I wasn’t one to think much about menopause. In fact, I kind of adhered to the “out of sight, out of mind” philosophy. I didn’t think I had any of the “normal” symptoms, so why think about it at all?!
As I moved through my 40s, I started noticing changes. I was tired. My energy was depleted. I was cranky and moody.
Let’s talk periods – if you’ve ever wondered if it was possible to bleed out, I’m with you. I asked my doctor about it … twice.
That’s when a lot of my friends and acquaintances started mentioning hysterectomies. And while it was a solution, it was one I didn’t want to explore.
I’m a naturalist and prefer to do everything as naturally as possible. If I could avoid a removing a part of me, I’d find a way.
About that time I started hearing Suzanne Somers in the news and media, talking about her experiences with aging gracefully. I grabbed one of her books, frankly, not expecting very much. But the title of her book appealed to me, and from the chatter I was hearing through one of her interviews, I was ready to explore more. I read and was instantly hooked.
What does adulthood really look like?
I’m like most adults. I consider adulthood a time when you went off on your own, away from your parents’ influence. A time when you were expected to make it on your own.
For me, that occurred at 22 – when I graduated college, left home for good, and married my husband, my best friend.
That was just over thirty years ago.
And thirty years is a long time. For most, the fifties are a time to slow down. To think about retirement. To start taking things a bit easier.
But here’s the thing many don’t think about. At 53, if I live another thirty years ago, that will put my age at 83. That’s not of the realm of possibility. That’s just about the average life expectancy anymore.
What if I live to be 100? Or 125? Both are more than doable too, given today’s longevity expectancies. If I live to be 125, I’m not even at midlife. I would have more than 72 years left of life. I still have another 20 or 30 to go BEFORE I hit midlife!
That means I’m not even halfway through adulthood. The best is still yet to come.
If that’s true, what do I want those years to look like? How can I make sure those 40, 50, 60, or 72 years continue to be the best years of my life?
Healthy. Full of energy. Full of life!
Puts a different perspective on things, doesn’t it?
A Balanced Body
Through all of my studying and research, I have found that a balanced body is your best body. Makes sense, right?
If everything works correctly, you’re at your strongest, most healthy point.
That’s when you feel the best both inside and out. That’s when you can ward off disease and infections, and be healthy even when those around you aren’t.
When everything works the way it should, the bugs and germs can’t penetrate. They might fight to get their way in, but your healthy-self fights harder. The good things will always push away the bad. (Oversimplifying? Yes. But you get the picture.)
I believe it’s that way with everything.
A balanced wheel will always roll. If it starts to flatten in any way, on any side, you’re going to have problems.
Aging does that. It flattens the wheel, just a bit. It’s up to us to “pump” the “flatness” back into shape, and we do that throughout our lives.
Unfortunately, for a lot of people, they ignore the gradual flattening until major problems occur. Then it starts showing up as catastrophic sickness and disease.
According to the CDC, the top killers are all things we allow to happen to our bodies over time.
- Heart disease
- Respiratory disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Influenza and pneumonia
If you don’t take care of your body in the right way, things start to turn. And it’s much more difficult to get your health back than to take care of it in the first place.
Which is why I went on the hunt for solving my hormonal issues.
First, let me start by saying these are my beliefs. After extensive research, this is the path I’ve chosen for myself. I’m just sharing – 🙂 – Maybe it’ll help you too.
After reading Suzanne’s book, I started doing my own research in much the same manner as I did on heart disease after my father passed away at 54 from a massive heart attack.
I read all I could get my hands on. I studied. And I started asking myself questions about what made sense for me.
Are bioidentical hormones safe? After a search online, the reviews are mixed at best.
But through all my research I started noticing a common thread.
As women, we are at our top in our twenties – when we’re in our prime fertile years. In theory, that’s when our bodies should be working as good as they possibly can. We’re young, active, vibrant, and our sexual organs should be operating at maximum efficiency.
Then as we age, things slow down. They don’t work in the same manner as our twenties. And low and behold, I could attest to that.
I was moody. I was tired. My breasts ached at times. And “periods from hell” is the only way to describe it.
All of my studying made me aware that things didn’t have to be like that. That there was a pretty good chance my hormones were out of alignment. This part of my “balance wheel” was out of whack.
So I did more research and found a specialist in naturopathic medicine with emphasis on hormones. She performed a thorough test – the spit test – and quickly determined my progesterone was low. She gave me a prescription for bioidentical hormones and in just a few short months, I was back to feeling like my old self.
