Your mIddle yearsI’m taking some MENO-LEAVE at the moment.

It’s a makey-up word but so what! It’s just one day (Monday) each week OFF until the end of September this year! I’m so excited about this. It dawned on me after a 3 day mindfulness course that I deserve some time out.

As I walked along the beach I realised that the last time I had a decent spate of time off work was when I was on maternity leave nearly 21 years ago. I took what was on offer in those days (three months) plus my holiday leave – four months in total. Since then I’ve been working fulltime, only taking 2 week holidays at a time.

So I’ve decided to give myself some meno-leave now that Your Middle Years is published and on the book shelves since its launch – March the 8th.

I’ve no clue how I’ll get on this Summer but for the moment I am stopping my clinic work. Instead I am focusing on my corporate work Tuesday to Friday. That’s the plan. I intend to come back refreshed and updated. Time out will give me time to reflect and think about my work, but also to do some other stuff too. How good is that!

I will be posting weekly on Paula Mee Your Middle Years Facebook page. You can set up your notifications to direct you there, where you can share and discuss issues with other liked minded women.

Incidentally you can buy the book on line but because it’s such a tome the envelope and postage comes to €8 euro so the price is €25.00 from the website as opposed to €17.00 in bookstores.

Your Middle Years, Love them, Live them, Own them! Published by Gill books

I found no road map for the transition through menopause, no exact starting point or finishing point. There is also a stark lack of practical information on menopause and the middle years. Even more concerning is the notable absence of positive outlooks on ageing.

I firmly believe however that with the right diet and lifestyle, we can look, be and feel our best through the menopausal years and well beyond. I wanted to write Your Middle Years with Kate O Brien to help women anticipate the natural physiologic and metabolic changes they will go through, to offer advice and useful solutions to help them feel strong, resilient and more in control of their destiny.

Many of my friends are at the same stage in life and have similar symptoms. Whilst we might joke about foggy brains and dry punanis we rarely get into serious discussions about the menopause. And while scientists are still deciphering the roles of individual hormones, it’s becoming clear that excess body fat, especially abdominal fat, disrupts the normal balance and functioning of hormones.

So I wanted to focus on preventing the accumulation of visceral fat around the middle in this book. It used to be pretty easy to drop a few pounds when in the 30s and early 40s, but now it seems to take a great deal more effort and time to achieve even minimal change.

Your Middle Years explains how to eat well to avoid a build-up of visceral fat, yet maintain a healthy muscle mass; how to destress (through exercise, mindfulness and meditation) so as not to cause further hormonal disruption; and gives tips about how to handle some of the symptoms.

I’ve heard many women’s personal accounts of their menopausal journey from a focus group we carried out and it seems there is plenty of scope for more discussion on the topic.

Your Middle Years is designed so you can dip in and out of it when necessary. It will hopefully arm women with concrete lifestyle strategies prior to the menopause, from the early 40’s onwards. It’s a book to help women anticipate the natural symptoms and changes they will go through. Personally I would have liked to have known more about menopause at an earlier stage – what to expect before I experienced symptoms and how best to manage them.

I believe it’s important to empower ourselves before, during, and after menopause to live healthier lives. While we can’t avoid the raging hormones, and a certain amount of weight gain, loss of bone and muscle mass and digestive issues, we can still manage and minimise their risk of adverse effects and disease as they age.

There are chapters on symptoms, weight, heart health, bone health, immune health, exercise, sleep, beauty, alternatives and sex. There are a number of fast facts throughout the chapters like the ones below.

Fast facts

  • By 2020, more than 50 million women will be older than 51 years, the average age of menopause.
  • Close to three quarters of women experience menopausal symptoms.
  • There are up to 40 different symptoms.
  • Common symptoms include hot flashes and night sweats, mood changes, sleep problems, difficulty concentrating, short-term memory lapses, loss of productivity that accompany these vasomotor symptoms.
  • Symptoms can significantly decrease women’s quality of life and lead to higher healthcare costs.
  • Yet many women go unevaluated and untreated and unhelped.
  • Knowing the likely symptoms and accepting that they may be part of your journey, can be helpful.
  • Close to 20% of women in early menopause could benefit from hormone therapy because they experience moderate to severe vasomotor symptoms and lack contraindications to therapy.

I really hope you enjoy the read and please feel free to feedback what you liked and didn’t like about the book. Enjoy Your Middle Years!