How To Beat the Over 40 Symptoms: Staying Young While Perimenopausal

Posted on Posted in Being Mom, perimenopause, Save Money, stay at home moms, Subscribe & Save, working mother

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Much like most blogs, this blog contains affiliate links. I do not mention products that I don’t personally consume (or give to my family).  For more information, please visit my Privacy Policy & Disclaimer page. Thanks for reading!   **This should be obvious, but I am not a doctor.  Please check with your personal medical provider, before taking something you are unfamiliar with. Every person is different, this post is a reference of what has worked and is still working for me.  Hopefully, the ideas (and possibly products) can help you too.
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I’m 40!

OK, this is an embarrassing story; let me start with that.  It has taken me six months to write this post, because the things I’m about to tell you aren’t things I’m proud of.  However, I’ve wanted to share this story with my readers, because, in the end we’re all human, and it’s possible I may help a fellow mom out there to find some anti-aging answers.

So, here goes nothing.  I turned 40 last March (2017).  As with most milestone birthdays, the lead up to this birthday was wrought with anxiety about how “getting old” was going to change my life.  Long-story short, my birthday came, and I survived it.  In fact, it was quite touching, because some great friends came out to help me celebrate.  (Yay!  Mom Friends!)

The Workout

Shortly after I turned 40, I decided that it was time that I got my life and body back in shape.  (You know, now that I was a grown up, I should start acting like one…lol!)  So, I joined some of my friends for a 5:30 a.m. cross-fit workout session a couple times a week.  (In addition, I did an at-home workout on a couple of other days.)  

The crossfit workout sessions were INTENSE.  The trainers favorite word was “burpee!”  For those of you who know what a burpee is, you understand the level of cra cra within these workouts.  For those of you who don’t, be happy you don’t.  Jokes aside, these workouts were tough for me, but I was committed to getting in better shape.  So, I went to these workouts, did my at-home routines, and started eating a low-calorie diet.  I was committed to success and I was pretty proud of that commitment.  I went week after week and I enjoyed it.

Can you guess what happened? 

If you guessed that I lost a ton of weight and turned into a 20-something beauty, you’re wrong.  Dead wrong.  Just the opposite happened.  After about a month and a half of working so hard I could puke, I started weighing myself almost daily.  I didn’t lose any weight; in fact, I gained weight.  The more weight I gained, the more I worked out and the less I ate. (Cue the After School Special Music – lol!  Only those of us over 40 got that reference…)

Bottom line:  I was miserable. 

The Over 40 Symptoms

“Yay!  I’m forty, and I’m turning into a giant whale,” I thought.  Shortly into my weight-gain cycle, I began to have headaches, fatigue, dizziness, and a strange “fogginess” that’s really hard for me to explain.  It felt like I couldn’t exactly concentrate on anything.  It was a really weird sensation.  I quickly became extremely irritable and felt very sure that I could win in a bar fight, if one presented itself to me.  (Thank God I don’t frequent bars and that fight never occurred!) 

To tell the truth here, I felt like I had teenage angst, which wasn’t a feeling that I had had in over two decades.  In addition to everything else, during my workouts, I felt like I couldn’t reach my potential.  I couldn’t run full speed, or find the gumption to push up one more time, or do that last rep.  I couldn’t even stay awake for an entire day.  I had to take a least one nap, if not two, to get through the day.  It wasn’t in me, and I had no idea what had happened to me.  

Nothing Left To Give

The thing was, I know it used to be in me; I’d done all of these things thousands of times before.  I’m no stranger to pushing harder when you have nothing left to give.  However, in these moments, it wasn’t in me and it scared the shit out of me. 

Who was I?  Was this it?  Was I doomed to be a forever old person who was incapable of physical challenges?  Was I ever going to be able to concentrate again?  Questions like these plagued me every day.  I was scared to tell anyone about what was going on with me.  My family has enough worries that I didn’t want to pile another one on top.  Besides, who the heck knew what was going on?  It could have been a brain tumor, some crazy muscle eating disease, or even worse.  Who knew? 

I was not just depressed; I was defeated.  

