Straight Talk About Menopause with Amanda Thebe
Do you know what I’d love to see as a menopausal nutritionist? An ad on bus stop signs that reads; “Are you ready for menopause?”. Why? Because it would be a sign that we are actually responding to the public health crisis that women everywhere are in the midst of, without even realizing it. Menopause is as crucial to prepare for as puberty or childbirth and yet even the medical community is wildly underresourced when it comes to preparing women for midlife.
In this episode, I’ve invited women’s fitness coach, menopause advocate and author, Amanda Thebe on the show to unpack all our fiery frustrations about this topic. Then we share all the ways we envision creating informed, supportive global communities of women who are navigating this transition. A huge part of this work begins with normalizing the intensity and impact of menopausal symptoms instead of describing them as “bothersome”.
There are so many nuanced elements to your personal experience of menopause. While there’s no need to become an expert on the subject, you will need to learn to become your own best advocate. Regardless of what you may have heard before, menopause is NOT the end. (If you’re like Amanda and me, we’re loving this upgraded version of ourselves we’ve met on the other side!) It’s a transition, but one you need and deserve to be supported through!
In this episode, you’ll learn:
- The common experience of perimenopause today vs. what it should be
- Why we have to question any medical “authorities” who are also dieting marketers
- The importance of sharing the side effects of hormone therapy
- The danger of referring to menopause as a disease
- Why it’s so important to understand the curve of midlife as U-shaped
To learn more about Amanda visit her website at AmandaThebe.com
Jenn Huber 00:02
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. Hi there and welcome to this week's episode of the midlife feast. My guest today is Amanda Phebe. And Amanda almost doesn't need an introduction because she is so well known in the midlife and menopause space. She is of course a fitness expert and women's health expert and has written a book Men Apocalypse, and has her own podcast with all due respect. And this episode is a little bit fun and different because Amanda and I recorded this together and we'll be releasing the same episode on each other's podcast. So there are two places that you can listen to it.
But I think that what you'll find in the discussion that Amanda and I have is that we're really kind of sharing our experiences of going through perimenopause, feeling unsupported feeling frustrated, but we also talk about the things that we don't love about the conversations around midlife and menopause. We talked about what we think is missing, we talk about our ideal world. And of course, we just kind of you know, are really just having a conversation about something that we talk about all day, which is midlife and menopause. But just sharing a little bit about why we think it's so important to talk about it and not just about hot flashes, and not just about HRT, but all of the other pieces of this midlife conversation that aren't always at the table of midlife. So have a listen and let us know if you have any questions. It was a really fun episode to record. Okay, welcome, Amanda. How are you?
Amanda Thebe 01:51
Hi, and welcome, Jen, how are you?
Jenn Huber 01:55
So, listeners to this podcast will may be actually listening to this on Amanda's podcast. Um, because we are doing something fun. We have been on each other's guest list for since I launched my launch my podcast a year ago, you were definitely on the list. And we've had kind of a funny time trying to connect between COVID and calendar, miscalculations and sick kids, we've had a couple of rescheduling things. So wherever you're listening to this welcome. We're both excited for this conversation.
Amanda Thebe 02:29
It's so funny. We're just like, I do blame myself. Like I left the UK 20. Gosh, three years ago, 23 years ago, and for the life of me, I still can't get timezones, right. So that's the first problem. I'm time illiterate when it comes to like seven hours, six hours, and I'm just like, ah, for crying out loud. So there was that. Then we had a trip in between to Peru, and then I got COVID. And then I lost my voice and then your kids got COVID and we oh my god, I was like, well, we ever make this work. We've been chatting for more than a year, though, because we've been following each other. And you know, one of the best stories I have about you if I'm allowed to sort of like gossip, is because we were I think this is Amanda or holy shit. What's she gonna say? So the, you know, we're in the same space, we're talking to the same audience, we love that it's a shared space. I love the menopause world space, you know, like, it's like, we're like, Let's collaborate, collaborate, get bigger and bigger and bigger as a group of women rather than fighting each other. And so we've, we've mutually admired each other for a while, and there was something that you posted on your Instagram, I think it was about phyto estrogens and the how you recommended them.
