Chaos to Calm

Why everything you've heard about perimenopause is wrong

February 18, 2024 Sarah McLachlan Episode 35
Why everything you've heard about perimenopause is wrong
Chaos to Calm
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Chaos to Calm
Why everything you've heard about perimenopause is wrong
Feb 18, 2024 Episode 35
Sarah McLachlan

This episode we dive deep into the heart of perimenopause myths and come out swinging with the truth! From chaos to calm: Why everything you've heard about perimenopause is wrong, is your golden ticket to debunking the nonsense and stepping confidently into your 40s and beyond.

You'll discover: 

  • The real scoop on exhaustion.
  • The truth about weight gain in perimenopause.
  • Does perimenopause mean you’re old?
  • Is hormone replacement you’re only option.  
  • It's never too late: why your 40s and beyond are the perfect time for health transformation.

Resources mentioned in this episode: 

Send us a question for the FAQs segment or your feedback, we’d love to hear from you.

Find out more about Sarah, her services and the Freebies mentioned in this episode at https://www.ThePerimenopauseNaturopath.com.au

  • COMING SOON: Discover how to use food as your most powerful medicine, smoothing hormonal fluctuations and easing perimenopause symptoms naturally. (Yes, you have more options than hormone therapy!) Say goodbye to feeling out of control and hello to feeling more like your old self every day, with PerimenoPOWER (because who wants to pause anyway?!)
  • The Perimenopause Decoder is the ultimate guide to understanding if perimenopause hormone fluctuations are behind your changing mood, metabolism and energy after 40, what phase of perimenopause you're in and how much longer you may be on this roller coaster for.
  • Been told your blood test results are "normal" or "fine" while you feel far from your best? Discover the power of optimal blood test analysis with The Blood Test Decoder: Optimal Ranges for Women Over 40.
  • For more, follow on Instagram at @theperimenopausenaturopath.
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

This episode we dive deep into the heart of perimenopause myths and come out swinging with the truth! From chaos to calm: Why everything you've heard about perimenopause is wrong, is your golden ticket to debunking the nonsense and stepping confidently into your 40s and beyond.

You'll discover: 

  • The real scoop on exhaustion.
  • The truth about weight gain in perimenopause.
  • Does perimenopause mean you’re old?
  • Is hormone replacement you’re only option.  
  • It's never too late: why your 40s and beyond are the perfect time for health transformation.

Resources mentioned in this episode: 

Send us a question for the FAQs segment or your feedback, we’d love to hear from you.

Find out more about Sarah, her services and the Freebies mentioned in this episode at https://www.ThePerimenopauseNaturopath.com.au

  • COMING SOON: Discover how to use food as your most powerful medicine, smoothing hormonal fluctuations and easing perimenopause symptoms naturally. (Yes, you have more options than hormone therapy!) Say goodbye to feeling out of control and hello to feeling more like your old self every day, with PerimenoPOWER (because who wants to pause anyway?!)
  • The Perimenopause Decoder is the ultimate guide to understanding if perimenopause hormone fluctuations are behind your changing mood, metabolism and energy after 40, what phase of perimenopause you're in and how much longer you may be on this roller coaster for.
  • Been told your blood test results are "normal" or "fine" while you feel far from your best? Discover the power of optimal blood test analysis with The Blood Test Decoder: Optimal Ranges for Women Over 40.
  • For more, follow on Instagram at @theperimenopausenaturopath.
Sarah McLachlan:

Hey there, I'm Sarah McLachlan. Thanks for joining me on the Chaos to Calm podcast, a podcast designed for women over 40 who think that changing hormones might be messing with their mood, metabolism, and energy and want to change that in a healthy, sustainable, and permanent way. Each episode will explore topics related to health and wellness for women in their 40s, like what the heck is happening to your hormones, what to do about it with nutrition, lifestyle, and stress management, and inspiring conversations with guests sharing their insights and tips on how to live your best life in your 40s and beyond. So, if you feel like you're in the midst of a hormonal storm and don't want perimenopause to be horrific, then join me on Chaos to Calm as I share with you how to make it to menopause without it wrecking your relationships and life. Hey there, it's me, Sarah, the perimenopause naturopath. Hopefully, I'm your go-to guide for navigating the waves of perimenopause. I am back with you again for another episode of Chaos to Calm, episode number 35.

