overnight oats with summer fruit

Nectarine-Blueberry Overnight Oats with a Special Addition

I love to eat all the things. ALL THE THINGS! This summer I have had little motivation to cook but I still need to fuel up, especially with protein and carbs for breakfast. I know I may be late to the party, but overnight oats are my new favorite thing. They don’t always look that appealing, but the allure of waking up to breakfast Salready being made was enough to make me give them a whirl.

The base recipe is stupid simple. The magic comes from the things you can add, and the possibilities are endless. With summer fruit so inexpensive and delicious right now, I’m grabbing a lot to throw into my mix.

The Basics

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My  basic recipe for overnight oats is usually a ratio of 1/3 old-fashioned oats, 1/3 Greek yogurt, and 1/3 milk or dairy substitute. Too much milk makes my stomach hurt, so I use coconut “milk”.  I usually add half a scoop of some kind of protein powder too, for gainzzzzz.  Sometimes I add chia seeds, and today I also added a dash of cinnamon and this secret ingredient:

almond extract

Almond extract is my amazing, secret ingredient that makes oats with peaches, cherries, and other summer fruit taste so good. Nom nom nom.

base

When only the basic ingredients are in the bowl, it looks and tastes like sadness. So add some stuff and make it happy.

Add Ins
nectarinesToday I chopped up a white nectarine. I have to nab fruit fast in this house, before my kids gobble it up. I might force them to work at a grocery store soon for the discount. They eat all my stuff, dammit. Add whatever fruit you have sitting around. Along with my typical chia and protein powder, I might add a little low-sugar jam or PB2 too, depending on what else I have going on in there. It’s a party.

Mix Mix Mix
overnight oats with summer fruit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mix it all up, cover, and throw it in the refrigerator. You can let it sit overnight or just a few hours. It’ll thicken up and the flavors will meld and make breakfast magic. I decided to add some blueberries to my bowl at the last minute. Most people put these in a mason jar, because Pinterest loves that shit, but I just throw mine in a plain jane bowlor whatever leftover plastic container actually still has a matching lid. Sorry, hipsters.

Read on below for the recipe and nutrition info. Have your own favorite overnights oats recipe? I’d love to hear about it. Leave a comment or chat with us about it on our Facebook page! 

Nectarine-Blueberry Overnight Oats with a Secret Ingredient
Print Recipe
A quick, nutrient-rich breakfast filled with healthy carbs and protein and spiked with yummy summer fruit.
Servings Prep Time
1 person 5 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
0 hours 2-12 hours
Servings Prep Time
1 person 5 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
0 hours 2-12 hours
Nectarine-Blueberry Overnight Oats with a Secret Ingredient
Print Recipe
A quick, nutrient-rich breakfast filled with healthy carbs and protein and spiked with yummy summer fruit.
Servings Prep Time
1 person 5 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
0 hours 2-12 hours
Servings Prep Time
1 person 5 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
0 hours 2-12 hours
Ingredients
Servings: person
Instructions
  1. Mix all of the ingredients in a single bowl. If desired, transfer to another container with a lid. Refrigerate overnight or for at least 2 hours. Additional ingredients like nuts or cereal can be sprinkled on before serving.
Recipe Notes

nutrition facts for overnight oats

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Getting Back Your Fitness Groove After an Injury

lostmojo

With fitness and in life, shit happens. There’s nothing like a prolonged illness or injury to simultaneously make you grateful for the gift of being able to be active and also frustrated that you are unable to participate. The challenges affect not only our physical well being, but probably more profoundly our emotional health. The road back is different for everyone, but there are some common challenges as well as remedies for finding your groove again.

My good friend, Emily, had a life-altering illness this year and has been navigating the waters of redefining her own fitness. Emily has long been one of my heroes. She is not only talented at running, cycling, and swimming; she is also driven and disciplined. For most of her life, her body cooperated. Emily seemed unstoppable.

Until last fall: she began to experience excruciating headaches, and even after seeing doctors and trying new migraine medications, she couldn’t find relief. I saw her fitness routine begin to slip away. As Emily recalled it, exercise was the last thing on her mind. She instead had to learn to manage chronic, debilitating pain.

