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Aging Gracefully Both Outside and Inside

 

Always Rising © lynette sheppard

Always Rising © lynette sheppard

Enjoy this guest post by Suzanne Coblentz advocating common sense strategies for aging gracefully.

Aging is an inevitable part of human life. And yet some people approach the process with fear and trepidation, while others embrace each new day with unmatched optimism.

What distinguishes these two groups?

Many experts point to genetics, finances, and a whole range of external factors to explain this discrepancy. But anyone can age gracefully if they plan for success.  By adopting a holistic approach to personal health, you can dramatically reduce both the signs and effects of aging.

The following is a simple checklist of do’s and don’ts to help you age gracefully, inside and out.
Mental Health Tips for Aging

You’ll probably feel the effects of aging in your body first. But the most important thing you can do right now is believe that positive change is possible. It doesn’t matter how old you are; it’s never too late to start leading a healthier lifestyle. Before you do anything else, make a firm commitment to follow the steps outlined below:
1.  Don’t Ever Stop Learning
To reduce the mental effects of aging, never stop learning. Instead:

  • Take on a new hobby
  • Travel more often
  • Pick up a crossword puzzle
  • Learn a new subject

Even something as simple as switching hands when you brush your teeth can keep the neural synapses in your brain active.
2.  Increase Your Social Interactions
The positive link between happiness and aging is well documented. In a landmark 2004 study, researchers discovered that those with an optimistic outlook had a 55 percent lower risk of dying over the course of the study, and a 23 percent lower risk of heart failure than pessimists did.

But how do you consciously increase happiness?

Recent research out of Harvard Medical School reveals that increased social interaction is one of the fastest ways to boost happiness levels. As social animals, we’re hardwired to seek communication, acceptance and belonging.

Some turn to Facebook and other networks for social support. But you can just as easily:

  • Host more family gatherings
  • Reconnect with long-lost friends
  • Volunteer within your community
  • Take on a group hobby (e.g., team sports)

The more social support you receive (and give), the happier you’ll become.
3.  Meditate and Reflect
Another powerful way to boost happiness is through meditation. This doesn’t mean you have to become a reclusive monk. Just five or 10 minutes of peaceful reflection can do wonders for your optimism.

Many find that counting their blessings improves their outlook. By writing down three things you’re thankful for every day, you discover new sources of joy hiding in plain sight.
Physical Health Tips for Aging

With a well-focused (and happy) mind, tackling the physical aspects of aging becomes much easier. Let’s review some simple do’s and don’ts for the body.
1.  Exercise Daily
Sitting still is the physical equivalent of not learning. Your body is a machine that must remain active. This means that the TV is not your friend. Neither is the couch, your favorite easy chair or the hammock.

Instead, exercise regularly. Thirty to 45 minutes of daily cardiovascular activity is ideal — even long walks can help get your blood circulating. Certain hobbies (such as gardening or bowling) offer the dual benefit of increased physical activity coupled with constant learning.

An important but often overlooked aspect of exercise is stretching. If you can’t join a yoga studio, try out these simple stretching exercises instead.
2.  Sleep Well and Often
Physical activity is important, but never underestimate the rejuvenating effects of sleep. Some of the many benefits of regular rest include:

  • Reduced stress
  • Higher energy levels
  • Faster memory recall
  • Better concentration
  • Increased immunity
  • Healthier skin
  • Fewer medical complications

Make sure your body gets a minimum of six and a half hours of sleep every night (eight hours is even better).

3.  Eat Healthily
You are what you eat. The food you put in your mouth is what powers all of your physical and mental activities day in and day out.

With plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins in your system, you’ll have more positive energy than you ever thought imaginable. And if you regularly dine with friends and family, you’ll reap the benefits of increased social interactions as well.
Adopt a Holistic Approach to Health

There is no shortage of quick-fix anti-aging pills on the market. But what all of these solutions have in common is a failure to appreciate the holistic nature of your body and mind. Aging is a journey, not a destination.

