Tag Archives: menopause

Women’s Wednesday: Exercise as Medicine for Perimenopause

The Fat Chick leads a group of laughing and dancing menopausal and perimenopausal women in a Hot Flash Mob in Manhattan.

Are you perimenopausal?  Many of us have come to think of menopause as something that happens to “older women”.  Many of us don’t believe that we are old enough to be experiencing perimenopausal symptoms.  But denial ain’t just a river in Egypt, ladies.  As my Mom once told me, “I had been talking about ‘those old ladies’ as if it was a group that didn’t include me.  I had kind of a rough day when I realized I needed to start saying ‘we old ladies’!”  But denial aside, this condition can begin long before the moniker of old lady could reasonably apply.  Perimenopause is the segment in your life between when your periods start to change and up to a year after they have ended completely.  This process typically begins in your 40s, but may begin in your thirties.  It typically lasts five to fifteen years.  Some women have significant symptoms and some women have no symptoms at all.

Some typical symptoms of perimenopause include:

  • Vasomotor symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats and simply sweating more.
  • Psychosocial symptoms like anxiety, impatience, poor memory and depression.
  • And physical symptoms like body aches, fatigue, and insomnia.

There is a lot of debate about treatment for menopausal and perimenopausal symptoms.  While some doctors suggest hormone replacement therapy (HRT), there may be significant risks associated with that approach.  Some studies indicate that HRT is effective for treating the vasomotor symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats. However, other studies indicate that HRT may increase risk for breast cancer and cardiovascular disease.  And HRT hasn’t proved very effective at coping with psychosocial or physical symptoms like body aches, fatigue, weight gain or insomnia.

But do not despair.  There is significant and growing evidence that regular, moderate exercise can be extremely effective in improving Quality of Life (QOL) and relieving perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms.  Regular fitness activities have been show to increase brain function and offer relief from depression and anxiety.  Exercise can improve overall mood even 24 hours after the original exercise session.  A recent study indicates that women who engaged in moderate physical activity had significantly reduced hot flashes, sweating, weight gain, bloating and issues with intimacy.

Menopause and perimenopause can be a difficult time in a woman’s life, but it doesn’t have to be.  This time can also be a time of great creativity, strength and power.  And, as the women who have participated in The Hot Flash Mob Movement (created with partner Dr. Eve Agee) have learned, it can also be a lot of fun.  And whether you are pre-menopausal, perimenopausal, menopausal or post-menopausal, exercise is a safe, effective, inexpensive and fun way to have a better quality of life.  So ladies, why not gather up some girlfriends, lace up your sneakers and get to it!  You’ll be so glad you did!
Love,

The Fat Chick

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Beach taken Back by Cool Kids in Bikinis (News at Eleven)

This last weekend I participated in an activism event at Huntington Beach called Take Back the Beach.  The event was a coming together of a number of size acceptance groups including the newly formed Size Diversity Task Force.  The event was full of fun for people of all shapes and sizes including a Hot Flash Mob for Menopause Awareness Month (video coming soon), a Flesh Mob (pictured above and led by national dance champion Ragen Chastain), a weenie roast, body surfing, sand, s’mores and well, more.  The weather was perfect, and I think we all had a wonderful time.

The event was fun and wonderful and powerful.  I have to admit however, that the event didn’t match the picture in my mind for a “stereotypical activism event”.  We didn’t march.  We didn’t chant or shout.  We didn’t camp out in tents or form human chains.  We simply put on our swimsuits and sunglasses, grabbed our “Know Fat Chicks” towels, slathered on sunscreen and relaxed.

But in a quiet and gentle way, activism happened.  People saw how much fun we were having and asked what we were up to.  Some people came by to say that they loved our energy.  Some little kids adopted us for a while and asked questions and spent time with us.  We danced in our swimsuits on the sand and on the boardwalk.  We smiled.  We laughed.  And we didn’t apologize.

Sure, there were stares.  For the most part, we met those stares with smiles and openness.  And by just getting together and relaxing and sharing our joy and baring some skin we made the beach a brighter and warmer place.

And it made me think of how we are activists when we are fully and deeply ourselves. Feeling comfortable in our skins and sharing our joy is an act of quiet and peaceful rebellion that ripples out and radiates like a big round stone dropped in a quiet pond.  Being open and inviting to those who stare at us is a shot across the bow for those who would categorize and stigmatize.  And just being there created a precedent for others who have been too afraid to feel the sun on their skin.

