I Want a Hot Flash

I Want a Hot Flash

Middle-Age-Moments-Blog-Fitness-with-PJ

I Want a Hot Flash – and other stupid things I’ve said

I’ve never thought too much about getting older until I was. For instance, I wish at age 30 I said to myself “Okay PJ this could be as good as it gets for your metabolism, so live it up, girlfriend”.  Instead, there I was like an idiot counting calories.

I also wish I could go back to age 40 so I could really appreciate the ability to read the small print. Screw trying to fit into smaller clothes, I just want to be able to read the smaller print. Do you feel me with this?

“Youth is wasted on the young,” they say, and I concur.

PJ-Trying-to-read-small-print


I’m not that old..

I’m 50 (at the time of writing this) which means that I’m at that magical age where I remember what I used to be able to do because I can kinda still do most of it – I just need longer breaks and aids now.

I also catch myself playing the “Pros vs Cons” scenario in my head for a lot of stuff that I would just go and do in my 20’s and 30’s.

Case in point the other night when I was lying on the couch watching a movie and I really wanted popcorn,  but I also really didn’t feel like getting up.

Young PJ would have just got up and made popcorn. 50-year old PJ had to determine if the reward was worth all the effort.

So I weighed the pros (popcorn), versus the cons (moving my dog, getting up, walking into the kitchen, making the popcorn, lying down again, only to get back up again because I forgot to get a beverage – and you need a beverage when you are eating popcorn – calling my dog, coaxing him back on the couch with me, only to kick him off again because now I have to pee).

In that whole scenario, the winner is obvious – stay on the couch and get LH to make the popcorn embarassed

 

I Would Love a Hot Flash…

Back in my 20’s, 30’s and early 40’s I was a full-time personal trainer. This was my career, not a side gig. There were no online programs, or YouTube channels, or studios. It was me and a large clientele base that was mainly women in their 40’s and 50’s.

And most of these women had one thing in common… they were menopausal.

We’d be squatting away and my clients would talk about everything (when they had the breath to – that is). Hot flashes, sleepless nights, vaginal dryness, mood swings – nothing was left out and I started to learn all about menopause at the young innocent age of 25.

But, it never phased me because I believed (as all stupid 25-year-old’s do), that this would not happen to me.

In fact, I even tempted fate on a regular basis and would tell these women that I couldn’t wait for a hot flash to happen.

You see I was tired of being so bloody cold all of the time.

I also had had enough of LH jokingly (but not really) rubbing his hands together quickly to get them warm every time he went to hold mine. Or, him looking at me very seriously and telling me that if he ever had a heart attack I was to just put my cold hands on his chest and that should shock him back to life.

Hardy, har har LH.

 

Throat Punches…

So a hot flash sounded amazing to me.

The women I trained were very kind to me whenever I made these declarations. Whereas the PJ-now would probably throat punch the PJ-then, these amazing women just raised their eyebrows politely at me.

Do I enjoy hot flashes now you wonder?

Well, if you are wondering this then you are either A) not menopausal, or B) a dude who is on the wrong blog (and bravo if you are a dude and you have reached this far. I would have thought I’d lost you at vaginal dryness.).

Hot flashes are not similar to that lovely warm heat that the stones on a fireplace give off on a cold evening. Or, that perfect temperature you get your nightly bath set at.

No, they are an inner inferno of demon hell that happens at weird and wonderful times.

Like, for instance, standing in the line at the bank with your winter coat zipped up and your mandatory mask pushing that hot breath of yours back into your already-on-fire body. A mask that you can’t whip off because it’s, well against the law right now.

Hot flashes seem to find the most inconvenient time possible, similar to that of a telephone call spammer minus the inability to hang up on a hot flash.

But… no one has died from a hot flash, that’s recorded anyways (there may have been some homicidal thoughts during though), and women have been hot flashing since the dawn of time.

So I find comfort in knowing that I am not alone, and if my sisterhood before me endured this BS then I can too.

 

PJ ox

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Are You Going Into Early Menopause?

Are You Going Into Early Menopause?

Are You Going Into Early Menopause?

We all know menopause is going to hit us.

But, when exactly will it hit us?

To fully understand when menopause may hit us we first need to understand the three stages of menopause.

The Three Stages of Menopause

Perimenopause or “menopause transition.” Perimenopause can begin 8 to 10 years before menopause, when the ovaries gradually produce less estrogen. It usually starts in a woman’s 40s, but can start in the 30s as well. Perimenopause lasts up until menopause, the point when the ovaries stop releasing eggs. In the last 1-2 years of perimenopause, the drop in estrogen accelerates. At this stage, many women can experience menopause symptoms. Women are still having menstrual cycles during this time, and can still get pregnant.

Menopause. Menopause is the point when a woman no longer has menstrual periods. At this stage, the ovaries have stopped releasing eggs and producing most of their estrogen. Menopause is diagnosed when a woman has gone without a period for 12 consecutive months.

Postmenopause. These are the years after menopause. During this stage, menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes, can ease for most women. But, as a result of a lower level of estrogen, postmenopausal women are at increased risk for a number of health conditions, such as osteoporosis and heart disease.

