Menopause can be a bitch (there we said it), but it can also be liberating, empowering, and amazing — if we allow it to be. How do we go from hating to accepting, embracing and even loving menopause?
Whether we see it as the worst thing, or the best thing that happens to us. It all comes down to mindset and how we perceive menopause. It can be difficult to look at menopause as a good thing, especially with symptoms like hot flashes, weight gain and bloating. We hope these 6 steps will help you accept and embrace menopause.
Step 1: Health & Hormones
Being informed is your first step to managing your menopause transition. Educate yourself and check in with your physician about options in managing menopause symptoms:
Step 2: Nutrition
Eat Protein Women naturally have less muscle mass and testosterone than men, so lean proteins such as, chicken, turkey, fish, beans, soybeans and tofu, dairy protein/Greek yogurt, low fat cottage cheese, egg whites, are a woman’s best friend during menopause. Your body expends more energy (calories) to process proteins.
Consume Healthy Fats olive oil, flaxseeds, salmon, halibut, tuna, avocados, almonds, and walnuts.
Manage Blood Sugar with Low to Medium Glycemic Foods beans, apples, oranges, cherries, plain yogurt, sweet potatoes, oatmeal. Weight loss is possible with a few changes. Negotiating the Glycemic Index is a powerful tool. Aim for low to medium glycemic foods.
Fiber is your friend keeping you feeling full longer and regular.
Limit Alcohol to 2 or less glasses per day: That totals less than 10 fluid ounces of wine, 24 ounces of beer, or 3 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits. More than two drinks per day may increase the risk of cancer and stroke.
Monitor Salt Intake to reduce fluid retention.
Portion Control using smaller plates can help.
Eat every 3-4 hours three meals and two snacks per day (three if you wake up early). Try to make breakfast and lunch your largest meals. Keep a food diary and create a food plan.
Step 3: Fitness
Exercise does more than just tone your muscles. Exercise during and after menopause offers many benefits, including:
Step 4: Beauty
Customize your beauty routine to maintain a healthy glow. During menopause, lower levels of estrogen have a big impact on your skin. Less estrogen makes you prone to thinning, sagging, and wrinkling. Fortunately, you can relieve some of the skin-related effects of aging by taking care of your specific skin care needs.
Menopause causes many changes to your skin. Your body stops making as much collagen. You lose some fat under your skin and your skin’s elasticity drops. That, combined with dryness caused by hormonal changes, can cause sagging — especially around the neck, jawline, and cheeks — and fine lines and wrinkles. The lines and wrinkles you get with menopause are often crow’s feet and lines above the upper lip.
Cleansing is an important skin care step especially as you age. As you get older and your skin gets drier, your skin especially can benefit from extra moisture. The key is using a cleanser that’s right for drier skin. So, opt for a creamy formula that hydrates instead of foam or gel cleansers, which can strip moisture away.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate After menopause, your skin gets drier because oil glands aren’t as active. Try to give skin more moisture with a heavier cream. Skip long, hot showers and put on moisturizer while your skin is still damp. That helps boost hydration.
SPF 30+ everyday Even though skin cancer and wrinkling are caused by the amount of sun you got in your 20s, 30s, and 40s, you still need to protect your skin. Why? Skin may have less natural protection than when you were younger. So look for a broad-spectrum SPF of 30 or higher, and wear it every day.
Minimize wrinkles and age spots You get wrinkles from too much sun damage over the years, as well as the hormonal changes of menopause. As your hormone levels decrease with age, that can change your skin quality and make wrinkles worse. Wrinkles may be more obvious when your skin is dry, especially as you age. Use moisturizer on your face, jawline and neck every day, and look for skin care products designed to help fight fine lines and sagging and that lead to a brighter appearance overall.
Age spots on the face, hands, and chest can look more obvious around menopause. Help prevent them by using sunscreen every day. Already got spots? Fade them with exfoliating products that shed dead skin cells, which can be dull and flaky. Skin-lightening products can help fade spots. Toners can also help even out skin color.
Help your hands The backs of your hands can lose moisture, collagen, and fat during menopause. That can make veins more obvious and skin more wrinkled. Plus, your skin can look see-through and bony. To reduce the look of wrinkles, use moisturizer often on your hands. Protect them from the sun. And wear gloves when doing house or yard work.
Eat antioxidants Collagen gives your skin its youthful plumpness and keeps your skin tight. As your estrogen levels drop, so does the collagen in your skin. Eating foods with antioxidants may help make your skin stronger from the inside out. Look for brightly colored fruits and vegetables (they get their color from these healthy compounds) and try to eat every color of the spectrum.