By incorporating positive daily habits (like the ones outlined above), you can prolong the journey and reap cumulative rewards as you embrace a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle.

Author Bio:
Suzanne Coblentz is the Director of Offline and Social Media for Nava Health & Vitality Center. Nava Center aims to introduce all their clients to a new side of total body wellness.

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Menopause: The Heat is On

Flame On © lynette sheppard

Flame On © lynette sheppard

PMS. The bloating, the cramping, headaches and irritability – who could have known that it was the barest hint of what was to come?? Who imagined that we could and would feel so so so much worse? Hot flashes can be one of the most intense of physical changes symptomatic of the Change. When your body temperature goes from 98.6 to 3098.6 in the space of a heartbeat, your attention becomes solely fixated on that HEAT! No matter what clever euphemism is chosen to describe these incendiary bursts: power surge, short personal trip to the tropics and the like, the fact remains that they peg the discomfort needle well into the red zone.

The word “Flash” is actually a misnomer except in relating the intensity and speed of onset. It can be likened to a strike of a lightning bolt. Flash conjures up images of “short”, “burst”, “over with quickly”. But alas, that is rarely the case. A flash can last 5-15 minutes, or more for some of us. A menopausal theory of relativity applies here. (As so much with womanly experience, this is scientifically unproven, but anecdotally FACT. Just ask a group of midlife women.) As we approach the heat of light, time slows down and that five minute hot flash seems like a blazing eternity. Telling us to go to hell is an empty threat. Been there, done that.

Our Goddess group ultimately have agreed that the next person who tells us that they think of hot flashes as wonderful ‘power surges’ gets the full brunt of our fury. Power surges are a serious hazard. Ask any electrician. We need industrial strength surge protectors – we are frying our circuits!

Take heart, though. If you are just starting this journey, know that it gets better. Although some women report having milder versions of their hot flashes well into their seventies and eighties. All we can say about that is: WTF?

(excerpted from the book of our adventures through perimenopause and The Big M:  Becoming A Menopause Goddess.)

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Ruminations on Seven Decades

© Carol Aldinger

© Carol Aldinger

Celebrating your seventies? Why not! Wise woman Carol Aldinger first posted her ruminations on this milestone on our Celebrate What’s Right With The World Facebook page. I was so inspired, I begged her to let me post it for all of us on Menopause Goddess Blog. Not since “When I’m An Old Woman, I Shall Wear Purple” has a piece filled me with so much joy and hope about our aging. Or should I say ripening. I hope you enjoy this as much  as I did. Oh, and yes, the photograph is Carol, walking her talk. Rowrrrrr.

“Wasn’t it just the other day, I looked ahead to the far distant future, the turn of the century to a new millennium? That was a date so far in the future it was incomprehensible to a 30 year old gal. My thoughts ran like this: Lets see, in 2000 I’ll be HOW OLD? No way. Fifty Six!!! I’ll be ancient!

Somewhere in my thirties, I had an epiphany. I quit caring what other people thought about me and what I looked like/ acted like/ was. It was liberating! Exhilarating! And so much fun just being myself!

We experienced the miracle of birth twice, and raised two wonderful offspring, who succeeded in their own lives marvelously. We went out to the wilds every chance we had, and taught our kids the wonders and beauties of that natural world. They still love it nearly as much as we do!

Hubby had a successful career and unusual for an engineer managed to put in 30 years at one location, allowing us to stay in this adopted state we’ve come to love.

Then he retired, and after two uneventful years trying to travel the western states, and finding it an empty cup, we found a whole new calling, as volunteers for the Forest Service at a visitor center only 70 miles from our home. It allowed us to LIVE in our mountains, and to share with travelers the hidden gems and secret places of our region. What a joy!

Well, 50 came and went with barely a ripple in my life, then 60. Yes, I think 60 is the new 50. But now……… this one is scary – 70. Time to take stock.

