My name is Sheryl Carroll and my business name is Your Tiny Voice healing coaching. So I'm a holistic health coach and integrative health practitioner and I'm absolutely passionate about supporting women in perimenopause and menopause to look and feel their best and a big part of that is actually this belly fat that accumulates for a number of reasons and are changing hormones cause us to become more predisposed to this this belly fat.
You all know that your body starts to look and feel just that little bit different as you start to go through the hormonal shifts. But you don’t have to settle for that.
So from a movement perspective, I always like women to move more. It's amazing to do a formal exercise program like three times a week, but then it doesn't serve our bodies just to sit and do nothing else.
So we need to do what is called non exercise activity which is just the movement like the house cleaning and, you know, all of that sort of stuff is tidying up after the kids that's actually helping to target the belly fat because we're just moving more. So that you're not sitting at your desk from nine until five. Everything's just stagnating.
But the peri-menopausal women should focus on resistance and strength training not the cardio so much. So getting into the gym and doing you know weight weight training, that is what is going to help to convert that fat that we've accumulated into muscle. What happens with the cardio training is that generally people exercise in a way that puts them at a medium resistance at a medium intensity level. And it's this constant exercising at this medium intensity level that creates extra stress on our body and in perimenopause and menopause we do you become less resistant to stress, because our ovaries are handing over responsibility to our adrenal glands to actually produce the sex hormones.
So the adrenals have to now do two jobs. So it's really important to not stress our bodies out too much. So you know, it's about doing a level of high intensity training, and then resting enough so kind of staying away from this gray zone because that gray zone is what actually may be adding to your belly fat. You know, I've seen many women who love running and they run 10 kilometers every day. But they still have belly fat because it's just adding stress to their systems.
And it's almost like the layers of the onion so there can be many contributors to belly fat. So you know stress is a really big one, mental and emotional stress. So, you know, family issues or the bills, all of these things that create mental and emotional stress. And then there's the physical stress side of things, which is toxicity. You know, we're exposed to so many toxins every day. Even if you choose to live a low tax lifestyle, it's just in our water. It's in our vegetables, they're just everywhere. And sleep is a massive physical stress on our body if we're not getting really good quality sleep and we're talking a little bit about alcohol earlier and unfortunately, people drink alcohol to relax, but alcohol adds to the toxicity in our body and it also significantly impacts the quality of our sleep and both of those things then contributes to the belly fat.
Yes, that's very, very smart because journaling in general, with the foods you eat with the drinks that you have or vitamins that you take. You can journal that and know exactly what's happening so many times when I see my clients in my Facial Spa, we talk about the skin and what is happening within the body. Why is the skin not as good as it was three months ago? And that's when we discover things that have changed in the diet and the attitude towards the food. So without writing things down, you really can't know what could be the culprit of your skin issues.
Absolutely. We always talk about this but the name of the podcast is What is your face story? And that's what we talked about. What did you eat yesterday? What happened? Did you have too much wine? So all that is related and it's written all over the face. So the gut and the face the skin is definitely connected.
So what about probiotics? I'm very confused about that because I've been trying. I have tried many, many, many different brands of probiotics, and I don't know exactly if they do what they're supposed to do. So what can we do with probiotics or how do we substitute probiotics for fermented foods?
I guess your question is very much about how do you optimize gut health right? Because I mean, you only want to take probiotics because you want to optimize your gut health. So I would say starting with your nutrition is number one. They feed the intestinal lining, and everything's humming. And then if you are doing that really, really well you may not even need a probiotic, you know, and that everybody's microbiome is like the fingerprints.
And the problem is that when you have taken a lot of antibiotics, you've been highly stressed, you've been exposed to a parasite or viruses that are inside you. You may need a level of gut balancing.
There are different protocols that you can do that include probiotics to help rebalance the gut. And, you know, generally, you know, the clients that I work with, I will run stool tests for them, where their gut health is one of their major pain points. And they're not perfect these gut tests, but you can at least have a comparison of what's going on in their guts.
You offer coaching programs, how long are those programs?
My shortest program is three months, because it's really about you know, understanding what is going on. You know what, what is going on for you? How can we adjust your lifestyle to help to manage some of these symptoms that are coming after you because so often if people are having that issue, it may be because they are snacking all day. So they're not allowing time for their body to digest the food that they've eaten. So they're putting undigested food on top of undigested food and it's just causing this chaos. So there can be some really simple changes that people can make and then all of a sudden they don't have these gut issues anymore. So it's really just about optimizing their lifestyle and then if you know their cause, if they continue to have symptoms, then we look at okay, do we need to do extra testing? So then, you know, I'll run things like a gut test or an organic acids test to see what's going on in their system and then we'll work on specific protocols.
So it depends how much coffee people are drinking and whether they are drinking it in a way that's then impacting their sleep or impacting their cortisol. So if they drink too much coffee that causes their cortisol to keep spiking, then that can be a cause of people maintaining or building up belly fat. And then if they're drinking coffee too late, it may be impacting the quality of their sleep, and then poor sleep can then create more stress on the body which then contributes to more belly fat.
What about intermittent fasting? So for women in perimenopause because we become less resilient to stress and I feel like so many people have so much on their plate, from jobs to potentially young kids to aging parents to all the other things we take on in our lives, that sometimes adding on lengthy fasts, add to excessive stress on the body, and then it's taking away a lot of the benefit that fasting can actually give. So it's very individual and there are certain weeks of the month if somebody is cycling, that we are more able to do longer fasts. So from like the bleed week for those first few days in the follicular phase, we actually can do with more calorie restriction and going for longer fasts. But then in the luteal phase where we actually build in the lining, we need more calories. And we don't want to cause too much stress on the body because that can impact our production of progesterone. So I would say in the luteal phase don't go for excessive fasts. I recommend that everybody does overnight fasting-12 hours, so don't eat for 12 hours.
I'll just kind of summarize those three.
So on the sleep side of things, I highly recommend that all your ladies are in bed by 10 to be able to get the benefits of there's a lot of brain cleaning art and restorative processes that happen between, you know, 10 and one so that's a really important time to take advantage of sleep. So in bed by 10 Give yourself a really good night's sleep and treat yourself like you would a baby you know you don't want to be doing anything too stimulating, close to bedtime.
Create a beautiful, nourishing, bedtime routine, maybe using some of the products that you've given them, you know, pamper yourself and hop into bed. So that sleep and then nutrition. You know we spoke about eating a diversity of plant foods for your gut health. And then another key principle is making sure you're getting enough protein so 30 grams of protein at each meal that will keep you satiated. It helps retain your muscles which are essential for bone health as well. So if you can focus on those two things as you move forward that's going to stand you in very good stead.
And then the final tip that I have is just around movement. So incorporating more of this non exercise Activity Thermogenesis movement into your day, which is just doing more incidental movement. If you commute, maybe walk an extra few bus stops or take the stairs, you know or play more vigorously with your kids or your dogs. Just get your body moving more and then focus on resistance training and you know that does need work. I personally think I work with a personal trainer so that they can look at your movement patterns. And you can start to do strength training in a way that's safe for your body.
Thank you so much for sharing those tips with us. If someone wants to connect with you how would they go about finding you?
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