Are You Going Into Early Menopause

Early menopause can be triggered by a number of factors:

  • Poor nutrition
  • Poverty (experts hypothesize that women in poverty have poorer eating habits)
  • Smoking (this can increase your risk of early menopause by 30%!)
  • Alcohol, although it is noted that yes alcohol may contribute to entering the phases of menopause at an earlier age, it is not necessarily deemed as “early menopause” – not sure what the difference is myself.
  • Medical treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation
  • Chromosomal abnormalities
  • Women who have had their ovaries surgically removed
  • Premature ovarian failure (POF)
  • An overload of heavy metals like lead, mercury and cadmium can also be a cause

When premature menopause is suspected, you can ask your doctor to order blood tests that look at the levels of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and estradiol.  This work-up should also include the thyroid and the adrenal glands because they can be affected too.

Relief for the Symptoms of Early Menopause

According to WomentoWomen.com:

“Our estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone levels are constantly shifting throughout our life, and that’s normal. But as we age, the fluctuations and ratios between these hormones can become more extreme. When the body cannot regulate these shifts in hormone levels, women can experience common symptoms of menopause, including night sweats, hot flashes, food cravings, and fatigue.”

We can balance these symptoms naturally with:

  • A healthy, whole food diet
  • Herbal remedies such as black cohosh, passionflower, chasteberry, wild yam and ashwagandha have been shown to help support our hormone production
  • Lifestyle changes such as removing environmental toxins, getting enough sleep
  • Reducing chronic stress
  • Getting more exercise

Health Concerns for Early Menopause

Our hormones (estrogen, progesterone and testosterone), are needed for the years leading up to menopause.

They offer protection against cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis.

If you have been found to be in early menopause chat with your doctor, or a naturopath who specializes in women’s health and get yourself on a health plan to protect your heart and your bone health.

Some things to look at are:

  • Vitamin D, to support your bones
  • Strength training, to help build new bone and strengthen the heart
  • Maintaining a healthy weight. Studies have shown that women who go through menopause before the age of 46 are twice as likely to suffer from coronary artery disease or have a stroke
  • Don’t smoke – or quit
  • Take a high-quality omega 3, daily
  • HRT (hormone replacement therapy)

Local Naturopaths Who Specialize in Women’s Health

Dr. Karen McGee

Dr. Heli McPhie

Dr. Nishi Dhawan

 

TIRED OF TRYING TO FIGURE WHAT WORKOUTS YOU
SHOULD BE DOING

GRAB MY 21 DAY FITNESS PROGRAM AND LET ME DO THE PROGRAMMING FOR YA.

 

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HERE WE COME.

 

PJ ox

Mastering Menopause

Mastering Menopause

Mastering Menopause

We cannot pretend menopause is not going to happen. We cannot wish it away, or hope that it won’t happen to us.

We also cannot think that it won’t affect us. It will, and it will affect those around us too.

So, instead of putting out the fires and the hot flashes as they happen, let’s start learning what changes to our lifestyle and mindset we need to make to give us the greatest impact.

Yes? YES!

What’s the difference, perimenopause and menopause?

Perimenopause happens 8 to 10 years before menopause, when the ovaries gradually produce less estrogen. It usually starts in a woman’s 40s, but it can start in her 30s as well.

Perimenopause lasts up until menopause, which is the point when the ovaries stop releasing eggs (ie. we stop having periods).

To be fully out of perimenopause and menopause (medically speaking), we need to be without a menstrual cycle for one full year.

How will I know when I am postmenopausal?

A woman is considered to be postmenopausal when she has not had her period for an entire year.

Measuring through a blood test called the follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) level is another way to determine if you are postmenopausal.

FSH is a hormone produced by the pituitary gland (located at the base of the brain). However, the routine use of the FSH test is not needed to help the vast majority of women. Sometimes, the levels can be misleading since the levels go up and down during the transition into menopause.

What are the heck are the symptoms?

  • Hot flashes
  • Night sweats and/or cold flashes
  • Vaginal dryness; discomfort during sex
  • Urinary urgency (the need to pee more often)
  • Difficulty sleeping and/or staying asleep
  • Emotional changes (irritability, anger, mood swings, depression)
  • Dry skin, eyes or mouth
  • Brain fog

Women who are perimenopausal also have this barrel of fun to look forward to:

  • Racing heart rates
  • Headaches
  • Joint and muscle aches and pain
  • Changes to sex drive
  • Weight gain
  • Hair loss or thinning
  • Acne

Can my lifestyle trigger the symptoms of peri and menopause?

A number of the symptoms of menopause can be set off and intensified by lifestyle choices. For instance, the following have been known to trigger hot flashes:

  • Stress
  • Caffeine (this sucks)
  • Alcohol (this really sucks)
  • Spicy foods
  • Hot foods
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Sugar
  • Refined carbohydrates
  • Fatty cuts of meat

What else can go wrong, after 40?

On top of all of our menopause and perimenopause symptoms, we also have age-related changes happening to the body.

Why we are getting fat

The big reason why we gain weight after the age of 40 is because we are losing a percentage of our lean muscle mass, each and every year.