Sarah McLachlan:

In fact, today, we are going to go into a topic that has me standing tall on my soapbox with my very finest ranty pants on. Oh dear, I hear so many BS things about life after 40 and perimenopause and menopause. So today, we're going to dive into those of them and do some myth-busting because I bet you've heard someone say to you, "h, turning 40, it's the beginning of the end. You know, you're getting old. There's not much you can do to change how you're feeling now, and anyway, you're a busy mum. So how are you going to change it? Anyway, you just have to put out with it. It'll get better when your kids are older, or you're retired. There's a whole lot of BS stuff going around, so strap yourselves in, get a nice cup of something hot that you enjoy, and let's go about debunking some of the biggest myths about life after 40.

Sarah McLachlan:

So I wanted to talk about Michelle, let's call her Michelle, and think of Michelle as a bit of all the clients I've had before. And maybe Michelle might feel really familiar to you. Michelle's in her 40s, and since she turned 40, she's feeling out of sync with her body. Not quite the same. She's feeling flatter, tighter. Her clothes are starting to get tight. Some of my Michelle clients, some of my clients, let's call them Michelle, have already gone up a size, and now that size is getting a bit tight and uncomfortable. All the things that they usually do, you know, knuckle down on what they're eating and avoiding sweet stuff or alcohol or desserts and things like that.

Sarah McLachlan:

It's not working anymore. And you know, maybe they've been to their doctor, or they talk to someone else and say they're tired, but they get told everything's fine or well, you know you're a busy mum, you work, and you know paid work and unpaid work, all that mental labor, running kids around, it's a lot. Of course, you're tired. You just kind of have to put up with it until it passes, till your kids move out of home. I always feel really sad when people accept that, and so, conversely, I always feel really excited when I talk with someone, and they're like, yeah, I got told this, that you know I'm fine or I'm normal or there's nothing to see in my blood and everything's okay. But it just doesn't feel like that, and I don't want to feel like this anymore.

Sarah McLachlan:

I get really excited. I got really excited talking with a new client today because she has been through the wringer. This particular client, in terms of trying all sorts of different stuff, being given a whole bunch of supplements at different times, or one of those protocols that you get off the internet, a bunch of meal plans all based around calorie restriction, and still struggling with weight that she can't lose and still struggling with feeling exhausted, still struggling with gut issues just no success. And I love that she didn't resign herself to that being her fate or just write it off, as, yeah, you know, nearly 50 in perimenopause can't do anything about it. I was so excited to talk with her today and really admire her persistence and tenacity in going no, I don't need to put out with that, and you know Michelle's story, or Michelle, or the client I spoke with today, my latest client.

Sarah McLachlan:

It's not not unique. It's certainly not unique, but the truth behind the myths might surprise you, or maybe you've got an inkling that it's. You know, those things you hear are art, how it has to be, and you're wondering if there is another option. So I hope you'll stay with me and listen to this episode today because I don't want those misconceptions or those myths of it being, you know, game over after 40 and when you're in perimenopause to stop you from thriving and enjoying this phase of life. So, let's dive in, get into it, and see how you can make the most of this stage of life. Don't let these myths get in your way of doing that. So, let's start with myth number one. Exhaustion is just a normal part of being a busy woman after 40, especially if you're a mum. So I just want to say I say it a lot. Say it with me now: common does not make something normal.

Sarah McLachlan:

So many women have been told by their doctor that fatigue is normal for their stage of life. Oh, you've just had a baby. Oh, you're breastfeeding. Oh, your kids are young. Oh, you're working; your kids are young. Oh, you've got kids, you're working. Blah, blah, blah. Oh, now you're in perimenopause, so you can still feel tight. Well, no, no, just no. It doesn't have to be normal for you. You don't have to accept that. And lots of women get told that without even anything being investigated. It's you know.

Sarah McLachlan:

I could go on another rant here about how it's perpetuated by social norms and influences, even merchandise jokes about us being exhausted or a hot mess and all of those things, when really that exhaustion is often a byproduct of a really dysfunctional society when that just doesn't support women and mothers Tells us we can do it all and have it all, but actually what they mean is we have to do it all you know, you can't have it all when you're busy doing it all. Anyway, there are lots of reasons why you might be feeling like that, and if you're feeling perpetually exhausted, even if you know you are trying to eat well. If you're looking after yourself and going to bed and trying to get a good amount of sleep, and you're still feeling exhausted, there are things to be looked at there. So here are some of the most common drivers that I see in my clients: Hyper independence, so you do all the things by yourself and do not want to ask for help or get help because that's seen as a weakness. Maybe I should do a whole topic on hyper-independence. It is so toxic, and we're conditioned from a young age to be hyper- independent. It's bad for us and our health. Other common drivers are Iron deficiency, Iron issues, or B vitamin contributing to anemia.