The past? Pretty darn Good! Plus
How do I feel? With my hands of course. Seriously? No major health problems. Plus
Eyes? I can see pretty darn well, and my glasses don’t have coke bottle lenses. Plus
Ok, so I have astigmatism and every picture I take comes out crooked. Correctable.

I can enjoy the splendor of a sunset, the mystery of a flower petal, the beauty in a winter landscape, and the sunshine of a child’s smile.

Hearing? No hearing aid required, and if people don’t speak quite as clearly as they used to, I can still hear the glorious spring chorus of birds, the giggly laughter of children in the park near our home, the babbles of the various creeks and streams when we’re in the mountains. Plus

Nose? I can smell with ease the perfume of my neighbor’s lilacs, the subtler scent of our apple tree in bloom, the yummy smells in a bakery, the cat’s sandbox, (oops) and a hundred others. Plus

Taste? I can relish Chocolate! Nuf said. Plus

Touch? The softness of my kitties’ ears and nose! The tickle of a butterfly. The delicate texture of a shiny new leaf or flower petal. All these I can feel and so much
more. Plus

Weight? Back where it should have been 20 years ago when we still backpacked! Plus

Ease of movement? Range of motion of some joints isn’t as good as it was once upon a time. Minus

But: Even though our hiking range has slowly become shorter and shorter, from 16 miles down to 7 or 8, WE CAN STILL HIT THE TRAIL, explore, enjoy all the places that were too close to consider a decade or two ago. On the whole this one gets a Plus too. Plus

Taken in total, Life is Good! We are lucky! Of all our neighbors, some our age, some younger, we are the healthiest folks on our block!

So, if I choose to run through the sprinkler, shout at the full moon, make echos in culverts, just laugh with me! Even better, unleash your inner child and come join me!
Time to Celebrate what’s right with my life!”

Come on over and check out the Celebrate What’s Right FB page – and post your own celebrations! Let’s hear it for less cable news and more celebrating what’s right with the world!

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Feeling Beautiful in 2014

Bird of Paradise Plumage © lynette sheppard

Bird of Paradise Plumage © lynette sheppard

Sarah from the Daxon blog across the pond shares this infographic citing 15 ways to find ourselves looking fabulous. The best part? It doesn’t involve fancy creams, sadistic workout regimens or cosmetic surgery.

Web

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Does Estrogen Increase Risk of Breast Cancer?

Painted Lady © lynette sheppard

Painted Lady © lynette sheppard

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month, we bring you this informative guest post from gynecologist Bill Rawls. Estrogen sources run the gamut from oral contraceptives to HRT to surprising areas of everyday living. Women of every age should read this article with common sense advice for our health.

Does estrogen increase risk of breast cancer?
Proving that breast cancer is linked to estrogen is not difficult.  
If a woman has her ovaries removed at a very young age, and does not receive estrogen replacement, her risk of breast cancer decreases profoundly.  Of course, it’s not a very nice thing to do to someone, because risks of all other diseases, especially heart disease go up, and the body begins aging rapidly.  Even so, removing ovaries at a young age is sometimes necessary to save a life or halt a disease process.  It has occurred enough times over the years to recognize a link between estrogen (or lack of estrogen) and breast cancer…having functional ovaries that produce estrogen defines a certain risk of breast cancer.

But the baseline rate has not been stable; the past seventy-five years has seen a dramatic rise in breast cancer.  The increase has to be estrogen related, and the extra estrogen has to come from somewhere, but where?  Initially experts speculated that birth control pills might be the source.  Obvious choice – oral contraceptives contain estrogen, and if breast cancer is estrogen related, adding estrogen would increase risk, right?   Actually it doesn’t work that way.  Low dose birth control pills suppress estrogen produced by the ovaries, so the little bit of estrogen added by the pill does not raise total estrogen levels; in other words, it’s a wash.  And even though the type of estrogen in oral contraceptives is synthetic, it is metabolized similarly to natural estrogen, and therefore extra stimulation of breast tissue does not occur.  Thirty years of studying use of low dose pills has not defined any significant increased risk of breast cancer – deep breath, relax…  (Taking oral contraceptives for ten years or greater does, however, decrease risk of ovarian cancer by 50%!)

