If you are reading this, then you are probably one of the millions of women who is feeling the affects of menopause which can include weight gain, swelling, hormonal imbalances, fatigue, night sweats, and more. To say the least, it can be frustrating and depressing and you might even throw your hands in the air and say, I give up! In the end, though, we want to look and feel great, even if it means extra effort. The good news is that there are some wonderful resources available that give us practical and strategic advice to guide us through this life change. On The Beauty Shaman this week, I interviewed Debra Atkinson, personal fitness trainer and author of, “You Still Got It Girl! The After 50 Fitness Formula Book.” Debra has learned not only through her clients but also through personal experience what it’s like to have these physical and emotional changes in life. In this episode, we delve into her mountains of wisdom to point us in the right direction.
You Don’t Get It Until You Get It
It’s a fact of life that you cannot completely understand the hardships of another person until you go through it as well. Debra faced her own subsequent enormous life challenges and changes just as she was going through menopause. Because of this, she didn’t exercise as much and was forced to sit at a desk for hours rather than be conducting classes or training clients. Her discoveries during this time about fitness and aging have helped to shape how she now deals with clients. For me, talking to someone who understands my own challenges felt wonderful, as opposed to that twenty-something fitness trainer who told me I just needed to east less. I think I spit up on her.
Listen To Your Body
One of the key components that Debra shared is to listen to your body. There are so many voices talking to us, telling us what to do and what to try and it can become overwhelming at best! Slow down and listen to what feels good in your body and in this way you can figure out what form of exercise and diet your body is best suited to. In the same way, finding the right treatment for hormones boils down to what works for you, and what you feel most confident using. For me, I use a naturopath for my health needs, and for Debra she likes bio-identical hormone replacement therapy. The bottom line is to get researching and trying the approach that resonates with you.
Move Your Body
In the past, most of us were taught that cardio was the key, but now we are beginning to understand that resistant training is the key to fitness after 50. One of the encouraging points Debra makes, is that we need to lift weights only twice a week while doing another form of exercise on the other days in order to give our body more time to recover. She shared a story about a woman who over-did her work out, thinking this would take off the extra pounds she wanted to loose. In fact, her body needed more rest time, and a shorter, more focused exercise regime did the trick.
What About Diet?
Diet must be approached on a person to person basis. The one diet fits all perspective doesn’t work, although we sure wish it did! In reality, it takes time and attention to determine what your body needs in order to function well. For me, I use the Blood Type diet, but the Mediterranean Diet might suit someone else. The key is to get involved and see what fits. Hiring someone like Debra can help you to shorten the amount of time it takes for you to figure out diet and fitness, and can be well worth your time and money!
At the end of the interview, Deb offered examples of a daily and weekly fitness practice that is practical and do-able for the busy women. She suggests setting a time aside everyday for about 20 minutes to either lift weights, walk, do yoga, etc. The idea is to keep your body moving and hold to your appointment to take care of yourself.
To contact Debra Atkinson for an appointment click here.