The brain fog lifted briefly this morning and I realized that what I am going through right now is exactly what every one of us, male and female, struggled through at around age 12, give or take a year or two. Think back and recall the way your body suddenly took on a mind of it’s own and all you could do is hang on for the ride. One day your clothes fit and the next they were too tight or maybe too short. If you were truly unfortunate you may have become quite chubby even though you felt like you were starving to death. Another day you woke up with zits all over your face and greasy hair. Then you started having emotional mood swings from hell that made you hate your beloved parents and siblings and also cry over the dumbest things. You may have developed a crush on someone new or stopped being friends with a long time friend, but relationships in general became difficult because you lost your ability to communicate your thoughts and feelings easily. No one understood you at all! You wanted to sleep all day and eat everything in the house and got mad when someone said you couldn’t. Life seemed hopeless one minute and exciting the next! Thankfully your friends were going through the same hormone journey with you and you consoled each other. You hated on the kids who seemed to not have any troubles, not realizing that they really did. You helped each other get through the really dark days. What a wild roller-coaster ride it was and is. All thanks to our good old changing hormones. Can’t wait to get control of my body again some day. But for now I will try to sit back and enjoy the ride.
I started worrying about menopause years ago because I have always suffered in various and often severe ways when my hormones go UP and DOWN. What does the future hold, I worried! Will I go crazy? Will I get a divorce? Will I get fat and lose all my hair? I had those thoughts because I’ve seen women do all of the above. I know so many women who have become extremely intolerant of their husbands and gotten divorced, been put on anti-depressants after telling their doctors they had no energy and no motivation, gained a lot of weight even though they weren’t eating more and still exercising regularly, quit attending to their appearance because they quit caring what their husbands thought of them, stopped doing anything fun and just stay home ,and just generally changed in many negative ways. This all scared me !
Knowing of the risks and causes of these life changes, I have been fighting hard to maintain those areas of my life. It’s not easy! I’ve had some very bad weeks and months where I was very focused on everything negative in my life, especially little things that my husband does that annoy me. As a Christian, I prayed hard and asked God to protect me and my marriage, and change my thoughts. It wasn’t instant, but I do see how God has been at work! I believe he used the race training as one means to keep us from going downhill, which I appreciate. As for the other stuff, it’s a daily battle to keep from gaining even more weight. I’ve gained about 10 pounds in the past year. That is a lot for a short person, but I’m still wearing the same clothes, although they feel tight . I recently caved and bought some bigger clothes. It was depressing, but necessary. My husband loves my rounder, softer body, so I guess that’s something. My mood swings and other bodily changes, have been rough to say the least. I don’t have hot flashes but I have long periods. It’s not fun.
But I know this is part of life and I am trying to maintain my sense of self while accepting the inevitable changes. I attempted the Keto diet but I just didn’t feel good . My sister has done great on that diet, lost a lot of weight, has tons of energy. She is 7 years older than me and now weighs less than me. I was looking at some old photos of us hiking in Moab and she was chubby and I was skinny. The tables have turned! But she gives me hope that I can regain my body eventually. And my 77 year old mother is very petite, although I recall her going through a stage when she gained a few pounds when she had a hysterectomy. Now , my mom eats less than a bird, so that might be one reason she weighs 100 pounds. I know that all of this is vanity, worrying about my weight, but I worked hard to lose those 50 pounds in 2010 and I really don’t want them back! And I want to be healthy and strong enough to run and hike all day long, as well as take care of my family and whatever else needs doing.
So I guess I just want to encourage all you 40s to 50s women who are struggling like I am to stay young, vibrant, and beautiful. I can’t say that I am really embracing this age, but I will say I am trying to accept what I have to and work at the rest. I just started taking a Maca supplement after reading that it is good for menopause. I’ll let you know how it goes. We need to support each other and share information about what helps with these issues. One thing I see happening that really bothers me is women encouraging other women to leave their husbands. I’m talking about women who say they ‘just aren’t happy’ , but their husbands are not abusive or cheating or anything like that. I’d rather try to help her through her irritable times and get her to the other side of these changes, THEN let her make up her mind. Do not encourage selfish, short-sighted, impulsive behavior that may have serious consequences for them and their families. I know at least one couple who divorced when she got a hysterectomy and had instant menopause, then they remarried a few years later. Save yourself the money and trouble by staying together! One thing I do is go hiking or running or go read a book if my husband is on my last nerve. Remember, you are probably annoying at times as well. Men tend to be pretty forgiving of (or oblivious to) our grouchy moods, so let’s cut them some slack when they won’t stop talking about sports or politics or whatever their annoying habit is. Last of all, I am trying to remember that selfishness never leads to joy. Joy comes from showing love and kindness, serving, helping, honoring, and giving ourselves to others. Protect your heart and soul from the worldly ideas that are constantly shared in social media, and please don’t LIKE or Share them. We older women are setting examples for the younger ones whether we like it or not. I’m thankful for my mother’s example.
