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What's Missing From Most Conversations About Menopause Nutrition?

intuitive eating menopause midlifewomen nutrition perimenopause womenshealth

Being able to help women develop a positive relationship with food and their bodies is such an incredible privilege. I love equipping women with the information and tools they need to take charge of this season and make sense of the chaos happening in the middle of the hormone soup.  

But what I have discovered is that in all of these conversations, there are three very specific missing ingredients. For one, there is a very big need to start looking at nutrition as the long game. We need to find ways to fuel our bodies in ways that feel good and bring us joy without insane amounts of effort or pressuring ourselves to start habits that are hard to sustain.

We also need to focus less on what we eat and shift to thinking about the why and how behind what we eat. It’s tempting to believe you just need another meal plan or “diet of the day” as I call it, but that’s not the fix you’re looking for. We are putting our future selves in danger when we prioritize losing weight over things like protecting our bones. 

And perhaps the ingredient I’m most passionate about adding back in is community! Midlife is a wild ride that you have probably felt totally unprepared for. The good news is that there is so much you can do to avoid just “suffering through” this season. The key is having a safe, informed, encouraging community where we can share and normalize our experiences. 

In this episode you’ll learn: 

  • Why we have to quit chosing foods just to move a number on a scale
  • Why you 100% do not have to sacrifice enjoyment and satisfaction in the name of good nutrition
  • Why learning in community is so powerful
  • The importance of accounting for the stress dieting puts on our overall health
  • How valuable it is to have a shared experience of life in this season


Jenn Salib Huber 0:02
Hi, and welcome to the midlife feast the podcast for women who are hungry for more in this season of life. I'm your host, Dr. Jenn Celine Huber. Come to my table, listen and learn from me. Trusted guests, experts in women's health and interviews with women just like you. Each episode brings to the table juicy conversations designed to help you feast on midlife. Hey there. So today, it's Friday, October 14. And it's a pretty exciting day actually, because today is when the midlife feast community opens its doors, which is something that I've been talking about for so long. If you are in one of my groups, or have been working with me, at any point in the last six months, you've heard me talking about this. So I can't even tell you how exciting it is to actually be getting this out the door and kind of sending it out into the world. And I'm really, really excited about what's already on the menu for this community. But also, some of the things that I know will be happening just kind of organically as a result of the community that's being built as well. But I thought that it would be helpful to talk a little bit about what some of the things are, that I think are missing from most conversations about nutrition and midlife. When people find out what I do when they find out that I work in nutrition. And then I work with people in midlife, I would say nine times out of 10. And that's a conservative guests, but nine times out of 10. The first words are, oh, I have so many questions for you. What do you think about this? Or should I eat that? Or have you heard of this diet? Or have you heard of that diet? And I never mind answering those questions. I love what I do. I love talking about food. I love talking about nutrition and health and all things MetLife. But what I've noticed over the years, and it really has been years, I've actually been a dietitian now for 22 years, if you can believe it. I always joke that I was studying nutrition the last time that plaid was in style. So but what I have noticed is that there are three, let's call them ingredients just for fun things that are missing from most of the conversations about nutrition, especially in midlife, that I think would add so much more than just talking about what to eat. So the first is a common sense. Let's say we're gonna call it intuitive approach to nutrition that doesn't revolve solely around calories, or macros, or cutting things out. I always say that, of course, nutrition is a player in the long game of health. Food Matters. Of course it does. But we're really talking about playing the long game here, we're not talking about playing the short game. I shared a post on Instagram today, using an analogy of like our retirement savings, that when it comes to nutrition, we want to start thinking about it early, making regular deposits, but also having the flexibility to know that there's gonna be ups and downs, in our health, in our relationship with food in our ability to even think about it. But the investment we're making is really more in our long term health. Yes, what we eat influences, our energy levels and digestive system and those kinds of things. But when we're talking about health, we're really talking about aging, well, being strong and fit and mobile, and, you know, to the best of our ability influencing those kinds of things. And that's really missing from these conversations that seem to be happening most of the time around menopause nutrition, which is what can I eat to lose weight? What can I eat, you know, that is good for me and good is very broadly defined really depends on the day in the diet. That's the diet does your what's on that menu. But you know, what we're not talking about is what are the patterns and habits that feel good that I can do often and regularly without having to spend too much time thinking about it. So I'd like to kind of introduce that as maybe something that's missing from your conversation about midlife nutrition. The second one is that I think we need to be having more conversations about food that involve more than just what we eat, but also why and how, because I can promise you dollars to donuts. One of my other favorite sayings. You don't don't need another meal plan, you don't need another healthy swap recipe to try and make cauliflower tastes like rice or to turn parmesan and coconut flour into pizza crust. Or you don't need another way to count your food, you don't need another fancy point system. But you do need to understand why protein is important in midlife. But if you're only choosing protein, because you think it's going to help you lose weight, you're missing out on all the other really important reasons that protein intake is linked to bone health and being able to maintain muscle strength so that you know we remain strong and, you know, mobile as we get older, and for sure it does contribute to satisfaction and helps us to feel full. But you don't want to be choosing it only because you think it's going to move the number on the scale. Especially if you don't like what you're choosing, which is often when I hear people say, Oh, I've made sure that I get my protein every day, but it's not my favorite. You don't have to make those kinds of sacrifice sacrifices, you don't have to sacrifice, taste preference, enjoyment, satisfaction, in the name of nutrition. We also do need to talk about how dieting can be stressful. And being on and off a diet may actually be more detrimental to your health than we've been talking about before, or the conversations around nutrition really never mentioned the side effects of that. And we do need to be talking about that. And maybe how, if dieting is stressful, and if trying to control what you eat is stressful that may be impacting your experience of midlife and menopause? And what about talking about how gentle nutrition can actually add in pleasure and food, joy and body joy and just make it feel easier and gentle and welcome and nurturing and good? So yes, what we eat matters to an extent, but why and how we eat matters just as much and maybe more. And the last one is community. And why do I think community is a missing ingredient in nutrition? Isn't nutrition an individual thing? Yes. And no. We tend to try and sort everything out by ourselves. Right? So we have a problem, we look for a solution, and we try and fix it. But that doesn't work for something like food. I don't think anyway. Because food isn't just something usually, that impacts just us. If you live with other people, whether they're your family or not. If you live with other people, you have to take that into consideration if you ever eat out with other people if you have different tastes and preferences. But what I really try and emphasize with people is that if you were feeling insecure in your body, if you were feeling insecure in your relationship with food, if you are feeling scared and confused about all the things that are happening in midlife and how they're impacting your health, I can promise you that you're not alone. And all the time I tell people, I actually try and talk people out of working with me one on one sometimes because the benefit and the value of learning in a group of people. It's called the social learning model, the value of doing that far outweighs any information that I can give you. Because if you have that information, but you're sharing it and learning it with other people who are in a similar age and stage who also have the same fears and worries, and you see your experience reflected in theirs, and vice versa. And you're all working towards a goal together, learning from each other and with each other. Then it feels good, it feels normal, it feels like you're not alone at sea trying to figure this out. When my kids were younger, and when I had a practice that worked more with younger families, I used to say that one of the things that I thought really hurt new families was that we were parenting in isolation. And you know, that's a that's a bigger picture problem. But we're not we weren't parenting with a community with a village. We didn't know what was normal. Everything felt urgent. Everything felt scary. Everything that was new, was an you know, a big question, because you didn't have anyone to tell you that. Oh, yeah, that's normal. Oh, yeah, that