Postmenopausal estrogen replacement has also been targeted as an explanation for the rise in breast cancer...and here we might have some traction. For the past fifty years the standard for postmenopausal hormone replacement has been conjugated equine estrogens (Premarin).  Not a single estrogen, but a combination of different estrogens derived from horses, this product is very stimulating to breast tissue.  Twenty-five percent of the product’s estrogens have no look-alike in the human body and are slowly metabolized. The process of conjugation slows metabolism and increases potency even further.  When the Women’s Health Initiative, (a large study done in 2001 to evaluate postmenopausal hormone replacement) showed that conjugated equine estrogens increase risk of breast cancer, it should not have been a surprise…but use of Premarin does not explain the dramatic rise in breast cancer that has occurred in premenopausal women.

It has to be related to estrogen; and if women are not producing more estrogen and birth control pills have been proven safe, then it must be coming from the environment.  Bingo…the rise in breast cancer has directly paralleled the rise in environmental toxins; many (if not most) of which have estrogenic activity.  Virtually all pesticides have estrogenic activity and many byproducts from the plastic industry are estrogenic.  Insidiously, these chemical compounds make their way into the food supply and water supply. Even meat from the grocery store is suspect.  Hormones are readily used in the livestock industry to encourage growth.  Add to that pesticides from the corn and soybeans the animal consumes every day and finding an association between red meat consumption and increased breast cancer risk is not surprising!

And so, how do you enjoy a normal lifetime of having ovaries, live in the modern world, and still not get breast cancer?  The answer really has two parts.  The first is awareness.  Toxins with estrogen-like activity (sometimes called xenoestrogens) can enter the body by only three different routes.  They can be ingested in drinks and food, breathed in a through the lungs and absorbed through skin.  The solutions are obvious.  Eat organic whenever possible.  Lean toward fresh vegetables and fruit and cut back on meat and dairy (with the exception of fresh fish and farm eggs).  Avoid processed food.  Filter your water.  Never microwave food in a plastic container.  Keep your drinking liquids in glass containers.  Live in a place with clean air.  Be careful about things that you rub on your skin.

The second is detoxification.  Elaborate detoxification protocols are really not required; the body is designed for detoxification; it just needs a little help.  Cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, cauliflower, kale and especially broccoli) help the liver detoxify estrogen and estrogen-like compounds through a pathway that actually decreases risk of breast cancer.  Fiber from fresh vegetables and fruit helps pull toxins out of the body.  Hydration is also important, and the best hydration is from a source that most people don’t think about.  Living cells inside fresh vegetables and fruit hold a lot of water.  As the food is digested during the day, clean water is slowly and continually released; perfect for the detoxification process (compare this to the dehydrated stuff in processed food that actually requires water for digestion).

Certain supplements can enhance the detoxification process.  Milk thistle is top on the list.  This well-studied and well-tolerated herb is known to protect liver cells, increase bile flow (important for flushing the liver and getting toxins out of the body) and encourages regeneration of liver cells.  About 400-600 mg per day is enough for the average person.  Beyond milk thistle, there are scores of natural and herbal supplements that can protect liver function, improve detoxification and decrease cancer risk…anyone and everyone should take advantage of this extraordinary resource.

Awareness is essential!  Cultivate good health into your life!

Dr. Bill Rawls practices gynecology at Soundside Healthcare (Morehead City, NC) and is also the co-founder and medical director of Vital Plan (https://vitalplan.com), a wellness and herbal supplement company. For more information, visit his blog at http://rawlsmd.com.

 

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Red Hat Sisters Embrace Menopause and More

© dewitt jones

© dewitt jones

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the most important Menopause help is not a prescription or book, not a fan or linen sheets, not even chocolate (although it is very important in many ways.) The sisterhood and support of other women is the lifesaving grace for every perimenopausal, pausal, and post menopausal woman. Literally, the goddesses don’t know how they’d have survived this transition, let alone thrived. And ladies, we have thrived!

