Intuitive Health

Throughout my menopause transition, I felt like I was on a huge learning curve. Now as a post-menopausal woman, although still a work in progress things are starting to make a lot more sense and beginning to fall into place. It’s about time!

Something I’ve given a lot of thought to more recently is re-learning how to be more intuitive with my overall health and in particular, in relation to eating and moving. As children we were very intuitive – we ate when we were hungry, ran, jumped, climbed when we felt like it and innately knew when to rest.



Along the way through adolescents and adulthood most of us lost the simple act of listening to our bodies.

For me this played out with nutrition being more based around trying to be super healthy or I’m embarrassed to admit, at times, to be super skinny. The same was true for exercise. There were many instances over the years when I exercised solely to lose weight or get a better body. I also pushed the boundaries in relation to the sleep my body was needing in exchange for working late or partying to the early hours.

I had lots of rules and unhelpful thought patterns layering upon each other throughout the decades. Basically, I successfully trained my body NOT to recognise its natural requirements.

Now as a 53 year old post-menopausal woman I finally recognise that what my body needs from me now – is to simply listen.

Of course, that’s not exactly so easy after most of my adult life often doing the complete opposite! However, the thing I have found with transitioning to post menopause, is that although I’m acutely more aware of time and my life passing by way too quickly, I’m also appreciating that there is time and that perhaps slowing down a little to re-evaluate my health now will in fact give me more time (and happiness) in the future.

So, what’s my way forward?

Well, I’m definitely become more curious – about what I eat, how I move, my thoughts and the way I live. I’m thinking more about not only what I do but why I do it. I’m re-learning how to listen to my body again.

It’s sounds so simple but considering things like when I’m hungry, when I’m full, what types of foods I’m craving at the time etc etc – this is kind of all new to me again. I don’t count calories or macros (not that I really ever did consciously but subconsciously – maybe I was…). I’m intentionally trying to become less intentional with how I eat and yes, more intuitive.

With nutrition, I am however conscious of including some foods that I know will help optimise my health as I age. For me, this means consuming protein regularly, more foods with calcium etc etc. However, I have found that when I am very in tune with my body, I naturally gravitate towards the right types and amounts of foods I need. It’s a balancing act of being conscious but a little unconscious at the same time.

For movement, after focusing on training for triathlons and planning/recording most of my exercise for a few years, I’ve decided to stop tracking basically everything. I’m using my Garmin just as a watch, not using Strava or a heart rate monitor or any other tracking gadget I somehow felt like I couldn’t live without. I’m not sure why I suddenly needed a device to tell me if I was puffing when I exercised or if I needed to rest or get more sleep.

With exercise in particular, I’m creating a less planned regime. As a personal trainer I know what is ‘ideal’ to do for my body as a post-menopausal woman and I now follow that loosely. Mostly, I am moving in ways that feel good – for me. Sometimes that may mean doing a heavy strength session and at other times, that might look like a run or swim or yoga session. I’m beginning to find that when I am listening to my body well, over a week I tend to naturally include a good variety of movement.

(I’m not sure what that all means if I decide to train for an event like an ironman again but I’ll cross that path when I get there – I will however, remind myself that I completed my first marathon and half ironman in peri-menopause without a sports watch and proper tracking and both went really well.)

Yes, but what if I feel like eating crappy food, lying on the sofa all day and not exercising at all, you might say?

That might be perfectly ok for a few days here and there. Maybe your body just needs to chill out. Long term, of course this is not ideal for your overall health. What do I recommend in this case?

Perhaps it’s time to start delving into your health vision a little more. What does your healthiest you as a post-menopausal woman look and feel like? When our thoughts begin to align with how we want to see ourselves, our actions generally follow.

There is no quick fixes of course. If you are a midlife woman, like me, you may have had decades of conditioning that has removed your intuitive way of eating, moving, thinking and living. You may need to unlearn a lot of the ‘rules’ and thought patterns you have imposed on yourself throughout your life.

However, I believe that entering post menopause provides us with a wonderful opportunity to rethink and relearn how to be more intuitive with our health and wellness. If we can achieve this, then our bodies and our mind will benefit and we can thrive.

How wonderful to think that it is possible to live our life in a healthy and joyful way where we naturally want to consume nutritious foods, move in ways that keep our bodies strong and fit and most importantly, in a way that allows us to feel good about ourselves.

Intuitive health is definitely re-entering my world – and it feels good.

Tania

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