I hate hormones.
Seriously, since I’ve entered my 40s I’ve had nothing but trouble with those things. I was still nursing a ferocious little monster at the beginning of my 40s, so that’s not even the time I’m referring to. Prior to 45 does not count.
(She nursed on demand for a full 18 month and didn’t sleep through the night till age 4 and a half years old, so I have forgiven myself for that period of time and all that I did wrong. Until my baby learned the basics of human behaviour (like sleep in her own bed all the way through until morning) I did what I did to get through the day.)
After 45 though? That’s when things started to get a lot more interesting. Weight gain and loss, hot flashes, food cravings worse than during pregnancy…grey hair, dry skin, eczema…irregular menses, bloating, fatigue…you name it.
Lately, as in the past week, it’s been about food cravings and hot flashes.
Allow me to expand:
Over the last couple of weeks I have not been able to stop eating. I ate everything and then I ate more.
Sure I try to make healthy and nutritious choices (and that’s helpful if you actually like those choices, which I do) but by mid afternoon I wanted a pastry with my tea. Maybe two. Or some ice cream on pie. Even though I’m not a huge fan of ice cream. And maybe a piece of chocolate. They say dark chocolate has healthier properties than milk chocolate, but I actually prefer milk chocolate. Fine, I’ll have both. What if I include nuts with my chocolate? Nuts are good for you, healthy omegas and protein and all that? Ok, I’ll add some nuts to my chocolate. And to my ice cream. Or separately in a bowl to snack on.
By the time the kids get home from school and want their own snack, I start craving salt: feta cheese with olives, sliced cheese on salty crackers, pickled veggies, even chips (or crisps as they are known in the UK). I’m not a fan of chips but when the salt craving hits, I reach for balsamic vinegar chips. If we have them in the house, which is questionable because I live with chips obsessed snackers.
Then I start to cook. If I’m not required to put my chauffeur hat on later on, I start to daydream about wine. You know how it is: you cook dinner while supervising homework and sip a bit of wine. Right?
I had to stop that. Wine made me so tired that by 8 pm I couldn’t keep my eyes open. I now reserve my sipping to [mostly] weekends pending activity schedules and stick to water. Or sparking water. Something that doesn’t make me tired.
Then comes night time and I go to bed with my heating blanket plugged in and turned to the magic number 13. By time time my evening hygiene routine is done my bed is warm and inviting and I feel comfy and sleepy.
But then by 11 pm or so I suddenly feel really hot. I turn the blanket off and try to go back to sleep. Except, I have to pee. So I get up and immediately freeze to death. It’s still cold here, especially at night, so by the time I get back to bed, I’m shivering. I turn my blanket back on and go back to sleep.
By 3 am I wake up again. Damn bladder.
Except this time, I’m so hot I feel like I’m roasting.
So the solution these past few days has been to do this:
- cut caffeine (or at least reduce it, which is doable if I can have one coffee in the morning)
- drink more water (which is doable if I plan around my time outside the house according to bathroom availability)
- eat no wheat products or sugar at all (doable and easier after the second or third day, as long as there are plenty other items to eat to avoid snacking)
- increase protein and vegetables, decrease everything else (I loosely follow Paleo, Whole 30 or Candida Diet for inspiration) (A fellow blogger is in the process of following the Whole 30 diet and is anecdoting it on her blog.)
- increase exercise (exercise-schmexercise…this has not happened because I’m sick of winter coats and all the stupid layers we have to wear in this cold weather)
Today is day 3 of no sugar no wheat. I am doing fine. Less fatigued, less itchy (wheat and sugar flare up my eczema on my hands) and sleeping a bit better.
I shopped for groceries as well and picked up more food I can eat without worry, to keep myself satiated. I loaded up on full fat Greek yogurt, nuts, root vegetables (for soups) and berries. Also some gluten free crackers and hummus.
The pot of soup I made the other day I ended up eating throughout the day both to keep full and to keep warm, so perhaps I should make another pot. (I ate the whole thing in one day…) I can use my bone broth which is nourishing and healthy, I still have some in the freezer from before when I made a big batch.
And my snacking is under control. Day 2 of no sugar already got rid of the sugar craving, which is bonus. Even while I sipped tea I didn’t feel the need to cheat with scones or cookies.
In terms of the hot flashes though, I have no idea what to do to manage those. Other than doing laundry more often, I think I’ll be stuck with hot flashes for the foreseeable future.
So yeah, the middle to late 40s have been fun. Wonder what’s next? 🙂