So my dear Chicklettes, I’d like to invite you to be an activist.  Whether it’s joining the new task force or putting on a swimsuit and dancing at the beach or marching with a sign or simply returning a stare with a smile, I invite you to reach out.  Stretch.  Shine.  The world is better with you in it.  So fully inhabit the planet with all of your awesomeness!

Love,

The Fat Chick

Stuff that Weighs More than Me: A Bicoastal Hot Flash Mob

Well y’all have been hearing about that bi-coastal Hot Flash Mob we did earlier this month and we finally have the video up for your to share in all it’s awesomeness.  But October has just been designated International Menopause Awareness Month so we’re still right on time, right!?

Special thanks go out to my partner Dr. Eve Agee, to my San Francisco dance leader the always fabulous Ragen Chastain and to my other West Coast Dancers Julianne Wotasik and Deb Burgard. Thanks from the bottom of my heart for coming out and being awesome.  And of course, thanks to all my New York City dancers as well.

Also, I wanted to let all you Southern California girls know that we’re going to be doing ANOTHER Hot Flash Mob at Huntington Beach as part of our Take Back The Beach celebrations this Saturday (tomorrow). Click HERE for more info.

As to the weight of the bi-coastal Hot Flash Mob, I had no scale (Yay! or otherwise) at the event and so some back-of-the-envelope calculations are in order. There were collectively quite a lot of us. I think I can safely say that together, we accumulated over one ton of fun.

Conclusion: A bicoastal Hot Flash Mob weighs more than me. (And it’s too much fun to be contained in one place!)

Love,

The Fat Chick

Booty-shakin’ Good Time in The Big Apple!

 

Hey Chicklettes!  Just thought you might like to check out some raw footage of our Hot Flash Mob in Manhattan!  Our Bi-coastal booty-shaking menopause-mamboing selves had a wonderfully good time.  I’ll be happy to share the edited version including fabulous footage from our Bay Area Hot Flash Mobsters as soon as I have it.  But in the meantime, I felt this was just too good not to share.  Have fun!

Love,

The Fat Chick

Thursday Theater: Learning the Menopause Mambo


Hello my dear Chicklettes,

Today, I’d like to present to you, the Menopause Mambo.  This VERY easy dance is what we’re doing at our Hot Flash Mobs around the country (and the world).  It’s only 4 different steps and the song is less than three minutes long.  And, oh yeah, it’s super fun!

The Hot Flash Mobs are to celebrate Menopause Awareness Month (September) and World Menopause Day (October 18).  Rather than seeing menopause and perimenopause as something to be dreaded, Dr. Eve Agee and I came up with The Hot Flash Mobs as a way to appreciate this new time of creativity and power in a woman’s life and to demonstrate the amazing power of women getting together, supporting one another and having a really good time.

Flash mobs are forming in New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Fayatteville, Arkansas and Chicago.  Plus, you can start a flash mob of your very own, wherever you live!  Just learn the dance, gather some friends and a video recorder (or cell phone that records video) and preserve your collective awesomeness for posterity!

So get out there and shake your tail feathers!

Love,

The Fat Chick

The Hot Flash Mob is Comin’ to Town!

Well we’ve been working feverishly behind the scenes and I’m so excited to reveal our new Hot Flash Mob Movement, a worldwide, synchronized dance flash mob movement held to honor perimenopausal and menopausal women everywhere.  We’ll be kicking things off in the month of September in honor of Menopause Awareness Month.

This movement was the brainchild of  me: (certified fitness professional, Jeanette DePatie AKA The Fat Chick) and menopause expert dear friend Dr. Eve Agee.

Frustrated by the negative and fear-mongering approach to menopause in our society we asked this question:

“What if instead of fearing menopause, we threw a great big party to celebrate it?”

That’s why we dreamed up the notion of The Hot Flash Mob Movement, a series of spontaneous, hot, group dance experiences allowing women from around the world to get together, have a big laugh and shake their collective groove things.  Our first annual Hot Flash Mobs will be starting very soon.  So hop on over to the website to learn all about it.

Love,

The Fat Chick