Sarah McLachlan:

Insulin resistance or imbalance in blood glucose levels. Dehydration is often the case. So drink up your water there, friends. I've got a blog on it on my website if you need some more guidance about how much to drink. Insomnia and, of course, it can get worse in perimenopause because of the hormone changes. So, helping your body adjust to the changes is really key to help. Symptoms like perimenopausal insomnia go away, inflammation and thyroid dysfunction, massive trigger for fatigue and exhaustion there. So the next time someone, including your doctor, tells you that you know it's normal to feel exhausted without doing a single thing to check on your health status, then it's time for you to ask some questions or get a second opinion or a new doctor. It really does you a disservice when nothing is investigated.

Sarah McLachlan:

All right, myth number two oh, before I go into myth number two, I'm not going to cover all the things to do so much today because it will be here for hours, but I know I have other podcasts on each of these topics and or blogs if you like to read. So pop the links in the show notes, and you can also search on my website for a particular blog. All right, myth number two: Weight gain is not only inevitable after 40 in perimenopause, but it's irreversible. Now, I bet you've heard this: Your metabolism slows down after 40, and you know it all downhill from there: you'll just be putting on weight. So just buy some Lucky Waste pants and get over it. You know, and I'm not surprised that it sticks around because maybe everyone around you is also putting on weight. And also it means that you kind of, you know, we can just eat whatever, do whatever, and not worry about it. Just resign ourselves to that there as well. I'll see you guys next time. Yeah, you know, it's just part of life. Everyone around you it's happening to everyone.

Sarah McLachlan:

Interestingly, there's been some new research that found that your metabolic rate stays the same from age 20 to age 60. Put a dent in that myth, hey. And even once you hit 60, your metabolism only drops by about 0.7% per year, not even 1% per year. So it's good news. It is. It's good news, I promise, because it means that weight gain is not just part of the natural aging process, which means there's something driving it. There's something we can do about it. Yay, so you don't have to accept that weight gain. You can actually take steps to lose it. If you do gain it and you do want to, you may not, that's okay, but if you do and if it's impacting you know what you do in life or the things that you want to do, then totally.

Sarah McLachlan:

You know, it's been part of my own story, and it's something that I help the majority of my clients with. If you want to know more about my story. Behind that, I do have an early podcast episode about my story, but I also have my free masterclass you can find. I'll pop the link in the show notes, but also you can find it on my website, perimenopausenatropath. com. au. It's a free class. You can watch and learn about me and some of my clients as well, as to what we've changed for them. So, myth number three, I think this one will persist for a time, but I feel like maybe it is starting to change.

Sarah McLachlan:

Okay, so perimenopause equals old age. Perimenopause, menopause means you're old, and I reckon that this is why so many women deny being in perimenopause or they're totally shocked about, oh my God, it could be perimenopause because it makes them feel old and maybe even feel a bit shameful about that. Or are we feeling a bit obsolete, like we're kind of done and dusted? Then it's like the end, which is really sad when you think about it. But I understand how it happens because our society values youth and beauty, especially in women. We're not really allowed to age like men are. If you look at famous men in Hollywood, George Clooney and all those other bread, any of them they're all growing up, they've got gray hair, there's no problem, but women are not allowed to have gray hair or wrinkles or anything like that. We get lambasted over that and how we're not aging well and blah, blah, blah. So, perimenopause equals old age.

Sarah McLachlan:

Well, I think that that belief ties into the idea that menopause happens later in life, and maybe that's something that we formed early on in our life because we saw the women going through menopause, and they felt old to us when we were, you know, tweens and teens. But actually, you know, the hormonal shifts of perimenopause can start in your early forties, even your late thirties. There are some women with premature menopause even younger than that, and so, yeah, you might be in your mid to late thirties and starting to have hormone shifts of perimenopause. It can last for like up to 10 years, even 12 years, before you finally get to menopause. That's a long time to be feeling rubbish and thinking that you're old. You know, when we're living well into our eighties and nineties, it's only halfway through our life, for goodness sake.

