HotFlashDaily is about helping you make the best of a very challenging transition.
Because life doesn't pause during menopause.

Category Archives: Be Optimistic

It’s not all bad news- here’s where we’ll share the good news we find related to “the change”, menopause- including that magical “empowered” post-menopausal stage we hear so much about! Just scroll down the page to see what’s been posted.

HotFlash Heroine- Francis McDormand

HotFlash Heroine- Francis McDormand

"I'm interested in starting the conversation about aging gracefully and how, instead of making it a cultural problem."

I loved the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, Olive Kitteridge, which fearlessly featured older, cantankerous, and unglamorous characters. Although I haven’t seen the HBO miniseries yet, I can’t wait to see Frances McDormand as the book’s protagonist. One of my favorite actresses, Frances won an Academy Award for her role in Fargo and was nominated for Mississippi Burning, Almost Famous, and North Country. The 58-year-old also frequently collaborates with her husband, filmmaker Joel Coen in his films.

The character in her latest role, Olive, doesn’t mince words, and neither does Frances.

“The body suit I had to wear on hot days … that didn’t help with hot flashes,” Frances said in an interview for NPR. “We played with different sizes of body suits from the beginning of the storytelling. And we decided to start with my body — I weigh 150 pounds, I’m 5 feet, 5 inches. At the time we shot, I was pretty much on the other side of menopause — though, as we know, it never ends.”

Yes, we do know, Frances, and we totally empathize.

Frances also reflects on menopause when describing her character, Jane, in the movie, Friends with Money, which she describes as a woman in menopause mode. “Menopause in not an overnight event,” she said. “It can take years. And it’s a kind of hormonal activity that makes you crazy and not interested in sitting in chairs, but instead you want to walk around a lot. You really get tired of doing things like combing your hair and being socially nice. You say things out of turn or get too loud and opinionated at times. You experience those kinds of things and that’s where we come in on with Jane.”

Frances is not only honest about menopause but is also blunt about aging and cosmetic surgery in Hollywood. In an interview with The New York Times she announced, “I have not mutated myself in any way.” She added that her husband, director Joel Coen, “literally has to stop me physically from saying something to people — to friends who’ve had work. I’m so full of fear and rage about what they’ve done.

“One of the reasons that I am doing press again after 10 years’ absence is because I feel like I need to represent publicly what I’ve chosen to represent privately — which is a woman who is proud and more powerful than I was when I was younger. And I think that I carry that pride and power on my face and in my body. And I want to be a role model for not only younger men and women — and not just in my profession, I’m not talking about my profession. I think that cosmetic enhancements in my profession are just an occupational hazard. But I think, more culturally, I’m interested in starting the conversation about aging gracefully and how, instead of making it a cultural problem, we make it individuals’ problems. I think that ageism is a cultural illness; it’s not a personal illness.”

As she said in the interview for NPR, “I want to be revered. I want to be an elder; I want to be an elderess.”

Yea! I love this woman. Let’s embrace getting older. I want to be an elderess too!

What we’d like to ask if we’d had a few glasses of wine: Exactly which friends had cosmetic surgery that made you feel so enraged? Inquiring minds would love to know. Names please.

 

 

Photo Credit:  By Red Carpet Report on Mingle Media TV [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

A Bond WOMAN, at last!

A Bond WOMAN, at last!

 

007 romancing an older woman? We love it!

When I saw the trailer for the new Bond flick, Spectre, I had to find out more! Monica Bellucci isn’t your typical Bond girl. She is fifty-one years old,walking that Bond movie premiere red carpet. Not only that, she’s four years older than Daniel Craig, which makes her an “older woman.” (Not to say cougar) No one batted an eyelid to think of a forty-seven year-old Bond, but when you start talking about Bellucci cast opposite him, jaws dropped. Thank you, director Sam Mendez.

In an interview in The Daily Mail, Ms. Belucci shares the perspective that makes her a Hot Flash Heroine:

‘…menopause is a natural thing, it is not a sickness,’ she says. ‘OK, the body at the beginning will get a bit mad. But after a few months, or one year, it’s going to be OK. This is a natural process of life. I am not nervous about it at all.’

