Friday, June 7, 2013

The Woman, The Runner, The Athlete ............. AND Menopause

Gosh I am not even sure where to start with this topic, but I do know one thing and that is it probably won’t be very interesting to any men readers out there…

You’ve been warned.
I have been wanting to write about the issues that tend to start affecting women in their early to mid-40’s for quite some time, but lately its been on my mind a bit more because of what I am seeing with so many that I know either directly or indirectly.
That something is that it seems that even in the 30’s, women just aren’t either taking care of themselves as they should be, or they are just blind to the fact (as I was) as to what lies in wait for them with each passing year.

Now that is not to say it affects all women because there are a couple women I know that hit the genetic lottery and haven’t seen the side effects of diminishing hormones and increasing years.

While I certainly struggled my whole life with weight issues, body dysmorphia, low self-esteem and what-not, still when I put my mind to it I was able to lose and lose quickly. Then after years and years of while still maintaining a semi-active lifestyle, but not a very healthy one (drinking, lack of sleep, etc), it started catching up with me.

Right after 40 is when I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, and after that well even with medication, my genetics and Mother Nature was starting to set up house in my body.

In 2010 at the age of 47 though I got in the best all around shape of my life. While I wasn’t the skinniest, I was certainly the healthiest, body, mind AND soul. People discount that when describing their level of fitness.

One should never do that. If your body is right, but your mind is not, what’s the point? Anyway..

I kinda went back to ‘normal’ after Chicago and then Houston (2011). Then I started CrossFit and started to see changes again.

But the one thing I keep thinking back to in 2010 is that at 47 I was still able to whip my body into shape with a LOT of hard work both in the kitchen, the roads AND at the gym.  So its been 3 years...surely I can do this again, but yeah, its going to be harder than it was then perhaps!!

Anyway most of you readers know all of this.
What I am here to tell you is that with the past 1.5 years of injury and life, I clearly found myself out of shape a bit, and let me tell you that’s not the half of it.
And this next part will hit some women as early as 40, or maybe longer like me…but its going to happen and its going to suck.

With each time you either fall off the health wagon weight wise, or you ignore the fact altogether thinking its not going to make a difference you are wrong.
I have been in peri-menopause for quite some time now, couple years if I had to guess, but its getting now to the point where I am approaching full on menopause. I cannot stress enough that if you don’t want the ‘middle age’ spread (and by spread I mean, the F word), then you better do something about it now.

Get yourself on a healthy diet, a basic exercise routine and shed some weight and make a lifestyle change you can live with. HOWEVER, one you can live with needs to be EFFECTIVE. A mile a day a few times a week is not doing one damn bit of good. Sorry but its not.

And at the end of the day, if I have said it once, I’ve said it a million times, but you CANNOT exercise away a bad way of eating.
Also…excessive cardio is not going to cut it. It might have at one time but the older you get the less effective it becomes.

Now the ONLY time I see any sort of real results in my mid-section and overall fat content is when I incorporate strength training, whether it be with actual weights, CrossFit or just your body weight, it seemingly becomes the one thing that can help counteract the effects of peri and actual menopause.

All of this will also help with other side effects of this natural occurance for women: insomnia, hot flashes, etc. While I still have trouble staying asleep, that has more to do with my thyroid meds than anything but when I don’t eat well, I can tell a difference, and thankfully all the other symptoms I have been able to fend off and I credit that to my healthy choices that I make.

I want to write more about the individual topics surrounding pre/peri and full on menopause because I have learned A LOT and honestly when I went to do research on some of this, well there wasn’t a lot of information out there by real women; mostly just doctors, or research facilities, or some kind of jacked up studies…it all just seemed whackacrazy to me. I was like where can I read about what really I should be feeling; what can I expect…from a normal everyday next door type of woman who kinda/sorta has the same lifestyle I either had, or currently have..everything else was just generic: get older, hormones decrease, belly fat increases, insomnia, hot flashes. Statistics and general observation.

I don’t know maybe I am the only one that was looking for answers…mostly its just because I see so many maintaining a certain lifestyle and because I care, I wish they would make better choices now, or risk the consequences of bad health later on; not just possible weight gain, but a loss in their quality of life! That is the most important thing I guess!!

Thankfully I got right in my early 40’s and have reaped the benefits from that: increased exercise, better food into my body, no alcohol (or on EXTREMELY RARE occasions), no drugs, more sleep, less stress, all have delivered to me what I honestly can say is as of right now, my best life.

I don’t know, maybe none of you out there reading my blog care one way or another but I have to think if I was looking for information on this stuff, surely someone else is.

So again keep in mind if you ARE reading this and read the next few installments, that every woman is different, every body is different so while my symptoms and what works and doesn’t work for me might not be the same for you, but still, I’m hoping what I have to say helps SOMEONE out there!!!

Future Installments:

Weight Gain


Hot Flashes

Mood Swings

Physical Limitations/Exercise





Claire said...

I will be reading! Thanks for posting this. I'm 32, but want to make sure I know what's ahead of me and get advice from women who've been there!

AuntRosa said...

Yeh! Thank you for sharing your knowledge. I am 43 and believe I have entered the stages of peri-menopause. Hot flashes and no cycle since early March. I also am hypothroid and take Synthroid. I run my ass off and have recently started cross training more, weights and cycle and just trying to shake things up. I have not put on weight but have noticed mood swings and just a foggy head sometimes. I look forward to reading your posts. :)

Karen Seal said...

I definitely will be reading - thanks for sharing!!