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Breaking the Taboo: Menopause, Nutrition, and Body Image

Menopause. It's a word that carries so much weight yet is often shrouded in secrecy and taboo. But actually, this natural phase of a woman's life can be empowering, transformative, and full of potential.

In our recent interview, we delve into perimenopause, nutrition, body image, and the pervasive influence of diet culture. We talk to specialist Laura Clark - The Menopause Dietitian, about this fundamental stage of life as well as the development of what went on to become Discovery Journals Evolution Cards; a resource designed to help improve confidence, body positivity and mental health in association with self-worth. We navigate through the complexities of menopause and uncover practical tips for its management.

We have featured some clips in this blog, however, the full video is available to stream via our youtube channel.

Menopause and Body Image

Understanding Menopause and Its Impact on Nutrition

"I learned very early on in my career that knowledge around nutrition is not enough to change someone's behaviour."

Laura Clark is a nutritional specialist working within the perimenopause stage of life. When we think about perimenopause we don't often jump to thinking about our diet but rather all the symptoms that we are expecting such as hot flashes. But weight gain and change in body shape is a symptom of menopause too, and it can become very frustrating during this stage of life to not be doing anything different from normal in terms of diet and exercise and yet still see your body change and in a way that is unfamiliar and possibly unwanted.

These physical changes can dramatically alter your mental state and throughout this interview, Laura highlights some of the concerns of her clients and how nutritional management can help through this stage of life.

Hormonal shifts can affect metabolism, cravings, and the body's ability to absorb nutrients. It's essential to listen to your body's changing needs and make adjustments during this phase, many of which Laura and I covered during this interview.

Challenging Society's Beauty Standards and Embracing Body Positivity

"I don't know how to move this body. I don't know what this body feels like. It doesn't feel how I was expecting it to feel."

Society's beauty standards can often be unattainable and unrealistic, especially for women going through perimenopause and trust me these issues get covered in length during this interview, but in this section, Laura and I discuss how a woman's self-worth can deplete and waver during perimenopause and what we can do to try and overcome those negative feelings and stabilise our mental health.

Menopause and Body Image

It was during this part of the interview that I really began to hone in on the language and terminology that would be required for the cards I was designing.

It became apparent to me that these cards needed to be less about symptom tracking and more angled at self-worth and how we feel about our bodies both internally and externally.

As the body undergoes changes during this phase, it's important to challenge those standards and embrace body positivity in a healthy way.

Instead of focusing on external appearance, shift the focus towards feeling healthy, strong, and confident in your own skin.

The Role of Diet Culture in Shaping Body Image during Menopause

"We hold so much fear around weight gain. We're taught that gaining weight is a bad thing and it's dangled in front of us that this is all a health conversation."

In today's society, the pressure to maintain a certain weight and conform to the ideal body type is stronger than ever. Body image, just like fashion trends, seems to go in and out of "style", from the tinny skinny frame of the 1960s to idols such as "twiggy" or the curvy figure of this generations "Kardashians"; our bodies are constantly being challenged (like they don't already go through enough!).

Often women grow up under the light of these unattainable figures and with the addition of the internet and social media, we see more and more of the "perfect" image every day; from the latest fad diets to glamorous weight loss transformations, it's easy to get caught up in the constant barrage of messages telling us how we should look. So how can we ignore it?

"We have absolutely no evidence that weight and health are as closely linked as they're made out to be!"

But the truth is, there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to our bodies and our health. Laura and I shed some light on this issue; where it manifests, coping with the mental health consequences and how we can try and conquer it when moving into the perimenopause phase of life.

Practical Tips for Improving Body Image and Self-Esteem

"How can we help women who are coming up to their menopause or going through the menopause to make them more confident beforehand, more prepared for what's coming?"

Prevention is a decisive conversation. Prevention is always the best method or course of action when discussing weight stigma, but it's easier said than done. Women grow up with conformities and are subject to peer pressure, generational stigma and ridicule, often unconsciously and from a very young age. Although we are in a period of time where body positivity is at its most valued and most encouraged, it doesn't mean that the problem is all but solved.

We haven't looked closer at the stages of change during a woman's life to guide us. Laura and I discuss the elements we can control in our lives that add to weight stigma such as social media and weight stigma awareness, learning how we can control what feels uncontrollable.

"I don't think we should be using the scale really in any way to inform our health or our actions."

Menopause and Body Image

We need to pay attention to the language we use when speaking to ourselves and challenge any negative thoughts or beliefs about our bodies!

Taking time to appreciate your body for all that it does for you can help shift your mindset towards self-acceptance and appreciation.

This is a really important message I've incorporated into the Evolution Cards, featuring questions such as "If you could thank your mind for one thing and your body for another what would you say?". Questions like this add more dimension to how we think and feel about ourselves and learn to appreciate our bodies, not for what they look like, but what they are capable of!

Learning to love our bodies is incredibly difficult in the enviroment we live in. To pretend otherwise is ridiculous. You might wonder why you would need a card to remind yourself of how you feel about your body and inside your body, but just like a journal. When you are writing it down, you are declaring it to yourself, you are practising self-love. Something we don't often have time for and that is sorely missing from our lives.

Ready to see the full video?

If your curiosity has been peaked by Laura's insights and think you could benefit from her advice, please visit her website and make contact here:

For more information on Discovery Journal check out our website for information on our mental health resources and our latest card packs:

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