I am a Menopause Wellness Educator and Dean of Varsity Menopause. I have integrated an educational background in psychology with a fitness and coaching career for over 30 years, empowering midlife women to achieve clarity and confidence beyond their wildest dreams through a series of online courses that address body-confidence and emotional regulation through research-based journaling and other techniques.
Over 30 years ago I lost four clothing sizes without dieting and have imperfectly eaten the amount of food that sustains this body size ever since through pregnancy, menopause, divorce and all the things life throws us. I know a lot about emotional eating! I’m also a grateful, recovering perfectionist.
WHAT IS EMOTIONAL EATING
We’re talking emotional health...
When Wendy Sweet, [PhD] MyMT™ Founder & Lifestyle Coach, emailed me to let me know she read, “Dammit … It IS Menopause!”, I was elated! Here’s what she said …
“I spent the week delving into your books. How amazing are you to write, not one, but two books. I was so impressed that I weaved them into an article in my newsletter that went out to 130K women around the world today. … How amazing that you did this. I’m so proud of you.”
Wait, what?! Yes, I had read that right … she shared “Dammit … It IS Menopause!” with 130,000 menopausal, perimenopausal and post-menopausal women around the world! Here is the link to the article:
Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
Sally Bartlett, ©2021
Today my brother, my son, and I met at the jetty at 7:00 a.m. to honor Dad. We were informed by the cremation organization we worked with that our dad’s ashes would be scattered two miles out from the end of the jetty. Dad was in the navy during WWII, and all his life he loved the ocean. He loved swimming and boating, and this was one of his favorite places to go to gaze at the ocean. Unfortunately, the organization refused to provide us with a window of time when we could see the boat. At first, they wouldn’t even disclose the date of the scattering, because that would’ve been a massive up-charge from the original $1,600. While we couldn’t narrow down a time, with some authentic waterworks, I was able to persuade them to at least give us a date.
It was about an hour and a half of sitting together and getting to know the brother I really have never known all that well. Death brings unexpected surprises. Death heals some things.
While the three of us sat...
I’ve covered the importance of gratitude. Gratitude leads to acceptance. Most of the time, it takes discipline for me to get into gratitude. Yet, I willingly do it because the benefit is so great. It changes me for the better on every possible level.
Lately I’ve been learning the importance of grieving. Not my favorite pastime, I’ve tried to avoid it if possible. Thank you, Big Love, for this growth opportunity. I would even venture to say that for whatever reason, this last six months has been a super-sized season of grieving losses.
As with all loss, there have been chapters ended. There have been chapters ended by the Universe and those ended by me. I’ve grieved the loss of my father, my second marriage, and even friendships. Of those chapter endings initiated by me, those took great amounts of courage to consider what was in my own best interest as the top priority.
I’ve also grieved about things that didn’t even happen within this...
I have naturally curly, frizzy, wavy red hair. I was teased relentlessly as a child. When I was about 46, I discovered the flat iron, which enables me to make my hair smooth, shiny, and straight; something I have wished for my entire life. This was before chemical straightening, which I’ll tell you about in another journal entry. I realized that I had become extremely attached to my flat iron, but when do you know if you have a problem with flat iron dependence?
On the morning of my son’s end-of-preschool music pageant, I was alone in the house, air conditioning blasting, and mega-sized ice water within reach. I was in the hair-styling “zone,” on the home stretch of blow drying—the phase just prior to ironing. Suddenly, I blew the fuse for my dryer. Annoyed, I searched the house for another operative plug. The only one in the house that worked had no mirror near it. Throwing on a bathrobe, I went outside to the circuit breaker to see what I could do. I...
I love patterns. I especially love to analyze, chart and graph anything that pertains to bodily functions. When my son was born, I had difficulty getting into a routine with breast-feeding, so I composed a table to record my son’s bodily functions regarding his feeding frequency and duration. In a way, charting relaxes and comforts me. It enables me to let go of things a little.
So naturally I tried to find a pattern to my menstrual cycles ... impossible. I would have 40-day cycles followed by 20-day cycles. I would have PMS symptoms for three weeks prior to my period, followed by a period that lasted only two days. Then it would stop for two days, then resume for two weeks. I had cramps and sore boobs before, during and after my period. I experienced anything and everything relative to my menstrual cycle except what I had experienced for the preceding adult years of my life.
Meditation/Prayer for the day:
Dear God, Give me the courage to embrace change. I feel scared...
I love poplar trees. My love for gazing at poplar leaves began long before I knew to take note of things that made my heart sing. My earliest memory of them was in my teens. There was a fancy outdoor shopping mall near my home and the entrance to the mall was lined with a huge semicircle of very tall poplars. I remember loving to watch their delicate, paper-thin leaves quake and flutter freely in all directions in the ocean breeze. It made my heart sing. I don’t really know why; I love to watch poplar leaves quaking in the breeze. It’s something about the way my brain processes visual events.
But if I had to guess, it’s something about the way the sunlight hits the leaves as they move freely. The leaves are all moving simultaneously, but independently, in endless combinations that cause a light show of color juxtaposition between the blue sky and the green leaves.
Another thing that made my heart sing was looking at paintings created using the technique known...
I love ferns. They are all over my backyard. I am fascinated by the journey of each individual “fiddlehead” of the fern. A new fiddlehead unfurls itself toward the sky to join the existing fully developed fronds to increase the collective beauty of the plant as a whole.
Each unfurling fiddlehead reminds me of a human spine as it articulates out of flexion and into a beautiful upright posture. The new fern fiddlehead represents the spine of a confident, courageous woman who is transitioning and articulating into her full upright potential in life. I am so moved by this growth process that I based my business logo on ferns.
My parallels between robust, flourishing ferns and robust, flourishing women continues. Many ferns are so hearty that with the proper care, they can withstand both winter cold and summer heat. With women, it is the same, and women need water and the right balance of sunshine and shade.
Every so often, fern fronds turn brown and they look a little...
When You’re Hot, You’re Hot…and Not in a Good Way
The next strange awareness I had was that I seemed to be warmer than usual—constantly. It was the beginning of summer, so at first, I just assumed that was the reason. But then I started to perspire in weird places, like the backs of my knees and the tops of my thighs, and at weird times, like in the evening when it wasn’t really that warm out anymore.
And now those odd women at the gym in my Cardio Dance Party classes who always demanded the overhead fans be turned on didn’t seem so odd anymore. In fact, now I would high-five them when they did so.
It was clearly time for me to do another survey. At first, I was really against holding a conversation using any “perimenopausal” vernacular. I reluctantly talked to one of my best friends, Cordelia (60), about the “F” word (hot FLASH). She assured me there would be no mistaking it if I were having a hot flash. She said it...
Another early perimenopausal (PM) awareness was that my state of PMS-ness seemed endless. We are talking sore boobs, acne and cramps, to name a few. I even entertained crazy fantasies. Any PMS woman knows what I’m talking about. Whereas I used to be a little cranky for the 3–7 days prior to my period, now I had a full-blown Murder-Death-Kill—aka MDK from Demolition Man, 1993 sci-fi action film—attitude for at least three weeks prior to the big day.
Meditation/Prayer for the day:
Dear God, What is going on? I don’t like it. Help me trust You to get me through this uncertain time.
Sally Bartlett, ©2021