And I just was like, why Jen? Why? Why do you recommend them when I don't think it's necessary. And it was one of those really great instances where it makes a difference. If you take pause, and you stop and go, I'm just gonna ask her. I'm just gonna ask her. And so I jumped into your DMS and went Listen, Jen, love you everything you do. Why do you say this? What's your reasoning behind this? And we had the best conversation and actually, at the end of it, we didn't even know graffiti, I don't think. No, not that I have like a really hard stance on whether you're fuckin tofu or not. But it just was like, it was just like, we had this really great conversation at the end of it. I thought, that's the way to do it, actually, isn't it instead of like, and I know I call people out all the time. But I don't I actually call out. Myths and Facts. And I don't personally attack people. I don't particularly get anything out of that. But I do get frustrated with false information. This wasn't false information. I just didn't quite understand where your mind was going with this one. And so it was just a really great experience for me, and I don't know, like I respected you even more afterwards.
Jenn Huber 04:54
Thanks. I remember that because I think that that actually was our first conversation that we had and and I really liked how you approached it saying, I don't, I don't understand this, from what I've read and understand I have a different opinion. But I'm really interested in hearing yours. And in this online world of opinions about health and nutrition and everything, that is a real, I think that's a missing piece of the the the conversations that need to be happening, because people will often slide into my DMs with their opinions. And they're usually not respectful. And they're usually not actually interested in understanding mine. So if I come out against keto, intermittent fasting, people love to tell me how wrong I am and why they think I'm wrong and tell me that I don't know what I'm talking about. But there's never the question, can you explain to me why or I should say, rarely. And so
Amanda Thebe 05:50
actually just read my caption, please, because I usually explain myself in there. Nobody ever reads the caption. And that's the bit we spend time working on isn't that we want to put like what we think is valid based on the data as we know, you know, like, I agree, and most of the time, though, I think most people are respectful. Typically, I find in my world that if somebody says something that is an argument against me, it's normally a strawman argument. Like I had this post the other day about anti inflammatory diets, how have they been heavily pushed towards menopausal women, and really, there's not a lot of data behind them. And also just eat a balanced diet, because that is typically anti inflammatory. And in its nuances, like in the type of foods that you eat, fruit, veg, grid, blah, blah, blah, and then somebody came on, and started saying, Yeah, but chronic disease is caused because of inflammation. And I'm like, Well, that wasn't actually what I did. That wasn't the point of my post. And it's almost like, you know, apples, the gray apples a gret. So what you're saying is you hate oranges, and pineapples are the devil's fruit. And it's like, stop it, please, just like, but then that's the world of social media. And so I never lose any sleep over any of this. I don't know, if you do I just think well, it's fine. It's fine. We'll just keep doing what we're doing.
Jenn Huber 07:12
Yeah. And I mean, I think that when you put any information out there that you attach to your opinion, you have to expect that not everyone's gonna agree with you. Of course, being in midlife, the great thing is that we don't really fucking care anymore. So you can disagree with me, that doesn't affect my day at all. You know, but I think that what people are missing is that not everyone who has an opinion about health and nutrition and menopause. deserves to say it publicly as if it is advice, everyone's entitled to their opinion, but when you give an opinion to someone else as advice, people need to know that not everyone should and you know, this is where I think what you call wellness Wang curry.
Amanda Thebe 07:57
I didn't adopt it, but it has become my moniker. Yeah, it's brilliant. Because it is wellness. One cream, backup your facts, please. And stop broad stroking as all as one.
Jenn Huber 08:08
Yeah, yeah, sweeping generalizations are really big in the menopause world. You know, especially with like, HRT, you know, people, yes, it's great. I love that people have the option for it, but it's not for everyone, and it doesn't fix everything. And you know, there's that nuanced middle of the road conversation that I think is missing from so many things. And especially in this this wonderful world of menopause.
Amanda Thebe 08:31
Yeah, yeah, it's, it's interesting, actually used to lead us on to the part of the conversation that was sort of quite keen to get stuck into and it's like, you know, here we are, we're doing something that we never expected to be doing these menopause advocates or educators as we are like, it was never on my on my bucket list. But there you go. But like it's not ideal at all right. And you know, you do a lot of work for education for women a raw book and I'm trying to do more education in specially in Canada with the company nya that I'm working with, we desperately want women to feel respected and served. Like we just there's this big gap, this seismic gap. And so when it we're getting there, we're making change, and I think we're striving forward but like in your ideal world, what would it look like right now for you like for a woman in menopause right now? Or someone coming up into menopause? Some massive question open ended, but that's good, because I want us to sort of like say, like, if we had a Christmas list, do you sound have been good earlier? This is what I would like. Yeah.
