I did a podcast interview last week and we were talking about the fact that I help women of all ages, but most of my clients – even in my 30 days to BodyLove Program – are perimenopausal women (mid-30s to mid-50s). The interviewer asked me why so many women in that age range struggled with body image. I told him it had to do with their hormones. Which is when he asked, “What does awakening your inner goddess have to do with your hormones?”
Here's the deal. Depression is more common in times of hormonal change like menarche and menopause due to the changes in our reproductive hormone levels during that time. For many women, this depression can lead to the breakdowns and break throughs that help them re-establish their connection with their inner goddess. Perimenopausal and menopausal women are also prone to developing body image dissatisfaction and eating disorders as they become more depressed about their appearance and are more likely to report feeling fat. In particular women aged 40-60 are especially vulnerable to bulimia nervosa, binge-eating disorder, and eating disorder not otherwise specified (e.g., compensatory (purging) behaviors for weight loss in the absence of full eating binges and despite normal weight, chewing and spitting out food), as they tend to both use food to cope and withhold food as punishment for being ‘fat.’
To top it all off, our high activity levels in childhood make most of us able to “get away with” eating foods that probably are not the healthiest options. Then sometime in our late teens or early twenties we realize that we aren’t “getting away with it” anymore. Pounds start to accumulate around the middle, commonly called the middle aged spread (although it starts in the 20s for most people – and, thanks to my hormones, it started in high school for me!), and we wonder where we went wrong.
So what does awakening your inner goddess have to do with your body image and your hormones – and even your weight? As it turns out, just about everything!
Of course, the question then becomes: Okay, I can blame my hormones. Now what? Tune in next week as I start to unravel the answers to that question.