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Perimenopause, Menopause, or Finding Hormonal Balance

Perimenopause can begin as early as 35 years old, and it can last anywhere from 2 to 12 years. Many women begin experiencing signs and symptoms of hormonal disruption without knowing what is happening to their body and hormones. During perimenopause, we may start having anovulatory cycles which means our progesterone is low, disrupting our sense of calm and lowering our metabolic rate. We may experience signs of estrogen dominance, such as heavy periods, bloating, or mood shifts. Eventually, our estrogen levels my decrease as we enter menopause which can contribute to weight gain.


Menopause is when we haven't had a period for the period of one year, and this usually occurs between 45 and 55. On average, due to hormonal changes, women 40 to 60 years old gain ~22 lbs, and this unwanted weight gain is increasingly leading to disordered eating and body image distress in women 35+, which only makes symptoms worse.

Symptoms of perimenopause can include: 

  • low energy

  • weight gain

  • irritability and mood swings

  • increased metabolic dysfunction (insulin resistance, cardiovascular risk)

  • night sweats

  • heart palpitations

  • hot flashes

  • muscle loss

  • hair loss, skin lackluster

  • menstrual irregularities

  • bone loss and osteoporosis 

  • increased sensations of hunger or food anxiety

  • poor body image

Metabolic health


Metabolic health refers to the overall level of inflammation and oxidative stress in our body, cardiovascular risk factors (like cholesterol and triglyceride levels), liver health, cardiovascular fitness, and insulin sensitivity and blood sugar dynamics. As we age, we have a higher risk of metabolic dysfunction which can impact how we feel and our body's ability to detoxify itself and maintain optimal function. 

Two of the biggest metabolic health concerns include diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of factors including elevated blood fats, high blood pressure, low protective cholesterol (HDL), and too high fasting blood sugar- all of which indicate our insulin is not functioning properly. 


Diabetes, which impacts about 30 million people in the US, is diagnosed when our A1c is 6.5% of above. Prediabetes, which is often undiagnosed, effects another almost 98 million people, and is when our A1c (measure of average blood sugar over 3 months) is 5.7-6.4%.

Gestational diabetes increases the risk moms will have metabolic aberrations later in life. 

Having metabolic concerns can cause higher risk of stroke, heart disease, dementia, cancer, make it more difficult to lose weight, and can make us feel just generally poopy and tried. It can also throw off our hormones, as elevated blood sugar and insulin cause hormonal shifts and increase inflammation, which can make perimenopausal symptoms.  

How Nutrition and Self-Care Support Can Help

Many women turn to restriction or dieting to "fix" the symptoms of perimenopause, but this can exacerbate stress, lead to weight cycling, and worsen overall symptoms. Dieting is never the answer! Joanna has developed protocols for perimenopause and menopause that include promoting food and body peace first. She uses the most up-to-date research to help you get in touch with a plan that will bring back your energy and optimize your nutrition status for greater energy, muscle preservation, and metabolic health- all while using your body as a resource and connecting to hunger and fullness. 

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