I was recently showing my dentist a photo of me with my baby, and she asked who the woman was holding the baby - I didn’t understand - she said again - who’s that teenager? I was like - lady - that’s me - hair up and no makeup! She was shocked and so was I. I mean, I know my biological age is much younger than my chronological age, but I guess I didn’t realize how young I look and feel compared to other women my own age.
With so many things disrupting our hormonal FLO, we’re increasingly at risk for aging too fast from the inside out. Added to this is the issue that you start to make less hormones around age 35. This lowered concentration of hormones is a big driver of the aging process. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could slow this down somehow? So we could enjoy our young sexy trim bodies, our firm skin, our hot sex drive, our vibrant energy levels, and our optimal fertility longer?
I want to share my secrets to turning on your inner fountain of youth like me. We absolutely can thankfully because hormones are so responsive to food therapy.
This process is perimenopause and it’s an important biological shift that is far less discussed than menopause itself. This means few women realize it’s happening to them, even when they’re suffering with the consequences.
It’s critical to connect the dots with your new symptoms and the beginning of this process so you take the right steps to eliminate your symptoms and slow down the hormonal aging process.
You go along for years with your hormones acting one way, and then seemingly suddenly things start changing and we don’t know it’s perimenopause. I see so many women spending time, money and effort trying to cure their newly heavy periods or missing periods, sleeplessness, sudden weight gain, moodiness, depression...with all kinds of detoxes and products and fixes and medications - and none of those things really work, because they don’t admit and address the root cause - shifting hormones. We try and spot treat each new problem, without realizing it’s all connected and if we eat foods that help our body make more hormones, our symptoms can clear up on their own.
Learning how to tackle this hormonal inflection point head on will make it seamless and you’ll protect yourself from all the inflammatory diseases that can mar post-menopausal life for women who let their hormonal imbalances go untreated.
I feel fine/ I’m on the pill/ I want to have babies - maybe it’s not happening to me?
Perimenopause is the slow process of your pituitary gland making more and more FSH to cause you eventually after a decade or so to stop ovulating permanently. That’s the whole purpose of this transition - after that your period stops and you enter the post-menopausal chapter of your life.
This should be a slow process, 10-15 years long, with minimal symptoms, but the problem is it’s happening much more quickly for women these days at younger ages. In fact, Premature Ovarian Failure is on the rise for this very reason.
Going through this process too quickly is a form of premature aging and it means your fertile window closes sooner, your libido can evaporate, metabolism stall, and you can find yourself feeling like you have landed in a body you don’t recognize. The truth is however, that just like I keep telling you that PMS is a hormonal imbalance that you’re not meant to have, very symptomatic perimenopause is also not normal and treatable with food.
The stereotypical symptoms you hear about only come when your other hormones get off balance due to diet.
This should concern you because you are likely not eating for your FLO, if you are on the pill to manage hormonal imbalance already, you will feel the impact pretty dramatically, and if you want to have children like me in your late 30’s, then ignoring this puts your fertility at risk by aging you prematurely. Any woman going through IVF knows high FSH levels are terrible for conception.
Signs of Hormonal Aging
Often a change in your period - be that in length, heaviness, or the symptoms you experience around it like cramps and PMS - will be the first noticeable difference. It might start to look very different to the period you had in your 20s. You can also experience insomnia, headaches, night sweats, hot flashes, acne, mood swings and weight gain.
The changes may not be anything dramatic, but the perimenopause process is going on inside your body, beginning slowly, as you start making slightly lower amounts of hormones than were produced in the peak fertile years.
I know this discussion, the effects of aging, comes with a whole lot of emotional baggage. Us women get such a hard time about getting older - even though, in truth, men start going through andropause at 25! Yes, 25! That’s when their testosterone levels slowly go downhill and they experience their own set of similar symptoms.
How much you feel the impact of this hormonal shift in your day-to-day life will depend very much on your diet and lifestyle. The less healthy and hormonally-supportive those are, the more likely it is that perimenopause will hit you hard right at 35. You’ll be producing smaller concentrations of hormones and you will really feel this.
What to Expect
Perimenopause is much like the luteal phase in that it has 2 distinct parts. At first you might not feel very different - in the same way that right after ovulation you tend to feel still very up and energetic. You’ll be busy in your career, starting a family, burning the candle at both ends and letting your self care around diet slip.
