There’s a lot of information out there on PMS, fertility and menopause, and we have all had lots of exposure to the ins and outs of what might be going on with our bodies in our 20s and 30s. But then what? You have gone through your 30s (or most of them) and are still feeling good; 40 is the new 30, right? Menopause is not something you see in your immediate future, it’s something for those middle-aged women we see pictured looking frazzled, frumpy and unhappy. Basically you are ready to be the confident, sexy 40-something we all aspire to be, a woman in her prime. But suddenly you aren’t feeling so hot and in control.You might have noticed a few changes – maybe your skin, hair and general vibrancy, or you’ve noticed lots of little niggling things that are making you feel not quite right. You might be gaining a little extra bloat and the scales are generally going in an upward direction. Most of all you might be feeling tired and lacking in energy and wake up feeling what can only be described as cranky; and this is no longer confined to your pre-period days. It may not be anything specific, but somehow, despite your best efforts at being healthy, you are just not feeling your best. You might suspect something hormonal is going on but you aren’t ready to consider that this could be the menopause – surely this is too soon?
So, what’s going on? Well, the good news is you aren’t alone – many women out there feel just like you. You are, hormonally speaking, an in-betweener (in a state somewhere between fertility and menopause) and are most likely in peri-menopause.
Peri-menopause?!? I know, this might be a scary term, and you thought that menopause was years away, but the fact is that menopause is only the final point, when we haven’t had a period for a year or more. On average that happens around age 51. But just like when we were hitting puberty and started the journey into womanhood, things don’t happen overnight. You might have experienced a few hormonal bumps in the road before you started your period, and the same is true when our periods stop. In fact our hormonal engine might start to get a bit unpredictable up to 10 years before we are officially classified as in menopause. This, my friends, is peri-menopause, and it can affect us in a myriad of unsettling and disturbing ways.
So now the good news – you are in the ideal position to educate yourself about what’s happening in your body and use this knowledge to not only cope with the journey ahead but thrive on it. Yes, there are of course some biological inevitabilities – our periods will become irregular and stop at some point – but this doesn’t mean we have to turn into that picture of the frazzled and frumpy middle-aged woman, or face some inevitable decline into old age. We can stay juicy, energetic and vibrant, and one of the main ways to do that is through eating the right foods. A diet rich in plant foods is ideal for many women as they get into their 40s, this means prioritising veggies on your plate, with a particular emphasis on lots of green foods. As this blog develops, i’ll be sharing ways to incorporate this kind of eating.
Believe me when I say you are really lucky; as a woman in your 40s, you are in a unique place to prioritise your health and learn how to balance your body through diet and lifestyle changes to achieve vibrant good health. Accepting the new hormonal ups and downs and learning how to naturally support your body to go with the flow (forgive the pun!) is the empowered way to go.