Crank Up Your Energy in 2016

The years before menopause can zap your energy. In my last post, I listed perimenopause symptoms and "crashing fatigue" is one of the most common and debilitating of the entire list.  I used to walk around in a dazed state between 3 in the afternoon and 8pm every day and literally feel like I was sleep walking. In the past six months I have been on a quest for answers.  I did lots of Internet research, visited an acupuncture doctor who specializes in nutrition, and met with my OB-Gyn.  Here is what I found to be effective for increasing energy in perimenopausal women:

Eat every three hours and include protein with each snack and meal.  This keeps your blood sugar up.  I was eating an apple alone every day in the car as I drove to pick up my kids from school and couldn't figure out why I was almost falling asleep as I drove back and forth.  My blood sugar was dipping too low because I ate sugar without protein.

Exercise for 30 minutes five or six days a week.  Moderate cardio and strength training really works to improve your mood and increase your energy.  It also helps manage many symptoms of perimenopause.  If you don't have time to drive back and forth to a gym, I highly recommend  These online workouts are all thirty minutes or less and the online fitness coaches are encouraging and motivating.  You can do a one-week trial for free.

Get your vitamin B12 and vitamin D levels checked.  I was low in both of these, at different times, and taking supplements has really helped me to have more energy.  If either of these is low, that could be the reason why your energy is low.

Sleep a minimum of 7 hours per night.  This sounds simple but it really helps improve your energy, by setting a bedtime and making yourself a priority.  The kitchen or the TV show can wait until tomorrow.  A study by the University of Chicago found that participants who slept 8 and a half hours per night lost twice as much body fat as those who slept 5 and a half hours per night.  Both groups ate the same amount of calories per day.  Since increased body fat is a major symptom of perimenopause, getting more sleep could really help you trim your waistline.

Talk to your doctor about natural progesterone.  Progesterone levels dip during perimenopause and this can cause a lot of the symptoms I wrote about in my last post. Bioidentical progesterone is made from yams and is easier and gentler on the body than synthetic progesterone, with less side effects.  Natural health doctors can test your progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone levels and help you find the right prescription for you to balance your hormones.  My OB-Gyn doesn't do this type of test, so I haven't had it done yet, but I do feel better taking natural progesterone 21 days of my cycle.  It is best to take 7-10 days off every month.  My prescription is inexpensive.  My local Walgreen's has a compounding pharmacy, where each prescription is made individually for each patient.

Limit sugary foods and white breads/pasta.  I went through a three or four month period when I was stress eating.  My energy levels got really low and I noticed a lot more belly fat.  I realized I had been grazing on pretzels, crackers and cookies.  This type of food is notorious for zapping energy and for increasing weight gain.  Instead, fill up on lean proteins like chicken, fish and plain yogurt, and eat plenty of greens and other vegetables, and try a healthy grain like quinoa that is better for your blood sugar and is an excellent source of protein.

Take a break and relax every day.  There is so much to do that it is nearly impossible to slow down, but it is essential to do so every day, for your health.  When you are rushing all the time, your body goes into the fight or flight response and you produce too much cortisol (stress hormone).  You get tired and cranky.  This makes it nearly impossible to lose weight and it in the long run it can lead to adrenal fatigue.  My favorite time-out activities are drinking herbal tea, reading a book and doing yoga.

Get your feelings out.  Take 15 minutes a day to write about what is bothering you in a journal, or to talk to a trustworthy friend.  I think that when we keep negative feelings bottled up it really zaps our energy, not to mention makes us cranky and causes us to snap at people and say things we wish we hadn't.

Everyone is unique and what works for me may not work for you.  What I hope you walk away with is this:  You matter.  And making time for you is essential and is anything but selfish.  So, put yourself on the list.  And make loving and nurturing yourself a priority.  Let me know what you thought of the post.  Do you suffer from crashing fatigue?  What works for you?  And if you liked this post, leave a comment, or even better, hit the subscribe button so you won't miss a post.


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