As women enter their midlife years, hormonal changes can bring about a variety of physical and emotional challenges. These changes can disrupt the delicate balance of hormones in the body, leading to symptoms like hot flashes, mood swings, weight gain, and more.
Instead of relying solely on quick fixes or extreme diets, a holistic approach to hormonal balance can make a world of difference. In this blog post, we'll explore several key aspects of maintaining hormonal balance for midlife women, including using non-toxic skincare products, eating whole foods, intuitive daily movement, getting enough sleep, managing stress, exercising in line with the menstrual cycle, and most importantly fostering a stronger mind-body connection.
1. Use only Non-Toxic Skincare Products
The skin is the body's largest organ and can absorb harmful chemicals found in skincare products. Research shows that roughly *60% of what you put on your skin gets absorbed (*there are other variables to consider here but this is a commonly touted estimate).
Midlife women should opt for non-toxic skincare products to reduce the risk of disrupting hormonal balance with xenoestrogens from the toxins in conventional personal care products and even laundry products and other household items like scented candles, air fresheners, etc...
Look for products free from parabens, phthalates, SLS and synthetic fragrances. Natural ingredients like aloe vera, jojoba oil, and shea butter are gentler on the skin.
It was this frightening reality that originally inspired Clean Kiss natural skincare founder, Jodie Pappas, to create her skincare range in 2014 which started with aluminum-free, non toxic, and most importantly safe natural deodorant.
For more information check out the EWG's guide to Safe Skincare ingredients.
2. Enjoy Whole Foods vs. Processed
Nutrition plays a pivotal role in maintaining hormonal balance. A balanced diet rich in whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats, can support balanced hormonal health. Foods like flaxseeds, broccoli, and turmeric contain natural compounds that can help regulate hormonal fluctuations. Additionally, Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, walnuts, and flaxseeds can reduce inflammation and aid in hormone regulation.
Some key nutrition principles if you are struggling with hormones are:
- Cut back or eliminate caffeine because it stresses out your adrenals and that spike in cortisol can cause your body to hold onto unwanted weight because of the "fight or flight" sympathetic nervous response.
- Cut out the sugar! Your body craving sugar is a sign that your blood sugar is imbalanced and could also possibly indicate a candida overgrowth (they feed off of sugar). This includes anything with added sugars, yes even natural sugars like honey and maple syrup. Alcohol, white starchy carbs like bread and pastas too! It's not forever but until you get this back into balance try to cut it out to reduce your cravings. Instead reach for a fruit or raw vegetables to nosh on.
- Add probiotics & prebiotic fibre to your diet. There is a major link between gut health and hormonal balance. If you are suffering from gut dysbiosis that will impact your hormones, and likely many other aspects of your health including digestion, bowel movements, even mental health. Be sure that you are pooping at least once daily to eliminate any toxics in your system and to keep your GI tract healthy. Add lots of fresh or cooked fruits and vegetables (think leafy green, broccoli, cauliflower), healthy grains (quinoa, brown rice), nuts and seeds (i.e. flax, sesame and pumpkin seeds), healthy fats (avocado, olive oil).
3. Incorporate Intuitive Daily Movement
Regular physical activity is essential for overall health, but midlife women should focus on intuitive daily movement that suits their body's needs. Low-impact exercises like yoga, Pilates, strength training, stretching and swimming can help alleviate stress and improve flexibility. The key is to find activities that feel good and are sustainable, rather than pushing the body to its limits.
For those still experiencing their menstrual cycle, tailoring exercise routines to its phases can be beneficial. During menstruation, low-impact activities like walking or gentle yoga may be preferable. As you move through your cycle, you can adjust the intensity and type of exercise to support your body's changing hormonal needs.
To do some free 30-minutes or less yoga classes, check out my Youtube channel here.
4. Get Enough Sleep
Quality sleep of 7-9 hours per night is crucial for hormone regulation and overall well-being. As midlife women often experience sleep disturbances, creating a sleep-friendly environment and practicing relaxation techniques, such as meditation and deep breathing exercises, can help improve sleep quality.
It's really important to ditch the phone scrolling and mindless tv watching before bed as that stimulates your brain instead of allowing it to start to shut down for rest time. Stop texting your friends, mindlessly scrolling through IG reels and Facebook.
5. Managing Stress
"But I don't feel stressed?!" is a common thing I hear from women. But then when I observe their lifestyle of running around to drive their kids places every hour on the hour, scrolling their phones until midnight, dieting or intermittent fasting, stressing about gaining weight or changing their body shape, extreme physical exercise like training for marathons, I just smile and nod because you may not "feel" stressed but your adrenals do! Your body and brain have just seemingly adapted to the chaos and you don't know any different.
Chronic stress can lead to imbalances in cortisol and other hormones. Stress management techniques like mindfulness, meditation, and deep breathing can mitigate the impact of stress on hormone levels. Setting aside time for self-care and relaxation is essential in midlife.
I love to coach clients on creating a bedtime ritual that includes 30 minutes of self-care to wind down before bed. Time JUST FOR YOU! This includes your face care ritual, listening to calm music or a meditation, reading a book, massaging body lotion or oil with essential oils onto your feet, doing a face mask.
6. Mind-Body Connection and Weight Loss
Instead of obsessing over weight loss, recent weight gain, or changing body composition, it's crucial to focus on the mind-body connection. Your body changing is entirely normal as you get older! Your expectations of being in a 40-year old body but looking like your 20-year old self are not only false, they are also harming your mental health and working against you!
A harmonious connection between your mind & body (what I call Soma & Soul) can lead to a more intuitive approach to eating and exercise. Listening to your body's hunger and fullness cues, practicing mindful eating, and engaging in enjoyable physical activities can lead to a healthy weight without the stress of dieting.
Balancing hormones in midlife women is not about quick fixes or radical measures.
It's a journey that requires a holistic approach, encompassing nutrition, movement, skincare, sleep, stress management, and a strong mind-body connection.
By prioritizing overall well-being and understanding the body's changing needs, midlife women can navigate this phase of life with grace and vitality. Remember, the goal is not just weight loss, but a happier and healthier you.
About the Author: Jodie Pappas
You can work with Jodie in her Holistic Nutrition Coaching practice Soma and Soul Wellness, where she focuses on working with women ages 35+ to help balance gut and hormonal health, skin issues such as acne, eczema, and healthy aging skin using a non-restrictive approach that incorporates natural skincare, intuitive movement through yoga and pilates, and of course whole foods nutrition.
Jodie is the Founder and Skincare Formulator of the Canadian-made, small batch, plant-based skincare brand Clean Kiss. Jodie creates clean, natural skincare products for women to feel confident and glowing in their skin, without the use of any harmful toxins.
Jodie is a published author, Certified Organic Skincare Formulator, a Certified Nutritional Aesthetics Practitioner (CNAP), a Registered Yoga & Barre Teacher and is also presently studying to be Holistic Nutritionist. She believes that beautiful pro-aging skin and a body you love is available for every woman and uses a holistic lifestyle approach to educate and inspire.
Jodie has been featured on Global TV Morning, CHCH Morning, CityTV's Breakfast Television, Rogers TV and various radio stations across the country.
Want to work with Jodie on your Hormonal Health & Nutrition? Get in touch NOW.