tanith@tanithlee.co.uk

Menopause Weight Gain – 10 Day video series

By far the most talked about ‘symptom’ of menopause and seemingly the most frustrating is the weight that many women seem to gain as they go through the menopause transition. Especially the belly fat.

I’ve created an email and video series covering this topic.

You can access those resources by clicking the green button below this video.

When you sign up you will have FREE access to this education series.

It will all be delivered to your email inbox daily for the next 10 days so you can read and watch the videos whenever they suit you.

Here is the first introduction video.

 


What is a hot flush/night sweat and what can you do about it?

What is a hot flush/night sweat and what can you do about it?

What is a hot flush?

One of the most common symptoms of the peri-menopause is night sweats and hot flushes.

“a sudden feeling of feverish heat, typically as a symptom of the menopause”

UP TO 79% OF WOMEN EXPERIENCE HOT FLUSHES

The Hypo what?

Although the root cause is not clear, research shows that they are to do with the hypothalamus which amongst other things regulates your body temperature.

During the menopause, oestrogen levels slowly drop. Although not fully understood, scientists think that this drop in oestrogen causes a hiccup in the way the hypothalamus senses body temperature, making it think that you are too hot.

This causes a response designed to cool down the body (your body is amazing and clever!) . More blood rishes to the skin (one of the causes of hot flushes and reddening of the skin) and sweat glands start working (the menopausal sweat).

Adrenal Glands

Another thing that can cause the dreaded night sweats (i remember them well!) is adrenal fatigue. Simply put this is when the adrenal glands have been worked to the point of exhaustion by prolonged chronic stress, illness or acute stress. In the worst case scenario the adrenals barely function. this = burnout 🙁

It’s also important to look after your adrenals glands as they continue to produce progesterone post menopause. During your fertile years your ovaries are the main source of oestrogen and progesterone. When your menstrual cycle ends the ovaries stop producing these hormones. Your adrenal glands continue to secrete a small amount of progesterone. However your adrenal glands prioritise your survival hormones (often called your flight, fight or freeze hormones) over producing your sex hormones . It’s mother nature looking after you. If you are under constant pressure/stress then the chances are you will be producing less progesterone.

“During adrenal fatigue your adrenal glands function, but not well enough to maintain optimal homeostasis because their output of regulatory hormones has been diminished – usually by over-stimulation. Over-stimulation of your adrenals can be caused either by a very intense single stress, or by chronic or repeated stresses that have a cumulative effect.” http://www.adrenalfatigue.org/

One of the key pillars in my menopause plan is to look at lifestyle, particulary stress. I also talk about it in more detail in the free hot flush help guide. When going through the peri menopause the body is hyper sensitive to stress due the the reduced estrogen and progesterone. This is also one of the causes of the shape change some women experience; hour glass to apple.

Get The FREE Hot Flush Help Guide – Click Here >>>

Food Triggers

Many women find that certain foods can trigger a hot flush/nights sweats.

Avoid stimulants which are notorious for setting off hot flushes; things like coffee, alcohol, chocolate and spicy foods.  

An over use of convenient foods, processed food and sugars can all put an extra load on the body’s organs so reducing/eliminating these can make a huge improvement to your symptoms. Lay your health foundations by eating whole food diet that contains lots of leafy green vegetables and you will build a more robust system. It may sound basic but I know many clients that have reduced menopause symptoms just by changing their diet.

Is it your thyroid?

Many menopause and hypo/hyperthyroid symptoms are similar and it can be confusing to know which is which. Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism can cause the body not regulate it’s temperature whether it’s too hot or too cold. This can be a cause of the hot flushes/night sweats and feeling cold and shivery.  Problems with the thyroid can come to light at the same age as women are going through the peri-menopause. So how do you know which is which? The first thing to do would be to see your Doctor and ask them to test you. Once you know which it is or maybe it’s both then you can make a plan of action.