I carried these concerns (and my spare tire) around for weeks.  After starting the workout that was going to change my life, I gained a total of 15 extra pounds.  (You know what’s great?  When your youngest child is in Kindergarten, and you weigh what you did when you were pregnant with him.  Oh yeah, that’s my fav!)  I carried all of my concerns and torment around until I burst right in front of my husband. 

The Man With the Plan

Here’s what you need to know about my husband.  He’s not the soft and squishy sort.  He’s a man with a plan and see almost all things in black and white.  When I spilled the beans about what had been going on with me, he was speechless.  This was the first time in our 17 year relationship that he wasn’t able to “fix” the problem immediately.   He’s rational, so when I’ve had trouble losing weight in the past, he’s been quick to point out that ice cream might not be the best food choice for someone who plans to shed a few pounds.  However, this time he knew that something else was going on. 

Training for…

Lucky me, my husband has been training, since the day I met him.  (Ladies, I can’t tell you what he’s training for, maybe one day he’ll reveal it to me…lol!)  He likes to workout, and he pays careful attention to his diet.  (Most of the time, I mean, obviously he cheats and eats normal stuff like pizza and wings sometimes too.)  The point is he has been a great resource to me.  Honestly, I like to eat well and to exercise, but I don’t have some master plan in my head about what workouts to do.  He just hands me a workout and I do it.  Easy peasy. 

Stop Everything!

So now that you know a bit more about my husband, and how I revealed these VERY embarrassing symptoms to him, you have to know that he was very supportive of me.  While I don’t have a master workout plan and research tools about training, he does.  After he consoled me for a bit, and then he got to work immediately.  He told me to stop everything that I had been doing and to just relax and have a good dinner.  After some research, that very night he told me that I needed to quit going to the 5:30 a.m. workout session.  

Was He Crazy?!?

At first, I refused.  How was stopping a workout going to help me to lose weight?  After some conversation, which he backed up with strong literature.  He told me that I had worked my body into a state of hormonal shock. 

There it was, ladies. I was old. 

(Swallow that pill!) 

Actually, once I heard it, it made sense.  I had deprived my body of the things it needs to function correctly (with my low calorie diet).  I also depleted my body of the resources that it had in storage (with my 5:30 a.m. crazy-town workout).  Also, because of that very workout, I wasn’t getting the sleep I needed in order for my body to recover from those workouts. 

Truth Be Told

I had not been very kind to myself since I turned the big 4-0.  What’s more, my body started to change, and I didn’t even realize it.  WTF; it took my husband telling me, “I think you might be perimenopausal,” for me to even start thinking about the changing needs of my body.  

Time to Get to Work

So, after coming to terms with becoming perimenopausal, I listened to my husband and I took a break.  I ate what I wanted to and I got some sleep.  After a week or so, I felt a ton better.  I wasn’t totally normal, but at least I wasn’t on the edge of a break down any longer.

During the course of my week off, I started to stock my cupboards with an arsenal of supplements.  (Each of these supplements is listed below, with an explanation of why I take each one of them.)

After I took some time off, I joined our local Planet Fitness.  It was the best decision I have ever made regarding doing workouts.  For only $10 a month, I can visit the gym unlimited times (and it doesn’t have to be at 5:30 a.m.!).  (I don’t think I’ll ever see a 5:30 a.m. workout again in my lifetime.)

If you end up joining your local Planet Fitness, figure out how to use the the 30-Minute Workout room.  This room allows you to get a full-body workout and a good sweat in just 30 minutes!  Can you say, “Awesomesauce?!?”

I have been going to Planet Fitness for a couple of months now and I just love it!  It is always clean, the employees are wonderful, there are no waits for equipment, free WiFi, and so much more.

As you could probably tell, once I started to take the supplements that I list below and got myself on a regular schedule for workouts, I started to feel better.  I can say that all of my “symptoms” have since subsided.  Truthfully, I haven’t felt this great in years.  Now that you know about my workouts, let me tell you about the amazing list of supplements I take.

