As we get older, diet and nutrition becomes more important, we just can’t get away with eating (and drinking!) like we did in our teens! I am currently studying on a menopause training course which is focussing on all things holistic such as food, sleep, stress, movement and much more.
The food aspect has interested me hugely as to what foods/vitamins/minerals (or lack of them) can affect your hormones and menopause symptoms and how they do this.
As a nurse and a Personal Trainer I am in an ideal position to help people correct some of these lifelong habits with food that are causing symptoms they may not recognise as being nutrition related.
Poor food choices or habits such as comfort eating, binge eating, or just not giving much regard to the nutritional value of what we consume, i.e. a diet high in sugar and carbohydrates, can cause inflammation in the body and can be related to many common illnesses such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, dementia and depression. In addition, poor nutrition can exacerbate symptoms of peri menopause and menopause such as hot flushes, mood disturbances, cognitive function, energy levels, weight gain, ability to manage stress and changes to skin, bones and hair.
But, its not all bad news! There are things we can do to turn things around and it is never too late to make changes. As the title says, ‘we can’t out run a bad diet’ and it is true. We can run miles every day but if we don’t input the right nutrients, we could start suffering from the above complaints.
One thing I say to clients regularly is nourish and move. We need to treat our bodies kindly, inside and out. After all, they do a lot for us and its the only place we have to live! This is not easy though! Especially if we try and use willpower alone! Habits form over years and years and take a long time to change and re form, but it is possible. Breaking bad habits takes time and effort, but won’t be regretted.
Below are some of the points I address with clients in order to help them break habits and eat in a way their body deserves.
Mindfulness – being in the moment, thinking about what we are eating and tasting it. Not rushing around with a chocolate bar in your mouth whilst doing something else. Are we comfort eating, binge eating? Eat 3 mindful mouthfuls…it sets your digestive system up ready, eat slowly and stop when you have eaten enough. Listen to what your body is saying. Can you hear your ghrelin and leptin?? 🙂
Eating real food – Limit or remove ready meals and highly processed food. Eat fresh food and a rainbow of colours while reducing beige foods that do our blood sugar levels no favours. I purchase veg/fruit boxes from Odd Box. They deliver weekly or fortnightly and everything is fresh and minimally packaged. I get very excited when it arrives as I never know what’s inside! OK, I know that makes me a little bit sad, but it makes me think about what I am eating and taken me out of a rut of eating the same things.
Hydrate – drink water. All these lovely nutrients we put in won’t do much good if we are dehydrated. Also, when we are hydrated, the feeling of thirst doesn’t get mistaken for hunger.
Habits – acknowledging them, using them to your benefit, breaking them, changing them, developing healthier ones.
Ways of eating – trying different things to suit us such as intermittent fasting, 5:2 diet, low carbohydrate diet. These are not fad diets that have an expiry date, but a way of eating in a way you feel better but don’t feel like you are missing out on anything. Different ways of eating suit different people and different lifestyles. I love intermittent fasting, it works for me, it doesn’t work for everybody.
Enjoy food – food is great. It is tasty(hopefully!), it is sociable and pleasurable, it is needed for life.
I will write more posts about the different aspects of nutrition, especially in relating to peri and menopause.
If this is something you would like help with please get in touch for more information.