Menopause & Hormones with Stephanie Shaw Ep#62

Menopause & Hormones with Stephanie Shaw Ep#62

Hey, what's up  everybody? I'm Suzi B, and this is Habits and Humor, the show where you come to learn super simple ways that you can be healthy, happy, and successful in your life. We are talking habits, we're talking quick changes. We're talking all the different things that simplify your health.

Because so many times the reason that we are frustrated or unsuccessful is because it's too complicated, it's overwhelming, and so we don't even know where to start. So today we're covering one topic that is super interesting and also super confusing for a lot of us. That is the topic of menopause, Peri/Post Menopause, all the different things, and we brought on a phenomenal guest today.

I'll let her introduce herself in just a moment, but I just want you guys to know. But you're not alone in this. There's so many of us that are going through the change. So many of us that are experiencing all the different things that go on with your body. Maybe you've already experienced it, maybe you're in it right now, or maybe you're just planning ahead for the future.

Whatever stage you are in, this podcast can help you. This episode can absolutely help you, and our phenomenal guest today is Stephanie Shaw. Welcome to the show. Stephanie. 

Thank you so much for having me. I'm excited to be here. Yes, this is gonna be super fun. So Stephanie and I connected because she is, she also has a podcast.

Tell us the name of your podcast and then tell us a little bit about you, your background, your story, and how you got to where you are.

Yeah, so podcast name is Hello Hot Flash, cuz you know we're embracing the change over here.

I love that name. It's so great.

People always go to their work life, so I'll start there.

I spent 20 years in corporate America, 10 years running a nonprofit. And then the last two of the nonprofit, I was really sick. So tingling in my extremities twitching in my eyes, rapid heartbeat, hair falling out. What else was there? There was a, so much that I ended up going to 18 different doctors, two world renowned medical facilities, and over $20,000 out of pocket.

Holy, I miss smokes. I know. My. Oldest son gra got his master's degree. I missed that party. My youngest son got graduated from high school. I missed that dinner. So there was a lot going on in this two year timeframe that no one equated to menopause. Like no one talked to me about menopause, perimenopause, no one talked to me about nutrition, nothing.

I was super convinced that I could get through whatever I was going through. Cause I didn't know what it was at the time without drugs. I didn't wanna take any type of medicine at all. So I just started reading and listening and learning and talking to people. And found out that I was just perimenopause, so not crazy or I was even being tested for things like cancer and.

It. It was a lot during those two years, but that change in my estrogen and my progesterone levels really took my body for a loop. And that's why now what I do is I support women who are menopausal, but want to get through this phase of life, drug free. 

Holy smokes. That is a crazy journey. Holy moly. So tell us like, what was the the bigger issue for you during that time? Was it harder physically or harder mentally, or was it just a combination of the both? 

It was both. It was physically because I could get up and go to work and fake it. So like my board chair and my employees knew like the rest of my board of directors, I was running a nonprofit at that time, didn't know.

Most of my funders did not know, so I could fake it until about two o'clock every day. So that was hard for me physically to be going to work. There was a two month timeframe where I couldn't drive, but it was even harder mentally because I kept every, my blood sugar levels were perfect, my EKGs were perfect.

The mri, the CAT scan, every single test came back with nothing wrong, quote unquote, wrong with me. And that led to anxiety. So I ended up in the hospital quite a well, er, quite a bit. If I would eat something and I'd be like, oh my gosh, that's probably the cause of it, having an anxiety attack, rushed to er or I wasn't taking any prescription medicine, but even like over the counter things for some issues that I was having. 

I probably took something once or twice and I have an anxiety attack. Oh no, that's going to make it worse. So it was both mentally and physically challenging. And what I always say is I'm like, how can all these smart people not have figured out that I'm a almost 50 year old woman? Woman and it's probably just unified.

So I, I have this grace in my heart for women who are going through this change, but don't recognize what's going on because it is physically and mentally tasking.

For sure. So how many of us have gone through, whether it's the change or something else in our lives where we're just faking it and pretending like nothing is wrong, and, oh, you know what?