Supplements That Combat the Over 40 Symptoms

Here are a list of the supplements that I take and why I take them.  It is a long list, I know, but quite honestly, I’m too afraid to stop any of them for fear that I’ve found some “secret formula.”  These supplements work for me, so that’s all the motivation I need to keep using them.  

REMINDER:  * Please be careful with this and all supplements if you are pregnant, nursing, or thinking about getting pregnant.  Check with your doctor first for the best advice regarding all supplements.

1) The Multi-Vitamin – Opti-Women

I used to be one of those gummy vitamin people.  Truth be told, I’m not a pill person.  Historically, I have a fear of commitment and taking pills everyday seemed like a commitment.  So, I stayed away from it. 

However, since I’ve gotten my hormones back on track, I take two of these a day.  (In addition to the multitude of supplements I have listed below.)  I still might have that fear of commitment, but my fear of aging far outweighs it.  Down the pills go!

In terms of taking a multivitamin, I selected this one because of the great reviews.  Also, at this point in my life, having a multivitamin that’s formulated for women seemed appropriate.  In his blog, Dr. Whitaker, addresses 20 Little-Known Reasons To Take a Daily Multivitamin.  Among the reasons are to boost energy levels, to improve short-term memory, to improve your skin, to boost mood, and to manage stress.  S-O-L-D!

====> Get the Opti-Women Multivitamin on Amazon HERE! 

2) Omega 3 (Fish Oil)

In addition to the multivitamin, I take an Omega 3 Fish Oil supplements three times a day.  Bottom line, I take this supplement in order to protect my heart.  I’ll spare you the details here, but I have had personal experiences that make me want to keep things working well  in the heart department.  While I don’t have high blood pressure, I have experienced chest pains and I’d rather they not turn into a heart attack some day.

According to a WebMD article, Omega-3 Fish Oil Supplements for Heart Disease, an Omega 3 supplement, has been shown to “lower blood pressure, reduce triglycerides, slow the development of plaque in the arteries, reduce the chance of abnormal heart rhythm, reduce the likelihood of heart attack and stroke; and lessen the chance of sudden cardiac death in people with heart disease.”  As a person who wants to protect her heart, taking this supplement was an easy choice.

====> Get the Omega 3 Fish Oil Supplement on Amazon HERE!

3) Triple Magnesium Complex

Since I felt confident that the multivitamin and Omega 3 Fish Oil supplement were providing a fair level of protection of my overall health, I needed to find something that would help my attitude.  To do this, I take 400 mg of Triple magnesium complex a day.  Given the modern diet, most people are magnesium deficient.  Beyond that, I feel like the magnesium helps with my attitude.

I truly believe that this supplement keeps me from falling off the rails again.  After I started to take this, the teenage angst I described above has abated.  (I’m not the only one who feels this way.  Many of my girl friends have said the same thing.)  

According to an article list on Newsmax.com titled, Top 5 Health Benefits of Magnesium, “Women of all ages benefit immensely from the intake of magnesium. Besides keeping osteoporosis at bay, magnesium health benefits in women include relief from symptoms of menopause and premenstrual syndrome (PMS). It also minimizes the risk of premature labor.”

====> Get the Triple Magnesium Complex on Amazon HERE!

 4) CLA – Conjugated Linoleic Acid

I take 2000 mg of CLA each day and I won’t stop taking this supplement until someone makes me.  I find that I am able to lose weight, while I take this.  If I take a few days off, like I did a few times over the summer, the weight loss stops and the weight gain begins.  Uh, nuf said.  I will NEVER stop taking this supplement!

In addition to helping prime the body for weight loss, CLA is also beneficial to the body for other reasons.  According to the LIVESTRONG article, Women’s CLA Dosage for Weight Loss, “Consumption of CLA provides additional benefits outside of weight loss. The benefits include prevention against several types of cancers, such as breast, colon and lung cancers. ”

====> Get the CLA Supplement on Amazon HERE!

5) Vitamin D3

As great as it feels to lose weight, I also feel that it is important to keep my mood lifted, so I take 5000 IUs of Vitamin D3 once a day.  I live in western New York, and it’s usually gray here for 6 to 8 months straight.  Everyone I know who takes supplements takes this one.  We all need it to keep from going all The Shining on everyone. LOL!

