Nutrition, how we feed our bodies, has become such a complicated subject. There is so much conflicting expert advice, so many diets and cookery books.
As you move through perimenopause and menopause, many women experience weight gain, particularly around the waist. The old advice to ‘eat less and exercise more’ just doesn’t work to shift the fat. Diets that used to shed the pounds do nothing.
My guest on the Hot Women Rock Radio Show was Maggie Fordham. Maggie has over 25 years’ experience helping women learn how to honour and nourish themselves. She has helped hundreds of women regain their fitness and their confidence. Maggie equips women with the tools to effectively invest in their physical and mental well-being, using nutrition, physical training and lifestyle strategies.
Maggie says, ‘At menopause, estrogen is dropping, and progesterone is dropping. Levels of progesterone are dropping faster than estrogen. It is a volatile situation. There are physiological changes happening in in our body and our hormones aren’t the same as they used to be. We are working with a different body which doesn’t work the way it did before. There’s no quick fix solution, no magic bullet.’
‘What’s needed now is radical self care. What we need now is an approach of building new foundations for long term health and so it’s not about going following a specific diet or program for so many weeks. We are really looking at what does my body need now and for long term health. It’s a lifestyle change.’
Maggie’s career started in Christian ministry. Working alongside her husband, she was responsible for the women’s pastoral care. Many of them had issues around self-esteem and self-image.
And then Maggie had three children and put on weight that she had trouble losing. ‘It got to the point where I realised that I needed to make a change in my own personal life. That’s what led me to retrain as a personal trainer, specializing in women. It was a topic very, very dear to my heart. I also studied to specialize in the postnatal work and it just became very much about women’s hormones.
I wanted to specialize in the area that was like my own personal experience and so initially it was a combination of working with women who were maybe a little bit past the baby phase, and busy career women. They had families, they had careers and they let themselves get a little bit lost somewhere in their self care. They got lost in the mix.
I started working with nutrition straight away. Nutrition had been something that I’d been very interested in for years. With nutrition, you can go as deep as you want to go. It is very empowering.
I started to have ladies coming to see me for fitness who were age 50-52. Many said the same comment. They said things like ‘I noticed I can’t bend over to put my socks on anymore.’ It was some physical thing they suddenly realized they couldn’t do, and they also came to me because they had weight around the middle.
At that point, I was working with them and I was in my 30s. I wasn’t having any sort of perimenopausal symptoms, and I certainly wasn’t in that full on menopausal symptoms. I knew how to help them because I just I knew that the key building blocks the foundations of health. And that all works. They were very happy.
Our hormones are chemical messengers in the body and they’re sending little messages all the time. They are the body’s innate intelligence and so the question is, what are our hormones trying to tell us? When we’re experiencing symptoms what is it that they’re trying to say. Sometimes they’re whispering it and then it gets louder and louder. And then it’s there shouting and tha can be when we turn to HRT or look for that magic bullet.
There’s a place absolutely HRT but what we don’t want to do is mask the symptoms. We want to look at what the root cause is because those menopausal symptoms are actually a gift because they’re telling us there’s something going on in our body that we need to pay attention to. Think about it in terms of our long-term health and also our immediate health, mental and physical wellbeing.
At this stage our bodies need nourishment. Our digestive system does change. It’s less able to absorb the nutrients as well as it did so. Now’s the time to be upping our quality nutrient content not filling up on cake, chocolate and alcohol.’
Top Tips For Good Nutrition for a Healthy Menopause
1 Use the 21 opportunities you have every week to be aware of your nutrition and what you are putting into your body.
2 Prioritise your radical self-care by planning your meals in advance. Make sure you have the ingredients in your fridge and cupboard for healthy meals.
3 Eat above-ground vegetables to reduce your starch intake (salad vegetables, beans, peas)
4 Have protein at every meal and healthy fats such as oily fish, virgin olive oil, nuts, and avocados. You only need a palm-sized portion of protein and a thumb-sized portion of fat.
5 Limit your fruit intake as it can spike your blood sugar levels.
6 Reduce carbohydrates to a palmful per meal. You could choose sweet potatoes, quinoa, wild rice or new potatoes.
7 Avoid foods and drinks with added sugar.
For more information about Maggie Fordham or for a copy of her Hot Flush Fairy Menopause Webinar contact email@example.com
You can buy ‘Cool Recipes for Hot Women’ by Pat Duckworth now on Amazon