Jenn Salib Huber 9:46
happened to me too. Oh, I know what to do about that. And that I felt like was a big part of my job was reassuring them as a parent, not even as a healthcare practitioner, but as a parent that oh yeah, that's normal. And the same thing happens when we start to share our experiences of midlife when we start to share the good parts, feeling confident, having no more fucks to give about most things about knowing really clearly what we want and don't want and feeling that pull to put ourselves first again. But also the not so fun things, talking about how when we're tired, it is so hard to focus on anything other than how tired we are including food and movement, talking about how waking up in the morning and feeling like you're living in a body that's no longer your own is not super fun. But also just all of the other changes that impact our relationship with food. And that's the other thing that I say all the time is that we have to stop focusing so much on food, and really start broadening our discussion so that we're talking about all of the other things that impact our relationship with food, like sleep, and stress and hot flashes. So all of this is why I created the midlife feasts community. If you follow me, maybe you have asked me a question. But people often will reach out to me with questions, they'll reach out to me by email or by messenger. And I always try sometimes very late, but I do try and get to most of them with requests for topics for me to cover, they'll say, Oh, can you do a post about this? Or can you talk about this? Or what do you know about this, and I try really hard to include that in my newsletter, I will, you know, try and use that when I'm creating posts that I can share the information that people want to know more of. But sometimes I find it really hard to say everything that I want to say, in an email or post. And as much as I love answering all those questions more often in the last year, I have found myself feeling like there's so much more I want to say there's so much more that I have to share, not just you know, experience wise, but knowledge and understanding. And I want to be able to share it with others and discuss it. And so as a result of all of that, and all of the conversations that we've had on the podcast and off the podcast, about these topics that are so relevant to midlife, I was really, really pulled I guess you could say, to create the midlife feast community. And so I'm so happy to say that it is now open. It is now welcoming new members and for the next 10 days through, or I guess a little bit more than that till October 31. Registration is open. And you are welcome to join us at any point in that time. Some of the fun things that are happening is that we have a live cooking demo on Sunday to kind of kick things off with Fiona Stan, who's a Metapod chef. And that's going to kick off a 10 day gentle nutrition challenge journey adventure. I don't know what to call it yet, just kind of trying to get us all in that headspace of how can I start thinking about food in a way that feels good, that is playing the long game that is really focusing on my health and maybe just a little bit less on my weight. So I would love to have you join us if anything that I have said, has resonated if you were nodding your head as I was talking, if you've been thinking about either working with me or joining one of the programs, this community is, I think going to be a really comfortable place for you to explore intuitive eating, menopause, nutrition, and all of the things that influence our relationship with food. So I'm gonna put the link in the show notes. And you can always find the link on my website and, and on Instagram, of course, but if you have any questions, let me know. I'll be sending a few emails out over the next couple of weeks as well. If you're on my newsletter list, you should get those. But if you're not, and you want more information, and you don't want to sign up for something, because I think that's totally fine too. Just send me a message. I'm always happy to talk about this and always happy to try and work out if what I'm offering is right for you and if it's the right time, because I also fully acknowledged that sometimes we're in different places and spaces, with our health, with our finances with our just kind of ability to add something else in. So I hope I've given you some food for thought this Friday. I'd love to see you in the membership. And I hope that you have a great weekend. Hey there thanks so much for tuning in to this week's episode of the midlife feast. Just remember that the midlife feast community membership is now open for registration and it is the perfect place for you to gather, grow and nourish with other people in midlife who know exactly what you're going through. You can find a link to join this monthly membership in the show notes. We'd love to have you join us as you feast on midlife. And if you found this podcast episode helpful or any of the episodes on the midlife feast just a reminder that the best way to help others find us is to rate and review the podcast wherever you tune in


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