God bless you in your journey! He will keep you safe as you trust Him
1 Corinthians 7:10-11 English Standard Version (ESV)
10 To the married I give this charge (not I, but the Lord): the wife should not separate from her husband 11 (but if she does, she should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and the husband should not divorce his wife.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 English Standard Version (ESV)
4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;[a] 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.
Today’s run was on trails which means I run slower , but I ran extra slow today because of several factors. First , it was literally 100% humidity and 74 degrees which makes for extremely high dew point. Dew point is the number that kills. Not murder , but ruins your pace and makes running suck.
Second, I’m still trying to recover from last weekend’s race. With peri -menopause and adrenal fatigue , it’s taking me longer to bounce back from a hard race or training run. I find that I have to respect the process or I’ll regret it because I’ll crash even harder . Sleep is my friend! Eating enough protein is essential. Vitamin B12 and D3 really help, too.
Thirdly, I’m at a point in my cycle where my energy is dropping or I guess it fell off a cliff . I had a decent cycle this month and got a lot accomplished so I’m very thankful about that. But I knew it wouldn’t last forever and the day finally came. Bleh. Hello again sore boobs and sugar cravings!
My goal was 10 miles, but while I was running mile three I was already thinking about quitting early. I try to always run at least 4 miles just to make myself get past that urge to quit so I kept going but I was doubting myself. My pace for the first few miles was ok but it dropped as my clothes got more and soaked in sweat by 5 miles.
I asked myself if there was any benefit in running this slow and taking so many walk breaks. I decided that, for today , yes, I needed the time on my feet. I have a tough race in two weeks. I needed to know I could keep going when it gets tough.
My dog was running with me off leash , the trail is on my own land, and she nearly tripped me several times. Once she was playing with her tennis ball, not sure where she got the energy, throwing it around and jumping at it . She did that right on the trail and then jumped back bumping into me. Argh!! I’m way too tired for that! She almost took me out.
I ate a gel at mile 8.5 and put on some music instead of the depressing podcast I was listening to. This runner was sharing about her decision to get a divorce. That always makes me so sad. She’s at that dangerous age, wanting more out of life, blaming her discontent on her husband . Marriage is tough in your forties. Anyway I put on music and the sugar kicked in and my last mile was the same pace as my first mile. That happens often with my 10th mile. Second wind baby!
So I’m glad I pushed through and got it done. There are some instances where I would say you should skip a run or cut it short. If you’re injured and in sharp pain or really sick, the run is a waste at best and harmful at worst. I think most people need more recovery than they think, especially women and people with a lot of stress in their lives.
I’m hoping our plans to do a fast hike tomorrow work out and it doesn’t rain . What are you doing this weekend? Have a good one!
From talking to other women I know that I am not alone in that I really only feel very good, very strong, very motivated, very ‘together’ about one week per month. Those of you who do not suffer from sensitivity to hormone changes and hormone imbalances should really be thankful and also compassionate to the rest of us. This was my good week. I ran a lot more miles, felt confident and able to think and formulate sentences, blogged a lot, was more social, and took more risks. I was also more positive, hopeful, tolerant, and forgiving of others. I joked around a lot! These are actually common behaviors in women when their estrogen levels are rising prior to ovulation. As I’ve mentioned before in this post, I learned a lot about what is normal from a very helpful app.
What did I do this week? I ran a lot and felt pretty good even though it was super hot, including a 10 miler and two hill runs. My pace was pretty close to normal compared to some really slow runs I’ve had lately. I went to a baby shower, not my favorite thing because I’m socially anxious, and I had a good time. I stayed on top of my regular chores and responsibilities like cooking and paying bills. I made a decision that we were going to visit a new church and I made it happen, which is huge! I signed up for a race, which I hope I don’t regret. It’s next weekend so who knows how I’ll be feeling by then. And actually I’d consider my good week to have started last weekend when I volunteered and paced at Habanero 100. Even though I was still having some physical symptoms, I was mentally getting to a better place. It just took my body a few days to catch up.
But now, I feel my mood and energy levels beginning to change. I’m getting irritable, less positive, less energetic, and my skin looks yucky. While I felt thinner and weighed less on the scale early in the week, today I’m back to feeling bloated. It’s such a bummer. I just want to feel good all the time! Oh well, I just wanted to post this so other women who suffer from having only one really good week per month will know they are not alone. Yes, you can make the other days somewhat better through diet changes , supplements, exercise, yoga, prayer, gratitude, making lists, planning ahead, but still , you just don’t feel as great . I guess this is one way God keeps me dependent on Him. I accept it as his child and I thank him for being there for me on ALL the days!
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. ~ Psalm 73:26