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10 Tips that may help reduce hot flushes

  1. Stress management – investigate the many stress reduction methods like; deep breathing, relaxation, walking, meditation, gentle exercise etc.
  2. Keep a Hot flush/sweat diary so you can see any patterns or triggers.
  3. When you feel one coming on….practice deep, slow breathing, it will take practice but this can work.
  4. Using Sage can help, make tea or take a good quality supplement.
  5. If you feel you need to then get your Thyroid checked by your Doctor.
  6. Eat foods containing phytoestrogens which mimic your body’s natural oestrogen but in much smaller doses.
  7. Ensure you wear natural materials and wear layers that are easily removed.
  8. Regular exercise can help many of the symptoms of menopause.
  9. Try bio-identical HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy), your doctor can prescribe these.
  10. Use cool showers to lower your body temperature, this could be especially useful in the evening before bed.

Why not check out my free email course which will go into more detail about what you can do today to eliminate your hot flushes and night sweats. This course will give you a better understanding about what is going on with your body and what you can do to become a hot flush free zone. You’ll also get my ‘secret weapon’ against hot flushes that I only usually share with my VIP clients. Click below to get instant access.

 

We’ve got this weight loss thing all wrong

Download Your Free Menopause Resource Guide

I’m reading a good book all about willpower called The Willpower Instinct.

It’s a great book and has loads of info in it but it takes a little deciphering!

Today I was reading the chapter called ‘What the Hell:How feeling bad leads us to giving in’

 

It talks about our brains reward system. How when we are feeling down or stressed we turn to reward to make ourselves feel better.

We use things like;

  • eating
  • drinking
  • shopping
  • Facebook
  • TV
  • Surfing the web.

 

But it’s not the ‘thing’ that makes us feel better it is the thought of the reward.

The thing that we chose to reward ourselves with can turn against us.

 

A study found that women who ate chocolate as a form of stress relief inevitably felt worse as they added the feeling of guilt to the mix.

And we repeat it over and over again!

It turns out that feelings of guilt and self-criticism actually make us more likely to be unable to resist temptation.

So when we beat ourselves up (self bully) for eating a certain food or missing a gym session etc. we actually make it more likely that we will continue the cycle.

 ‘giving in’ makes us feel bad about ourselves which makes you want to make yourself feel better. How do we do that? Usually by doing the thing that made us feel bad in the first place. Sounds crazy but we all do it!

 If guilt doesn’t make us stop the self sabotaging behaviour why do we keep trying to use it?

If beating ourselves up was an effective way to help us lose weight, eat healthier, exercise more, relax more etc then I wouldnt be writing this as we would all be  doing it! 🙂

The answer is self -forgiveness!!

It’s the thing many of us do not practice…..being KIND to yourself!

 How?

Talk to women about self-compassion and self-forgiveness and you’d think I was asking them to sell their children!

Why do we find it so hard?

Why do we keep beating ourselves up with guilt, feeling less than and name calling?

In an experiment to see if guilt sabotages self-control and if the opposite of guilt could support self-control  a group of women were fed doughnuts. (all in the name of research :-))

The group of weight-watching women were told the two tests were on food and mood and a sweets taste test. They all had to eat a whole doughnut within four minutes and had to drink a whole glass of water to make sure they felt uncomfortably full. The women then completed a survey on how they felt.

Before the sweets taste test half of the women received a special message from the researchers to help relieve their guilt. They were encouraged by the researchers not to be too hard on themselves and that it’s only human to indulge once in a while. The other half of the women got no such message.

All the women then received three large bowls of three types of sweets chosen to appeal to all kinds of sweet tooth. The women were asked to sample each sweet and rate it and were invited to eat as much of it as they liked. If the women still felt guilty about eating the doughnut they should ask themselves “I already fell of the diet, so what does it matter if I eat as many sweets as I like?”

After the test, the bowls of sweets were weighed to find out how much had been eaten. 