It'll be fine. We'll just make it work. We'll just deal with it. How many of you are just dealing with it and are ready for some answers so that you don't have to just deal with it? I'm ready for some answers. Stephanie. I'm excited about this conversation whether, how do you start to see, alright, this might be the beginning of perimenopause, or this might be moving into what are, how do we know if those symptoms, those things that we're experiencing are menopause related or not?

So I honestly, I didn't know until probably a year after I got through it. But I think some of the things one of the things you need to do more than anything else is listen to your body. So if someone is telling you, oh, you can't have A migraine one day and then tingling in the extremities the next day, and then rapid heartbeat the next day.

There should be some pattern, some rhythm, your body, you know yourself. So I think that's one of the key things that women need to do is understand that it's their body. Recognize what's going on and be your own advocate so that you can move forward. Some of the things, there's 30 plus different perimenopausal symptoms, but some things you may not think about the tingling in the extremities, dry mouth.

So you might have dry mouth, you might have rapid heartbeat after you eat food or something like that. So there's a list that I provide folks that I work with, but going through a checklist of what's going on in your body and finding someone who will actually listen to you is huge.

Definitely. So you listen to your body and then you find somebody who will listen to what you are experiencing and not just explain away your symptoms. I love that. Yeah, and I agree with you. I think that not everyone has been trained to deal with this, how trained to recognize these symptoms and to realize, okay, there is something that we can do about it.

All right. So we've gotten the. To the point where we know that this is what's going on and now what, like what are some of the steps that we can do to naturally, handle this change without having to turn to drugs and medication. 

Yeah, I think lifestyle changes are huge. So when people are saying Drink more water, there's for realness behind that.

But there's also foods that are like phytoestrogen. So you can add flax seed to your meal or making sure that you're getting enough fat in your diet. A lot of women that's a generalization. Often time you may find a woman who only sees the weight gain. So you know, you're getting a little bit heavier, so I need to stop eating carbs.

I need to stop eating fats, I need to exercise more. And that's actually the opposite of what needs to happen when we're menopausal. You need to understand how your body's working, and a lot of times that requires that you eat, you exercise less. It requires that you start to move from maybe some high intensity training to maybe some more gentle yoga practices, more stretching, and then definitely you want to lift weights When you are in menopause, like you want to stay strong so your bone health will stay in good shape.

But from the foods perspective, don't stop eating food. You need to make sure that, again, you're getting comp, complex carbs, fat, good, healthy fats. And proteins at every single meal and making sure that you're eating your fruits and vegetables. It's also important that during this phase, a lot of times women don't sleep.

And but sleep is so important. So if you're eating right and you're exercising it, but you don't maybe you have a lot of stress in your life, stress on your job, stress in your home, eliminating that stress is going to help with the hot flashes and the sleepless nights and so forth. So it's like this whole, we have to work really hard as women all the time.

It's this gamut of things that you can do, but food, exercise, stress. Mindset are the key things that are going to help you and sleep are going to help you get through the transition easier.

Excellent. All right. Y'all, if you've ever worked with me, I talk about all those things all the time, and if we can turn those into habits, then when you go through this big, massive change, you've got that foundation in place that will carry you through.

So that's why I so encourage these habits and help you guys to just. Put the simple things that everybody thinks is not, they're not sexy, they're not big, they're not elaborate, they're not extreme. They're not complex, and they're not what everybody's talking about on YouTube, but they are the things that work.

And so I absolutely agree with this, that if you have those lifestyles in place, Before you go through this change, then that will absolutely help you. But if you're already in it, maybe you're already experiencing some of these symptoms, this is a great time too. That's never too late to create these lifestyle habits. Right, Stephanie?

It's not. So I was eating as a vegetarian when I first start growing through them. So I should have had it all down by then, but I didn't. But even being in the midst of it, of a two year journey, I was able to turn the tide. Now it didn't take a week or two. It took almost, probably close to a year for me to get completely healed.

Gut, mind stress, all of the stuff. But I was able to do it without medication because just like you said, I built healthy habits. I'm going to eat every day at a certain time, or in general, around a certain time, I'm gonna make sure that I'm eating, I'm going to make sure that. Exercise is part of my life.