We had our annual meeting in early September. This slumber party with a focus was our best one yet, we all declared. And in the coming blog posts, we will explore the topics uppermost in our minds at this latest gathering. Hint: we talked about Health with a capital H, our vision for five, ten, fifteen years down the pike, weight gain and loss (some really amazing things), best new products we’ve found, and brain training.

We also talked about aging/ailing parents and how to be proactive in our own eventual changes, including death. Yeah, I know. Heavy topic, but our folks are a preview of coming attractions and we’d best have a plan.

Stay tuned, and be thinking about these issues. We’d love to know your thoughts as well. Women sharing wisdom – that’s what keeps us going. We have a huge community – and we are growing all the time. You never know when you might run into a “sister”. Or a bunch of them.

Case in point: after our gathering, I took off for Colorado to meet hubby Dewitt for some golf therapy. (Considering my scores sometimes, maybe I need therapy to help recover from my golf.) Still, wide open spaces, fresh air, natural beauty as far as the eye can see – Ballyneal Golf Club definitely qualifies as therapy in my book.

I was relaxing one evening on the restaurant patio, awaiting yet another glorious sunset, when I looked up to find several spunky, gorgeous women. Wearing red hats! And purple! Now I’m not a Menopause Goddess for nothing – I recognized a group of sisters right away.

© dewitt jones

© dewitt jones

Clearly these ladies belonged to the Red Hat Society, a global group of women that connects, supports and encourages women in their pursuit of fun, friendship, freedom, fulfillment, and fitness.  They are dedicated to reshaping the way women are viewed in today’s culture. Oh, and when they go out together, they wear red hats and purple everything. They make a statement.

Before I knew it, we were chattering away about all the things women of a certain maturity (and style) talk about: hot flashes, travel, getting together with other women, hobbies, Menopause Goddess Blog, etc. We ladies even had a group portrait taken by my Dewitt (before he escaped to the room.)

© dewitt jones

© dewitt jones

Lucky me! I went from one sisterhood to another and there is nothing more interesting or rejuvenating. Here’s a shout out to my Red Hat friends from Holyoke, CO, Lamar, NE, and Imperial, NE. You go, girls! Love ya all!

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Learn All About Menopause At The Free Menopause Summit

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I am so excited to be a part of this event (and to partake of the wisdom of so many experts!) From September 22-29, Kris Smith of My Menopause Fix is hosting 20 presenters on every aspect of Menopause Health and Wellness. And this summit is online, so you don’t have to leave home or your office to partake.

Topics include:

How to naturally balance and stabilize your hormones
How to get even keeled moods
How to get better sleep
How to reduce anxiety and decrease stress
How to lose or maintain your weight
How to deal with diabetes and menopause
How to have a better sex life and stronger libido
How to create a new and improved you

Each day there will be 2-3 online video presentations from Menopause experts (yours truly is on the first day – I hope to “see” you there.) For more info and to sign up, just click here.
And please forward this link to all your Menopause Goddess sisters or those who love them so we can demystify and ease the Change together. I only wish I’d had such a wealth of information when I started my transition. Lucky us, it’s here now!

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This Is Just Menopause, Right?

Femininity © lynette sheppard

Femininity © lynette sheppard

September is ovarian cancer awareness month. This week’s guest post  by Karen Ingalls illuminates the symptoms and how they can be confused with the signs of Menopause.  She tells us how to be proactive in our own reproductive system health.

This Is Just Menopause, Right?

In the spring of 2008 I believed that my bloating stomach was because I was post-menopausal. I had started menopause in my late 40’s and even though I was now 68, I felt confident that I was gaining weight due to hormonal changes. I decided I just needed to exercise more and eat less. Every morning I faithfully did 30-45 minutes of aerobics and abdominal sit-ups. I have never had a weight problem and always ate nutritiously, so I just decreased my caloric and fat intake.