Stock up on soy for its isoflavones, plant-based compounds that seem to act like estrogen in the body. Isoflavones may help improve age-related changes like thinning skin. Experts believe about 50 mg of isoflavones — that’s like like 3 ounces of tempeh or a half cup of miso — a day can help menopausal women in other ways, too.
Get your beauty sleep Getting enough sleep helps your skin look fresh. Sleep can help prevent dark circles under your eyes, and it also gives the rest of your body a chance to recharge. Lack of sleep can change your hormone levels and metabolism in many of the same ways that aging does. So shoot for a solid 7 to 9 hours of shut-eye every night.
Embrace your age, don’t disguise it. Read more about caring for your skin during menopause.
Step 5: Emotions & Relationships
Not feeling sexy? Managing hormonal issues, stress, normal aging and mood can help you feel sexy again.
• Pain, dryness and other hormonal issues: Before menopause, your libido peaked just before and after you ovulated. But when your periods stop, those revved-up days in your cycle vanish. Less estrogen also means less blood flow to the vagina and more dryness. So, when you do have sex, it hurts — and who craves more of it when it feels like that?
Start by removing pain. Try over-the-counter water- or silicone-based lubricants to reduce friction. Also, ask the doctor about vaginal moisturizers or low-dose vaginal estrogen in a cream, suppository, or ring. Hormone therapy (HT) doesn’t seem to kindle desire for most women. But it can ease hot flashes, night sweats, and other symptoms that leave you feeling not-so-sexy. Regular sex can help promote blood flow and reduce dryness, too. The drug ospemifene is used to treat severe vaginal pain due to menopause, but it can cause hot flashes. The medication flibanserin is approved for premenopausal women who have hypoactive sexual desire disorder (loss of libido) with no other things affecting desire. • Stress: At midlife, many women are deep into a marriage, a job, raising teens, and caregiving. Any of these can amp up stress, and the tension puts sex drive in park. Avoiding sex because you’re not feeling it can, in turn, make you get along less well. “Your relationship is key — if you don’t like your partner, you won’t feel sexy,” Faubion says.
Make plans for dates and lovemaking, even if you never had to do this before. Downplay the focus on sex and focus on just making time to be together, along with foreplay, massage, and oral. Consider getting short-term couples counseling when your sex life or relationship in general hits a rough patch.
• Normal aging: Desire slows with age for both women and men. Women are two to three times more likely to have this problem. In part, blame dropping testosterone. It’s the hormone active in every stage of sex response, starting with desire.
There’s no FDA-approved testosterone therapy, but some doctors prescribe creams off-label for some women. Kegels, exercise, and not smoking also help your sexual health. There’s good news about aging and sex, too: Many women say they feel an uptick in desire after menopause.
• Mood disorders and medication: Double whammy: Depressionand anxietycan add to sexual problems, and menopause itself can cause mood changes. Women get mood disorders more, and they peak around 40 to 59.It doesn’t help that key treatments for depression, SSRI and SNRI antidepressant drugs, can also mute desire and slow sexual response. Many women who aren’t depressed are prescribed antidepressants short-term to deal with hot flashes and other menopause symptoms. Though the pills fix these problems, desire can tank. See a doctor about treating depression with both pills and talk therapy. Some non-SSRI antidepressants, such as bupropion, cause fewer sexual side effects.
• Other factors: If graying hairs, extra pounds, and dry skin make you see yourself as “old,” you’re less likely to see yourself as “hot. “Women may blame menopause for lost desire when other health problems are the real stoppers. Common culprits: Bladder problems, an underactive thyroid, chronic pain, and medication side effects. Get a checkup to make sure there’s nothing else going on with symptoms that bother you. When you make time to take care of your body and relationships now, it pays off in many ways — including more fun in bed. Your brain is one of your best sex organs.
Step 6: Spirituality & Happiness
Nourish your spirituality and manifest happiness: find balance, know who you are, open your heart & mind and celebrate change. Try yoga, meditation, and other stress-reduction techniques to help you relax. Inspiring quotes about menopause:
“I see menopause as the start of the next fabulous phase of life as a woman. Now is a time to “tune in” to our bodies and embrace this new chapter. If anything, I feel more myself and love my body more now, at 58 years old, than ever before.” – Kim Cattrall, Actress
“So many women I’ve talked to see menopause as an ending. But I’ve discovered this is your moment to reinvent yourself after years of focusing on the needs of everyone else. It’s your opportunity to get clear about what matters to you and then to pursue that with all of your energy, time and talent.” – Oprah Winfrey
“Well, there’s an opportunity for fear around every corner, fear of the future, fear of what if. But the acceptance of wherever we are, whoever we are, is freedom.”- Gillian Anderson, Actress
“All of a sudden I don’t mind saying to people, ‘You know what? Get out of my life. You’re not right for me.’ It’s wonderful and liberating.” – Whoopi Goldberg, Actress
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