Muscle tissue burns more calories than any other tissue in the body, both at rest and at work. So, when our lean muscle mass decreases our metabolism takes a nosedive.

Click here to learn how to become a better fat-burning machine.

After the age of 30, women can expect to lose as much as 3% to 5% of their lean muscle mass per decade. Once we reach 75 years this loss accelerates (however for some women this can happen as early as 65 years).

How do you offset this? Not by walking and not by performing cardio. The only way to build your lean muscle mass is with a properly devised strength training program.

Click here to view all of my YouTube Workouts.

Our organs, as we age

As our cells age they don’t function as well as they used to and eventually old cells must die as a normal part of the bodies functioning.

While this is a normal process of age, it does become a concern when the number of old cells in the ovaries, liver, and kidneys decrease.

When these cells become too low, an organ cannot function normally and this is why most organs function less than stellar as people age.

Great news, though, not all organs lose a large number of cells. The brain is one good example. Science has proven that women who are healthy do not lose as many brain cells as unhealthy women do.

It's hard to be a woman funny quote

Our bones, as we age

Bone mass and bone density decrease as we age and will begin to decline by approximately 1% (or so) with each passing year from 30 years old until menopause is reached – at which point we will then see a 2-3% loss each year.

Click here to do a bone-building beginner’s strength workout.

Our connective tissue, as we age

Our tendons (that great stuff that keeps our muscles connected to our bone) are also being affected.

As we age we lose some of the water in our tendons and this, in turn, makes our tissue stiffer and less able to handle stress and more susceptible to injury.

Click here to do a 15-minute morning wake up stretch routine.

Our speed and reaction time, as we age

The number of our muscle fibers are also decrease as we age. This means that our muscles can’t contract as easily as they used to, making us slower in general as well as slowing down our reaction time.

Our heart, as we age

Our heart muscle also slows down as we age. It becomes less able to propel large quantities of blood quickly which means that we are going to tire more easily and take longer to recover as we get older.

Click here to do a heart-pumping, low impact cardio workout.

Our insides get fatter

Body fat increases as we age and the distribution of body fat shifts from subcutaneous (under the skin, evenly over the body) to visceral (around the internal organs).

Visceral fat is deep within the body surrounding our internal organs and is also known to increase our chances of developing: heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, sleep apnea, various forms of cancer and other degenerative diseases.

The best part of being over 40 is we did most of our stupid stuff before the internet. - Mastering Menopause blog

Estrogen, how we miss thee

Most of the symptoms related to perismenopause and menopause are happening because we are producing less estrogen.

This production will continue to decrease until the ovaries eventually stop making it.

WTF is going on with my belly fat?

When estrogen declines cortisol and insulin production increase.

And guess what? Both of these hormones contribute to fat gain, especially around the midsection, and in particular as that dangerous visceral fat we learned about just above.

In addition, perimenopausal women may see more accumulation of fat around the belly – even if they are eating better and exercising correctly.

You see our bodies are pretty amazing machines and during times of hormone imbalances our body favours belly fat because its programmed to preserve fertility as long as possible. Thanks body.

Belly fat also produces estrogen! So, it’s of no surprise that when estrogen production from the ovaries slows, the body compensates by adding a spare tire around our mid-section.

 Click here to be rid of the belly fat.

A good night’s sleep. What’s that?

Sleep patterns will also change as we age.

This can either cause difficulty falling asleep, constant waking or full on insomnia – all of which will lead to lower energy levels and fatigue.

Chronic sleep deprivation is also linked to elevated cortisol levels and cortisol is that visceral belly fat loving hormone, in addition it is responsible to increasing our risk for a whole host of diseases, including cancer.

Click here to sleep better.

How to master menopause

Mastering perimenopause and menopause starts with your lifestyle.

For some it might mean dietary changes, for others it might mean adding strength training to their weekly workouts.

While for other women it could be improving their sleep, or adding stress relieving activities to their day.

However, for a lot of women it will mean making more than one change to their lifestyle. This can pose a problem, though.

Adding too many goals, and too many lifestyle changes, all at once is a recipe for disaster.

My suggestion for success

Where ever you are with your symptoms, and whatever your reasons WHY are (because remember, you HAVE to want to want these lifestyle changes), I want you to start with only one change first.

The reasons are both physiological and psychological.

On a physiological standpoint our brains are actually only programmed to operate on 10% willpower, the other 90% runs on muscle memory, or habits.

We need to make these changes to our lifestyle become habits so that the 10% is not battling it out with the 90%.

Psychologically speaking, small changes and manageable goals help us from not freaking out and throwing our arms up in the air two weeks in.

BUT, this does not mean I do not want you to challenge yourself, or that these changes will be easy.
 

Start with one, the rest will follow

Start by picking one symptom that is bothering you the most and then begin making the necessary changes to your lifestyle to help you master that one symptom.

 

TIRED OF TRYING TO FIGURE WHAT WORKOUTS YOU
SHOULD BE DOING

GRAB MY 21 DAY FITNESS PROGRAM AND LET ME DO THE PROGRAMMING FOR YA.

 

FIT & FIERCE...
HERE WE COME.

 

PJ ox

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