By KRS Edstrom
I’m 46 and have recently gone through menopause (no periods for over a year). I started having terrible mood swings and my doctor put me on Prozac, which caused me to gain weight and lose my sex drive. My question is — what would help with my mood swings without the side effects?
Going Through Menopause
Dear Going Through Menopause,
Thankfully, the subject of menopause is fast becoming an openly discussed “acceptable” subject, due to the massive boomer population involuntarily becoming acquainted with it as early as age 35. And, many women are demanding more acceptable, natural solutions.
Exercise will help with depression and mood swings, as well as with weight gain. Walk 20-30 minutes, 4-7 times a week and break a sweat. Adding soy products to your diet along with various herbs and homeopathics can offer relief by balancing hormones. Consider seeking out an alternative practitioner who specializes in hormonal balancing.
Many hormones, including progesterone, testosterone and several
estrogens must be in proper range and ratio with each other in order to
create the desired biological symphony. Blood tests may be a good
starting point and, should you choose to supplement with hormones,
consider steering away from the synthetic hormones and more towards the
bio-identical hormones (available at natural pharmacies). Get more
informed by reading a book such as Dr. Susan Love’s hormone book
Informed Choices About Menopause.”
I am a 28-year-old woman who needs to lose some weight on my stomach by summer. How do I achieve this goal? Right now I do 100 sit-ups a night and 50 in the morning. What else should I do? I hate doing different exercises for each muscle in my stomach. I’d rather just do one kind. What do you suggest for eating habits? I need a routine very badly. Can you help?
Losing Weight for Summer
Dear Losing Weight for Summer,
You didn’t mention how many pounds overweight you are, if any. If you have significant excess weight, all the sit-ups in the world won’t deliver a flat, hard stomach. I tell my clients their first mission is to lose the excess weight and then we’ll worry about the “stomach problem” after that. Not surprisingly, many “stomach problems” disappear with the excess weight. I would suggest a non-fanatical weight loss program that focuses on a gradual reduction of junk foods while introducing good tasting healthful ones.
I went on the patch to quit smoking two weeks ago but I still have a craving for cigarettes. Can you tell me any other way to stop the cravings?
Dear Craves Cigarettes,
It’s important that you approach quitting with the right mindset. For example, instead of thinking, “I’m a bad or weak person for smoking and I’ve got to quit or I’ll die,” tell yourself you are a divine creation who deserves to be in the best of health and live a long, quality life. Think of quitting smoking as a challenge, just like running a marathon. The only difference is that a marathon is a physical challenge while quitting smoking, after the first few days, is primarily a psychological challenge.
The technique I most successfully use for addictions is a mindfulness meditation called vipassana. It teaches you to go TOWARD unpleasant sensations and experience them fully instead of running from them. When you feel the uncomfortable body sensations that make you want to smoke, simply try to “be” with the sensations, go limp to them, surrender to them. No matter how intense they get, stay with it. “Run your marathon” not by gritting your teeth and toughing it out, but by opening to the sensations even if it feels like you may explode. When you feel discomfort, zoom in on it and explore it. Eventually the sensations will break up and the craving will pass. Each time you get a craving from then on, your “marathon” skills will grow, your trust in the process will grow and soon - no more cravings.
The bonus is that you will have learned a new skill for dealing with
negative feelings, so you don’t have to smoke or switch to other
self-destructive habits, such as eating, to try to numb out feeling.
Should you want personal guidance, you might try my “Defeat Pain”
What’s the best and easiest way to get rid of stress?
Tired of Stress
Dear Tired of Stress,
Eliminate or modify the things causing you stress. How? First, make a list of your stressors. Then list the stressors you feel you CANNOT CONTROL in one column, and the stressors you feel you CAN CONTROL or MODIFY in the other column. This simple step can offer surprising relief at the outset. Defining the source of your stress is a very important part of the process.
Next, focusing on the “CAN CONTROL” column, write down how you can
eliminate or modify each stressor. Take your time and be creative and
brutally honest with yourself. For example “car payments” is a common
stressor. Many find the decision to go to a less expensive car, or even
sell one of the family cars, is the “brutally honest” best solution. In
other words, much of our stress is self-created. The good news is that
it can be self-repaired. Breathing exercises, meditation and
visualization will help with the CANNOT CONTROL column.
KRS Edstrom, M.S., is an author, lecturer and columnist. She is
available for private sessions (by phone or in person) and seminars on
meditation, motivation, stress, pain, weight loss and other personal
growth issues. Her books and audios offer solutions for healthful,
conscious living. For free soothing guided meditations and more, please
visit KRS’ “Serenity and Meditation Corner” at
www.AskKRS.com For more info call (323) 851-8623 or e-mail: email@example.com
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