Jenn Huber 09:45
Yeah, I think one of the big things that I talk to women about is that you need to be prepared for midlife in the same way that you would prepare yourself for pregnancy. IE, or any major life change. And for so many women who are entering midlife, they don't even have that on their radar. And so, it you know, I always say that menopause has almost felt like a reproductive afterthought, because it doesn't have consequences for the next generation, we're not talking about someone who is, you know, trying to have a baby or, you know, there's no kind of immediate need to talk about it. So it's often either dismissed, or, you know, by the women themselves or their health care providers. And so what I would love to see on my wish list is like some kind of public health measure, that's not driven by industry that's not driven by grassroots, you know, organizations of women trying to move this forward, but a real public health strategy that says, hey, if you're 35, like on a bus stop, do you know that you could go into menopause, you know, in the next decade? Are you ready for that? That is really talking about, okay, this is what you need to know about nutrition. This is what you you know, big picture, obviously, this is what you need to know about movement and strength training in your bones. So that we're women are getting to midlife prepared and not taken by surprise that we the top of my wish
Amanda Thebe 11:19
list. And to me, like I've said this before, like if you go to your doctor's and most people go once a year, or once every two years, just for a check in sort of like, you know, here's where I am. There should be just like you say, like, to me, it's like, give someone a leaflet, give a woman a leaflet that just goes hey, you're and I think 35 is the perfect age as well, by the way, and I think it sort of fits in really nicely with sort of we know that from a first fertility standpoint, 30 to 33 is sort of when our fertility starts to sort of dwindle. You know, for anyone who's like trying to get pregnant now, probably understand that and then as worth sort of 35 Menopause does not feel tangible, especially when you know, it's potentially 48 4950 Whatever, that people are going to go into menopause. It doesn't feel tangible. It didn't for me when I was in my early 40s, but I don't fucking care, right?
I think that if you have a leaflet lying around, chances are you're going to browser or you're going to have like, sue the word menopause and go oh, yeah, that's the thing that's gonna happen to me, which is way more than I had. Like if I even had the idea that like, this shit I was going through was something hormonal and was expected and that the feeling I had when I understood that what I was experiencing perimenopause was pure anger. I was furious, like fucking livid. I left the doctor's office, and I was like kicking bins as I was walking down the street car, Park, excuse my language, I'm really going for it. Like, I had like two years in them. And we're both Canadian ish. So like, Canadian ish. And I was in the Canadian medical system, really great doctors, like amazing neurologists in our stroke doctors, but they clearly weren't that amazing, because they miss, like, big picture of what was going on. Because they didn't know likely. But I was like, this is just plain wrong. And if I've gone through this, as someone who has spent nearly two, three decades in the health and wellness industry, not having no clue what's going on, how did you run down the street on a field who doesn't like pick up magazines and doesn't, you know, have an intuitive sense of what's going on in a body like it's just plain wrong.
And so that's sort of my movement and, like, introduction into this space came because I just felt like it was a massive, a massive wrong that had been done. So how did you? So are, you know, it's all retrospective, isn't it? And even when I wrote my book, I wrote an edge down and then looking back, I'm like, is that right? As well, like, I've had to keep going back because you know, and everything's a bit fuzzy. But I my last child was born, I only have two by the way, my last son was born when I was 38, a little bit older, I suppose. And then things never felt quite great after that, but they didn't feel bad either. It was just like, I felt a bit me a couple of times a year. And then it just started being monthly. And I just always felt like whenever I had my period, which started to get shorter, that I always had a cold, and I felt like I was always getting a sore throat and getting allergies and stuff. And it was just really odd. And I was and then it went as soon as I got my period. And I'm like, well, that's a definite connection, but didn't do anything about it. Because it was just one of those things you deal with. Right? Who cares? And but then it was I think I was in about 42 when I really got walloped with symptoms like life altering symptoms, and then put up with them for a couple of years, but I didn't I tried to deal with them, but nobody really knew what it was. was and so yeah, about 42 and 4849 when I'm was menopausal.
Jenn Huber 15:07
Yeah. So I mean, it sounds like you had a typical experience of, you know, so many people who go into perimenopause and don't know what it is. I sometimes get pushback against using 35 as the lower end of that, but it's really based on my experience, because I was. So I'm 45 I'm 71 days away from my one year mark. It's my why would you?
Amanda Thebe 15:31
Why would you say that for Christ's sake? Oh, my God. He that's the type of sheet you keep these on. Anyway, we didn't ignore that. We'll cut that out. Okay, so Oh, no.
Jenn Huber 15:41
So if it doesn't happen, this time, you might see my head explode from across the ocean. But so I was, you know, my last two kids who were twins were born when I was just shy of 33. And at 3637. So my kids were so young, I was, you know, I had three kids under the age of seven. And I started to experience really crippling anxiety. I wasn't sleeping, I was angry. I was irritable. It felt like my PMS was just like, two weeks of the month.
