Get Outside & Enjoy the Sun : Loving Where We Live the Phoenix Edition
It's hot here: we know this, but do you feel like it's even hotter than usual for Arizona?
Unwanted Weight Gain, Fatigue, Hot Flashes, Mood Swings and Hormonal Changes are NO JOKE.
Especially when we live in Arizona and the temperature is always HOT! So, what's a gal to do? I have answers, and surprisingly they're not any different than what I would recommend to any of my clients looking to gain and maintain a physically, nutritionally and mentally balanced lifestyle.
My best hacks? Sleep, Exercise, Omega 3's, Fiber, and Self Care.
During menopause changes in our hormones (specifically imbalance between estrogen and testosterone) cause undue stress on the body. This alters our mood, body temperature, sleep patterns, and metabolism. To combat these symptoms, we need to take an active approach to nutritionally dense eating, self care, a weekly exercise routine and rest.
It becomes more important than ever to eat foods rich in fiber, B vitamins, healthy omega 3 fats and avoid processed foods, refined sugar, alcohol and caffiene. High fiber foods such as vegetables, beans, sweet potatoes, winter squash, quinoa and wild rice keep our blood sugars stable which keeps mood swings in check and also helps to maintain our weight. Foods rich in B vitamins such as wild caught fish, free range poultry, grass fed meats and organic cage free eggs increase energy, boost metabolism, and regulates appetite. Omega 3 fats found in seafood, wild caught fish, avocado, olives, nuts and seeds supports cell membranes, increases mood, supports a healthy immune system and maintains satiety.
Caffiene, alcohol, refined carboyhdrates and sugar may seem like a quick fix for challenges in mood and energy but unfortunately they have the opposite effect. Intake of these substances cause stress and inflammation in the body which can disrupt deep sleep, trigger hot flashes, mood swings, headaches and unwanted fat storage in our least favorite places (think muffin top, bra fat, thigh rub and bat wings under the arms)
So... I hate to be this girl, but...
Say NO to those tempting 2 for 1 happy hour drink specials and 1/2 off appetizers and instead opt for the fiber rich salad with a healthy dose of protein and a big glass of filtered water to look and feel great.
Now.. it isn't JUST good nutrition that will keep the effects of menopause at a minimum.
We can't forget about self care.
This includes optimal amounts of sleep, exercise, and stress reduction. Menopause causes stress on the body which puts the body in a "fight or flight" survival mode. When this happens our body produces the stress hormone cortisol, which packs a punch by slowing our metabolism, increasing blood sugar levels, and interfering with insulin secretion. This promotes fat storage which causes weight gain and then the cycle perpetuates as we then stress out over the weight gain, further spiking cortisol levels.
This increase in stress not only triggers weight gain, but also hot flashes, low libido, headaches, and hair loss. We can control stress and cortisol production by aiming for 7-8 hours of sleep, and engaging in self care practices like meditation, dry brushing, hot towel scrubs and massage.
Including a weekly regimen of resistance based exercise such as swimming, yoga, pilates, and weight lifting can also decrease menopause symptoms. Not only does resistance exercise improve metabolism, increase bone density, and help maintain a healthy weight, exercise increases serotonin - a neurotransmitter that impacts mood, social behavior, appetite, digestion, sleep, memory, and sexual desire.
My personal recommendation?
Start with two days of total body resistance based strength training and see how you feel. If you have time for more, add in another day for the optimal three days recommended by the ACSM. Not sure where to start? Workout with me for FREE on Amazon Prime and on the MoveWith app.
Need some help navigating this time of change? Want support and accountability on how to improve your quality of life during menopause? Contact me for a complimentary half hour session where we'll strategize the best steps for an optimal you.