By Amy Lewis
Photography by ChiChi Ubiña
“My favorite age is right now,” Kirsten Dunst
Let me preface… I live by a philosophy, that I can be strong and sexy at any age, and whatever it takes, I am determined to make that happen. Certainly, we cannot freeze time but we can continue to change our lifestyle choices to stay healthy and happy.
It was a few weeks ago at a birthday lunch that conversation led to the word most women dread and I, for one, do not want to talk about, perimenopause. The female body is a roller coaster. Why is it that our hormonal journey starting at a young age to our late 40’s early 50’s has to be so uncomfortable and embarrassing to talk about? It happens to all of us. I’m not a freak of nature. I know my inevitable. If I was abnormal, I wouldn’t of been able to have produced three beautiful children – a blessing and a miracle yet the rest of it is considered a curse. I decided this subject needs to researched and voiced briefly on what we can do naturally to 1.) get through it with dignity and sanity avoiding meds and 2.) combat the weight gain through diet and exercise.
Let’s talk about diet. It’s amazing that what you eat can be so important to any ailment you suffer. It’s no surprise that there should be a major cut back of high fat foods and sugar. Studies have proven that sugar not only promotes weight gain (slower metabolism) but may lead to depression and also accelerate the aging process. It damages proteins such as elastin and collagen leading skin to age prematurely. Hormones change during perimenopause, which plays a very big role in mood swings. Sugar is a quick high then a very long low. Why add to even more down days than necessary? What’s best is a diet rich in calcium and iron i.e. meat, poultry, eggs (the whole egg, yolk too), dark leafy greens, etc. It’s also very important to flush the body with fiber, fruits, vegetables and plenty of water. I personally hate drinking large amounts of water but it does work, and, you will notice that your stomach falls flatter the more you drink. Add lemon – it helps. Lastly, focus on eating more foods/plants that have higher levels of estrogen/isoflavones. These include organic tofu, soy milk, avocados, asparagus, brussels sprouts and oddly enough beer. Its flavor comes from the flowers found in hops. It’s actually the “female” part of the plant – a form of estrogen.
The second factor almost goes without saying, but exercise is incredibly important to combat aging. Like I have said many times before, it’s important to create a workout schedule (and that’s whatever you enjoy) and stick to it. Weight gain can be inevitable as we hit perimenopause – especially in the abdomen as our estrogen levels decrease and we start to gain weight like men do, in the stomach. Remember, the only way to increase your metabolism is through exercise, and I shouldn’t have to repeat it, but weight bearing activities build strong bones. Our risk for osteoporosis is only higher as we age. Lastly, I want to stress just how important it is to sweat. Sweat cleanses the body, builds collagen and gives a more youthful appearance. Exercise and sweat will build a high threshold for hot flashes. Training can improve the thermoregulatory control system. This can help a woman’s temperature threshold and sensitivity to sweating and lower the core body temperature.
One final thought… the future of CBD products is looking very positive and exciting in aiding with many health issues. One is menopause! This topic is very new and very broad but it’s possible that CBD oil (Cannabidiol) can help with mood swings and sleep disturbances. I can attest, I finally tried Cannabinoid Water and slept a full eight hours. I also gave my older and incontinent dog a CBD treat as well, and he slept through the whole night. The first time in nine months. It’s natural and non-addictive. I say worth a try, right?
So there you have it, three very natural and healthy ways to improve the ever so glorious aging process of women. However, whatever age you are, it’s good to start a regimen before even entering these prime years. I want to be positive about it all and prove our bodies can transform and adjust to any obstacle that comes its way. It’s never too late!