A little bit of what you fancy...

Menopause Advisor
Ask Eileen

06 December 2013

Why Christmas can be a problem

I love Christmas and all that it entails, including Christmas Pud (I make my own from a family recipe handed down from my mum so can be liberal with all the goodies in it!), hot mince pies, especially those made by my grandchildren and a nice drop of organic wine.

I normally eat very healthily but on holidays and at Christmas I do give myself a little more leeway, but there is a big downside to all this indulgence for the menopause: high sugar foods, overeating and alcohol can all worsen symptoms, so holiday fun can lead to feeling miserable afterwards. I have found that the older I get when I stray from my healthy path the worse I feel and it has now got to the stage where I have to weigh up whether it is worth it. So I have now devised a little plan to allow me the best of both worlds and I thought I would share it with you all.

How to enjoy Christmas and keep menopause symptoms at bay

Don’t skip breakfast on Christmas day thinking that you will save a few calories. Eat a good healthy breakfast such as yogurt and a fresh fruit salad or a hearty omelette or even some smoked salmon. Having protein first thing will keep you going and you will be less inclined to snack on the naughty stuff.  Keep plenty of water to hand all day and try not to drink alcohol too early, as this will seriously weaken your willpower!

Have lots of veg with your main meal and eat as slowly as you can. Eating slowly is one of the best ways to avoid overeating and will also put less stress on your digestion, which will be severely taxed with all this extra food. Alternate 1 glass of alcohol with one glass of water which will keep you well hydrated: make it more fun with fizzy water and a little bit of fresh fruit juice to taste if you are not keen on plain water. Have a little of what you fancy but don’t go back for seconds or thirds!

I know it is practically impossible to get out for a walk on Christmas day but do try at some point over the holiday. Walking helps the circulation, clears the head and lungs, gently massages the digestive system and is a welcome break from the TV!

You can use similar strategies for any party, especially those straight after work. The worst thing you can do is go to a party on any empty stomach (especially if you get flushes), so try to have something beforehand – a portion of dried fruits and nuts, a plain yogurt or try a protein powder drink: just make sure it doesn’t have sugar or artificial sweeteners in it.

Herbal remedies can often be a good support at this time: Digestisan for overindulgence and indigestion; the herb Milk Thistle, if you have drunk a wee bit too much; and Relaxation Essence to help chill after all that hard work!

Happy, Healthy Christmas!

Any other good tips?

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You won’t get the menopause the minute you turn 50! The average starting age is actually between 45 and 55 and it can often depend on a number of factors including hereditary, weight and health, however every single woman will have an individual menopause.

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