I'm going to make sure that I start to say no to a lot of things and so I'm able to relieve stress. So building, you're exactly right. If you start to build those small habits, it, you won't feel as good as you did when you're 25. Oh, I'm sorry. You won't feel as good as quickly as you may have when you're 25.

But you will get there and you will start feeling good then I feel better now than I did when I was 25. Man, mind you, I was having a bunch of babies around that time. So true

though. I think that anybody can agree with that though. Like at any point, most of us wait until something happens, some colossal thing that forces us into this change.

Yeah. And once we make the change, we're like, oh man. This is the best I've ever felt. I did the same thing and I was just like mind blown, like I've always been a fitness person my whole life. I've been super fit and super in the exercise realm, but I didn't really dive into the deep nutrition stuff until maybe five years ago, and it's made a massive difference for me.

I absolutely am a huge believer in the holistic side of it. If you're just going all in on fitness or if you're just going all in on nutrition or just going all in on sleep and meditation, you're missing some pieces there. And so there's a lot of overwhelm with that comes with that, right Stephanie?

There's a lot of people that think, oh, I have to change everything all at once, and that's what makes us quit. So how do we overcome that?

Yeah, so I, I think you said it perfectly. You were a guest on my podcast one time and you talked about how we start to build those small habits. So I will tell you I was not the best steward of small habits, cuz I've been sick for two years.

I went in a hundred percent. I'm like, I gotta get this done. But I don't think I did it. The, I know I didn't do it the right way because I. In a different personality, it may not have been sustainable, so make small changes. If you're drinking three to four glasses of wine a week, why not drink one every other week?

If you are not exercising as much, maybe you're getting up and moving 10 minutes a day just to start building some. Healthy habits that are easy for you to implement within your day, I think will it motivates you. So 10 minute walk a day I can 99% almost guarantee that, two weeks from now you're gonna oh, I walk 20 minutes and I didn't think about it and in three weeks from now you're gonna, oh, I walk for almost an hour today and didn't think about it.

So those very do the big, think about the big stuff and then break them up into little chunks that work for you, and then they start to become more part of your,

your life. I love it and I love that you just said don't, or do the thing that's easy to implement because it's motivating for you. Yeah. So many of us wanna start with the extreme, start with the crazy thing, and then after two weeks we give up.

Because, yes, it was just too much. And so instead, ladies, do it the opposite direction. Start small and then add on as you go. That's the beauty of habits, is it gets easier and easier as you go. So you can increase the level because now you're ready for it. Awesome. Beautiful, Stephanie, I love that.

And I also like that you talked about how you know, if you're drinking four glasses of wine, Cut it back to one instead of eliminating ladies. We do not need to eliminate anything, but we do want to be in control. If you feel like those things that either the wine or the coffee or the soda or whatever it is feels like a routine, it feels like a need instead of a occasional want.

That's where, okay, maybe this is something that I could work on managing. And Stephanie was saying, don't try to take it all on at once. Do a couple of things at a time, start small and then add on as we go. So if you were to give us a recommendation of what we would start with, that would make the biggest difference in the shortest amount of time, whether we're in menopause or not, what of those aspects would you start with nutrition, fitness, stress, sleep?

Which of those would you start with? 

That's like the most difficult question anyone has asked me.

That's why we're here! I wanna dig in and get the good stuff. 

My mind says nutrition and like really basic, simple stuff. Eat like they're, I've had so many clients where they just don't eat. You need to keep your metabolism steady.

So that's what my mind's saying. But my heart is saying stress because I think when you start with the stress that's in your life and you're able to slowly eliminate. Identify, get to the root cause of what's stressing you out. Then makes practical steps on how to eliminate that stress. All the other stuff, the nutrition, the exercise, that starts to become a lot easier because sometimes if you start the nutrition and the exercise, but you're still stressed out about X, Y, Z.

Then you're going to want to eat or not exercise at night. So I guess if I had to pick one, it would say, I would say that just start working on the stress. Do 'em all at once. No, I'm just joking. Don't stress yourself out about stress, right? 

Yeah. Stress yourself out about stress... no!

