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  • Writer's pictureAmy Slater

Beyond Blood Sugar for moms over 40!

We are bombarded by messaging about the importance of blood sugar regulation for mid-life women. Rightly so, a dysregulated blood glucose can greatly impact our energy, mood, body composition, recovery and hormones. Actually...we could say, what does it NOT impact!





But, there are other areas where we could set our sights as busy women over 40 who not only want to look good but also:

  • have the mental fortitude to pursue or professional lives

  • be there for our children

  • support our parents who are aging

  • handle the unpredictable emotions of our now teenagers

  • be able to sleep comfortably through the night

  • wake up with energy

  • not experience recurring injuries

  • enjoy working out to get strong


Really, we could go on and on!


SO....what other things are important for all of us as busy moms, mid-life women, to focus on during this season of life?



The best interventions/habits are ones that are sustainable. So, when looking at how to adopt these concepts, maybe think about these questions:


  • Is this financially sustainable for me where I will not feel stressed with the investment each month?

  • Am I willing to learn more about WHY so I can continue these habits even when it is super inconvenient?

  • Are there ways that I can integrate some of the habits NOW in a smaller scale and layer in more as life shifts?


Ok, so here are some other things to consider when you are looking at...man, my doctor says my hormones are "normal", I don't feel like myself, I am frustrated with my body and feel overwhelmed much of the time. I just don't know where to start!


CIRCADIAN RHYTHM


Since starting nursing school, my outside time went from 10-21 hours per week to less than 5 on some weeks. I feel every bit of it! From mood to inflammation and digestion.


Light exposure at appropriate times is important for things like dopamine production (think mood, focus and energy) and progesterone production (think calm and balancing out estrogen among others). A big point of focus that we should have is on leptin resistance. Leptin is a hormone that plays an important role in regulating our energy balance and appetite! Our fat cells release it into the bloodstream. The role of leptin in the body is to communicate with the hypothalamus (in the brain) to signal the amount of fat in the body. This then impacts our energy expenditure, food intake and metabolism.


When fat cells increase in size...they release more leptin which tells our brain that we have sufficient energy stores. This SHOULD tell our brain to reduce our appetite and increase our energy expenditure. When we have leptin resistance, leptin cannot communicate properly with the body about its energy stores. Light exposure greatly impacts leptin as leptin docks on the hypothalamus at night. Elevated cortisol at night (see the section on sleep) will impact this docking. Mental and or physical stress (see strength training) at night will raise cortisol. When our brain cannot get this communication from leptin it can lead to unexplained weight gain. Blue light at night, lack of darkness and insufficient light exposure during the day will impact leptin signaling!


So, a completely free habit that you can incorporate is:

  • early as possible light exposure (as little as 2 minutes into the eye makes a difference)

  • mid-day light exposure

  • evening low-light exposure


Additionally, you can purchase some orange tinted blue blockers if you are required to be on a computer like me right up until bedtime! I found these on Amazon and really like them!


REMEMBER WHERE YOU ARE COMING FROM!

I cannot emphasize this enough! I have clients who have lived in stress, under nourishing, under sleeping and bathing in adrenaline for 10 years. That impacts the body in a way that demands a period of recovery. If this is you...give yourself at least a year to solidly implement a strategy where you nourish your body, train in a way that BUILDS you up (not looking at shrinking) and focus on the inputs to retrain your nervous system to not be so reactive to stress.


These concepts are not functionally medicine rooted, Hans Selye coined General Adaptation Syndrome and the basic framework is still taught in medical programs, including nursing. If the body cannot compensate during the resistance stage, you reach exhaustion. The exhaustion stage is where you start to experience symptoms of dis-EASE and you either change your inputs or you are medicated. Sometimes we need both. BUT...you can do A LOT with the right inputs and lifestyle change.



Strategy makes a MAJOR difference!


Start treating your health strategically. Organize your habits in a way that allows your body to heal and recover. THIS does not mean all you do is yoga and walking and sleep all day! NO! This is a time of consistent work, effort and the discipline to say yes to yourself!



SLEEP!


Please prioritize your sleep. Identify your sleepy window and stick to it. I get the difficulty of this time between late practices, early workouts (or they don't happen), long commutes, homework, etc. But, this is not the time in life to hang out on the couch watching Netflix for me time if it means sacrificing sleep. If you are tired at 8PM every night but forcing yourself to push through and at 830. Then you get your second wind and don't go to sleep until 11, that impacts the time your brain has to clean itself and liver to go through its detox cycles. So, aim for 7-9 hours and stick to the sleepy window!



STRENGTH TRAINING


I am not talking about everyone needing to deadlift their bodyweight and lift super heavy unless that is your thing. As mid-life women we need strategy on how to support our pelvic floor (NOT kegels), hip mobility and health and ribcage movement. These things impact back pain which is a HUGE source of stress for many women. I cannot sing it from the rooftops enough...adding 3 days of strength training in per week will TRANSFORM your energy! Work with a coach and get on a program if possible. Try apps like Train Heroic or message me...I have A LOT of good friends who are tremendous at programming for women!




MICRONUTRIENTS MATTER


Oh man! HUGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If you are a plant/vegetable fan but your kids are not and that is keeping you from making them. Stop that nonsense! You have the freedom and the right to fill your plate with greens, reds, purples and all the things!


A plant forward approach is 100% solidly stated across the literature to support key strains of bacteria that improve body composition, reduce all cause mortality and generally improve energy production! I run an HTMA on every client and the connection to mineral depletion is always tied to a reduction in consumption of plants and/or decreased digestion. I will dig more into this in the coming weeks. But for now, think about just eating the rainbow, learning about ways to build these beautiful fiber rich energy bombs into every meal and watch your health transform.



NURSING SCHOOL UPDATE


Here we are in week 6 of clinicals and week 8 of nursing school and I am super excited to be done. ha ha! Officially 1/10th of the way through! School is a lot about learning how to answer questions from a nursing standpoint, in other words...all of the answers are right but we have to choose the more right answer!


I love my classmates and learning the pathophysiology of all kinds of conditions is really helpful. I am just scratching the surface but getting into the groove and that feels great!


More update in two weeks! Off to study now! I hope you all benefitted from this content! If you like it, drop a comment below!


Don't forget to follow me on Instagram for lots of Movement Breaks and fun reels!

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