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If you are like me you have or had mixed feelings about menopause, depending upon where you are in your menopausal journey. The thought of not having a period any more was super exciting. I definitely did not want to have more children so I was good with that option going away but the downside was all the stories I had heard about the miserable side effects of menopause. Hot flashes, mood swings, weight gain, insomnia, anxiety, depression and even stories about unexplainable panic attacks. This part of menopause was not something I was looking forward to.
At 57 years old, I feel like I have been blessed to navigate through menopause fairly well. While I struggled with hot flashes that would cause me to pull my covers on and off 1,000 times each night, other than that I really am so thankful to have felt pretty good otherwise.
I am not a doctor or an expert on menopause but with over 30 years of experience in the fitness industry, my heart is passionate about helping women manage menopausal symptoms so that they can live a life feeling the very best they can. I've also done quite a bit of research on this topic and was pleasantly surprised at how many of the suggestions for navigating this inevitable change we as women go through were the same suggestions we should follow in living a healthy lifestyle.
Here are 5 tips you can do to minimize menopause symptoms, stay healthy and honestly these are also great ways to live no matter what stage of life you are in.
1. Exercise. This is key! Exercise has so many health benefits and it's even more important to do consistent cardio and strength training exercises as you go through menopause. Exercise can help decrease anxiety, depression and mood swings as studies have long suggested that exercise triggers the release of "feel-good hormones," called endorphins in the brain. Exercise is also vital to managing a healthy weight, increase bone strength and much more. As we age we lose muscle. Muscle burns through calories at a faster rate than fat. When we lose muscle our metabolism lowers and we are likely to gain weight. Strength training at least 3 times a week will increase your muscle and metabolism and help you to maintain a healthy weight as you age.
2. Avoid Sugars and Artificial Sweeteners. High blood sugar levels can increase the intensity and quantity of your hot flashes. Kicking the sugar habit starts with keeping your added sugar to less than 24 grams per day and also may help to reduce hot flashes. If you are struggling with this, don't beat yourself up, instead educate and empower yourself so you can live better and stronger. You can start with this article 12 Ways To Curb Your Sugar Cravings for info and support.
3. Eat Foods High In Calcium. Eating more dark leafy greens, sardines, plain yogurt and other high calcium foods can help keep your bones strong and minimize your risk of getting osteoporosis. If meal planning is a struggle, get access to an online cookbook, meal plans and grocery shopping lists. Change starts one day and one step at a time.
4. Turn To God For Help. God cares about all areas of your life but don't take my word for it. God's word clearly tells us in John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." Friend you have to believe with your whole heart that this includes you. God did not leave anyone out when he gave His son to die for us so we could have a personal relationship with Him.
If you are worried about your health and are struggling to make changes, go to Him about it. His arms are always open when you need to be comforted. Let Him remind you that you are beautiful, loved and cared for you as His daughter. Stress will only add to the magnitude of menopause symptoms so learn to trust Him even with your health journey. If you struggle to trust Him the Bible tells us that the more we know Him the more we can trust Him. Read your Bible, listen to sermons, plug into a Bible study, listen to worship music and yes, declare Him as your personal trainer. His love never fails and He is always without fail there for you.
5. Eat Whole Foods. Your body needs to be nourished properly and that comes from real, whole foods like fruits, vegetables, lean protein and nuts. If you make healthy eating a priority you will have the energy you need and feel better. Processed foods are not good for your body. Eat whole foods rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants just the way God created them to fuel your body. Eating healthy is not about deprivation, it's about caring for the body God gifted you with.
Of course, always reach out to your doctor if your symptoms feel like more than you can manage. There is never any shame in seeking help nor should you suffer alone or in silence. My prayer for you is that you will navigate menopause and all areas of your life feeling and looking your very best!