Just start, actually, one of the tools that I use is to simplify the process so that health is not a stress.

So many of us are stressed about health, right? This whole room right now, every one of us would raise our hand, Hey, I'm stressed about my health, because there's so much to do. Yeah. So practice what I use in the Habitat Health program, which is 1, 2, 3 habits. Simplify it down. Pick three things to work on first.

So nutrition. If somebody's you know what, I'm gonna dive in and I'm gonna do the nutrition aspect of this. You're saying you need to make sure that you're eating enough. What? What does that look like? How much, how do we know if we're not eating enough? If we're eating too much? Is this a timeframe?

Is this a calorie count? What do you recommend for knowing if you're eating enough?

I hate counting calories. Yes. Say that. I hate being denied food. So I will start with that. And I cannot prescribe because I think everyone's journey is a little bit different. But if I had to put some numbers to it and your, I think your plate should look like 40% carbs complex cards, so you know, lots and lots of vegetables, about 40% of protein.

So a good wild caught salmon. So that you get that fatty omega-3 and so forth, and then about 20% of some type of fat should be on the plate. So 40, 40, 20 is the split rule that I look at. Also, making sure that I prescribe to the fact that I think you need to eat. Pretty much all day, but I know everyone does that a little bit differently.

Of course you have your three quote unquote main meals, but you need to be having snacks too. You should be eating a piece of fruit in between or having a, a small palm full of nuts or drinking some extra water, things like that to keep your. Metabolism steady and then let your body know that you have not left it alone.

Like when your body starts to understand, oh, it's not going to be 12 hours or 20 hours before I eat again, I can release whatever I need to release. Your body will start working for you. But when you don't eat, And you are skipping meals and so forth, your body's oh wait, gotta hold on to that cuz I know no.

When she's going to feed me again. I think you should be eating more throughout the day. Now do I do it all the time? I'll be honest, no, but I try really hard on non-work days. I'm a much

better, yeah, those, there's that pattern factor sliding in there. We generate those patterns and your brain and your body knows what to expect and Yeah.

Yeah. If you know for sure that. Every morning between eight and 9:00 AM I'm gonna get breakfast. Then your body's Hey, and you'll feel that, right? That's one beautiful thing that I've been studying a lot lately is the hormones, leptin and grillin, where you feel that hunger hormones start to work for you when it is time, when your body expects to eat.

And if you ignore that, then those hormones start to get out of balance and outta whack. And you guys know if you are experiencing menopause right now, your hormones are already outta whack. We don't wanna make it worse. I know. I definitely, I'm, I agree with you that create those patterns, set a time of day where it works for you, first of all, for your physiology.

Second of all, it just makes it easier, like if, If you've already got this plan in place, then 90% of the time you'll be eating that way, and that can be super helpful. What about on those like 10% of the time, maybe you're not feeling well that day, or if you're out of town or something comes up and you're super stressed at work, what can you do on those kind of unexpected days?

So I think if you try to do it at 100%, You are going to be more stressed out? I think I would be okay. So I always have the 80 20 kind of rule, and on those days, maybe it is eating something that you really like, but maybe in a more helpful way. So I love a banana split, but what I start to do at night is take a banana and put some almond butter and some cheer or flax seed on it and I'm like, oh, this is pretty good.

This almost takes a banana split or I'll freeze it. Getting what you want, but maybe in a more helpful way. And then every once in a while, if you just wanna eat a banana split, eat it. Do you know what I mean? So I'm, I love it. Yes.

Every once in a while, just do the thing.

Yes. Every once in a while, just do the thing, because what you're not helping yourself.

If you are always depriving yourself, then it's not fun to me. Nutrition, I love to eat. I love to eat healthy food. I love to eat all day long. But if I was always worried about that birthday party or that special holiday that I had to, deprive myself, it would stress me out during the other times.

So I say in moderation. You should feel comfortable enough that you've had enough good days that you can't eat something. That if you're in a, at an event, eat.

Awesome. I love it. Yeah. The 80 20 rule is probably eat before you go. Yeah. But eat before you go too, so you don't Way over eat, but do that.