We LOVE that!

Of course, as a woman who’s been voted “the most beautiful woman in the world” on numerous occasions- Monica Bellucci isn’t what most people think of when they think of women heading into menopause. But we think she’s what YOU should think of, along with that key phrase, “menopause is a natural thing.” Shoot. If menopause doesn’t scare a Bond woman- take your cue from her!

What we’d like to ask if we’d had a few glasses of wine:  In the movies, it’s customary for leading men to be cast opposite women who are as much as half their age. In your “real life”, would you date a man who is half your age? What are the advantages of being the “older woman”?

 

Photo Attribution:  Manfred Werner – TsuiOwn work

Julie Walters, Hot Flash Survivor!

Julie Walters, Hot Flash Survivor!

As many as 15 hot flushes a night! But still optimistic. A true Hot Flash Heroine.

Like many of you, I came to know Julie Walters for her role in Educating Rita in 1983 which earned her an Academy Award nomination, a BAFTA, and a Golden Globe. She also starred in Billy Elliot, Calendar Girls, Mama Mia!, and played Molly Weasley in seven out of eight of the Harry Potter films.

I loved Julie in her role as Rita, but here’s why I love Julie as a person – besides the fact that she has the same lovely first name as me. Like myself, she suffered from menopause symptoms for more than a decade. Oh, how I can relate!

Insomnia – my biggest complaint about menopause was also hers. “My sleep has always been a bit fragile but it was very bad through that time and trying to work at the same time,” she says in an interview for the Daily Mail.

I feel you sister.

In addition, Julie admits she suffered from as many as 15 hot flushes (as they say in England) in a single night.

“I still get hot flushes,” she told Nina Myskow in an interview for Saga Magazine. “That’s 15 bloody years. Still, it’s nothing like I did then. Ripping off your nightie and Grant thinking it’s something else! ‘No – don’t get any ideas!’ Oh God, weird! It was like a chimney and came from the base of my spine. I was doing this TV called Murder, and every take there’d be, ‘Stop! She’s having a flush!’ At the National, I’d come off stage for a quick change and have to shout, ‘Garth, the tray!’ And this guy would come with this big tin tray and fan me. Harry Potter, I was in a wig and padding, and they had to put this big tube of air conditioning in my face.”

The stories sound funny, but Julie confesses it was dreadful. I’m loving this woman more and more.

Do you suffer from fuzzy brain like me? Take comfort. During a live question and answer session with fans, Walters discussed how hard she found filming for the movie musical, Billy Elliot, saying,

“It was awful, and I couldn’t get the steps right. It was the menopause again, I don’t want to go on, but it was. I went up to the end of the room, and I’ve never done this on a set before or since, and cried. But anyway I had to come back and face everybody. It was just terrible. Anyway we got it right in the end.”

Her honesty is so refreshing and I feel so much better knowing I’m not alone. The other reason I love Julie is because she gives us all hope. Those of you who like me who spend years – yes, I’m talking years and years – in menopausal mayhem and hormonal hell can be reassured that the future looks bright.

Now 64, Julie says she feels liberated and better than ever.  “If you deal with it in a healthy fashion then I think you come out the other side a better person,” she says. “I’ve got so much more energy now than I ever had in my early 50s before the menopause.”

A healthy lifestyle for Julie included cutting down on alcohol (say it isn’t so!) and she credits acupuncture with helping her manage her symptoms. So there you go. There is hope at the end of the tunnel. By the way, as icing on the cake, Julie looks fabulous in her post-menopausal years!

What we’d like to ask if we’d had a few glasses of wine: How in the world did you get through menopause without wine? Not that I plan on trying it – just curious.

Photo Credit:  “Julie Walters 2014 (cropped)” by Christopher William Adach from Mexico – The Harry Hill Movie – Julie Walters-1. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Julie_Walters_2014_(cropped).jpg#/media/File:Julie_Walters_2014_(cropped).jpg

Susan Sarandon, Menopause? No problem.