As stated in the Women’s Health Magazine article, 8 Signs You Need To Be Getting More Vitamin D, “The benefits of vitamin D, backed up by tons of research, ring loud and clear: strong bones, improved mood, even more efficient weight loss.”  Again, these are all great things, I’m on board with Vitamin D!

====> Get the Vitamin D3 Supplement on Amazon HERE!

6) Collogan

Another supplement that I have been taking is Super Collagen C.

I take 4000 mg a day of this supplement.  (This is about 2000 mg under the recommended dosage; I usually forget to take an evening dose of this 2 pills, 3 times a day, so I truly average 4000 mg a day.  I take Collagen to help replace the natural Collagen that is naturally depleting from my body as I age.    Although this might seem like a lot of this supplement, I find that this one is easy on my stomach, so taking 4 pills is really no big deal.

====> Get the Super Collagen C on Amazon HERE!

7) Evening Primrose Oil

In addition to protecting body and skin with Collagen, I’ve also found that the healing effects of Evening Primrose Oil is essential.

I take 1300 mg of this supplement daily.  I have been taking this for years under the advisement of my OB/GYN.  Before and after my first pregnancy, I had issues with my cycle.  She suggested that I take this.  It worked wonders on my cycle issues, so I’ve never stopped taking it.

====> Get the Evening Primrose Oil on Amazon HERE!

8) Ashwagandha

The last capsule supplement I take is Ashwagandha.  I take 1200 mgs of Ashwagandha once a day.  This supplement helps the body relieve stress and restlessness.  This is the newest supplement that I’ve started to take.  It’s funny, because once I started telling friends about it; I realized that many of my friends already knew about it!  I guess we’re all looking for ways to reduce stress.  😉

* Please be careful with this and all supplements if you are pregnant, nursing, or thinking about getting pregnant.  Check with your doctor first for the best advice regarding this supplement.

====> Get the Ashwagandha Amazon HERE!

9) Green Superfood Powder

After I take all of the above mentioned pills, I have a mid afternoon Green Drink to make sure I’m getting all of the nutrients I need every day.

I take 1 scoop of this supplement once a daily.  I usually take it in the early afternoon with a scoop of Maca Root.  I mix both of them up with a cup of water and drink it quickly.  I’m not going to lie to you; it tastes terrible.  I get the natural flavor, because I’m too cheap to try the chocolate or berry flavors and hate them.   I take this supplement to make sure my body is getting all of the vitamins I should be getting in a day.

====> Get the Perfect Food Green Superfood on Amazon HERE

10) Daily Maca Plus for Women

Speaking of powder drink mixes.  I take one scoop of this a day for the Maca Root and Chaste Tree Berry in this supplement.  These supplements are considered essential for hormonal balance for women who are perimenopausal.

I mix a school of this with the Green Powder listed above.  Again, it tastes terrible, but I’m confident that the positive effects far outweigh the bad taste.

* Please be careful with this and all supplements if you are pregnant, nursing, or thinking about getting pregnant.  Check with your doctor first for the best advice regarding this supplement.

====> Get the Daily Maca Plus for Women on Amazon HERE

Don’t Forget: Water! Water! Water!  

Maybe this goes without saying, but make sure you are getting enough hydration.  I know this sounds crazy, but my first impulse when I’m trying to lose weight is to cut back on eating AND drinking.  Well, that may have worked when I was an adolescent, but now it just doesn’t.  

Give yourself the opportunity to drink water whenever you can.  It aids with recovery from your workouts, and it helps to flush toxins out of your body.  I’m not sure if you are there yet, but I have “to go” constantly.  I’ve just embraced it.  I use the restroom whenever and where ever I can.  It’s part of my life now.  Oh well, I don’t sweat it; it just is what it is.  

If you are having trouble getting your water drink on, why not get yourself a snazzy water bottle to help.

What Works for You?

While this is my list, I’m always eager to hear about what works for everyone else.  Do you have a supplement that you can’t live without?  Please share your ideas in the comments below! 🙂

 

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