4 Ways to Boost Your Confidence During Menopause

4 Ways to Boost Your Confidence During Menopause

Besides the physical changes that menopause brings, it also can shake your sense of self-assurance — but these confidence boosters can help.

In medical terms, menopause — the absence of a woman’s menstrual period for at least a year — is a strictly physical phenomenon. However, most women find that, beyond physical symptoms, menopause can also be a time of emotional upheaval.

“It can be a sad time,” says Dale Perry, a nurse practitioner at Women’s Care of Beverly Hills in California and a specialist in menopausal issues. “You know you’re not going to have any more children. You throw that last box of tampons away. You can have mood swings, fatigue — you may just not feel like you’re completely on top of things.”

This combination of physical changes and emotional stress can be enough to make a woman feel a little down or unsure of herself. But you can regain the confidence that menopause symptoms may have shaken. Try some of these tips to start feeling like yourself again.

Confidence Booster No. 1: Have Sex

If you’re feeling less than feminine because of menopause, a great way to overcome that is by being intimate with your partner.

Intimacy can also help you overcome the so-so feelings you may have been having about sex — a common symptom of menopause. “If you don’t use it regularly, it doesn’t work so well,” Perry says.

Some menopausal women find sex to be uncomfortable because of vaginal dryness, which can happen when estrogen levels go down. If you experience this, an estrogen supplement can help increase moisture. Some of the newest estrogen supplements, like Evamist and Vivelle-Dot, are delivered through the skin. “It’s a much lower dose, you can swim with it, and it slowly releases the hormone into your bloodstream,” Perry says. Other options are topical estrogen creams and estrogen tablets that deliver the hormone directly to the vaginal tissues.

Confidence Booster No. 2: Get More Exercise

Regular physical activity can help relieve some of the stress of menopause and improve your physical health, leading to a general sense of well-being. “I think yoga works particularly well,” Perry says. “You can ease yourself in by starting with a gentle stretch class, and move from there.”

Adults should aim for a total of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, like brisk walking, every week. All of the body’s major muscle groups should be exercised at least twice a week.

Confidence Booster No. 3: Pamper Yourself

Breaking out of your routine by treating yourself to something new or luxurious can be a real confidence booster, Perry says. Also, since your body is changing, this is a perfect time to change your outward appearance in small ways. “Let a personal shopper pick out some clothes you wouldn’t have chosen yourself,” Perry says. “Do something different. That can be really exciting.”

Confidence Booster No. 4: Get Help if You Need It

Many women sail through menopause with no major problems, but others may need to consult with their doctor if they’re feeling symptoms of depression or anxiety. Women with a history of these problems should be on the lookout for signs, which can include loss of energy, sadness, and constant feelings of worry and tension. “If your sleep is disturbed, you need to talk to your doctor,” Perry says. “If you’re not sleeping well, nothing else in your life seems to go well. You start the day already feeling behind.”

If you are diagnosed with anxiety or depression, your doctor may prescribe an antidepressant medication to help improve your mood. Commonly prescribed medications include Zoloft ( sertraline ) and Lexapro (escitalopram ). One antidepressant, Effexor (venlafaxine ), also tends to relieve the hot flashes associated with menopause.

While there’s plenty to moan about during menopause, there’s also a lot to celebrate at this time in your life. “In some ways, it’s a very freeing age for women,” Perry says. “In your twenties and thirties, you really care what people think of you. But now, you’re much more comfortable in your own skin. Many women are at the height of their careers … This is not a time of life when life is over. The best stuff is not necessarily behind you at this point.”

Adjust Your Weight-Loss Strategy With Age

I thought this was a great article. :)


Adjust Your Weight-Loss Strategy With Age

Learn how aging affects weight loss and the best ways to modify your fitness plans to adjust to changes in your metabolism.

By Madeline Vann, MPH

As you get older, your body doesn’t respond the same way to weight-loss efforts. This aggravating phenomenon occurs primarily because your metabolism is slowing down and you need fewer calories each day. Here’s how to adjust to get back on track.

Weight Gain and Aging: What’s Going On?

“The 40s are very different from the 30s, and the 50s are very different from the 40s as far as your metabolism,” observes longtime dieter Frances Simon of New Orleans. Simon turns 55 this year and says that number is causing her to get serious about achieving her weight-loss goals. “It seems like it’s harder and harder. But, boy, I remember when I was in my 20s — admittedly I was a lot more active, but I had a lot more energy then, too. I would go out dining and drinking a lot when I was in my 20s, but now in my 50s there is no way I would do that. It’s easier for the weight to come on than to try taking it off.”

Simon’s experiences are not unique. With menopause you may find your waist expands a bit, your muscles lose their tone, and you get new fat deposits. Researchers have yet to uncover the reason for these physical changes, but suspect that rapidly shifting hormones affect your body’s makeup.

While the factors that lead to weight gain as we age are the same for men and women (with the exception of menopause), national health data shows that men over age 65 are slightly more likely than women to be overweight. In fact, 76 percent of men ages 65 to 74 are obese, compared to 71.5 percent of women in that age group.

Weight Gain and Aging: Your Changing Body

Here are some of the contributing factors to your unwanted weight gain:

You’re burning less energy. “As you get older, you don’t need as many calories. Part of that is a little bit slower metabolism, but part of it is you’re not rushing around as much. You can’t believe how many calories you don’t need,” says Donna L. Weihofen, RD, MS, health nutritionist at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

Weihofen says that learning to adjust your diet to your body’s changing needs is a gradual process. She gives her clients guidelines like switching to smaller portions and sharing at restaurants, especially if dining with a spouse who is having his own problems with weight gain.

You’re less active. Many people find they have less energy as they age, but you may also find that life is less demanding than it was in earlier years. Simon says that eating a Mediterranean-style diet, with an emphasis on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats, keeps her feeling full and gives her more energy to exercise.

However, she notes that there is another significant barrier to exercising for older women. “For people my age who want to exercise or get started exercising, I think it’s discouraging to go to a gym where there are lots of younger people,” she says. Simon’s goal is to attend Jazzercise three times a week, a class she enjoys because the participants are her age and older. “Some of those 60-year-olds look pretty fine, too!”

Weight Gain and Aging: How to Fight Back

A study of weight gain prevention in 284 women showed that women who maintained a healthy weight over a three-year period were more likely to:

  • Carefully monitor food intake
  • Avoid a loss of control of their diet (binging, for example)
  • Not feel hungry

The strategies for combating weight gain as you age are the same you’ve used before:

  • Count your calories
  • Eat a hunger-busting diet rich in fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats
  • Keep fat intake below 30 percent of your calories
  • Be physically active, at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week (more if possible)

Aging doesn’t mean you are destined for weight gain — just step up your diet and exercise routine to stay on track!