Susan Sarandon, Menopause? No problem.

Ignore the aging process and instead, focus on saving the world.

Thelma & Louise took my breath away.

This revolutionary film starred two women well past their prime by Hollywood’s standards. Yet, they were still portrayed as sexually attractive. Their personal transformation, self-discovery, and empowerment made this a potent movie. And who can forget the scene when they drive off the cliff together holding hands? Oh my! The movie was just one of Academy award-winning Susan Sarandon’s great roles.

Considering her reputation as an outspoken political activist, perhaps it’s no surprise that this 68-year-old dynamo took menopause by the bullhorns. Believing in aging gracefully, she rejected the idea of hormone replacement therapy and embraced menopause with a healthy lifestyle that included a good diet, exercise, and stress management.

“I went through menopause late and uneventfully,” Susan told WebMD. “A lot of people I knew were on hormone replacement therapy…but I never went down that road.”

After menopause hit at age 54, like many menopausal women, Susan’s metabolism changed and she found she was accumulating more weight around the middle. In response, she cut back on carbohydrates and when she indulged, chose whole-grain products over refined grains such as white bread and pasta.

Another tip from Susan? Ignore the aging process and instead focus on saving the world. “When you’re engaged in the bigger picture, you can’t afford the space to become so self-involved that everything is a crisis for you,” she says.

Wait a minute. Unlike myself, Susan has admitted that she didn’t have major menopausal symptoms. But all right, all right. Maybe she does have a point. There’s more to life than hot flashes!

What we’d like to ask if we’d had a few glasses of wine:  At the time, did you find Brad PItt attractive or was he too much of a “boy”

Photo by David Shankbone.

Kim Cattrall, Still Telling It Like It Is

Kim Cattrall, Still Telling It Like It Is

 Hot Flash Heroine Kim Cattrall, “I see menopause as the start of the next fabulous phase of life as a woman...”

Like many women, I got to know Kim Cattrall as the Golden Globe award-winning star of the HBO series, Sex and the City. She played Samantha Jones, one of four glamorous, fashionable, sexy, and single gals in New York City. The four girls never ceased to shock viewers with their provocative dialogue and brazen ways. Samantha took the lead and, as we all know, had tons and tons of sex in that city.

Nonetheless, in the movie, Sex and the City 2, even racy, free-spirited Samantha had to face menopause. Perhaps, it wasn’t too big of a surprise since the TV show was famous for addressing taboo subjects like sex, relationships, and orgasms. Why not tackle the big M-word too?

In real life, Kim, at age 58 is attacking menopause head-on by teaming up with Pfizer Inc., makers of prescription menopause treatments, as part of a new US awareness campaign, Tune In To Menopause.

She has confessed in the past that menopausal symptoms were more disorienting, overwhelming, and even humbling than she had anticipated. On Tune In To Menopause’s website, Kim compares hot flashes to diving into a pot of boiling water. However, even with all the bothersome menopausal symptoms, Kim manages to keep a positive attitude.

“In short order, I reached out to my doctor,” she explains on the site. “She reassured me and explained my hot flashes, and said that she would help me through menopause…that we would go through this together. I learned more and started to ‘tune in’ to my body…I relaxed, made adjustments, and realized I could manage this.”

“I see menopause as the start of the next fabulous phase of life as a woman,” she adds. “Now is a time to ‘tune in’ to our bodies and embrace this new chapter. If anything, I feel more myself and love my body more now, at 58 years old, than ever before.”

I find this all oddly reassuring. If Kim Cattrall, as a sex symbol, can handle menopause, so can we. Right?

What we’d like to ask if we’d had a few glasses of wine: Just what (or who) were you thinking about when you were having all those on-screen orgasms on Sex and the City?


Photo:  Kim Cattrall at ЯEFLECT – 18th CFC Annual Gala & Auction. Photo by Trevor Haldenby. To learn more about the Canadian Film Centre, please visit: cfccreates.com

Whoopee for Whoopi!