The self-forgiveness was a clear success: The women who had received the self-forgiveness message at only 28g of sweets, compared to nearly 70g by the women who were encouraged not to forgive themselves.

Most of us think that the message “don’t be so hard on yourself everyone indulges sometimes” will give us permission to eat more. But it seems that getting rid of the guilt kept these women from overindulging. 

So do you still think guilt motivates you? Do you still think you need to be harder on yourself? That you’re not critical enough?

If so then it’s not your fault 🙂 We leant about control and punishment from a young age from our parents. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as we don’t develop our self-control until early adulthood. It’s just we tend to use that same approach on ourselves as adults.

‘But what will keep us in check?’ I hear you say…

‘If I don’t criticise myself how will i stop myself doing it again?’

Can I persuade you to think in a different way? Surely it’s worth trying a new approach to willpower and self-control?

Ask yourself this “How is being self-critical working for me? Is self-bullying getting me the results I want?”

Honestly, is it?

Before I  share how to start practising self compassion and self forgiveness here’s a wee story……

 

A friend came over to see me last night in tears.

She’d just been to the gym, she couldn’t do one of the exercises and she burst into tears.

It wasn’t the gym or the exercise she couldn’t do.

It was the ‘straw that broke the camels back’

She was exhausted, she had been doing too much, not giving herself a break.

She’s getting married next month and is panicking so is exercising like crazy and dieting.

She’s rushing from dress fittings, hen weekends, engagement photo shoots, working, looking after the kids……

It could only end in tears. Her body and mind had had enough. The tears were her body’s way of getting her to take notice.

We’ve all been there right? 

The thing is she see’s herself as a failure because she couldn’t cope with all the stress.

And the self-bullying started. The feelings of worthlessness, failure and being ‘less than’.

What would you have said to my friend? What advice would you have given?

Take some time off? Chill out? Don’t be so hard on yourself? It’s ok not to feel ok?

Do you give yourself the same advice?

So the theme this week has been about self-compassion and self-forgiveness. It’s about being your own best friend.

If you have spent years being hard on yourself then it is going to feel uncomfortable and a little weird at first.

Start by noticing the  language you use on yourself. Where do you feel it in your body? What are the emotions?

Just start to notice.

Ask yourself how would you feel if you didn’t think those thoughts?

You see it’s not the thing that you are beating yourself up over its the thought about the thing.

What would happen if you let those thoughts go? It would be freeing 🙂

You are only human and we all struggle with life sometimes…..and that’s ok 🙂

You don’t have to be super woman today, let someone else do it!

Why not join me in my experiment? I am practising self-compassion and self-forgiveness wholeheartedly for two weeks.

What have you got to lose? Nothing me thinks! You have everything to gain 🙂

1. Notice your thoughts, feelings and how you talk to yourself.

2. Treat yourself like you are your own best friend (Go Team  {sut-first_name:})

3. Give yourself a hug (not as crazy as you think…are you doing it right now?…go on it feels good)

So i urge you to give yourself a break. Be kind to yourself. Be your own best friend.

The Top 5 Peri-menopause symptoms…..and what you can do about them

The Top 5 Peri-menopause symptoms…..and what you can do about them

1. Hot Flushes and Night Sweatsam i normal

These are the most common and uncomfortable symptoms. Many women find some foods can trigger a hot flushes. Things like  spicy foods, caffeinated drinks and  alcohol. Try keeping a hot flush diary to find your hot flash triggers.

Phytoestrogens are found in most veg, wholegrain and fruit and can help alleviate menopausal symptoms so include them in your diet

A good source is from  legumes, such as soy (fermented), lentils, peas and chickpeas. Be aware that for some these can be hard to digest and cause wind and bloating!

You could try using herbs to help your symptoms.  Please always get professional advice before taking herbs as they can be powerful.

Black cohosh is a well researched herb for menopausal symptoms.

