Most of us have heard the expression "cats have nine lives” .
Sometimes I swear I’ve had 9 bodies!
Can you relate?
Now, as I enter into a different stage of life, I see how 50 + has its own unique set of nutritional, mental, and physical requirements, so it makes proper sense to consider what adjustments we should be looking to make now.
All of us have already moved through at least one, if not more, period of big physiological and hormonal upheaval that changed how we ate, moved, slept, and operated overall. Remember being a teenager and coming home from school wanting to eat absolutely everything in sight? I laughed watching my own children grow through it. They’d come over in little groups and just take down anything edible in their paths. It’s healthy and it’s normal.
I'm in no way suggesting that we just eat whatever we want whenever we want it, not even close, I still wanna look good and i’m sure you do too, but just as you wouldn’t imagine trying to convince girls and boys going through puberty to diet and exercise their way back to their prepubescent shape, so too should we afford ourselves the grace to meet us where we are, while we acknowledge, with love and gratitude, our bodies and all they’ve done for us, that we are after 45/50, are different chemically, biologically and physiologically.
Point of Interest: Historically, this has also been a time in a man or woman’s life when focus can and will shift from the care of others, to more spiritual growth and the pursuit of personal dreams.
Do you feel this shift?
The good news is there is so much we can do to curate a healthy and happy life well into our 100’s, and we very well could live into our 100’s, so we’d all be wise to pay attention to our bodies’ changing needs!
We spoke about this in one of the classes I recently taught, how personally, I’m now focusing on exercises that focus on building strength and lean muscle, (read: NOT looking to just “lose weight” or trying to be “skinny”, anymore) but rather, I’m getting flexible and strong so that I can handle anything from say, carrying my own groceries up the stairs, to a challenging hike, to, hell I’ll say it, ( I’m sorry Kids, sorry family) ….for sex! Tell me you have the strength to be on top and sustain your energy for long periods of time like you did 10 years ago. If you do, please tell me what you eat! I want my fucking muscles back.
Some science-y tidbits…
Hormonal Changes: decline in estrogen levels can impact protein metabolism. Decreased estrogen may increase the need for dietary protein to support these functions as it plays a role in maintaining bone health and muscle mass.
Bone Health: decrease in estrogen levels can lead to decreased bone density. Protein provides the building blocks for bone formation so ensuring you get adequate protein is important to support bone health during menopause.
Muscle Mass and Strength: Age-related loss of muscle mass and strength, known as sarcopenia makes getting enough Protein crucial as we need the amino acids for muscle repair and growth. Consuming adequate protein can go a long way to help maintain muscle strength, and muscle mass which is great for your overall physical operating system.
Metabolic Changes: Metabolic changes, and increased insulin resistance can occur during menopause. Adequate protein intake can help support a healthy metabolism, as protein has a higher thermic effect of food compared to carbohydrates or fats, meaning it requires more energy to digest, absorb, and utilize.
How best to care for the latest, fabulous versions of ourselves you ask? Let’s talk about protein…..
caution**.. if you have any kidney issues, check with your primary caregiver regarding changes in your daily protein intake!!
It’s important for women to ensure adequate protein intake during menopause. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein for adult women is 46 grams per day, but my research into this topic leads me to recommend roughly 25 grams per meal of protein - 25 x 3 a day = 75 grams a day, for me, and active 53 year old at 145 lbs, but individual protein needs may vary based on factors such as age, weight, physical activity level, and overall health. Consulting with your healthcare provider or a nutritionist can help determine your appropriate protein intake.
A 2018 study in the Oxford journal found that of more than 2,900 seniors over 23 years, those who ate the most protein were 30 percent less likely to become functionally impaired than those who ate the least amount.
It’s kinda funny to note here that I don’t dislike this newer version of myself, I never did actually, but I had to push through an initial feeling of not wanting to let myself like it, because while it’s okay to visit BiggerSizeTown, I didn’t want to settle down there. I wasn’t expecting the changes to come on as they did but I soon adjusted my exercise and eating and sleeping to find a happy place.
Think about it …If how we view ourselves determines how we feel about ourselves, and how we feel about ourselves determines how we view ourselves then, then how do we cultivate feeling pleased with how we see ourselves all the time?
Know what - I started by curating my wardrobe around clothes that flatter me now VS trying to fit into a lot of the dresses, tight blazers and clothes of my recent past. A few strategic purchases made my wardrobe comfortable and sexy at the same time. It was time my look reflected how I feel nowadays more anyway, which is definitely free-er! One thing I’ll never change - big earrings are staying with me forever!
I haven’t really heard anyone else speaking about this online or on social media, but when I pondered it for the lessons in my program, I immediately felt it worth saying, and that is, let’s normalize meeting ourselves where we are, and normalize recognizing that we have a different body at Menopause, that might look different and need different things.
It would be entirely unfair not to include men in this dialogue, especially as my probing led me to see that guys already have very little support around the same kinds of issues that women are typically comfortable discussing with other women, like body image.
The world is fucked up for guys too now, so let’s hear it for normalizing Men having honest conversations about emotions, body issues and life changes.
I wholeheartedly believe that we can age and still be hot! We can also be hot and healthy, and live in alignment and balance too, because with the right fuel, this phase of life is gonna be lit!