Managing Menopause

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As women experience the hormonal changes of peri-menopause and menopause, they may find themselves dealing with fatigue, brain fog, bloating, tender breasts, weight gain around the middle and hips, headaches, insomnia, and mood swings.  That’s a long list.

Lowering levels of progesterone, can cause these symptoms as early as a woman’s 30’s.  

Then as estrogen levels drop down the road, our symptoms can become more severe with hot flashes, night sweats and even depression as lower estrogen drags serotonin levels down as well.

The hormonal rollercoaster gets into full swing with estrogen dominance as stress, high blood sugar, extra body fat, and xenoestrogens (chemicals that mimic estrogens in the body) from plastics, pesticides and even cosmetics, all drive estrogen levels up with too little progesterone to keep it in check.

I work with women in the following five major areas to help them manage the physical, emotional and mental challenges of peri-menopause and menopause.

Nutrition 

Stress Reduction

Adequate Sleep 

Appropriate Exercise 

Emotional Clearing

Replacing processed, refined packaged foods with real, organic, colorful whole foods is a first step to a gentle detox while providing the body with the nutrients needed to build, repair and detoxify.  

A good rule of thumb is to include (3-4 ounces) of a clean protein, along with a healthy fat and a real carbohydrate at each meal.

Real carbohydrates can be planted and harvested and should be eaten in their whole (not processed) form. There are no pasta, bread or doughnut trees that I know of.

Clean protein comes from livestock and poultry that are allowed to range free, with no antibiotics or growth hormone.  Or fish that are wild caught, not farmed.

Examples of healthy fats are, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, flax oil, organic nuts and seeds, avocados, flax seeds, and of course the essential fatty acids of omega 3 in fish oil and omega 6 in grass fed meats and in borage and primrose oils.

Damaged fats would be vegetable oils and canola oil.  These oils become trans fats during their high heat processing in preparation for the marketplace.  Trans fats damage arteries, and the gut, while causing inflammation.  Please steer clear.

These are very basic guidelines.  A personalized eating plan is the best way to provide the proper nutrition, and metabolic healing for YOUR specific system.  

Stress reduction is paramount in balancing hormones.  When cortisol (the stress hormone produced by the adrenal glands) is high, your estrogen and progesterone as well as thyroid hormones are suppressed.  

While high cortisol from stress drives up blood sugar, it also drives down serotonin (the happy neurotransmitter), which causes you to crave sweets.  

As the adrenal glands also produce 40% of the estrogen and progesterone in your system (from the precursors they provide) before menopause, and as much as 90% after menopause, it is a good idea to manage your stress so they are not exhausted by the time peri-menopause and menopause rolls around.

De-stressing can be as easy as closing your eyes, visualizing your “happy place” and taking long deep breaths.  Grounding is also a powerful way to calm the nervous system.  Grounding, or earthing is simply standing on the earth (grass or sand, not concrete) bare footed and connecting to the energy of the earth.  

Adequate sleep, being between 7 to 9 hours a night, also helps regulate hormones and allows for regeneration of the brain and body.

  • Beauty sleep suggestions include:
  • Get to bed by 10 pm.
  • Unplug from electronics 30 min before bed.
  • Make your room as dark as a cave, no ambient light.
  • Keep your room cool.
  • Enjoy a calming ritual before bed—soak in a tub, listen to relaxing music, read something spiritual or enjoyable, (please not the news).
  • Try meditation, visualization, gratitude or simply deep breathing.

Over-exercising can be a detriment to your very goal of health and fitness.  Over-exercise stresses and breaks down your system, aging you in fast forward.  

Moderate exercise in a form that you enjoy, will do you more good than pushing yourself to exhaustion.  If you find you have over done it, be sure to allow for more rest for a full recovery.  It is in the recovery that we get stronger, not in the work.

As women, we process information through our limbic system, the emotional brain.  It’s no wonder we attach emotions to “everything”.  

Emotions should be energy in motion.  When that energy gets stuck or blocked, it can cause physical, emotional or mental pain that keeps us stuck and unable to achieve our goals.

I use muscle testing with clients to bypass the conscious mind and free up the energy flow to clear stuck emotions and beliefs.  This allows for a more positive approach to challenges and unburdens the soul.

Along with incorporating the above Transformational Life Choices (TLC), finding an integrative medicine doctor who can help you with bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, BHRT, may be just what you need to manage your menopause with grace and ease.

As women of wisdom and experience, menopause should be a time of liberation and re-birth.  

The area of our body where we once created life is the center of all our creativity.  

If we tap into that area of creativity through art, dance, music, writing, whatever brings us joy and passion, we are bringing life once again to that most sacred center of female essence.