We couldn’t imagine that she had an actually scary prognosis. We all joked about her WebMD-diagnosed brain tumor. Until, it turned out, she actually had a brain hemorrhage.  Em learned that she had intracranial hypotension, brought on by a spontaneous spinal CSF leak. In other words, girl had a leaky spine, and it was making her life a mess.

Emily's scar makes her the biggest badass ever.

Emily’s scar and staples made her the biggest badass ever.

At first, she was relieved to have an answer. Then she was fearful of the surgery that might not work, leaving her with potentially life-long pain. Thankfully, her spinal surgery was a success.  But over the months, Em had gone from an active, busy mom to someone just trying to get through the days. As Emily began to get back to her job and family responsibilities, she had to learn a new version of “normal”.

The New Normal
The hardest part of finding the road back to fitness might be changing our mindset about what our bodies “should” be doing. Initially, we busy ourselves with rehab, but then what? Once we’re tagged and released from physical therapy or other medical interventions, it can be really difficult to get going again. While regaining our former selves can be motivating, it can also paralyze us–if we can’t do what we did before, then what the hell do we do? This is where all-or-nothing thinking can be particularly devastating.

Letting Go
For months after my own hip surgery 5 years ago, I resisted doing much of anything. I was angry that I could no longer run like I had before.  Instead of moving my body in countless ways that I could without pain, I opted to do nothing at all. I suppose I needed to pout for awhile, but if I could have put aside my history and instead developed new goals based on the strengths I now possessed, I could have felt better all over, sooner.

lettinggo

Respecting Our Limits
Emily could run before. Now her doctors advise against it. My own docs cautioned me against running, but now and again I can’t resist. Every single time, I jack up my hip and have to baby it back to functioning again. Especially once we begin feeling better, it can be really tempting to test the waters.

Sometimes it’s perfectly healthy to test them. With some injuries, we might be able to regain our former function and need to just slowly ease back into our favorite activities. Even if you are given the green light to begin training again, you’ll likely want to begin by scaling back the following:

Volume: How much total activity you get. If you’re in the weight room, you’ll do less total work. If you’re a cyclist, you’ll do fewer miles at first.

Intensity: I think we all understand that it’s unwise to ride like the wind, yes? Balls to the wall has a place, but it’s not during post-rehab.

Frequency: You may have been running 5 times a week, but you may need to start by trying to run 2-3 times a week with other cross training thrown in until your body adjusts again.

Load: If you’re lifting, you’ll likely need to start out with lighter weights. If you’re an endurance athlete, you will probably be cautioned against hammering your way up the most killer hills in town until you’ve established your base fitness again.

Sometimes injuries force us to completely redefine realistic function and future pursuits. In both cases, if we follow the protocols given to us by our health team we’ll be more likely to have more positive outcomes.

Side note: do your damn rehab exercises. You know, the ones they print out and tell you to do at home in front of the T.V. Yes, they’re boring. No, they don’t feel hard core or sexy. But they might help and won’t hurt. 

Becoming Our Own Advocates
It helped me to learn as much as I could about my injury so that I could avoid the things that were likely to make my hip angry. With help from a physical therapist, I also learned to identify what kind of pain or discomfort was something to be concerned about as well as what oddball sensations were just a part of my new normal. 

Communicating with doctors and rehab pros can also be useful to determine what got us injured in the first place. Is there a lesson to be learned that we can carry with us for the future to prevent recurring injuries? This isn’t always relevant, but if it is, it’s important to understand.

Baby Steps
After accepting that we have to possibly start over or take a few steps back, we have to actually take them, and then celebrate them. When Emily finally walked around the block a few times after surgery, it was a major victory for her. Over time, 2 times around the block developed into many more laps.

[tweetthis]Motion brings emotion, meaning the act of doing something gives you the feeling that you can do more.[/tweetthis]

Motion brings emotion, meaning the act of doing something gives you the feeling that you can do more. If you’ve been stuck in a rut after an injury or illness, a little bit of motion may be the spark you need to get going again.

