I listened to a great podcast this weekend. Fit & Chips #12: Krista Scott Dixon - Fat Isn’t a Bad Thing During Menopause
Some of my notes:
Cognitive dietary restraint and the stress and anxiety that accompany it can screw up your hormones as much as if you were actually restricting your food. Your body can’t distinguish between real and perceived threats. Thoughts become things is not woo woo; it’s neuroscience. Your brain is processing the information as if it were real. So, your body can’t tell the difference between the critic in your head and something about to attack you.
Look at your whole life, not just your food and exercise. Where do you feel good? Where do you struggle?
A first step is eating slowly. Assess, pause, try to slow down. When you pay attention, you don’t need as many food rules. You know how you’re feeling and what effect the food is having. She has clients who have narrated their meal into their phone, discussing their thoughts as they eat. Get the feelings out of your head and into something else, a journal, a doodle.
Women are a quarter to a third fat. Fat is an endocrine organ that secrets and responds to hormones. It’s there for a reason. As our ovarian hormones decline our body fat picks up some of the slack. Having body fat is only a problem in a social context where body fat is despised. Our role models are women who are lean in a way that would normally signify starvation.
Healthy body fat is a range. Some women run a little softer and some a little leaner. Brain health, digestive health, sexual health all depend on eating enough and having enough body fat. The obsessive pursuit of leanness is the wrong path. Get body fat into a healthy range and let it do its thing because that’s what your body needs.
When we’re teenagers and we go through puberty we have to learn to be in a new body. We don’t acknowledge that as we get older we have to learn to be in a new body too, maybe as often as every 5-10 years with hormones, aging, injury, pregnancy, and life changes. Nobody tells us this. If you embrace the process it can be wonderful.
When you’re younger you feel like if you do all the right things you’ll have control. You try to be so good and right and please everyone. As you get older you realize that you have no control and f#*k it; it’s just choices. There’s so much freedom in that. You have more perspective and more coping strategies.
There was a great discussion about endurance exercise and menopause. Krista says, “Performance is not how you train; it’s how you recover.” If you want to train hard you have to recover hard. Simply taking a day off killing yourself is not recovery. You need methods that are actively restorative, that put back more than what your training is taking out. What is your mental and emotional state about your activity? Is it joyful and playful or is it draining you?
The whole podcast is worth a listen. There's so much more I didn't write about. They talk about move more / eat more, and move less / eat less. Those are both solid choices, where the ever popular moving more and eating less is a hormonal nightmare for most women. I was near giddy as I was listening. They also come at the dude bros who tell women that they don't need to change a thing about their strict diets and hard training as they get older. They have no idea what they're talking about!