As we near the kickoff to the holiday season, we wanted to know how concerned we should really be about the amount of sugar we’re consuming. You hear words like “toxic” and “addiction,” as well as “harmless” and “fun” when it comes to sugar and sugar consumption. So which is it?
The American Heart Association says women should get no more than 25 grams (6 tsp) of added sugar a day, and 36 grams (9 tsp) for men. However, according to SugarScience, a publication from the University of California at San Francisco, the average American gets 82 grams of sugar (19.5 tsp) every day.
We’re eating a lot of it. But when it comes to our health in midlife, is sugar really that bad for us?
To find out, we called up Dr. Anna Garrett, who talked to us before on getting your mojo back in midlife. Dr. Anna is a certified coach and Doctor of Pharmacy, and her mission in life is helping women get their hormones – and their lives! – back in balance.
Here’s what we learned:
“Sugar actually works on the same centers in the brain as cocaine and nicotine.” So, yeah. Addictive and dangerous. Find out the process of addiction in your brain.
Fat used to be the demonized ingredient when it came to obesity and poor health. But did the Big Sugar lobby play fast and loose with the facts to make it appear like fat was the bad guy?
Sugar disrupts insulin, creating chaos with your hormones and possibly contributing to estrogen dominance. And that’s just not good.
Sugar wreaks havoc here too, increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease. Dr. Anna explains.
Cutting out sugar is tricky. Dr. Anna gives her recommendations on going “cold turkey” versus “cutting back.” HINT: sugary drinks should probably be first to go.
Some drinks, like milk, have natural sugars. Avoid the ones with added sugars like agave or syrups. And bad news, y’all: wine is a problem.
Sugar is super sneaky, so even capable label readers may miss a few. Dr. Anna tells us what to be on the lookout for.
I’ll give you one guess. Yep. Not good. Dr. Anna tells us why artificial sweeteners may actually sabotage your good intentions. But there are ways to make it less bad for you ….
There are definitely withdrawal symptoms, just like with other addictions. Dr. Anna gives us the info on how we’ll feel, how long it’ll last, and how to manage it best.
If you’re truly serious, you can get to great in 7 – 10 days, says Dr. Anna. She tells us how to go about a sugar “detox” the best way.
Dr. Anna gives us insight into her healthy diet. We’ve decided we want to be her when we grow up.
Starchy veggies like beets or sweet potatoes and healthy carbs can be invited back, but for those folks for whom sugar is an “avalanche” food (ie, triggers binge eating), refined sugars should probably be eliminated entirely and permanently.
The holidays are coming and most of us are about to be awash in sugary treats. How do we handle it? Dr. Anna has some great ideas on how to be thoughtful about what we’re eating. Autopilot is only good for airplanes, folks; never for food.
It’s tough to do this right: you don’t want to be the “anti-fun committee,” so explain why you’re doing what you’re doing, include the family in meal planning and prep, and start training taste buds early!
Are you ready to reduce your sugar intake? It can be a tough road, so consider getting help from a coach like Dr. Anna. We’d love to hear how it goes for you! Please share your successes and setbacks with us in the comments or on genneve’s Facebook page or Midlife & Menopause Solutions, our closed Facebook group.
Mona Lisa Touch: You probably haven’t heard of it, but if you’re a woman in midlife, you might want to take a moment to hear about it. This “fractionated CO2 laser,” we hear, can return vaginal tissue to a pre-menopausal state with just a few 3-to-5-minute treatments.
That can mean a return to sex that’s pleasurable instead of painful and an end to mild urinary incontinence.
Because we have no idea what a “fractionated CO2 laser” is, but we wanted to know more, we contacted a provider of the service here in Seattle, Dr. Rebecca Dunsmoor-Su.
Dr. Rebecca maintained her own ob/gyn practice and taught Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Washington before decided to take a position with Swedish Medical Center as an OB Hospitalist. In 2016, she opened RenuvaGyn to start offering Mona Lisa Touch to women in menopause.
She knows what this laser is and what it can do for women who are suffering with vaginal atrophy, mild incontinence, and painful sex. Here’s what she told us:
Dr. Rebecca traces her path to Seattle and RenuvaGyn and the Mona Lisa Touch, and why she feels like women deserve to have a robust sex life, even after menopause (shocking!)
Some women can’t use hormones or prefer not to. The MLT gives those women a great option.
Kind of like a photocopy machine with a screen, according to the doc. She explains the process which is nothing at all like making copies.
The laser reawakens cells that start rebuilding and re-hydrating the vaginal area. The thicker layers, rebalanced pH, and returning healthy bacteria bring that bit of the body back to pre-menopause. She also gives us a timeline for when to get going – hint: the sooner, the better.
Yes, it’s good for sex, no question. But it’s also good for the itch and the dryness.
Because it doesn’t go as deeply into the tissue as facial laser treatment or hair removal, it’s less painful than either. A topical numbing cream takes care of any pain that might occur with the procedure. No flaking or peeling, either, woot!
The MLT sounds amazing – why aren’t more women doing it? Cost, says the doctor. It’s not covered by insurance (of course!), so women pay the costs out of pocket.
Cost aside, women are often a little fearful about the procedure, but when it’s done, the usual response is, “that’s it?” Doctor Rebecca goes into what the office visit is like, and it sounds pretty darn easy.
(not all "vaginal rejuvenation" procedures are created equal. read up on why you may not want to keep up with the kardashians)
For mild incontinence, the MLT can be very helpful in a couple of ways. Dr. Rebecca takes us through the advantages. Also good for post-baby women in addition to women over 50, so spread the word!