Let's not put it all in at once. That's kinda the benefit. Like she's talking about. That's the benefit of eating multiple times throughout the day is so that when you go to eat, you don't need a huge amount of food. And smaller meals throughout the day. Are really beneficial for some people.

And if that's not for you, if you're like, I eat massive meals every time I eat, and then you're eating five or six times a day, you're way overloading yourself, then go for the other route where you just eat, breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and you have that digestive rest between meals. So like she's talking about, just personalize it to you, listen to your body.

If you feel like eating between meals helps you to be in control when you get to your next meal, awesome. If you feel like it's a hindrance, then awesome. Do what works best for you. I love that. That's the advice that you're giving us here is listen to your body and then take action that aligns with that.

Yeah it's because everyone is so different. Like identical twins have different gut health, so I may need all of that. I may need to eat every couple of hours in order for me to maintain weight, but some people they don't. I, there's physiology in involved in it, so you're exactly right. You have to understand your own body.

That's probably the number one thing that you can do for yourself is understand your body and then work towards what your body is telling you to

do. All right, so now let's cover fitness a little bit. I know we talked about sometimes you have to cut back on how much you're exercising. How do we know that one?

How do we know if we're doing too much or not enough?

So that, again is somewhat personal, but I also, when you start to go through menopause, you'll often find that no matter how hard you're working out, you can't lose the weight or you are always feeling exhausted instead of energized by exercising.

At that point, I would take a check. I would sit back and actually think, okay, every time I do this extreme workout, I'm like needing four days to recover. I'm super tired. It may be time for you to start pulling back at that point. That, again, that's, so that's what I would do. I would just think about how that's actually impacting your day and then pull, don't stop, but pull back and or change, if you're running 10 miles a day, which I have a relative that actually runs about five, five to 10 miles most days.

So we were like with her, I was like, let's go back to three to five miles, just so she's not stopping what she's doing. She's just decreasing. So if you're doing super high intensity, Five days a week, maybe you wanna do a one or two day high intensity workout. But again, recognizing what's going on in your body because as we age, those high intensity workouts can start to work against us.

That's good to know. And the other thing is like we, like you just said, change it. Don't stop, but just change it. So if you're like, Hey, high intensity worked for me five days a week for a long time, maybe let's keep that for two days a week. But that doesn't mean you only work out two days a week.

That means that you do that two days a week and you walk two days a week and you do yoga one day a week. So fill that in with something else. Intentional movement during menopause, especially. It's going to be so incredibly crucial. You don't want to have days of just total rest because that's going to zap your energy and then you're gonna have that energy gap.

You've experienced that where you just, those times where you're not exercising actually makes it harder to start again because of that energy. Sap. Yeah.

And yeah, that yes. Exactly what you said. That's all super, super important. And I mentioned it earlier, but as we age because the estrogen levels drop.

Osteoporosis can take place. So it's super important that in order that we keep good, healthy bones, that we are lifting weights as we age too. I'm not saying you need to, bench press 200 pounds, but five pounds, two pounds, whatever it is, make sure that you're lifting weight as part of your normal exercise routine as well.

Agreed, definitely, especially for this particular age group. I always recommend for my clients between eight and 20 repetitions. If you cannot lift eight, you're probably lifting too heavy. If you can lift more than 20, you're probably lifting too light. So those of you that are like, ah, I wanna start a fitness re or I wanna start a weightlifting routine, I don't know where to start, that's a good range.

Kind of stay in that eight to 20 range. That would be my recommendation. What are your thoughts on that, Stephanie? I don't do fitness that much, so I don't, I think every, all of my fitness design is around my own lifestyle. Perfect. And I usually partner with someone on that side so in my mind I'm thinking, oh, that's really good advice I need.

Good. That's good. That's why we were collaborating here. We do different things. Yes. Okay. So the last question I wanna ask is about sleep. What about if we just can't sleep? Maybe we're having those hot flashes that are keeping us up, or. We just don't feel restful and we're, our brains are going crazy at night.

How do we fall asleep? And then if we're waking up multiple times in the night, how do we stay asleep?