 

photo credit: Jonas Maaløe Jespersen

photo credit: Jonas Maaløe Jespersen

Relearning Old Habits or Developing New Ones
Emily remarked that she had to let go of her old routines and habits that had guided her before.  When injury strikes, these get blown to pieces. We not only have to pick them back up, we may have to alter them to suit our current situation.  It’s not a failure to have a scaled back work out plan. It’s a victory to take a small step toward better fitness that also respects what our bodies can currently tolerate.

Weight gain is another common by-product of injury, simply because we may continue eating as we were while exercising regularly or just maintaining a more active lifestyle. If you’re relegated to the sofa for weeks or months, a change in body composition is relatively normal. Depression and lack of sleep often come along with pain caused by injury: they also can contribute to weight gain.

Taking the time to learn your body’s caloric needs with its current level of activity will help with weight loss if that’s a concern.

Finding a New Fit
If I had never hurt my hip, I probably wouldn’t have discovered my love of the weight room. Once I focused on what I could actually do without pain, I spent a lot of time training my upper body strength. Watching baby biceps emerge felt motivating. Finding a new routine gave me the same satisfaction as my previous training plans and led the way to a passion for weightlifting. Emily discovered that she could swim again, and after months of little activity, she reveled in how good her body felt doing it. 

Silver Linings
Yes, injuries are terrible for our fitness. They can bring terrible pain, depression, and an overall funk. But out of it all, they also teach us. Sometimes, injuries teach us how to train better in the future. Sometimes they give us a new appreciation for our health. They can be an opportunity to turn over a rock and discover something new and amazing about ourselves.

Emily described her experience recently: 

It didn’t bother me to see people talking about exercises, but missing big events was really tough. It was really about what I was missing out on and less so about what others were able to do. However, I must say that I do have a new appreciation for a life without pain and the ability to move my body, even in limited ways, that I didn’t have before. Chronic pain is no fucking joke and I have empathy for people who live that way that I never could have gotten any other way. It wears you down. It makes you want to crawl into a cave and never come out. It makes you feel less than human. You spend your days letting everyone around you down, saying no all the time, the treatment failed, I can’t, etc. I don’t have to live that way anymore and it’s amazing, and I’m incredibly grateful. I feel like I’ll carry that with me forever.

I’m grateful for Emily too, who has taught me more than a few life lessons. Thanks for sharing your story, Em. We love you, leaky spine and all.

 

 

Excuse Me: How Missed Workouts, Diet Fails, and Fitness Rationalizations Can Lead Our Clients to Change

no excuses

The excuse. It’s a bad, bad, thing. Or is it? Most of the messaging that we hear regarding fitness is still deeply entrenched in the view that excuses mean that we’re either weak-minded or that we just don’t want to be fit badly enough. If you look at enough fitspo, you might conclude that if we simply dig deep, commit, and suck it up, we’ll finally nail our goals. It’s a smug and ultimately ignorant view of how people change their behaviors.

A perfect illustration of this sometimes well-intentioned but futile view on behavior change arrived on Facebook recently.  A personal trainer posted in an industry group, voicing his frustration with a client. “I’ve never met someone with so many excuses,” he lamented. He rattled off a list of concerns: missed sessions due to sick kids, refusals to plan meals, and so on. He wanted to help her, but believed that if she wasn’t willing to put in the work he was wasting his time. A few other fit pros supported him, echoing his sentiments.

“Don’t waste your time”.

“Sack her”. 

“Our business is about results. Don’t be afraid to fire her”. 

A few, however, were on the right track.

“Your client is the best source of her solutions.” 

“You might need to scale back.”

Yes. This. The problem with looking at clients as ‘non-compliant’ or ‘combative’ is that we miss the reasons that they’re resisting change.  As fitness professionals, we need to do better. We must meet our clients where they are at and work as partners to troubleshoot the barriers they encounter. And most importantly, we need to accept that our clients really do have all the answers inside of them. We facilitate that change and handle the details.

So let’s back up a step. Do you recall a situation where someone told you what you needed to do but it wasn’t something you were really motivated to do already? How did you respond? Most likely, you dug in your heels a bit and resisted changing.

not going to change

Think about a doctor telling her overweight patient that he needs to start exercising. If the idea of exercise isn’t already a priority, or feels too overwhelming, that new routine is unlikely to stick.