Whoopee for Whoopi!

We salute Whoopi's take on life!

Who doesn’t love Whoopi Goldberg? Her roles in movies like ‘The Color Purple’, ‘Ghost’ and ‘Sister Act’ have catapulted her to fame and entertained us. But what I love most about Whoopi is her fearlessness when it comes to being honest about menopausal symptoms.

It’s so dang refreshing!

Case in point: The actress and comedian, age 59, has openly confessed to having hot flashes more than once while co-hosting on The View. After a serious segment on the attack on the U.S. embassy in Libya in 2012, she announced, “I just had a big ol’ hot flash!” You could see Barbara Walters squirming in her chair but I was cheering her on as I watched at home. Down-to-earth Whoopi – who also admits she “spritzes” and pees her pants when she laughs or sneezes – added, “And my underwear is wet. So I have to go.”

She has also talked openly about how menopause has changed the way she feels about sex. Whoopi told Contact Music, “My sex drive has totally changed. One minute I’m like, ‘Yeah! I can’t wait for it.’ The next I’m saying, ‘Oh God, go away.’”

Yup, been there, done that.

Maybe I’m not quite as open about “spritzing” as Whoopi, but I do think women need to talk more about our menopausal woes. Let menopause out of the closet! True, we don’t all have exactly the same symptoms, but by sharing our experiences and what we’ve found to be helpful, we can learn from each other. We can support and guide each other through this transitional and sometimes confusing time of life.

And isn’t it good to know we’re not all alone? So whoopee for Whoopi! Let’s talk more frankly about menopause!

What we’d like to ask if we’d had a few glasses of wine: Be honest now. Did you get some kind of perverse joy from making the powerhouse Barbara Walters squirm on The View?

Photo Attribution:  Photographer is Daniel Langer, dlanger on flickr.com. Copyright is held by Daniel Langer and Comic Relief, Inc. – http://flickr.com/photos/dlanger/310838776/

The Upside of Stress

The Upside of Stress

It turns out that thinking that stress is bad for you is … really bad for you.

In 2013, health psychologist Kelly McGonigal gave an incredible and revolutionary TED Talk about stress.

And in less than 15 minutes, McGonigal proceeded to completely destroy everything that I believed to be true about stress.

The first assumption is that most people these days feel stressed. Okay, that’s true.

But here comes the first shocker: Thinking that stress is bad, actually makes things worse.

Here’s a quote from the TED blog:

It turns out that thinking that stress is bad for you is … really bad for you. Incredibly, she says, over the eight years of the survey, 182,000 people died prematurely from the belief that stress was bad for them. She extrapolates for us: If that estimate is correct, then believing this is so would have been the 15th largest cause of death in the United States.

Now, we are told all the time that we have to “avoid stress” or “de-stress” as if stress were like limescale that needed to be cleaned periodically, or a pothole to swerve around. If you’re like me (a relatively normal woman in the real world where bad sh*t happens), you are gonna stress about stuff. Some of it big stuff, and some of it small stuff. Which brings me to McGonigal’s second incredible point:

We need to change our perceptions of stress.

 “The harmful effects of stress on health are not inevitable,” McGonigal says. “How you think and how you act can transform your experience of stress. When you choose to view your stress response as helpful, you create the biology of courage. And when you choose to connect with others under stress, you can create resilience.”

This was the biggest lightbulb moment. That stress should never be handled alone…that it actually drives us to reach out to other people…that stress can create connections, really resonated with me.

We all know that menopause can be a hugely stressful thing. But what if we tried, just for a moment, to stop “avoiding” stress? What if we embraced it?

And what if we used it to reach out and bring us closer to other people?

Well, it would almost make the hot flashes worth it. Almost.

Get over it.

Get over it.

I do not lie, menopause has kicked my ass.

This is the time of year we “spring forward”- move the clocks in advance of spring to give us more daylight. You know I love “new starts”, I think they are great opportunities to “get over” some of the barriers our own minds put in place. Things like “I could never” and “I’m not ready”, that keep us from being who we really know we want to be.