Amanda Thebe 16:17
I can't imagine you angry.
Jenn Huber 16:19
Oh, my God. I hope my kids and husband don't hear this because they would happily jump in and be like, Oh, good. But I was. But it was anger that was coming out of this like, incredible dis discomfort that I couldn't even like it was crawling out of my skin is how I used to describe it. Like, I remember looking at my husband through tears and just saying, I am crawling out of my skin and I don't know what's wrong. And then my period would start, and then it would get better. So everyone was just saying it was really bad PMS, and I had, you know, kids and work and life and it was just everything was chalking up to life. And I also had a fantastic GP, I had a whole great team of integrative practitioners. But it took about two years, I was around 38 That someone went, well, could it be? And then after talking to my mom and realizing that both my mom and my grandmother were menopausal by 45, I thought, Oh, this would have been useful information to know.
Amanda Thebe 17:19
Yeah, thanks, Mom.
Jenn Huber 17:20
You know what, it just hadn't come up. And so now when I tell people, you know, even, uh, you know, like, 30. Hey, if you still have your mom, ask her, How old was she when she went into menopause? And if she went into menopause naturally great. We can use that information. Many of them don't. But you know, I think that just even knowing that piece can have it on your radar. Because by the time that I hit 40, I was having hot flashes. i And if I was still trying to figure out why I'd be going crazy. So really kind of talking about that.
Amanda Thebe 17:52
Yeah, half an hour right now, that's all we're asking is that too much task is
Jenn Huber 17:57
it sometimes feels like it is because they're there, you know, to this day, and this happens? Weekly, at least someone will send me a message or an email or ask me a question and say, Hey, I went to my doctor to ask if I could be in perimenopause. And they said that if I'm not having hot flashes, or if I haven't missed a period that I'm too young, and some of them are in their flippin 50s You know, and I'm just like, how can anyone tell a woman in her 50s That she's too young to be in perimenopause? I don't want it
Amanda Thebe 18:30
I knew here's the thing as well right? I don't know about you. Right. So we we've both had our a very similar story and and very typical, and even though it doesn't feel typical, it literally feels like this is I don't know about you, but I personally when I was in the the thick of it. I impacted everyone around me my children. I had those rages where it just came out of nowhere I didn't even see it come in my rages came when I didn't even expect them I could have been like, making cakes and having a great time with a kid and then something dropped and it was like one of those like those I couldn't even describe it. It was awful awful. I've said sorry so many times to my family and they just like clearly was something that was out of your control and they're so kind about it, but it used to bring me to tears thinking about how angry I would get and it wasn't even I'm feisty.
I'm not an particularly angry person. Yeah, and, and so like the when I was in the thick of it though, like my main things were migraine with aura which gave me vertigo and nausea and that the migraines would igloos feeling in my face and one side of my body I literally thought I was having a stroke at one point I couldn't work it out and, and then depression, and I've never had mental health issues at all in my life. It was it came out of nowhere. You know, and I've even had challenges in my life, which I don't particularly want to go into but like I always felt like you know I was very pragmatic about things probably a bit British and putting things in a box and packing away as well. Which isn't that healthy, I don't think. But whatever. It's how I dealt with things and then everything like, when the depression I didn't even know it was depression because I've never experienced it right. And so it was only when I go into colleges that it like explained these things to me and how typically where I just was like, that's what made me angry. I was like that I know mine. I nearly left my husband. Well, I didn't, but I wanted to every day I wanted to leave him. I just was like, God hid the way breeds and looks and eats and poor guy and he was desperately there going,
What can I do to help you? I'm just like, die. But I didn't really like you know, but just like it was just too. He was too much. He was another thing for me to deal with. And, and I just kept thinking, If only I'd had like a little bit of an inkling it wouldn't it wouldn't have been so seismic about this. But it's the words we use as well. And so like that's sort of one at a why I wanted to go to next. You know, like when women talk about their experiences. And we just said it's typical, but that's not diminishing anyone's like horrendous experience if it was like that. It's like when you hit the menopause Society said things like, I your symptoms bothersome. I want to get that word and ram it down the neck, don't you? Yes, it was assaulted, bothersome. really late last my marriage and my mind over them. You know, I think even the language we use in in menopause matters. And like, so I'm like you watching other people and trying to like build this big tempest of women that are all going to talk about it. But I'm really concerned about the way the conversation is shifting somewhat. And I want to know what you think about that like, because I'm very clear on like, my thoughts about, you know, the language we use and how we talk to women.