Psychology professor James O. Prochaska developed a model in 1977 for the stages of change that we go through for specific behaviors. The first two, pre-contemplation and contemplation, are where many people sit for years with certain behaviors such as exercise.

These stages have no moral value: it’s not wrong to be in pre-contemplation, the stage where one sees the most excuses being made. To be in pre-contemplation means that a behavior really isn’t even a priority to a person. A person in pre-contemplation doesn’t believe that they need to change what they’re already doing.

By contrast, the stage of contemplation demonstrates a person’s acknowledgement that they need or want to change. However, this is where many people get stuck for a long while. They may be ambivalent or they may lack the tools or support to actually move forward.

The most interesting part about this model is the non-linear design. In other words,we don’t move in a neat continuum from total denial to maintaining a new behavior. Life is far messier. We often move back and forth. Understanding this reality can color the way we strategize for the long term. Fit pros need to develop unique approaches for where their clients are in the present moment.

As trainers, we begin by partnering instead of commanding. We need to listen and ask instead of telling people what to do. 

Excuses are opportunities. They are open doors that allow us to explore and grow. People  who find themselves making excuses might want to consider the following:

  • How confident do I feel about what I’m doing to change? Do I need more guidance?
  • How important is this change in my life?
  • Why did I make a change in the first place? Do the things that I make excuses for actually fit well into my life? (Do I have enough time to train for the triathlon I vowed to complete? Do I actually enjoy running?)
  • If what I’m doing isn’t currently working, what is one small step that I feel confident about taking?
  • Why do I put up the roadblock? Is there a deeper reason that I am not succeeding in my plan?

Resistance does not make someone a failure. Instead, it is a gift– it’s a giant clue that indicates the need to scale back a plan or to re-assess how well it actually fits into someone’s life. If a personal trainer, a dietitian, or other health pro encounters excuses, what they likely need to do is accept that what they are asking is either too much, too soon, or not the best fit.

References:
Prochaska, JO.; DiClemente, CC. The transtheoretical approach. In: Norcross, JC; Goldfried, MR. (eds.) Handbook of psychotherapy integration. 2nd ed. New York: Oxford University Press; 2005. p. 147–171. ISBN 0-19-516579-9.

The Beginner’s Guide to Fat Loss: Nuts and Bolts

Lego-WorkoutOut of curiosity, I typed “what exercises to do for fat loss” into Google today. I came up with a  mish-mash of Pinterest and Instagram workouts (resplendent with hashtags),  a fair amount of nonsense like “fat burning zones” along with a mix of supplement pages and some quality training advice to boot. If I were just starting to think about putting together a plan, I’d probably get a headache. The internet is a wonderful thing, but all that information can be overwhelming. When it comes down to it, losing fat isn’t all that complicated.So why does it seem so difficult?

First of all, there isn’t only one way to go about fat loss. That complicates the stream of information hurled at us. A large percentage of it is likely garbage as well. 

photo credit: Mark Smickilas

photo credit: Mark Smickilas

Most importantly, despite knowing all of these tips, many people still get stuck. My advice is not your key to the kingdom, it just gives you more tools for your kit. The real work to be done to create change starts within your heart and your head. Successful behavior change requires learning the skill of fitness as well as gaining insight on why you want to change in the first place. 

But still, when it comes down to the process of losing fat, there are things to know that will help you succeed:

1. Do something. If you’re just starting out, you’ll notice a positive impact on your energy, health, and waistline by just moving. Read more on that here. It’s easy to take on weight loss with an all-or-nothing attitude. This will invariably backfire. The plan will fall into place. If you’ve been inactive for a really long time,  ease yourself into exercise.

2. Your nutrition is the leading lady when it comes to losing fat. It has the most important role in your body composition by a big margin. No workout is magically effective. If you’re consuming more calories than you expend, your weight loss will stall. Period.

This is unfortunately where people get tripped up the most. Conflicting advice obfuscates a clear path even further. There isn’t one nutritional approach that is better than another. As I’ve mentioned previously, the best plan is the one you can stick to. Ultimately, using methods that help you develop habits that will carry you through life work best. 

