Fitness & Nutrition Awards 2022

8 GHP Fitness & Nutrition Awards 2022 As Kez previously touched on, a report tells us that “progesterone has sleep promoting effects, so during parts of the cycle where progesterone is increased, such as after ovulation, women can feel more sleepy. “Then when progesterone reduces, towards the end of the luteal phase, and before menstruation starts, sleep problems can occur. Oestrogen can also promote sleep and most women who have trouble with sleep at different parts of their menstrual cycle, have problems just before and after the start of menstruation, with 30% of women reporting disturbed sleep during menstruation and 23% reporting disturbed sleep in the week prior to menstruation.” Lastly, exercise can be altered to suit the different segments of our cycles – so that we can achieve optimum results. Whether our goal is to lose weight, tone up, or keep our hearts healthy, the place we are in our menstrual cycle can have a huge impact on our energy levels and results. When it comes to menopause, food, sleep, rest, and exercise is still of utmost importance for not just ‘dealing with it’, but for thriving and feeling good. We are finding that our wisdom is increasing over time due to the light being shone upon the subject of menopause and, since the dawn of time, as a collective, a huge portion of the population finds themselves experiencing menopause at some point – so why should we sweep the subject to the side? The tricky part of menopause is the decline of certain hormones within the body as we cease to have the cycles we once had. Whilst oestrogen levels massively drop, FSH and LH levels continue to increase within the body. As our ovaries become less responsive to the hormones released by the pituitary gland in the brain, we have higher levels of FSH and LH, but not oestrogen and progesterone. During our cycles before the menopause, oestrogen and progesterone are usually in harmony with one another however, throughout the perimenopause and beyond, our hormone levels drastically change. As we age, we notice our periods become more or less frequent and alter in length, as well as flow. These fluctuations, alongside other symptoms such as hot flushes, high blood pressure, and more, can cause us to feel unsteady and low in confidence. We may even feel like we are becoming out of touch with our empowered selves. Author of Second Spring: The Self-care Guide to Menopause, Kate Codrington , showcases the many solutions and self-care tips that can ease us throughout this period in our lives. Kate offers insight into the psychological phases of menopause so that we can feel grounded and more accepting of our bodies as we grow to experience the menopause. Kate shares some words of wisdom on why it is so crucial for us to learn about the menopause, for our mental health. She says, “It’s really important to learn about menopause because our society devalues the power of rites of passage. We have an enormous resource and strength in the menstrual cycle in terms of how we come into our power – particularly in the second half.” She makes a tangible connection between the premenstrual phase and the perimenopause by describing it as our “inner autumn”, where we find ourselves slowing down and experiencing the decline of energy as well as hormones. She continues, “In these times, we are denigrated in general and, because we live in a misogynistic society, we also denigrate ourselves. And in doing this, we lose connection with ourselves and our truth.” Kate continues, “This is the part where women are called moody, spiteful, out of control. And, if you have a society that tells you you’re moody, your mental health will suffer. It is disempowering. However, these autumnal times are when we actually come into our power.” The power that Kate talks of is the control we have over what we choose to have for ourselves. She shares, “We are feeling the gap between the way we have been treated and what we actually deserve. By understanding about the rite of passage of the perimenopause and menopause, we are inviting ourselves to come back to our power. We are inviting ourselves to let go of the shackles that do not serve us – however that manifests in terms of work or relationships.” Lastly, Kate empowers people to stay true to what they value, and what values them. She believes that understanding our cycles is where our true power lies. “All the things that have held us back come up, and we are invited to let them go, move on, and feel more free – and even more free when postmenopausal. The question is not “how do I manage?” but, “how do I want to live and what do I need to do to live a powerful, creative, vibrant second cycle of my life?”” For further reading on the subjects, Alexandra Pope and Sjanie Hugo Wurlitzer provide us with an empowering spiritual journey through our menstrual cycle with Wild Power. This book helps us to “heal, find balance, and reconnect to our emotions. Power lies in the rhythm of the menstrual cycle.” It encourages us to “connect with the body on a deeper level to find healing, balance, and wholeness.” In the Flo by Alisa Vitti offers a deep insight into our hormonal balances, imbalances, and their translation from brain chemicals to physiological and psychological side effects. Showcasing her knowledge for the subject, Alisa shares some of the most vital information available, so that we can get a deeper understanding of our bodies throughout these cyclical, biological patterns. With a mixture of scientific research into the human body and mind, and the more spiritual and philosophical information that is readily available, we can understand and derive greater meaning from our cycles. No matter our age or gender identity, there’s something to be said about the power of our cycles – and we can all benefit from learning more. By Sofi Bajor