SO- big important thought here, [DRAMATIC PAUSE] – what is it that you feel is in your way, and what would it mean to get over it?

Here’s an example. I do not lie, menopause has kicked my ass. I have put on pounds, very easily, I might add- and they are wrapped around my middle. I am the typical cartoon menopause shape. I haven’t yet been able to lose it. I see this whole big, long, horrible diet marathon ahead and I immediately want a cheeseburger and a glass of Cabernet to get over my trauma! So here’s how I’m going to spring forward- I’m going to leap past the diet bugaboo and go to:

“I am a woman who eats to have a healthy body. I eat well, sometimes I indulge, but all in all, I am taking extremely good care of my body and my energy.”
(aka “man, I am tired of having a body that doesn’t reflect who I know I am.”)

I might add support, like weight watchers, and I will come up with a plan, but, honestly, if I get over the wall of “NO, I CAN’T STAND DIETING”, and go on to “hey, I’m pretty cool, I want to be healthy and I really need more energy, I’m going to eat for my health”, that feels a lot more do-able. I feel much less resistance. I can do that. And frankly, it ain’t like I don’t know how to lose weight. Yes, before you leap in to tell me, exercise is part of it- but for me, the food thing is the biggest factor.

What is your brick wall? What would be thrilling to leave behind? That’s the challenge of the weekend. Decide to spring forward. Life is short, make it the best you can!

p.s. If you want to make a public commitment, well, you can do it here! We are a friendly, supportive gang!

The Secret Pleasure No One Told You about Menopause…Really

The Secret Pleasure No One Told You about Menopause…Really

For those of us who aren’t feeling like Little Miss Sunshine, the “fake it till you make it” technique can help.

We don’t normally associate “menopause” with “pleasure.” Unless, of course, you think an emotional rollercoaster that you can’t get off of is actually fun.

Well, Dr. Christiane Northrup is here with a mission: to share with all us gals all the things that can go right during menopause. Dr. Northrup is an expert in this field. We can trust her.

She says that women over 50 are just hitting their stride, finding their voice and becoming a lot more assertive about their needs.

And that includes sex and pleasure, too. Here’s what she tells us about a little thing called nitric oxide. No, not nitrous oxide (that’s laughing gas). Nitric oxide is what triggers pleasure.

You can turn yourself on,” she tells women approaching midlife. “You can rewire your brain and your body to feel more pleasure. The brain is the biggest sex organ in the body.”

Getting to all this pleasure, she says, depends on paying attention to your nitric oxide levels, which she’ll bet are probably too low.

Nitric what? Many midlife women may never have thought about — or heard about — nitric oxide.

Nitric oxide is a colorless, odorless gas that tells blood vessels to relax and to widen, in turn resulting in a lowering of blood pressure. Discoveries about nitric oxide that led to the development of the ED drug Viagra earned three scientists a Nobel Prize a decade ago.

Although it’s the stuff by which erectile dysfunction (ED) drugs work, it’s not the exclusive domain of men, Northrup says. (Indeed, one of the 1998 Nobel recipients, Ferid Murad, MD, co-wrote a book, The WellnessSolution, published in 2006, promoting a regimen of diet, exercise, vitamins, and antioxidants that works by increasing nitric oxide levels.)

Northrup says it’s time midlife women discovered the benefits of boosting nitric oxide levels as their own gateway to better sexuality and sensuality at midlife and beyond.

“Most of us don’t produce enough to keep us vibrantly healthy,” she says.

Practicing her suggestions will boost levels, she says. Simply thinking joyous thoughts can boost it, she claims. “A joyous thought would be: ‘The best times of my life are yet to come.'”

Boosting nitric oxide can also be accomplished by exercising regularly, meditating, and having sex regularly, she says.

So according to Dr. Northrup, who is a recognized effort- it might be as simple as thinking happy thoughts. For those of us who aren’t feeling like Little Miss Sunshine, the “fake it till you make it” technique can help.  Even on your worst days, try to find ways to focus on the positive. That may sound trite, but it really does work. I try to find something, just one thing to be thankful for and excited about every single day.