3. Lift the things and put them down. Yeah, set off that lunkhead alarm because strength training not only helps your bones and overall health, it also helps you retain precious muscle that in turn improves your overall metabolism. Aim for between 2 and 4 workouts per week, depending on your level of experience and available time.

liftthethings

4. You don’t need a specialized strength training plan for fat loss. 
How you structure your weight lifting isn’t nearly as important as just getting it done. Some advocate doing a circuit in order to keep your heart rate up and give you some extra calorie burn. Nick Tumminello’s Strength Training for Fat Loss does an excellent job of this and his workouts are fun.

Others use alternating sets of two exercises for a similar effect. Some people still just complete their sets with plenty of rest in between. I’ve had success using all of these approaches with clients. If you’re a seasoned lifter, you might need a more nuanced program, but most of the time, the biggest difference between weight lifting simply for strength and lifting for fat loss is in the diet.

5. Running will not make you fat. Every so often, the fitness pendulum swings with a published study, and everyone jumps on the bandwagon in hysterics. Doing endless cardio isn’t the most efficient means to fat loss. If you hate cardio, I’m here to tell you that you don’t need to go suffer on a treadmill for an hour.  Most people attempting an exercise program aimed at losing fat probably overdo the running around and getting sweaty and under-do (is that a word?) the strength training.

jogging

However, if you enjoy running, by all means, go run. It won’t kill your progress, and will give you some extra calorie burn to enhance your program.

6. Respect rest and move your body in ways that you enjoy. If you go balls to the wall every day, your efforts will backfire. You’ll lose enthusiasm, encounter injuries, and you’ll prevent recovery that enables you to get the most out of your training. Short, high-intensity workouts can be appropriate a few days a week if you’re already fairly fit. Lighter conditioning workouts are also a good choice. Check out one of my own here.

Regardless of what kind of movement you choose, you’re aiming to get some kind of activity, both for extra caloric burn and because it’s good for your health. These bouts of extra movement are just right for improving your fitness game without getting in the way of your recovery. Or go for a walk!

So in short, here’s what your game plan might look like:

1. Eat in a way that supports your goals. Calculating a modest rather than extreme caloric deficit is important. Tracking at first is helpful, but not the only way to create habits that foster weight loss. 
2. Lift the things 2-4 days a week.
3. On your off days from lifting, move your body in a way that feels good but doesn’t leave you too exhausted to approach your weight training with gusto.
4. Rinse and repeat.
5. Keep your head screwed on straight. Fat loss can really mess with your head. It takes time and tinkering.
6. Remember that fat loss can bring you health, or aesthetic changes you might welcome. It does not, however, define your worth as a person. Keep your efforts in line with the overall task of having a life. ♥

This outline is just that; an outline, an example of what often works. The path to weight loss is different for everyone, but these truths might help you create your own winning strategy. Look for more articles soon on some of the strategies mentioned here.

Have more questions or strategies of your own that work well for you? Leave a comment below!

The nuts and bolts are the easy part. Motivation and support can be another. Looking for a coach to design a program and help you on the journey?  Apply here!

Quick and Dirty Workout: Jump Around

photo credit: Alison Burke

photo credit: Alison Burke

Hi all! I’m beginning to build a library of workouts that I love (or love to hate) that are quick and dirty but get the job done. My main focus right now is on powerlifting but getting more movement into my day has really given me more energy. So onward!

My favorite conditioning workouts are those that have a set amount of work instead of timed intervals. Timed intervals are great for getting work done too, but mentally, plowing my way through my “assignment” feels easier. I love ladder workouts because even though I’m still working hard, as I work my way down to fewer reps it feels more doable.

Here’s the Jump Around workout. Who’s in? Read on below for a tutorial and modification ideas.

Jump Around

Jump around workout

How to Werk It

The pic describes the ladder workout. Just make your way down!

Jump Rope:

If jumping rope hurts your knees or makes you pee your pants too much, just find an alternative movement that is a little less bouncy. Try a modified jumping jack and kick just one leg out at a time. If these are too hard, it's fine to swap out another lunge variation that fits your body. We're aiming for conditioning here, not annihilation. For a jump lunge, just sink down into a lunge pattern, spring up and land with your opposite foot in front. Back and forth, whee!