My mood swings went away. I slept when I wanted to sleep. My aches and pains were gone.
It was so good to have “ME” back again!
Think Before You Act
I often tell people that today I’m living my life as if I were 100 years old. I treat my body today in such a way that I will be equally as healthy when I celebrate my 100th birthday.
All of those marvelous videos of women teaching yoga into their 90s or competing at gymnastics give me hope that I will be able to do it too.
Though I know there is no magic cure for aging, I do know enough to focus in on taking care of myself in the best possible way. Almost 25 years of research, thanks to my dad, has taught me that much.
But none of this is new. Go back to the father of modern medicine – Hippocrates. His message was so simple, anyone practicing medicine agrees to his advice in his Hippocratic oath: Do No Harm. Yet how often do any of us follow his advice? We make everything way too complicated. We don’t listen to our bodies – we let rhetoric talk to us instead.
The easiest way to increase longevity is to not get sick in the first place. And the easiest way to accomplish that is to simply do no harm.
Don’t smoke. Just don’t do it. In any form. It has chemicals and toxins. Enough said.
Don’t over drink. The occasional glass of wine, maybe. But avoid the heavy binge drinking.
Eat well. This is one of the most confusing topics in our world – I know, I’ve been studying it since my dad passed away from a heart attack at 54. This is what I’ve found.
Vegetarian diets help make you heart-healthy. A plant-based diet has been shown to reduce the risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, cancers, and heart disease. Though doctors will never use the word “cure”, I’ve studied under enough doctors to realize it’s as close to a “cure” as I’ve found.
Hippocrates states: Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.
Yet Western medicine is all about prescriptions. Why?
It doesn’t make sense to me.
Good food makes sense.
Popping prescription medicine doesn’t. Especially with the long, long lists of warnings attached to them.
Meat has a whole host of problems. Some reports show that over 70 percent of our current antibiotics are used in keeping animals alive. Other reports show that all kinds of medication are being discovered in meat from slaughterhouses around the country – from hallucinogens to experimental antidepressants, to powerful antibiotics linked to deadly viruses.
That’s in addition to the fact that more and more doctors say meat isn’t good for the human body. We don’t need it. We can get everything we need from a plant-based diet.
So for me, the solution is easy: stick to plants and make sure they are as clean and wholesome as they can possibly be.
Have sex. Everyone talks about men doing it. But when it comes to women, it’s always the “too tired, too busy, too overworked” blah, blah, blah. It’s simply not true.
Women need sex as much as men do. It’s good for our bodies. With adulthood lasting over 100 years, sex is mandatory through most of it for keeping our hormones in check within our bodies.
I love seeing that more is being written about this all the time. And as this author says: It’s not about getting someone else off, it’s about turning ourselves on, so that we can light up the world!
Exercise. This is another easy one. A sedentary life is a bad life. The human body isn’t meant to sit in front of a screen for hours on end. We’re meant to move and jump and bounce and run and …
While I can’t help but sit in front of the computer hours every day – I’m a writer, so I have to – I still take a lot of breaks to get up and get moving. There’s an entire movement around it.
Sleep. Just like exercise, sleep is mandatory to stay healthy. That was just one of the reasons I decided on bioidentical hormones – my progesterone levels were so low they were causing me to fall asleep early evening, then wake back up at 2 in the morning. By reworking my hormone levels to a natural state, my sleeping issues went away.
I became more convinced that sleep controls a lot more to our health then we give credit for when I read Arianna Huffington’s book Sleep. If you haven’t read it, do it. And check out her tips for a better night sleep.
Being you. I feel midlife is an awakening. It’s taken me thirty years to get to the point of understanding who I really am. I’ve also discovered that I no longer give a shit about what the nay-sayers have to say.
Yep, I’m making a lot of people uncomfortable. And frankly, some of the comments I’ve received about my opinions would have terrified me a decade or two ago. But you can only receive so many comments and emails about how ugly you are, how stupid you are, how ridiculous your opinions are, or how much someone wishes you’d just die, (yep, I’ve heard it all) before you realize you’ll never please everyone. When even good friends and family turn their backs on you because they don’t “believe” in who you are becoming, you learn to stand proud for who you are.
That happens in midlife. And when you feel it, you become stronger.
It helps you want that feeling more. Not just now, but for years -decades – to come.
I want to feel this way in my 80s, 90s, even 100s and beyond.
So I’ll keep being good to myself every day.