Dong quai can help hot flushes, and may help relieve mental and emotional upset.

Agnus castus is helpful for general hormone balance through the perimenopause and menopause but especially for the mood swings.

Sage can also reduce sweating associated with menopausal hot flushes.

 

2. Widening Waistline

Is the middle age spread fact or fallacy? Is it something we should just accept or spend the second half of our life fighting?

I think there is an element of acceptance of our bodies as they change as we get older. It isn’t necessatily menopuase just ageing!

The way a women’s body reacts to her environment, stress levels, blood sugar levels, diet and exercise change as she hit’s her forties.

I’ve spoken many times about the importance of stress reduction to help belly fat loss . See this post http://www.mrsmenopause.co.uk/reducing-stress-key-peri-menopause-symptoms/

The other BIG factor is the amount and type of carbohydrates we eat. Your body cannot buffer excessive sugars like in did in your younger days (sorry!).

If you want to lose the muffin top then be prepared to put some time and effort in.

Balance your blood sugar levels by eating regularly (three decent meals a day and a protein based snack if needed)

Quit fizzy drinks, even the diet ones (they are bad for your menopausal ones)

Eat less starchy carbs (potato, bread, pasta and cereals). A few mouthfuls with each meal is a good starting point and see how you feel (do you have enough energy? Do you have cravings? Are you getting hungry way before your next meal?)

Exercise is key not only to weight management but also to improving mood.  Long hours of cardio will not be the best approach to menopause weight loss as it’s another stress on the body. Resistance training and interval training are better ways to shift the belly but not everyone likes to do that sort of exercise! The key with exercise is to do what you love, do it consistently and move every day.

3. Insomnia

Lack of sleep sucks! I’ve had many a broken nights sleep and I discovered it was because I was waking up hungry! My blood sugar levels were totally out of whack due to too much caffeiene, skipping meals and/or not getting the balance of my meals right.

So first step is to fix your blood sugar levels. If you are really unsure what’s going on with your body then you could invest in a blood glucose monitor.

Once you have fixed this you could try oral progesterone (utrogestan), reducing stress, meditation, cool shower before bed (yes really), relaxing herbal teas, no screens for at least an hour before bed and defo not in the bedroom.

This is a good easy read…..Sleep Smarter by Shawn Stevenson

 

4. Vaginal Dryness/Atrophy

Diminishing levels of estrogen cause the mucous membranes in the body to dry out a little (vagina, digestive system, nasal, etc.).

Try adding flaxseeds to your diet, they contain phytoestrogens that act like your bodies natural estrogen. They also contain Omega 3 oil which as well as keeping everything ‘lubricated’ they are linked to helping depression and  arthritis. Add ground flax to muesli, porridge, smoothies, dressings and salads.

A friend of mine has has great results taking Sea Buckthorn 

For instant relief try a lubricant designed for vaginal dryness and stop using soaps/sprays and douches! I personally love Yes lubricant as it’s pure and doesn’t have any nasties. https://www.yesyesyes.org/

Some ladies like to use pure coconut oil. I love to cook with it but i don’t get on with it on my vag!

Vaginal Atrophy is where the vagina thins and loses it’s elasticity. Lubricants may give some relief but will not fix the underlying cause (hormonal change). Eating phytoestrogens as previously discussed may help but you may get more help by using a estrogen suppository like Vagifem. A small amount of estrogen is delivered directly where it is needed in the vagina.

5. Brain changes (depression, anxiety, memory)

Another common symptom is the change in brain function; grumpy, tearful, lack of memory etc!

All of the above changes will help; blood sugar management, better sleep, stress management, phytoestrogens, omega 3’s and exercise.

This website explains it really well http://www.34-menopause-symptoms.com/mood-swings.htm

 

I hope that this has given you some ideas to help your symptoms.

We deal with all these in the 21 Day Hormone reboot http://www.mrsmenopause.co.uk/the-21-day-hormone-reboot/

 

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