If you enter part 2, which is like the PMS half of your luteal phase, in a depleted state, you will be hit sideways with all the stereotypical symptoms. Your hormones are off and this impacts your mood, how you look, and your energy levels. I say that 5 days of your luteal phase is the equivalent to 5 years of perimenopause experience. Those symptoms you may have brushed aside during your 20s will be difficult to ignore after 35.
Working with Your GYN
It’s so important to establish a baseline hormone panel around the age of 30 to see what is normal for you so you have something to compare this to as your hormones begin to shift during this decade. Talk to your GYN ahead of time if you can. Let her know you want to go through this process naturally and unmedicated.
If you’re already in the thick of it, then it’s important to get that full hormone panel done to see what’s potentially the biggest issue. It could be low estrogen, low progesterone, low cortisol, low testosterone, or low thyroid. The only hormone that will change but cause you no issue is FSH - that will rise dramatically throughout perimenopause - that’s the whole purpose of this transition - to get you to stop ovulating.
Should You Take Hormones to Lessen Symptoms?
In my opinion, no. Just like I don’t recommend you go on the pill to fix your period problems, I don’t recommend you medicating your perimenopause. Why? Two key reasons: one - this is a natural process your body is designed to do, there is nothing wrong, nothing to fix, you can go through this naturally and drug free, and two - synthetic hormones mask the symptoms that motivate you to make the changes you need to clear up symptoms - it gives you a false positive that everything is okay with your health. Perimenopause is an opportunity to make sure you are set for a healthy future.
Nonetheless, be prepared to hear the standard suggestion from your GYN, which is to just continue on birth control pills until about 45 and then transition to hormone replacement therapy. All of this synthetic hormone replacement has risks and you don’t actually need it. It’s up to you to decide how you want to go through your life in your body - naturally or medicated.
Make More Youthful Levels of Hormones with Food
The Flo Living protocol is a pro-hormonal eating method that actually slows down this biological aging process. You can delay the onset of perimenopause, and in turn the onset of menopause, by taking charge of your diet today. Hormones are our fountain of youth and the higher concentrations (in balance) that we produce, the younger and more vibrant we will look and feel throughout our lives.
This, I think, is especially important knowledge for women to have when so many of us come to our baby-making stage at a much “later” point in life. Slowing the perimenopause process will make it easier for you to conceive and help you avoid miscarriage.
3 steps to slowing down perimenopause
I’m in my late 30s, too! We’re all in the same boat and I promise this works. It’s helped me, it’s helped so many other Flo ladies.
1 - Eat according to your cycle. This is key so you balance out your estrogen and progesterone and eliminate any reason you might develop symptoms. To get started with this idea in a very simple, quick, and easy to understand way check out these two 4 week introductory protocols - how to cycle sync your greens and your grains.
2 - Eat enough protein and fat - to make enough hormones. So critical to avoid yo-yo dieting if you want to actually slow the aging process. You need to eat to make the hormones that keep you young - learn more about my favorites proteins here and fats here.
3 - Take D3 and Evening Primrose Oil to keep hormones balanced. Both are well researched to have positive hormone balancing effects during this perimenopausal transition. You don’t have to have hot flashes if you’re prepared!
Your Future Self Thanks You
I know that what I do now - choosing to eat and live pro-hormonally - is going to have an impact on my life 20 years from now. It will shape the woman I will be and the body I will have when I’m in retirement! Just as my choice to work with my hormones 20 years ago has got me where I am today - a healthy, happy mother with a successful career and fulfilling life - how I work with my hormones today will bear fruit another 20 years down the line. I invested in my health to live a full and happy life and you can too, with me.
I want you to be sexy, strong, happy and healthy when you are 50+ years old. Perimenopause is an amazing opportunity to make sure you are all those things as you age.
Always remember, that once you have the right information about how your body really works, you can start making health choices that finally start to work for you! You can do this - the science of your body is on your side!
to your FLO,
Good things come in threes:
I want to hear from you
First, do you feel like you might be approaching perimenopause?
Second, will you try out my introductory 4 week protocols? Let me know how it goes!
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Need more Hormone Help?
If you’re needing some health upgrading, it’s time you started you looking into what’s going on with your hormones.
I’ve designed a 4 day hormone detox and evaluation to help you understand exactly what’s out of whack and how you can start getting back to balance so that your hormones no longer have to suffer.
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