If jumping rope hurts your knees or makes you pee your pants too much, just find an alternative movement that is a little less bouncy. Try a modified jumping jack and kick just one leg out at a time.
If these are too hard, it’s fine to swap out another lunge variation that fits your body. We’re aiming for conditioning here, not annihilation. For a jump lunge, just sink down into a lunge pattern, spring up and land with your opposite foot in front. Back and forth, whee!

Dumbbell Front Squats

No dumbbells? No problem. Just squat, baby. Sit down and back and keep your elbows up if you're using dumbbells.

No dumbbells? No problem. Just squat, baby. Sit down and back and keep your elbows up if you’re using dumbbells.

Pushups

Use whatever elevation that will you allow to get your chest really close to your surface. This may be the floor, a bench, a table or a countertop. Find what variation appropriately challenges you. Here's an example of using a step. 

Use whatever elevation that will you allow to get your chest really close to your surface. This may be the floor, a bench, a table or a countertop. Find what variation appropriately challenges you. Here’s an example of using a step.

Single Leg Hip Thrust

Find a bench and settle back against it with the middle of your back. Tuck your chin very slightly, drive through your heel as you press your hips up, and aim to get a big squeeze out of your butt cheek at the top of the movement. Lower down almost to the floor, and repeat. Complete all your reps on one side, and then switch legs. If this is too difficult, try doing it as a bridge, laying on the ground and driving your heel into the floor as you bridge up.

Find a bench and settle back against it with the middle of your back. Tuck your chin very slightly, drive through your heel as you press your hips up, and aim to get a big squeeze out of your butt cheek at the top of the movement. Lower down almost to the floor, and repeat. Complete all your reps on one side, and then switch legs. If this is too difficult, try doing it as a bridge, laying on the ground and driving your heel into the floor as you bridge up.

Reverse Crunch

Use something heavy, like a dumbbell, to anchor yourself a bit. Lay down on the floor with the weight just above your head and hold onto it. Use your abs to help get your legs over your head and then VERY SLOWLY lower to the ground. Repeat! Remember, the slower you do these, the harder they are!

Use something heavy, like a dumbbell, to anchor yourself a bit. Lay down on the floor with the weight just above your head and hold onto it. Use your abs to help get your legs over your head and then VERY SLOWLY lower to the ground. Repeat! Remember, the slower you do these, the harder they are!

Go get some work done! Record your time and try to beat it next time. Give it a go and let me know how long it took!

 

The Olds: Adventures in Perimenopause

 

she ra goes to the vag doc

I’m 40. Turning 40 wasn’t nearly as monumental as people make it out to be. Nothing magically changed overnight. I’m fitter at 40 than I have ever been in my life, and all in all, I’m in a good place. I train smarter, and as a result I’m stronger and faster than when I was 20 and 30.  In my mind, I feel more like She-Ra than what society deems as middle-aged. Sensible, motherly, and sexless are words that paint us but don’t really fit. “Age ain’t nothing but a number,” I’ve mused. Until it was.

Flash forward to last month. If you’re one of those squeamish, delicate types, stop reading here. Hey, you’ve been warned.

My period was really weird. Instead of my typical flow, I had a really light period. Normally, I’d high five nature. But it lasted for AN ENTIRE FREAKING MONTH. I felt exhausted and crampy.  My lifting felt harder. I had little energy for “gainz”. My bowels were whackadoo. Despite following a modest fat loss protocol, the scale wasn’t budging. Something felt off.

So of course I did what I can never resist: I went to Dr. Intarwebz. After browsing awhile, I deduced that I was probably fine but that I MIGHT TOTALLY HAVE CANCER and made an appointment with the gynecologist. The conversation went something like this:

ME: So, what’s up with my crazy period and symptoms? I’m worried that I might (TOTALLY HAVE) cancer. Or fibroids. Or something terrible.

GYNE: I doubt you have cancer. But you’re likely beginning perimenopause. You’re probably making less progesterone, so instead of your uterine lining shedding all at once,  you rely on estrogen to very slowly help things along.

ME: DIAGNOSIS OLDZ?

GYNE: Probably. But we can check with an ultrasound.