Jenn Huber 22:03
I don't know exactly what your you're thinking. But because we really didn't, we didn't have any plan other than to try and chat. No outline of what we're going to talk about. But the thing that I don't find helpful in the conversation is when we talk when Not we but when the bigger picture of we as a society talk about menopause, as a disease. And that idea of that we are less than without estrogen. I think it is so important to talk about this as a natural, normal transition, that we often need help getting through that we can be thankful for the resources and support out there. But the idea that it's something that we need to treat as a disease, and commodify really is what it is. doesn't sit well with me. And I'm I'm very much in support of, you know, helping women in any way that works for them. Absolutely no value judgments on what you should and shouldn't do. I want all women to have all options. But I don't want you to feel like you're less than if you don't do HRT, I don't want you to feel like it's a moral obligation to take hormone replacement therapy. But neither do I want you to feel like a failure. If you do. I just want it to be around supporting choice. But I don't like that messaging about it being a deficiency,
Amanda Thebe 23:36
because that's exactly what I was referring to and exactly the same. And I mean, an even by us saying it's a natural X expected physiological transition isn't diminishing the fact that it can be rough. I mean, we both have as I've just explained how incredibly terrible it was for us, right? Like life altering. And help is out there for you. It doesn't matter whether you decide to take the hormonal rod or not, because there's plenty of us out there that can't do the hormonal rod. And my main issue with the weather it has been whether language has changed, and it's definitely changed because we've gone from women being ignored for long enough and refuse treatment because of headlines that were meant to scare women to going to to the other side where women are thinking, Oh, menopause, it's a deficiency, I'm deficient in my estrogen and I need to replace the estrogen that's missing.
That's exactly what they're saying. And and that doesn't isn't supported by the medical community by the menopause societies. What they're saying is losing your estrogen and progesterone is bloody hard for some women and so sometimes taken hormone therapy can ease that transition and make things better for you. If you're somebody like Jen who went into the really early menopause sometimes hormone therapy for a longer period of time can help be protective for your bones and your heart and even mental well being for and so I've spoke to Dr. Hannah shard, and Mandy Leonhard on that they specialize in early menopause. Typically, for most women, you know, they should be able to have that choice without feeling obliged. And when I go to Facebook forums where I see this, it's almost like cult, like talking about hormone therapy is necessary. Because we've lost hormones, it really angers me. And I think that the documentaries that were produced in the UK are at fault for that. They weren't to me, they weren't really
Jenn Huber 25:45
one sided picture of it. And I don't know about you, but I often will hear from women who say, you know, I started HRT, and while it helped my hot flashes, it's made some things worse. And, you know, whenever we talk about any treatment, we have to do due diligence and talk about the side effects. And that is one thing, other than the breast cancer conversation, which has dominated the side effects conversation, that we're not telling people. So I'm someone who was hormone sensitive. And you know, I could not tolerate the hormones I just couldn't. And in retrospect, I was I didn't tolerate the birth control pill in my 20s. When I was pregnant, I was not at my best.
Amanda Thebe 26:31
Oh my god, you and I are exactly the same. Exactly the same
Jenn Huber 26:35
time. It was crazy. It's like, everyone loves progesterone. Why is it making me suicidally depressed? Oh, my God. And honestly, like, oh, and I love hearing other people talk about it. Because, you know, often people won't put two and two together, they'll just say, I didn't feel right. And they're not putting it together with that it's extra thick. We're hormone sensitive. And so hormones are not an option for me, because I can't tolerate the side effects. And, you know, so many women are not told, hey, you know, what, a percentage of women and it's not zero, will feel like garbage, when they take these. And just even talking about that, as it's not a one size fits all, it is not a panacea. And it's not for everyone, and that's okay.
Amanda Thebe 27:24
And that's okay, too. And unfortunately, I'm hearing now of lots of women who were told, just keep increasing just to keep pumping and pumping and pumping outside of the medical requirements. And so I am a bit weary looking at what's happening. And I'm just constantly like, trying to surround myself with really valid experts in that field. And, and bringing it back to a really balanced place. Because I mentioned there too, you know, like, I'm definitely hormone sensitive. And it wasn't just progesterone, it was even the estrogen because for a time I went on estrogen, only under supervision of my gynecologist just to see if I had a response that it was all horrible for me.
