Barbara – Starting the 2nd talk

I spent the long weekend in New York City at Blogher 12 with some pretty amazing women. I had the opportunity to workout with the US Army and learn about how they’ve changed their exercise routines to mimic real situations that soldiers face. I was also reminded that I am so not coordinated and that it doesn’t matter as long as you’re sweating. I ran a 5km fun run in Central Park with a complete stranger, who was a friend by the end. I also participated in a workout with the Bowflex Core Reformer; my reaction to this apparatus, in a word, is “covet”. Overall, I loved that there were opportunities to be fit as part of the conference.

 The food was a challenge. I tweeted that I thought I was developing scurvy because there were so few vegetables and fruit on offer. I probably exaggerated. Maybe. My plan to eat hors d’oeuvres at parties instead of supper to save money was not a good one – in terms of nutrition or tastiness. Overall, I made the best of what was offered and have recognized what an important role healthy foods play in my life. It wasn’t a splurge not to see them, it made me miss them.

 I attended a Laugh Out Loud with Poise at the Hot Flash Road Show. I didn’t mention it to many people – but we’re just chatting, you and I – and so I can tell you. There was an all-woman improv comedy troupe that had us laughing about life situations – caring for our children and our parents, coming to terms with our changing bodies, and (of course) hot flashes.

At the end of the performance, Dr Vivian Diller, a psychologist and aging expert, spoke about menopause. She said that discussions about menstruation used to be clandestine, embarrassing, and/or non-existent. In recent years, we’ve normalized the experience but we have yet to do that with the “2nd talk” – that is, menopause. I sat in the audience and nodded. We’ll all experience menopause at some point and yet we don’t discuss it.

Since I’m focused on weight loss, I asked if there was a link between menopause and weight gain. Or maybe I was hoping for a “get out of jail free” card. Dr Diller’s answer offered hope or killed it. She said that there is no evidence that menopause leads to weight gain but that menopausal women have greater trouble compensating for their bad habits.

So, I’m opening this conversation – or 2nd talk – with my Losing It friends. Do you have questions, you want answered? Are there rumours you’d like investigated? Any advice to share?

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7 Responses to Barbara – Starting the 2nd talk

  1. wordywort says:

    Thanks for this, Barbara. I suspect that knowing the textbook facts on menopause is nothing like experiencing the real thing – kinda like having sex or giving birth. I know my mom had a hard time but she’s the last person I’d want to talk to about anything sex/body-related. I’m the oldest sister and most of my friends are still in the mom phase, so whom to ask? Better we all start talking now and get it out there! Otherwise I have to wait til someone I’m close to starts the process, and that doesn’t give me much time to plan and process myself.

    • Barbara says:

      I think I’m afraid that I’ll hear the sort of horror stories that some people like to tell – the equivalent of 38 hours in labour, only to deliver a 20 pound baby with a square head. I mentioned the 2nd talk while running on Sunday and some of the ladies talked about the “space age” fibre cloths that you can wet and drape around your neck. Practical and no nonsense.

  2. wow I hadn’t thought about this, but I am sure I am not far from it. Interested in this discussion for sure.

    • Barbara says:

      The problem with having our babies in our 30s is that we go from pregnancy & breastfeeding right into menopause (well in 40s and 50s). ;) Our bodies, with all of their amazing hormones, definitely shape our lives.

  3. Pam says:

    Menopause-no periods, no sweaters (you only need summer clothes and one of those light sweaters for 5 minutes every couple of weeks), no winter coat, no heat in the house (or very little if you can convince everyone else to bundle up).
    One day we were in the truck and a hot flash came on. I rolled down the window, that didn’t quite help so I stuck my head out in the breeze a bit. My honey said “you know what you look like” and snickered . ;) I was cooler.
    The weight is always a challenge, I don’t think menopause has as much to do with it as healthy choices and exercise.

  4. Julie says:

    I think one of the challenges of natural menopause is how slowly it can come. It’s like that story of the frog in the boiling water. I have friends who just felt a tiny bit crappier every day for two years as they went into menopause, and by the time they got there, it was “normal” for them. They didn’t consider going to the doctor for help, because it was never anything “big”. When it happens so slowly, sometimes we just make those small adjustments and move on with life.

    I considered myself kind of lucky in a way to have gone into menopause through a hysterectomy/oopherectomy at age 33. At least I knew it was coming and it all happened at once. I’m happy to answer questions and share if anyone wants to ask.

    As for the weight/food tie-in…. once I started eating very differently (for reasons other than weight loss, but it resulted in weight loss), I was able to cut my hormone replacement dosage in half. When I fall off the wagon and start eating too much sugar, I get more hot flashes. There are definitely connections between hormones and eating, at least for me.

  5. Tracey says:

    I just turn to the women in my life for anecdotals about menopause-and so far all of them have said it hasnt been *that* big a deal. I guess they havent had it so bad. My MIL does the cloth around the neck thing though! Shes a great example of maintaining weight and staying healthy and active. Maybe thats why im not too stressed about it. Ive had great examples.

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