I’m happy that the barista got my coffee order right the first time. I’m happy that my daughter gave me an extra hug this morning, just because. I’m happy because I am a powerful, wise, amazing woman with so much to give.

According to Dr. Northrup, all these happy thoughts are going to put me in the mood and heighten my pleasure. I’m willing to try it. What about you?

And the Lucky Woman Said…

And the Lucky Woman Said…

"My sex drive INCREASED with menopause. My husband is thrilled."

“My sex drive INCREASED with menopause. My husband is thrilled.”  This is a first-hand report. It was told to me, by someone I wanted to write for us here. She hasn’t yet, but maybe… Now that I’m talking openly with women about their journeys, I’m hearing so many different stories. But this one, it’s kind of like getting an authentic picture of Sasquatch! And definitely one of those “I’ll have what she’s having” things, as well.

I wanted to share, because it’s pretty easy to wallow in all of the real and imagined downers related to peri/menopause. And post-menopause, for that matter.

Other good things worth noting? Well, a LOT of women, more than I imagined, have sailed through menopause with no issues to speak of. Some were helped by hormone or other treatments, some had few or no symptoms to treat. I have an actress friend from college, and I really want to work with her, so I thought she could do some video as a grumpy menopausal lady, but she said she just couldn’t relate. “It happened years ago and I think it was about a week…”. No problems to make fun of. No rants to use to make some fun video.

And then there are the women who are “beyond” menopause, who are proof that this issue that seems so huge when we’re experiencing it, goes away in the future. They say it’s too far in the past. They can’t relate. Even the one who said that during perimenopause she chose to use hormone therapy, because her husband and son might otherwise put her outside the door and leave her there. Because she was so out of sorts. I’ve started meeting lots of those wise women who are on the other side of this issue, and hope to share more from them here as we add to HotFlashDaily.com.

So- there ’tis. Some good news, keep it in your back pocket, and use it when it seems your body is out of your control and definitely not on your side! It will get better. “All will be well.” Just a matter of time…

Category Archives: Be Optimistic

It’s not all bad news- here’s where we’ll share the good news we find related to “the change”, menopause- including that magical “empowered” post-menopausal stage we hear so much about! Just scroll down the page to see what’s been posted.

HotFlash Heroine- Francis McDormand

HotFlash Heroine- Francis McDormand

"I'm interested in starting the conversation about aging gracefully and how, instead of making it a cultural problem."

I loved the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, Olive Kitteridge, which fearlessly featured older, cantankerous, and unglamorous characters. Although I haven’t seen the HBO miniseries yet, I can’t wait to see Frances McDormand as the book’s protagonist. One of my favorite actresses, Frances won an Academy Award for her role in Fargo and was nominated for Mississippi Burning, Almost Famous, and North Country. The 58-year-old also frequently collaborates with her husband, filmmaker Joel Coen in his films.

The character in her latest role, Olive, doesn’t mince words, and neither does Frances.

“The body suit I had to wear on hot days … that didn’t help with hot flashes,” Frances said in an interview for NPR. “We played with different sizes of body suits from the beginning of the storytelling. And we decided to start with my body — I weigh 150 pounds, I’m 5 feet, 5 inches. At the time we shot, I was pretty much on the other side of menopause — though, as we know, it never ends.”

Yes, we do know, Frances, and we totally empathize.

Frances also reflects on menopause when describing her character, Jane, in the movie, Friends with Money, which she describes as a woman in menopause mode. “Menopause in not an overnight event,” she said. “It can take years. And it’s a kind of hormonal activity that makes you crazy and not interested in sitting in chairs, but instead you want to walk around a lot. You really get tired of doing things like combing your hair and being socially nice. You say things out of turn or get too loud and opinionated at times. You experience those kinds of things and that’s where we come in on with Jane.”