And in fact, it made my migraines so much worse that it took months for them to come like to disappear at all, it was just the worst. The progesterone made me get suicidal thoughts to the point where my husband was going to take me into hospital. It was horrible, horrible, and I felt like I was failing. And then when I spoke to the colleague here, who was part of the Canadian menopause society, she just said, Well, what were you like on birth control? I went, Well, I've never been able to do that. How were you pregnant or hated it? I hated it, hated it, hated it. And I used to hate women that used to say, Oh, I loved being pregnant, because I would be puking and thinking, Why? Why do you like this? And then the baby would pop out and instantly, instantly, I felt Oh, I feel fine. Now. It was like the most bizarre thing and I hear this more and more now. And even normalizing that conversation is helpful for me.
Jenn Huber 28:56
Absolutely, absolutely. Um, so I feel like it's important to you know, always balance things out. And so I always want people to know that there are some real upsides to menopause and midlife too. I mean, you and I spend a lot of time kind of in our day to day work, supporting women educating women through the challenging parts, but when you get to the other side, and again, I'm sure I'm jinxing myself, but the last six months for me, have been probably the last the best six months of the last decade. You know, everything that has been on the roller coaster, mood, sleep, memory, all of it has normalized, where I feel like my mental Mojo is back.
My sleep isn't as unpredictable and finicky. You know, everything just feels like okay, I've kind of hit this new normal and it's not all over the place now and to use the words that I hear so often. I starting to feel like myself again. That you know the parts of me that I recognized from before the before times, are now coming back in a way that feels familiar. And, you know, I think it's so important to recognize that just because you're going through years of not recognizing what you see in the mirror, not feeling like yourself, feeling like a different person in your relationships in your, you know, your day to day life. That doesn't mean it's gonna last forever. It really does get so much better. And I don't know what your experience is. But I hear that from so many people that oh my goodness, perimenopause was the worst menopause is okay. You know, like, it's, it's not, it's
Amanda Thebe 30:37
not seeping out of your skin anymore. Yeah, it's not. And you
Jenn Huber 30:41
just kind of get to this new normal, and it feels good. Again, it feels
Amanda Thebe 30:46
like that's it. It's a new normal. That's how I would describe it. And I was the same as you like, I am now 52. So like, four years, potentially, I'm not particularly counting for post menopause. And I honestly think that by the time I turned 50, I was like, Oh, I'm not having those thoughts of like waking up. So it was actually a couple of years after postmenopausal. And, you know, I do hear medical experts talking about the three to five year window after menopause where like, the transition starts to normalize again, like the burden is lessened somewhat, Dr. Lisa Moscone sort of verifies that in her work as well, right, I got a brain scan from her. And she told me my brain was big, fat and juicy again. And I was like, that's all I need to hear. I don't need to know the medical terms. That was exactly the word she used. And I even felt that personally, right? So I remember waking up. I think maybe like 4647. And I remember this having this conversation with myself that literally, then I physically went out looking for a way to flip the switch. Because I woke up and thought, I can't be this person. I can't wake up feeling like this anymore. Is this is this what I'm destined to be?
I always felt like, I always felt like the one thing I had going about me, I've got a few things going about me. But the one thing that I always liked was like, my energy was, is positive, and I can rally people around, and I've got like, a good attitude to life and a hadn't. And that's a bit I'd lost. And I just was like, where did he go? Right. And part of me had been sucked into all of my symptoms, and my depression and stuff like that. But by this time, I'd failed doing the hormone therapy, and I just was in a really shitty place. And then as I started doing the work myself, so it really does require it will it required from me a lot of effort, that's when I started looking at they can the work on how to build like a resilient mindset, like, how to start working towards my values and my strength, how to start recognizing what my strengths were, how to start recognizing the values that were really important to me. And actually, that was one of the things that solidified I do actually like my husband a lot. And I do actually love my kids more than anything else in the world and would die for them.
You know, it sort of reignited that. So I started doing the personal work that was harder than anything I've ever done before. Harder than working out and harder than eating well, like being truly honest with myself. And then, and then he's just as the symptoms eased off, and I'm definitely now in a place where I feel like it shouldn't be a radical act to say, hey, guess what, it's good over here. We'll come over cross the Rubicon and come and join me because actually, and maybe not the same person, I was in my 30s, but actually prefer the person I am now. I've got less hang ups. I do still give a little bit of a fuck but not as many as I did. I definitely choose my battles wiser. I feel like we should be sat in a tent smoking a pipe. And people should come and ask us for like sage advice, because I honestly just feel like in a much better place and at ease. And it's something that feels really quite good. And that shouldn't be like when I ever talk about that. I always feel like I'm like it's an like a wild bold statement. And yet we know from studies, they use the you curve of happiness. I talk about that in my book that women Yeah, it's such an amazing essay from Stanford University. And they and they talk about how after the age of 50 upwards, women are the happiest like the happiest there they are in their lives. And the reason for that?