Three months later I had increased a full pant size and was beginning to see I might soon have to go up one more. I was scheduled for my annual PAP test and mammogram in a couple of weeks, and decided I would talk to my gynecologist then about what I still thought was post-menopausal symptoms. Four days prior to my appointment I started to see a change in the form of my bowel movements. I was sharing these concerns while I had my legs up in the stirrups when suddenly I was aware of unusual pain. The doctor could not get the speculum in despite a couple of attempts and maneuvers. She palpated my abdomen and felt a mass.

My bloating and bowel changes were due to a mass the size of a Honeydew sized melon sitting on my left ovary. Two weeks later I was given the diagnosis of ovarian cancer, Stage IIC; had a hysterectomy and colon resection; and then 6 rounds of chemotherapy.

The typical symptoms of ovarian cancer are:
*pelvic or abdominal bloating,
*pelvic or abdominal pain,
*difficulty eating or feeling full quickly,
*frequent need to urinate, increased fatigue,
*or painful intercourse.

Are these not symptoms that a female can experience from adolescence and into adulthood? Do not some of these occur during ovulation, days before and during menstruation, and the years of menopause? Can these also be symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Urinary Infection, Back Pain, Gallbladder Issues, and many other ailments? The answer is yes, which means ovarian cancer is often misdiagnosed.

I am grateful that I am now a 5-year survivor with no recurrence and the message I want to leave is the following:

1. Ladies, be proactive when such symptoms continue on a daily basis for 2 weeks.
2. Write on a chart or calendar, or in a diary of any body changes.
3. Know and write down your family’s health history.
4. Seek out a gynecologist for initial evaluation,
5. And then a gynecologic-oncologist if cancer might be suspected.

6. Know, listen, and respond to your body’s warning signs.

Karen Ingalls is the author of the award winning book, Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir, which provides information about this lesser known disease, and offers hope and inspiration to women and their families. Proceeds go to ovarian cancer research. She writes a weekly blog about health/wellness, relationships, spirituality, and cancer at: www.outshineovariancancer.blogspot.com.

Her book is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and her own website: Outshine. Follow Karen on Facebook.

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Meet Mr. Menopause

 Kris Smith aka Mr. Menopause

When I was first contacted by Kris Smith aka Mr. Menopause, I have to admit I was intrigued. He posed a question: how did a 35 year old male fitness trainer become focused on healthy menopause? I couldn’t wait to talk to him. I loved his story and what he is doing for Menopause Goddesses everywhere so I asked him to tell you his story in his own words. Here it is: enjoy!

Becoming Mr. Menopause
Hi I’m Kris Smith here, Personal Trainer, Bodybuilder, and Now… Mr. Menopause Here’s my story.
Why did I become a personal trainer?
Someone once told me I didn’t look like one! I wasn’t your typical Adonis with blond hair, blue eyes and washboard abs for the women to ooh and aah over. But, I didn’t let this keep me from going for what I believed was the career for me.  No one was going to tell me what I could or couldn’t do. Within 90 days of being told I would never make it as a trainer, I got my certification from the International Sports Science Association. Attaining my first certification gave me the confidence I needed to jump head first into my new career and never look back.
I first became interested in exercise and nutrition when I was a child. I was born with a leg disability and it helped build my confidence, despite the negative news the doctors gave my mother and I about my condition. They believed that by the time I was 18 I would be in a wheelchair.  Of course being in a wheel chair would have kept me from participating in any sports or physical activity that didn’t involve sitting in the chair. That was the first time I refused to listen to someone tell me I couldn’t do something and set out to prove them wrong. I started training my body way before I ever thought I would fall in love with helping other people change their body through health and fitness.
Once I was certified as a personal trainer, I discovered that I really enjoyed helping people learn about how they could change their body for the better just by exercising and changing their diets. After just over eleven years of helping men and women all over the world in countries like Ireland, London, Australia, and the U.S. lose weight, get motivated and inspired to reclaim their lives through living a healthier lifestyle.