For guidance and support in managing menopause, contact me for a free 15 minute consultation at nina.lynn@me.com, or call me at 301-332-5732.

 

Is Your Exercise Routine Feeding Your Cellulite?

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Cellulite is about more than just fat.  The condition of your skin determines whether the fat on your thighs appears smooth or lumpy.  

The reason 80% of women experience cellulite compared to only 5% of men is because cellulite is related to female hormones.  

Estrogen affects the skin’s structure on the thighs, hips and buttocks, allowing it to be more pliable or loose to accommodate extra fat storage for child bearing.  It’s the loose connective tissue and skin over the fat that creates the puckered look. 

So what does that have to do with your exercise routine? 

When you do intense aerobic exercise, like a spin class, you are putting your body under tremendous stress and your adrenal glands frantically pour out cortisol.  If you take that spin class 3 days a week, before long you’ll be swimming in cortisol.

Cortisol encourages fat storage and also interferes with the functioning of progesterone, which leads to estrogen dominance.  Carrying extra fat around the hips, thighs and buttocks is a sign of estrogen dominance, and that extra estrogen is contributing to your cellulite. 

If you want to reduce cellulite you’ll need to reduce stress from ALL areas of your life.  Stress, worry, depression anxiety all drive up your cortisol, and that elevated cortisol disrupts the functioning of all your hormones.  

That means your sex hormones, thyroid, insulin, and of course stress hormones are not balanced, so YOU are not balanced.  

*  Reducing your amount of aerobic workout and adding more resistance weight training to your gym time will result in less cortisol in your system and more fat burning shapely muscle.  

*  Stress reduction and adequate sleep will help reduce the amount of cortisol in your system and result in better hormonal balance.

*  Increasing your consumption of clean filtered water with a pinch of Celtic sea salt will help keep you hydrated, and support your adrenal glands that work so hard at producing cortisol.

*  Enjoying fresh whole organic fruits and vegetables and organic meats will help keep your toxic load down, while providing your body with the nutrients it needs. 

*  Juicing fresh organic veggies is a great way to detox, which will reflect in your skin. 

Liposuction, unfortunately, has limited benefit for cellulite because it does not change skin structure, or affect the influence of estrogen.  

I have known several women who have been disappointed with liposuction and still struggled with cellulite.  

As with all areas of your health, reducing cellulite is an inside job.  Let me help you sleep, eat and exercise your cellulite away.

Contact me for a free 15 minute consultation at nina.lynn@me.com, or call me at 301-332-5732.

 

Ladies, Put Some Muscle Into Your Workouts For Better Results

In all the years I owned health clubs, I would beg women to get off the cardio. machines and go to the weight rack.  I could see their bodies remain the same year after year as they huffed and puffed and sweated off as many calories as they could.  

Meanwhile, the women lifting weights and using the weight machines proudly displayed athletic, strong, slender bodies.  “Oh no, I don’t want to get all big and bulky,” they would tell me.  I'd ask them to point out a big bulky woman lifting weights, but they couldn’t do it.  

Still, they insisted that they would get “big” muscles.  “See all the men in here trying to get “big” muscles, and lifting horrendous weight to that end"? I asked them.  “Even their testosterone head start is not enough for them to get bulky without a tremendous effort.  Do you really think it is going to happen to you by accident with your considerably lower levels of testosterone, and not pushing yourself to exhaustion?"

What does happens to your body when you lift challenging amounts of weight, (If you can do 10-12 repetitions, go up in weight), is that your muscles become strong and shapely, your tendons and ligaments strengthen to keep up with the work load and your bone mass density increases. Moreover, as your muscles become denser and firmer, you will burn more calories in your sleep.

Weight resistance strengthens your body and slows the aging process, and, as your heart gets pumpin’ pretty good during the process, you also benefit from cardiovascular conditioning.

Consistent intense aerobic exercise, like spin classes, breaks your body down and accelerates the aging process.  I know, bummer.  

This is particularly so after the age of 35, when your levels of growth hormone decline as does your ability to recover from intense exercise.

Moderate cardiovascular exercise paired with weight resistance will also increase the number of mitochondria in your cells.  These are the organelles in cells that convert food into energy to power your exercise as well as daily activities.  The more mitochondria, the more energy and the more fat burning.  A win-win.

For best results, and to avoid over-exercising and further breaking down, exercise at an intensity appropriate for your level of stress, (highly stressed-push less).   

For a personalized exercise program, and guidance and support in your fitness goals, contact me for a free 15 minute consultation at nina.lynn@me.com, or call me at 301-332-5732.