Jenn Huber 34:30
Yeah, I've talked about that U shaped curve before as well and especially around that, you know, we're in this pleasure deficit in like this U shaped curve of midlife and our you know, 40s early 50s coincides with perimenopause coincides with all of these really busy life stages, you know, sandwich generation work, all the thing heads. You know, it's like, all the things are just like converging on us. And it's just hard to feel like you can catch a break. It's hard to feel like you can ever like relax and exhale. And you combine that with perimenopause. And you know, the the roller coaster of estrogen and progesterone and how we know that that affects mood and coping and all those things. And it's really easy to see how you can get in this hole of this funk of like, oh my god, this sucks. And feeling like you're never going to come out of it, you know. But
Amanda Thebe 35:26
it's hard, though. And we both recognize its highs, we both looked in the mirror and gone. Really this is it? You know, and it's tough.
Jenn Huber 35:35
Yeah. But I totally agree with you. I'm not quite as posed as you are. But I definitely like except in the last six months have felt a shift. And I feel like this is this is good. And I see good. Breeze. Start, I think I'm on the other side of that curve. But yeah, I think that just talking about that as a normal life stage. And it's it. We do that with other life stages, like we tell girls who are going through puberty, when they're at the height of all the raging hormones, like it's not always going to be this bad. We tell new mothers, new parents with newborn babies who aren't sleeping. You get through this, it'll get better. But we tell women in midlife, yeah, it's over. The best is over the rest of you know, the rest of your life is just going to be you know, blah. And it's like, no, it's not, you need to know that this is just another transition your next season can be your best, but you have to believe that that's possible. Yeah, we say that it's good things are coming,
Amanda Thebe 36:40
the things that come in good things to come. And we haven't even touched on the ways that I know we want in this podcast now maybe we'll do another one like of the things that you actually can sort of harness and take control of right, there's plenty of things that women can do to, to make this like a really valuable time for living and, and you know, when people say you've got like a third of your life, and I'm like thinking, well, actually, it's more like half of your life a lot of the time because women are going through it in their 40s. And most women love to layer at statistically. So you know, you've got a good half of your life, there's no way you're going to need to struggle and suffer through that at all. So it's really disingenuous to talk to women like that.
And so I'm glad that we're both the ones trying to solve, like, put some reason back into the conversation. And so, you know, we were gonna touch on this as well, but not in too much, much depth. But, you know, I'm from the northeast of England, people just say like it is they do, and I've had to rein that in a little bit. I'm a little bit sweaty, I don't mind that I'm a little bit crusty. I don't mind that. And feisty too, and also kind. And I recognize that, you know, when I say things that don't come from a place of hate, it just haven't got the energy for that. You know, this is not too different. But what's interesting is you're Canadian. So how does that work? How does being a straight shooter no nonsense person be if you're from Canada? A well maybe it's
Jenn Huber 38:13
the East Coast or in me? Maybe it's because I'm from Halifax. I've got some saltiness from the sea. Yeah, I mean, you know, I think that, like so many women, and I was I was a people pleaser, you know, I was I was one of those people that I just wanted to do the right thing. Make sure that people were happy. And I realized that that was taking a toll, you know, and again, one of the beauties I think of midlife is that it really does strip you down. And you know, you're going to shake down of, you know, what actually matters and why and what do you want to continue with for the next half of your life, and making other people happy, wasn't at the top of that list anymore. And
Amanda Thebe 38:55
over I hear you though, because a lot of us are like that. And if it's like a trait that a lot of us have, and also not like, my husband has this really great ability to not care if people like him or not. I don't get it, because I don't like it when people don't like me. And that's been hard to deal with. But it's getting easier because I've realized this a lot of people don't like me.
Jenn Huber 39:18
So yeah, and I mean, I don't the people pleaser, I had a lot I had like rehab to do around that, especially when I decided that I wanted to to have a voice in this midlife space. That wasn't toeing the conventional line, especially around nutrition. You know, like to have the resiliency when you know, people disagree with me to be able to realize that that's okay. And I don't need to care. I don't need to convince you of why I'm right because I very firmly believe in what I believe in and that's okay. But you know, I think that being a straight shooter means that your opinion is going to be unpopular sometimes because it's not sexy to be a straight shooter. You know, it's not on selling, you know, Sex sells, but so does, you know, fad diets and the extremes and you know, the quick fixes. And that's not what I'm about. And so I think that, you know, when people sometimes hear my message, like the best compliment I ever get is when someone says you're so normal. I love that, that really embodies what I want people to know about food and nutrition is that common sense can actually provide you with a very solid framework for making decisions about food.
