"My mission is to empower people of all ages, races, and body sizes to embrace the body they have been given and learn to love themselves so they can live their dreams."
-Sarah Maria

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"Working with Sarah Maria has helped me to see that I am inherently loveable, beautiful, and valuable, no matter what. She has given me tools and techniques to break free from self-hatred and put love in its place. I am incredibly grateful for her and her incredible program. I recommend this book for anyone who wants to love her body and lover her life."

-Gabrielle Forleo, age twenty-six

Program Consultant,

Chopra Center for Wellbeing

 

"Sarah Maria's teachings are an amazing gift. It's an outstanding program that has changed my life! I highly recommend Sarah Maria's program to anyone who wants to experience living their most successful, beautiful life."

-Mary Schmidt, age forty-five

 

"Sarah Maria has shared many tools with me. But much more important to me, and what has been most meaningful, has been her quality of compassion. It is a gift and is like a gentle, deep awakening. Sarah Maria is a remarkable individual who works with the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual person. I cannot thank her in a way that seems adequate"

-Leigh Ann Jones, age fifty-four

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Body Image & You

Body Image in Mature Women

The emphasis on youth in our culture can increase a mature woman's struggle with body image, especially as she approaches menopause. Menopause, in terms of body changes, is just as significant as puberty or pregnancy, yet it is often portrayed as a harrowing experience to be dreaded. Coupled with the bombardment of advertisements on how to make yourself appear younger, a mature woman can feel overwhelmed by contradictory messages, misinformation, pressures from society and her own physical changes.

Women can begin to experience perimenopausal symptoms as early as their late 30s, even though menopause itself doesn't usually occur until around 50. Perimenopause marks a change in a woman's hormonal levels, which begins to affect the regularity of the menstrual cycle. Menopause is the shutting down of the ovaries, lowering the hormonal levels so that they no longer have a menstrual cycle. The cessation of the ovary's functions has other side effects.

The perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms can include:

  • Night sweats
  • Mood swings
  • Hot flashes
  • Headaches
  • Heart palpitations
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Weight gain

During the transition period, the average woman can expect to gain two to five pounds, usually in the tummy and hip areas. Women approaching menopause can often feel less appealing and out of control in relation to their body. Hormonal fluctuations exacerbate the issues but it is important to remember that this is a natural part of aging. With life expectancies of women reaching into the 80's, many women will spend half of their lives post-menopausal.

Below are some helpful tips to help mature women navigate through this stage of their lives and help them feel better about themselves in the process:

  • Talk to your doctor- With so many changes are occurring in your body, it is important to speak with your physician about your options. Not everyone needs treatment for the symptoms of menopause, but it is important to know your health status and to discuss any options for treatments. Treatments include hormone replacement, vitamins and natural remedies. Being informed can improve confidence about your situation and remove any fear from the unknown.
  • Get plenty of exercise- Exercise is a good choice for a woman at any age, but it is especially beneficial to those approaching or experiencing menopause. Besides helping to manage any weight gain, it is also good for your heart and helps build strong bones. Exercise is great for your confidence and gives you that natural lift in spirits. Joining an exercise group or Silver Sneakers program is not only good for your physical well-being, but it is also a boost to your social life.
  • Proper nutrition and healthy lifestyle- As with exercise, getting proper nutrition is necessary at any age. Eating a heart healthy diet that is filled with plenty of fish, high-fiber grains, vegetables, fruits and beans can help reduce the symptoms of menopause and reduce the risk of other diseases that are associated with aging. Limit caffeine, nicotine and alcohol, because these things can actually make symptoms worse and can affect your sleeping patterns.
  • Take time for you- This is the time in life where you can focus on those things in life that you enjoy. It is important to remain social, as you face any major life change, including menopause. Seek out quality time with friends and family and treat yourself to special events, hobbies and activities that you enjoy; such as, walking, gardening or yoga. Keep your mind active by taking classes and broadening your horizons. Your life experience and knowledge can invaluable in a classroom setting.

During menopause and afterwards, the key is to stay educated and balance activity with relaxation. Life is full of changes and challenges - no matter the age - so embrace the joys of aging and the new adventures that await you.

Resources

Women and Body Image
Medicinenet.com
http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=19804

Menopause and Perimenopause
Revolutionhealth.com
http://www.revolutionhealth.com/conditions/reproductive-health/menopause/hw

Silver Sneakers Fitness Program
http://www.silversneakers.com/Default.aspx?section=About&subsection=AboutMain

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