Sarah McLachlan:

So, there's something deeper here that we need to question or just get rid of. Just let's get rid of it, and that's the idea of a woman's value, like I talked about before, how we're only useful if we're young, we're beautiful, and we're able to carry or birth and babies and raise babies. So when that stage is over, when our reproductive years are over, it's hard to see our society and the way that it values things. It's hard to see what our purpose is, and I always go back to other cultures where they really value the wisdom of women who are in menopause and how little symptoms those women will have and how purposeful their life is, because it's their job to help share their wisdom with the younger generation and teach their families you know how to cook and look after themselves and about life and how it works. So, I really think that the transition from perimenopause to menopause is the start of a really powerful stage of a woman's life. You know, for the first time, we get to choose what we want to do, what we want to be, what we want to see, what we want for the rest of our lives, and we're usually. For most women I'm talking to, it's the first time in their adult life that they actually have the capacity, time, and funds to focus on themselves, think about themselves, and put themselves first without feeling like I'm not being a good mum. So I wrote a whole blog about this transition into this, you know, the new phase of life and aging on your terms. So, I will also put that blog link in the show notes there as well.

Sarah McLachlan:

But you know, I was talking with a client, Lee, who was finishing a program time with me the other day. She was saying how she didn't look after herself before she started working with me because she felt that by doing that, she was skimping out on looking after her family and that it was wrong for her to prioritize herself and look after herself, that she wasn't being a good mum. And that's, you know, that's not just a myth that persists after 40. That one is really a toxic thought that we're raised with from a young age, and it persists from, you know, when we become mothers as well. And it doesn't have to be like that. We can actually be great mothers and look after ourselves. The two are not mutually exclusive. And if you think, I always go back to when we're flying on a plane, and they're doing the safety talk, and they tell us to put your oxygen mask on first because if you don't, you can't help anyone else. And yet we hop off that plane, never think of that again, and just go back to looking after everyone else first, putting their needs before our own and not looking after ourselves properly until we fall in a heap. And then we try and scramble and fix ourselves up, patch ourselves up for a bit, but don't work on it. That underlying thought about being a good mum means putting everyone else first, and so when I was talking with Lee the other day, she was actually realizing. She'd been reflecting and reviewing how that thought was impacting her, how toxic it was, and that she was giving herself permission to care for herself as much as she cared for her kids. So super exciting. So, perimenopause does not equal old. There's so much purpose and value left in your life. Now.

Sarah McLachlan:

Myth number four: perimenopause is a nightmare. Hormone replacement therapy or hormone treatment is your only option. Now don't get me wrong, because there are symptoms that can occur in perimenopause and menopause, and they suck. They totally do, and you might be unlucky enough to get them all at once. But there are two myths here that we'll get rid of at the price of one. First up, perimenopause does not have to be horrific, and it does not have to make you miserable, and even if you are feeling like death, you can. There are still things that you can do to improve your symptoms, work on what's underlying, and resolve that so the symptoms fall away.

Sarah McLachlan:

And hormone therapies, I'm going to include the pill and the marina because they're really commonly offered to women in Australia early in perimenopause, but alongside menopausal hormone therapy for women, you know, around 50 or older, they are not the only solution, and I see that a lot on socials at the moment. Like we've gone from one place where no one wanted hormone therapies because they were. You know, the studies in the 80s telling us that we were going to get cancer from them, and now we're swinging the other way where there are all these voices on socials and around telling you that hormone therapy is the only option. And so I want to be somewhere in the middle here and say, yes, it can be beneficial for some women, but it's not the only way to work on your symptoms. And again, the two are mutually exclusive.

Sarah McLachlan:

You might be on menopausal hormone therapies and find that you're still getting symptoms. You might be doing lots of wonderful things with food, such as medicine or herbs and nutrients, and still having some symptoms, or you might feel that maybe your sleep would benefit from some progesterone. But yeah, it's not the only option, and I think it really, like everything, I'm always about personalized plans and treatments, and this is no different when it comes to hormone therapies. It really needs to be tailored to you and not just a blanket statement that it's the only option. Every woman should be on hormone therapy because you know they don't always work, and they can bring their problems with that as well. So you know there is a whole buffet of natural and effective options for perimenopause. We have food, herbs, and nutrients; we've got stress management and, like lifestyle, sleep optimization. All of these can equal a much happier, smoother, easier transition into menopause. And if you've got a symptom, I've probably got a blog or a podcast episode on it, and if I don't, it's probably in the works. But reach out and let me know if there's something, in particular, you want to know about or something that really bothers you that you need some resources on, and I will happily point you in the right direction of my resources. And, of course, if you want something more tailored or personalized to you. It's literally what I do with my clients all day, every day, is help them master the chaos that can arise in your body from the hormone changes of perimenopause and menopause, and helping your body adjust and adapt to those changes is what's really key to getting the resolution of those symptoms, and that's what I'm here for. That's what I do.