Amanda Thebe 40:33
Actually, he was gonna say to you, though, you said, you know, I'm not conventional. And I'm like, but actually, that is actually your strength. You are conventional. It's the opposite you. Yeah. And that shouldn't be radical, like we've said before, but for some reason, toeing the line and saying, hey, hey, stop, bring it back, bring it back. Because this is what we know. The like, and your your nutritional information is, is super common sense super conventional. It's like basic, and that's what mine is to because we know it works. And that's often one of the reasons that I will be a little bit outspoken, because I'm tired. Like, we'll we'll see people out there, taking a tiny bit of truth, maybe using their appeal to authority, there's a lot of times that doctors will jump in on nutritional conversations using their doctor status. But without having sort of a ton of nutritional sort of like, education behind it. And then, and then using that appeal, and then a tiny bit of truth, and then just fill in the rest in with bullshit. And that's what drives me crazy. But I thought that they were fine. I thought that they were great, because they said this, this and this. Yeah, that's true. But then the other 80% is just misleading you because they have a diet to sell that actually results in everything that they've just cherry picked or use their bias against or supplements and, and so that's just the like, type of things that I get frustrated with. But to me, that's, that's been the not the no nonsense straight shooter and just sayin, it's okay to stop back and even asking, Where's your data? Why would you say that? What's the reasoning behind that? It's okay to ask those questions. Yeah, yeah, absolutely.
Jenn Huber 42:17
So, I love this conversation. I think that we need to plan another one at some point for part two, where maybe we can like more specifically talk about, you know, some of our passion projects around this area, because but I'd love sharing our story. So I'd love for us to be able to share what we think are the missing ingredients, or the missing ingredient in midlife or menopause, whenever you want to say, I'll let you go first.
Amanda Thebe 42:42
I always get really, I always feel like this is a really lame answer. Because I say all the time I remembered being on the CBC radio and I did a syndication for the every province. And it was really great. And at the end of it, they asked me the question, it was trying to do menopause awareness. And like, you know, just the nail on the radar, like you said, and they were like, what's the one thing you want all women to have? And I'm like knowledge, of course, just to know about it is that too much to ask? And so it comes back down to it, you don't need to be an expert, you just need to have the awareness. And there's tons of resources out there, Jen and I provide tons on my website, I've got just one page that's just menopause resources I've written about Jen's got causes, there's tons of us out there. Ask just ask us if you're not sure, we're happy to point you in the right direction.
Jenn Huber 43:29
And I do that all the time, people will reach out to me and if you know if I can't work with them, because of regulatory issues or whatever, I always have people that I can refer to so there's always people that you can trust that you can get to the the big missing ingredient that I love to encourage people to explore is community because you know, we are we we parent, our children in isolation, we have these small nuclear families. And now we're going through midlife and isolation where we're, and it's changing. You know, we're part of the bigger community. But you know, I think we really need to normalize, talking about maybe these pieces of our experiences that other people might feel less ashamed about if they knew that it was happening to other people. So just creating that community of sharing and support and understanding and just normalizing this normal transition.
Amanda Thebe 44:21
And the studies back that up as well. I mean, there's studies out there that even show one was specifically for hot flashes, that when somebody shared that burden and created a community specific reduce the the incidences of vessel motor symptoms, which at first you go in late, that doesn't make sense. Well, it does because stress is one of the underlying factors to do with our symptoms as well. And so anyway, you can reduce the burden and talk talk talk. I mean, it shouldn't have to be a taboo topic and talking about it at the table is fine. My kids will often go or is it menopause mom? Yeah.
Jenn Huber 44:57
Yeah, my kids, especially my 12 year old son is the most educated 12 year old male out there on hot flashes. Let me tell you,
Amanda Thebe 45:03
her her and that's how it should be found. This has been brilliant.
Jenn Huber 45:08
Yes. Thank you so much. And so yeah, you might be listening to this on on my podcast. You might be listening to this on Amanda's but we're glad that you joined us and hope that this conversation has maybe just added a little bit to your menopause bucket today. Yeah, you hope so
Amanda Thebe 45:23
too. So when the midlife faced met all with all due respect, we had a great conversation. Thank you, Jen.
Jenn Huber 45:30
Thanks, Amanda. Thanks for tuning in to this week's episode of the midlife feast. If you're looking for a little help on dieting your beliefs about food, health and nutrition in midlife, check out my group program beyond the scale which runs January May and September every year. Click the link in the show notes to learn how you can find food freedom and body confidence without feeling like you've given up on yourself
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