In the weeks following the crying jag episode, I exhibited several other traits that were abnormal for me. I misplaced my keys. Except for one time at age 16 when I locked my car keys in the trunk, I am not the key-losing type. On top of that, I left the house without my purse more than once. This is SO not me, and what’s more, I was on a trip to purchase one of my favorite things—frozen yogurt. I do not think I have ever left home without my purse prior to this time . . . EVER!
Meditation/Prayer for the day:
Dear God, What is going on with me? Why am I doing all these things that are so out of character for me? Please give me patience and self-compassion as I embrace and explore this new place in my life ... gentle, gentle.
Sally Bartlett, ©2021
Looking back, my first realization that something unfamiliar was going on with me was when I was about 45 years old. I was crying more than my usual PMS (premenstrual syndrome) amount … sobbing. I called my friend Cordelia, saying, “I don’t know why I keep crying so much today. I don’t feel like myself.”
What was happening to me?
I was in the midst of choosing which kindergarten to send our son to in seven months. I know that’s big, but the volume of tears that were flooding my ducts just didn’t seem to match the intensity of the circumstance. I felt this strange urge to call my son’s preschool teacher to discuss my options. From the phone I told her, between sobs, I wanted to speak to her, and asked if she was available. I had never cried in front of her, so she probably thought I was dying or something.
She offered to see me right away. When I arrived at her classroom, the floodgates were open. This volume of crying alone was...
The Varsity Menopause Quiz
I’m so happy you found your way here—to a community of women who have experienced menopause (and yes, survived all the emotions, physical symptoms, ups and downs) and have made a decision to make it a Varsity Menopause experience.
But, how do you know if this is the right place for you? And … is it even menopause anyway? I’ve put together a quick YES/NO quiz to help you determine if what you’re experiencing is a hormonal shift, perimenopause or menopause, and if this community is right for you.
Around the age of 10, my mother put me on my first diet. She had only the best of intentions. But, looking back, I realized that my weight had made her uncomfortable. I had been fine with it. The body that made her uncomfortable was functioning just as it needed to be in preparation for the onset of puberty.
Years later, I have made peace with my cherished anorexic mom, knowing that she loved me as much as a mother could love a child, and was merely passing on what was taught to her at my age. I am grateful for having the right mom for me.
Nonetheless, this began my 14-year spiral deep into the world of what I refer to as “diet mentality,” which included endless dieting accompanied by dangerously rapid weight fluctuation and progressive weight gain, perfectionism, compulsive exercising, people-pleasing and negative self-talk in an effort to feel good enough and thin enough to be lovable. You name it, there was not a diet I hadn’t tried between 1969 and 1984....
Advice on what we “should” be eating abounds. Eat only protein. Fast intermittently. Be vegan. Eat high fat. How does one decide? As someone who has been maintaining a 35-pound weight loss for more than 30 years—without dieting—I am keenly aware of food talk and recommendations about eating. Working in the Wellness and Fitness field, I hear talk about diets almost daily. However, I have not participated in a fad diet for 35+ years. The philosophy that enabled me to lose weight and keep it off has always been to eat all things in moderation.
Still, my observations about the nutrition mindsets of my clients is that they continue to focus on “what food plan is the current rage” and “which food plan offers the quickest results.” Meanwhile, current scientific research shows that high-fat, high-protein diets are not the best option for many adults over 50; especially menopausal women.
Women’s Healthy Aging Researcher,...
Mindfulness. We hear the word everywhere these days. Physical Therapists recommend it. Psychologists recommend it. Places of worship recommend it. It must be important. It must be helpful. But how does one achieve it?
Breakdown: In its simplest form, mindfulness is tuning in to thoughts and feelings one experiences in his/her immediate environment. This can be accomplished in a multitude of ways.
Today’s focus is on one simple mindfulness technique to help you live in the present: Gratitude. Using the tool of gratitude takes some practice. Here are two examples of ways to incorporate it into your day.
Upon waking, rather than checking your phone, try thinking of 3 things you are grateful for. In the beginning, this may be difficult. Let it be okay to list very basic things, such as vision, the ability to walk, etc. With perseverance, it will get easier, and become a positive spiral.
Dammit … It IS Menopause! I was SO hoping it was just a hangnail or something. This was my first response when the menopause symptoms began at age 45. Apparently book titles are super important. Who knew? This being my first book, I had no idea. Never gave it much thought. Having said that, I’d like to give some backstory of my journey, how and why I wrote “Dammit … It IS Menopause!”, and how the book got its name.
It Began with PIES—The Secret to Loving My Body at Any Weight
My original book title was “How to Avoid Basketball Stomach.” Why? I have maintained a 35-lb. weight loss without dieting for more than 30 years. That said, when I began my perimenopausal journey in my mid-40s, my biggest fear was gaining a disproportionate amount of weight in my midsection. My thinking was, “I have spent ten years loving living in this body. I’ll be damned if I’m gonna lose it now.”
I consider myself a former...
Mindfulness. Mind/Body. Intentionality. Mindful Eating. Body Scanning. Meditation. We hear these terms everywhere these days. Sources continue to extoll their benefits. So, we are probably all in agreement that mindfulness is a good thing. But how can you work it into your already jam-packed schedule? And which discipline is right for you? Pondering these choices can actually be so overwhelming that one becomes even MORE stressed, and less mindful!
Diaphragmatic breathing is a simple mindfulness activity that not only combines breath and posture awareness but can also help reduce back pain. Plus, you can do it while walking.
Diaphragm tightness can lead to low back tightness and pain. Try this diaphragmatic breathing technique to help ease back pain and improve posture.
How do we age gracefully and successfully when we are faced with isolation, loneliness and depression? In this radio interview with coach and sport therapist, Ellayne Birbeth, we discuss the challenges menopausal women experience and what we can do as a community to support each other during this pivotal point in our lives. Listen to our 30-minute discussion, here.
Topics and questions we touched on:
During the same season of book title contemplation, my son graduated from high school and prepared to leave home for college. I knew my job title of 18 years was about to shift radically, but I had no idea what it would be shifting to.
I knew it would be a challenge for me to pivot from my coveted role as single mother of an only child. I knew there would be a few extra hours in the day to spend on things other than parenting. I was more than a little nervous about what that was going to look like. The heat was on to prepare myself for my new life in a new role.
I took the challenge head-on and began listening intently to every entrepreneurial podcast I could find. Per my usual intense self-diagnosed, gently-OCD style, I took notes and created folders corresponding to podcasters who inspired me most. Gradually, a vision for a scaled version of my existing coaching practice took shape. There was a mixture of feelings ranging from paralyzing fear to excited, unknown...