Sarah McLachlan:

Okay, last myth for today. Myth number five: it's too late to work on your health after 40, especially after 50. I get messages all the time from women asking me oh, am I too old? Is it too late? Well, I just want to say that you're never too old, and it's never too late, and I think this kind of ties in with that. Perimenopause equals your over- the- hill or your too- old belief there as well. And you know we're told to expect to get aches and pains, gain weight, and feel tired as we get older. Just, you know, put up with it, that's how it is.

Sarah McLachlan:

But it's not too late to take action and in fact, it's actually a really wonderful time to invest in yourself and improve your health and really get great long- term benefits from that as well, because perimenopause is a metaphorical fork in the road for your health. Maybe not even metaphorical; it actually is a fork in the road for your health. You get to choose. You get to choose your own adventure here, and which way you choose can either set you up for really great long- term health, aging with vitality and feeling, you know, energy and balance, and really living a good quality life in well into your older years, or you know you can keep declining down that path and be at increased risk of chronic health, cardiovascular disease and diabetes and arthritis and many other things there as well. So, ultimately, the choice is up to you and how great we get to choose. But what would you choose? Healthy action or the getting older that you dread, or getting older in the way that you're told is normal? Reminder: Common doesn't have to equal normal, especially not for you. We do get to choose. So, yeah, it is a really great time and a great phase of life to choose to do something.

Sarah McLachlan:

It's never too late. My oldest clients at the moment are 77, and my youngest clients are 18. There is never too young or too old to work on your health. You will always feel the benefit from it, right? So, just some tips, so just reminders, really, if you are feeling so tired, like that really bone weary, exhaustion that has you struggling to get up in the day or getting through your chores each day.

Sarah McLachlan:

Please go and have a comprehensive health assessment and work on things like what you're eating and hydration and your thyroid imbalance. And you know, I've got the blood test decoder. It's a free resource. It has the optimal ranges for women's health for some really common blood markers so that you can actually see where you see it and where you want to be, and that in itself might give you some answers. And then, if you know, if you want to get someone knowledgeable in looking at results from a functional or naturopathic perspective to help you interpret those and see what is underlying what the problem is for you there.

Sarah McLachlan:

And yeah, I've got, like I said, weight management is what I do all day, every day, particularly in perimenopause, and helping, as I said, your body adjust and adapt to the changes that those with hormone fluctuations are creating. Helping your body adapt to that is the greatest way to get rid of the symptoms of perimenopause. So I hope that you now have a clearer idea of why those myths are just absolute BS for you after 40 and in perimenopause and how you don't have to feel cruddy, you don't have to feel exhausted, you don't have to accept you know just getting bigger for each year that you're on this planet. It's never too late to work on your health or to feel better and, honestly, you know you deserve it, and your family needs you to feel good because without you, as my kids say, mom, you are the glue that keeps us all together and also we would be in trouble if something happened to you. We hope you weren't here, and it's true because they would have to start thinking about food shopping and what they're going to eat and fueling their bodies more so than we do, and fueling their bodies more so than what they do already. Anyway, I hope that you found this episode helpful.

Sarah McLachlan:

Today, I will pop links to the resources, the Chaos to Calm Masterclass, this is Free, and the blood test decoder there for you so that you can explore those and get some deeper insight into what is happening for you and what to do about it. And I hope you will join me next time we are going for a discussion into the world of stress hormones and their role in perimenopause. Thank you so much for sharing your time with me today, and I look forward to speaking with you next episode. It's really common for women over 40 to experience the chaos of changing hormones, mood, metabolism, and energy, but I hope you know now that common doesn't have to equal normal for you or them. You can help others understand they aren't alone in feeling this way. That perimenopause doesn't have to be horrific by subscribing, leaving a review, and sharing this podcast with other women in their 40s and beyond. Thank you so much for listening and sharing your time with me today in this Chaos to Calm conversation.

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