So I would watch what you eat. You're eating at night, and if you're in the habit of drinking wine because you think that it's going to relax you and make you go to sleep or drinking some type of alcohol, I would challenge you not to do that after work for a week or two and see how that will impact you, because while you think that it is, Supporting you.

It's not, it's causing the wake up because there's a lot of sugar involved in the alcohol. And it is just not settling right with your body. So I would, that's one thing that I would do. And then some of the other things like, making sure your room is dark enough, making sure your room is cool enough turning off your phone or not having your phone right by your bed at night.

Cool pajamas work well for you as well when as we start to age. I also use a diffuse I used to use a diffuser and I'll have lavender diffusing or I would also use some a carrier oil, I couldn't think of that big word, carrier oil, like coconut oil or almond oil, and put a drop of Lavender in there.

And then I would give myself a foot massage at night and that helped me sleep as well. But back to, remember you said the one thing that you should handle, and I said stress. Stress is going to keep you awake at night as well. Stress in your drop in your hormonal levels. So you need to combat that stress if you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night.

Cause if you think about it when you're waking up, you're probably like, Oh my gosh, I gotta do this at work and all the kids need to go here and all that stuff. So once you start to deal with all of that stuff, that'll help you with sleep as well. Beautiful. Okay. We're de-stressing. We're working out the right amount.

We are working on nutrition, we're doing all the right things. What if we're still gaining weight? What could be the culprit here? Some of us are like, Hey, we've got all of these things in place and I'm still gaining weight now that I never gained previously. What's up with that? Any insights on that?

I, again not being a physician, I don't know, but I'm pro if you are.

Seriously working with a coach, doing everything you need to do and you're still gaining weight. You may want to talk to your primary care physician or your gynecologist to see if there's anything else going on. If you're perimenopausal, there's a test called f s H that they can take and determine if you're perimenopausal.

And you can also ask your primary, your gynecologist to test your estrogen levels as well, because sometimes there may be some type of. Additional underlying cause for you not to be able to lose the weight.

Awesome. Yeah. So if you are, have all these systems in place, these are the things guys.

These are the answers. If you're drinking the water, if you're doing the sleep, got your veggies, you're eating the right amount of nutrition, you are working out consistently. If you're doing those things and you're still gaining weight, get some help. Talk to somebody. Maybe you're not working with a coach, maybe you're not working with a nutritionist or somebody like that.

Work there first and see, okay, maybe there are some gaps in the system. Maybe I think that I'm eating better than I actually am, but, or maybe I think that I'm working out at a level that really is right for me, but it really is detrimental. Work with somebody who knows find, reach out to Stephanie and say, Hey, I would really love you to just take a deep dive into my nutrition and look at this for a couple of weeks, or reach out to me and just say, Hey, I would really love you to analyze my fitness routine, or get into Habitat Health and advertise these things.

That is exactly what we do. We start with simple habits that create the foundation for everything else you do, and we turn 'em into habits so that you can be consistent. Consistency is the key to all of these different things. Alright, Stephanie, this was beautiful. Tell us a little bit about what you do and what you're working on right now and where people can reach out to you.

Oh sure. So I am, again, I help women who are going through menopause get through the change drug free. So I have an online course called Mastering Menopause self-paced. And I also do a weekly podcast called Hello Hot Flash, and it's everywhere. So Apple, Spotify, Google, Amazon, and you can listen to that.

I try my best to get Excellent folks on there, like Suzi, who can speak to you in regards to what's going on as it relates to hormones. So ob GYNs functional medicine doctors and so forth. And I'm just super, super passionate about not having any other woman have to go to 18 different doctors.

So I do some one-on-one coaching with folks as well. You can find me at Hello Hot Flash everywhere. Yep. Hello, hot Flash on Instagram or anywhere else, and you guys gotta listen to that podcast. It's great. I love your show, Stephanie. You do a fabulous job. Thank you. All right, so if you are joining us live, go ahead and stay here with us.

If you're watching us or listening later, know that you can join the show live because at the end of the show we do a live q and a session. So right now we're gonna go ahead and close the recording. We're gonna close the the broadcast and just open up to the room to the people who are here. So if you are here, stay here.

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