:50:20.220] – Ras
So true. AManda mentioned having a support group and that that community tie, whether it's with a run club or your spouse, it can be really helpful. And the tougher days, those days when your hormones are really out of control or you're just feeling emotional, it's good to have somebody to talk to or run with or whatever it might be.

[00:50:38.990] – Allan
Or lift with.

[00:50:39.960] – Ras
Yeah. Yeah.

[00:50:42.090] – Allan
All right, Ras, well it's good to see you again. And we'll talk next week.

[00:50:45.240] – Ras
You bet, take care.

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