 

On September 23rd of 2011, I came up with the idea of My Menopause Fix. The idea actually woke me up out of a dead sleep.  So I wrote it down and dozed off again, thinking I’d look at it again in the morning. My subconscious must have been working overtime, because by the time I woke up, I had created and planned out a complete new business opportunity. I took that plan and decided that I would set up a special community where women going through menopause could come and get answers for all their questions surrounding this change. This new community would revolve around three areas of expertise exercise, nutrition, and stress reduction methods which I had invest thousands of hours researching and mastering in my private personal training and coaching practice.
Initially, I was only going to launch My Menopause Fix as an offline community for my existing clients, but decided to start the My Menopause Fix Blog in February 2012. The blog is primarily focused on the topics like menopause and weight gain, proper diet for relieving menopause symptoms, and how to reduce stress to control menopausal hormone changes. I wouldn’t consider myself a great writer, but I had a vision, and mission, and passion for helping women overtime a challenging time with peri-menopause and post menopause symptoms.
I interviewed and surveyed my existing coaching clients to get their take on my new blog and community.  They told me all the challenges they faced as they were going through peri-menopause as it pertained to lifestyle, diet, exercise, and stress. After taking in the data I found out that 90% of my clients were women over 43 years old, having some type of peri-menopausal symptoms. They claimed my system was the reason they felt great and their symptoms had lessened or completely vanished.  They also told me that they stayed with me because I listened to what they had to say, unlike some trainers, and didn’t try to fit them into a one-size-fits-all weight loss program.
This got me really excited and I thought that if this was working so well offline, maybe I could take it online to reach more women who might be experiencing the same problems. That’s when I decided to set up the My Menopause Fix blog. From there, I started the My Menopause Fix coaching program, which reached women all around the world. I was able to keep in contact with them by phone, Skype, and other forms of technology so that I could provide the support they needed.
Then I had an AHA moment!
I decided to create and host a summit called World Menopause Day Health and Wellness Summit on October 18, 2012. I interviewed six other health experts about menopause nutrition, exercise, and hormone balancing through lifestyle modifications.  The summit was a success, we had over 160 people listen live and thousands have downloaded the audios over the past eight months.  With the momentum of the summit I decided that I wanted to set a goal for myself. This goal was to assist 1 million women coast through the menopausal process using my tools, tips, and services via my blog and podcast.
I wanted to teach them how to accept how beautiful they are, to get more active daily, and to learn how to use their positive mental mindset to overcome any menopausal challenge that they might encounter.  After coaching more than 17,000 hours of one-on-one in the trenches, hands on training, I’ve been able to study the trends and create a coaching system that I know can assist any woman who is willing to follow and trust the program.
Here is the first paradigm shift I ask new visitors to my blog, and listeners of my podcast. Borrow a little of my faith so that I can help them reset their body hormonally through proper exercise, nutrition, and stress lowering methods until they developed their own faith in the process. Next they must be willing to take immediate action on their goals. Lastly they must be willing to focus on the present, forget the past, and embrace the future. This mindset allows them to truly become immersed in the process of creating dynamic life changing results.
With the success of the blog I launched the My Menopause Fix Podcast early this year.  I’ve also written an eBook, and I’m working on a physical book, called “Menopause Success Triangle: How to Live a Happy, Healthy Menopausal Life.”  I believe that my system works because everyone has the capability and desire to change their body and transform their lives.

 

I BELIEVE in You!
Free 7 Day Menopause Diet Guide ebook for Menopause Goddess Readers ==> Instant Download
Stay Active, Stay Positive, and Embrace Your Beauty
Kris T. Smith, MPT, CNC
Author-The Menopause Success Triangle – A practical guide to living a healthy, happy menopause life.

Visit Kris at his site: My Menopause Fix.