ME: Ok good. (I’ll show them that something is definitely amiss. Not that I want cancer. But I’m only 40! WHAT?)

GYNE: Do you have to urinate frequently?

ME: Yes. And sometimes when I jump rope, I pee a little. (Don’t judge. It happens right?)

GYNE: Ok well if it gets really bad there are options. (I feel like I’m in a bad commercial now for menopause. Or Coldwater Creek, the matronly ambassador of clothing for ladies who have given up on being cool. Sorry mom. I know you love the CC.)

ME: Oh before I forget  – *eye rolling* – my husband told me to ask about stuff for my sex drive. To, uh, obtain one.

GYNE: Oh sure. (Blah blah blah, libido cream, mentions something about a small amount of testosterone added. Jokes that maybe it’ll even help me with my strength).

ME: (Suddenly perking up) Whoa! But will I grow hair and stuff?

GYNE: No.

ME: Will I be able to Hulk smash?

GYNE:  No.

ME: That’s bullshit.

GYNE: *Emotionless stare*

menopause

So the point of all this is buckle up, ladies, shit’s about to change. It may begin as early as your mid 30s but late 30s to mid 40s is most common for adventures in perimenopause.  Not everyone has the same issues, but they’re part of the changes that come with being a woman. That sounds so mature. Bleh. But knowing that you’re normal and probably not dying is helpful, right?

I ended up following up with a friend, also a gynecolygist, who we lovingly refer to as “Vag Doc”. Vag Doc put me on some progesterone to stop the eternal period and ordered an ultrasound. It turns out I’m fine. I’m just getting older.

Always get weird stuff checked out, because ovarian cancer is often missed at early stages. It’s been named “the silent killer” and it’s no joke. Read  about common symptoms here

Thankfully, usually the symptoms we worry about are not actually cancer. Unless you look on WebMD. Then everything leads to cancer.

Here is a list of symptoms associated with perimenopause, which means “around menopause”, and is a fun-filled transition toward losing your fertility.

  • Changes in your period: it may become more irregular in flow, how frequently it visits, and how long it lasts.  This is due to the level of estrogen rising and falling unevenly.
  • Menopause-like symptoms such as hot flashes, sleep problems, and dry vagina. Good times. There are treatments to help if it gets out of hand.
  • Moodiness. I just thought I was getting crankier with time. Maybe not. I’ve been having big mood swings. They’re not fun. Sometimes women experience depression during perimenopause.  At other times, moodiness can be attributed to lack of sleep and/or hormonal shifts.mood swings
  • Vaginal and bladder issues. Hormonal shifts also can leave you with a dry cooch and needing to pee all the time. This is injustice, but it is what it is. Loss of tone can also lead to incontinence. Maybe I wear black workout pants just in case. Who’s with me?
  • No interest in sexy time. This isn’t inevitable, but it can happen.
  • You might be constipated. I’ll pay $50 to poop like a normal person. Holy hell.
  • Your babymaker packs it up: decreased fertility is the one that I already expected due to ovulation becoming less regular. I have a house full of boys, so no problem there.
  • Bone loss. Here’s where weight-bearing activity continues to be important as osteoporosis begins to set in. Because your estrogen levels decrease in the perimenopausal years, you begin to lose bone more quickly than it can be replenished.
  • LDL can go up. Again, losing estrogen unfavorably affects your cholesterol. Keep it in check by eating well, moving regularly, and getting it tested at your physical.
  • Weight gain. Your hormones are doing flip flops and your body is trying to adapt to all the changes. You may need to be patient, but weight gain isn’t insurmountable. Building muscle mass, getting more overall activity, and eating a well-balanced diet will still be effective over the long haul. However, your efforts may require more tenacity than in years past. It blows but it’s not an insurmountable hurdle.

So no, perimenopause isn’t life shattering. You can still be a bad bitch. Just be prepared for changes to come, and we can rock 40 and 50 so hard the young kids won’t even know what to do with us.

 

She-Ra-Princess-Power

 

 

Sources:

Mayo Clinic Staff. “Perimenopause.” Mayo Clinic. The Mayo Clinic, 20 Apr. 2013. Web. 7 July 2015.