Mona Lisa Touch (and menopause care generally) doesn’t quite yet pay the bills; Dr. Rebecca is also a OB Hospitalist at Swedish Medical Center, helping with labor, delivery, c-sections, etc. The MLT fulfilled her need to work with women on an ongoing basis. She talks about how doctors are paid and why it doesn’t favor doctors talking with women about menopause issues.
Dr. Rebecca says there’s no physical prep to be done, but it’s good to do some research and know what to expect. One place to look is her own site and blog on renuvagyn.com.
For women who cannot or prefer not to use hormones to treat vaginal dryness and painful sex, the Mona Lisa Touch may provide an excellent, effective, low-risk alternative. You can search for a provider in your area from the Mona Lisa Touch website.
Have you had or would you consider a laser treatment to deal with vaginal atrophy or incontinence? Share with us (anonymously, if you prefer) in the comments on the genneve blog, or you can join the conversation on genneve’s Facebook page or in Midlife & Menopause Solutions, genneve’s closed Facebook group.
Mary Slagle is a SaaS Sales Specialist for MINDBODY, Inc. Working in the field of wellness, and for a company filled with mostly twenty-somethings, Mary was feeling as though she had missed out on the chance to join in on the activities and fun they all enjoyed. With five grown children and four grandchildren, her dream was to be more active and healthy.
While prospecting for new clients, Mary came across Health and Lifestyle Coach Lara Dalch's website and program for a Vibrant Healthy life. She realized it was exactly what she was looking for, in a wholly unexpected way.
In this podcast with Jill, Mary and Lara tell us how they partnered up to help Mary feel balanced and successful in all aspects of her life.
Mary is a high-achieving, got-it-all-together kind of gal. Why would she need a coach? Because being driven and having a full life is terrific, but it can also be stressful. Lara helps her prioritize and spend her time and energy right.
There are lots of coaches and coaching programs out there. We asked Mary how she knew Lara was the right partner for her. According to Mary, The “Get Out of Your Own Way” worksheet, plus the chance to consult with Lara for free, opened her eyes to where she was in life. She was settling, she realized, and that just wasn’t right.
Lara’s online worksheet was born from watching women sabotage their lives and their opportunities to live more vibrantly. Check out the ways Lara sees women block their own dreams and futures.
There must have been a moment when you realized you weren’t living the life you wanted. What was it like when your eyes were opened? Mary talks about when she realized she was giving so much to her professional life, it was leaving her powerless in her personal life.
The workshop is a “sliver of hope” that things can change, says Lara; it’s a glimpse into that better, more fulfilling life. Whatever your goals are, there are paths to achieving them – Lara helps her clients realize first, things can be better, and second, here’s how we’ll get you there.
What did the day-to-day work feel like? Lara and Mary talk about the dangers of The Grand Plan and the sanity of setting reasonable goals.
As Lara says, “Feeling well means something different every day.” It’s important for highly driven women to train their brains to notice what’s going well, to celebrate the small steps as much as the big victories. As Lara told us later, there are two critical steps here. Step one: honor how you're feeling and be compassionate with yourself. Step two: redirect your attention to what's going well. Listen to find out how.
We asked Mary about the low points. What were they and how did she get over them? In a house full of food that wasn’t healthy for her body, constant denial was grinding her down. Mary describes how she and Lara developed tools that allowed for some indulgence but kept her choices under her control.
We could all use tools like that! Mary talks about how Lara’s program allows for 24/7 access to the whole history of their journey together through video. Being able to go back to critical touchpoints along the way really helped Mary stay on track.
We asked Lara how she realizes her clients are struggling and what she does when they need a boost. So, what’s “new and good” with you?
“There’s always something” that shifts the client and the coach back into a positive mindset, Lara says. Sometimes they have to talk a while to find the good, but there’s always something.
We asked how the program finishes and Mary is sustaining her progress. The program is designed to be finite, Lara says, though there are options to continue. But high-performing women like Mary tend to get through the material quickly and are ready to fly solo pretty fast. From her side, Mary didn’t want to say goodbye, even though she was “soaring”! So she’s opted to keep Lara in her corner, through check ups and check ins to keep her moving forward. Will she finally join that CrossFit group? Stay tuned!
Life makes it tough to make the right choices sometimes (e.g. a cruise ship full of ice cream and pizza), so negotiations continue. But now, Mary says, she has the tools to make judgement calls and control her own decision-making (like spending candy bar money on better “indulgences”).
“It’s such a pleasure to see her thrive,” Lara says. No surprise there. 😊
If you’re looking to get out of your own way and feel vibrant and fulfilled, take a look at Lara’s website or find a coach near you.
For those who think you should be able to do this on their own, you may well be able to, and that’s great. But also think about all the other times in life when you’re willing to call in expert help – is fixing your future to be more fulfilling less important than fixing your car?
If you’ve utilized the services of a coach for career, fitness, lifestyle changes, nutrition, etc., we’d love to know how you found your coach and how the partnership worked for you. Please feel free to share in the comments on genneve.com. You’re also welcome to join the conversation on genneve’s Facebook page or Midlife & Menopause Solutions, genneve’s closed Facebook group.
Coming up soon on genneve’s podcasts: nixing sugar with Dr. Anna Garrett, just in time for Halloween; brewing up something special for menopause with the Portsmouth Brewery; and learning more about the innovative Mona Lisa Touch with Dr. Rebecca Dunsmoor-Su. Stay tuned or subscribe to us on iTunes, Stitcher or SoundCloud so you never miss an episode!