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Creating A Menopause Goddess Group Part 3

Butterflies Together © lynette sheppard

Butterflies Together © lynette sheppard

Here’s the final instructions for starting your own Menopause Goddess group. It’s not hard at all – and if you are worried about leading it or being in charge – just get one friend to co-create with you. That’s what Theresa and I did to start. Now all the goddesses participate. And you KNOW how much can get done when a group of women put their minds to it! So here goes, the final piece. We know you’ll come up with more – and hope you share them here.

5. Set Ground Rules – What Each Woman Agrees To Bring And Keep

None of us is sure that we verbally articulated each of these rules as such.  It seemed that they were just understood.  Looking back, we think it would have been a good idea to clearly state the ground rules as we saw them.  Our “rules” were essentially a set of values that we lived as members of the group

A.    Respect
Mutual respect and unconditional positive regard were a must.  This was pretty easy for us, and likely will not be difficult for any Venus group, but it needs to be understood.

B.    Confidentiality

Personal info that is shared stays with the group only, but the knowledge gleaned can and should be shared generally, especially with other women and our spouses.

C.    Safety

Trust is an absolute necessity for any Venus group.  We agreed to take the outer layers off and bare our souls. No envy, no cliques, no hidden agendas would be tolerated.  (and that included the book, which was secondary, even tertiary.  In fact, I didn’t even want to write a book, but my sisters prevailed upon my better nature after a couple of years.)

D.    Focus

Establish an agenda and focus, but allow the organic movement of the group.  Venus gatherings were not business meetings conducted with Robert’s Rules of Order nor was any agenda carved in stone.  Be focused but not rigid.

E.    Work Ethic
Show up to share and to work, as well as play.  As we said earlier, we’ve heard from so many women that they are members of “women’s groups” that never seem to grow or get anywhere as a result of their propensity to degenerate into bitch sessions. While we’d be lying if we didn’t cop to the fact that we occasionally enjoy a good “whine and wine” get-together every now and then, in our Venus group  we had some serious issues we wanted to tackle and we sure didn’t want to waste time.

Other than these five core values, we had no rules.  However, we did set some intentions in order to get the best from our efforts.

6. Set Intentions

A.    Compassionate Truth Telling

We would ask hard questions of one another with compassion and commitment to reflecting back what we heard to the group. We also would provide a reality check when a Venus was too hard on herself.

B.    Sharing and Examination of Dilemmas

We would hold nothing back.  We would indeed bare our souls.  No question was too weird or trivial to get our full attention.

C.    Sharing of Epiphanies Created By Our Synergy

We were committed to sharing all that we realized or learned without censoring or wondering if it was relevant.  Our entire raison d`etre was to share our bits of insight, cobbling together a whole of wisdom that might help all of us.

D.    Sharing of Remedies and Advice

It is our belief that the way in which women truly get their information about remedies and treatments is through the sharing of actual experiences with one another.  We intended to share it all sifting through the gravel for the gold.

E.    Mutual Compassion

Perhaps our most important intention, we would honor each goddess’s thoughts, feelings, ideas, and  stories.  We want most to be understood and heard, not simply ‘fixed’.  Especially since there seems to be no real FIX for menopause and midlife.  We need all the support we can get.

Our Venus group is like therapy with someone who loves you.  We are physician, homeopath, counselor, patient, sister, and best friend to one another.  As is the case with therapy, we contract to do some work:  exploring, accessing, shaping, and growing through our tears and laughter.  But our sisterhood extends beyond therapeutic relationships.  We’ve created a community that allows, no not allows, expects us to thrive. Thrive we have.  Individually and collectively, the Venuses are healthier and happier than we were just ten short years ago.  We’re still menopausal and we are still confronting challenges.  But together we’ve come a long way and we owe much of our progress to the synergy of our goddess group.

We wish you good luck in bringing together your own group of goddesses, though you won’t really need it.  All you need is desire and commitment.  If we can help at all, please let us know.  We can be found anytime on Facebook or here on our Menopause Goddess Blog.

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