Frances is not only honest about menopause but is also blunt about aging and cosmetic surgery in Hollywood. In an interview with The New York Times she announced, “I have not mutated myself in any way.” She added that her husband, director Joel Coen, “literally has to stop me physically from saying something to people — to friends who’ve had work. I’m so full of fear and rage about what they’ve done.

“One of the reasons that I am doing press again after 10 years’ absence is because I feel like I need to represent publicly what I’ve chosen to represent privately — which is a woman who is proud and more powerful than I was when I was younger. And I think that I carry that pride and power on my face and in my body. And I want to be a role model for not only younger men and women — and not just in my profession, I’m not talking about my profession. I think that cosmetic enhancements in my profession are just an occupational hazard. But I think, more culturally, I’m interested in starting the conversation about aging gracefully and how, instead of making it a cultural problem, we make it individuals’ problems. I think that ageism is a cultural illness; it’s not a personal illness.”

As she said in the interview for NPR, “I want to be revered. I want to be an elder; I want to be an elderess.”

Yea! I love this woman. Let’s embrace getting older. I want to be an elderess too!

What we’d like to ask if we’d had a few glasses of wine: Exactly which friends had cosmetic surgery that made you feel so enraged? Inquiring minds would love to know. Names please.

 

 

Photo Credit:  By Red Carpet Report on Mingle Media TV [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

A Bond WOMAN, at last!

A Bond WOMAN, at last!

 

007 romancing an older woman? We love it!

When I saw the trailer for the new Bond flick, Spectre, I had to find out more! Monica Bellucci isn’t your typical Bond girl. She is fifty-one years old,walking that Bond movie premiere red carpet. Not only that, she’s four years older than Daniel Craig, which makes her an “older woman.” (Not to say cougar) No one batted an eyelid to think of a forty-seven year-old Bond, but when you start talking about Bellucci cast opposite him, jaws dropped. Thank you, director Sam Mendez.

In an interview in The Daily Mail, Ms. Belucci shares the perspective that makes her a Hot Flash Heroine:

‘…menopause is a natural thing, it is not a sickness,’ she says. ‘OK, the body at the beginning will get a bit mad. But after a few months, or one year, it’s going to be OK. This is a natural process of life. I am not nervous about it at all.’

We LOVE that!

Of course, as a woman who’s been voted “the most beautiful woman in the world” on numerous occasions- Monica Bellucci isn’t what most people think of when they think of women heading into menopause. But we think she’s what YOU should think of, along with that key phrase, “menopause is a natural thing.” Shoot. If menopause doesn’t scare a Bond woman- take your cue from her!

What we’d like to ask if we’d had a few glasses of wine:  In the movies, it’s customary for leading men to be cast opposite women who are as much as half their age. In your “real life”, would you date a man who is half your age? What are the advantages of being the “older woman”?

 

Photo Attribution:  Manfred Werner – TsuiOwn work

Julie Walters, Hot Flash Survivor!

Julie Walters, Hot Flash Survivor!

As many as 15 hot flushes a night! But still optimistic. A true Hot Flash Heroine.

Like many of you, I came to know Julie Walters for her role in Educating Rita in 1983 which earned her an Academy Award nomination, a BAFTA, and a Golden Globe. She also starred in Billy Elliot, Calendar Girls, Mama Mia!, and played Molly Weasley in seven out of eight of the Harry Potter films.

I loved Julie in her role as Rita, but here’s why I love Julie as a person – besides the fact that she has the same lovely first name as me. Like myself, she suffered from menopause symptoms for more than a decade. Oh, how I can relate!

Insomnia – my biggest complaint about menopause was also hers. “My sleep has always been a bit fragile but it was very bad through that time and trying to work at the same time,” she says in an interview for the Daily Mail.

I feel you sister.

In addition, Julie admits she suffered from as many as 15 hot flushes (as they say in England) in a single night.

“I still get hot flushes,” she told Nina Myskow in an interview for Saga Magazine. “That’s 15 bloody years. Still, it’s nothing like I did then. Ripping off your nightie and Grant thinking it’s something else! ‘No – don’t get any ideas!’ Oh God, weird! It was like a chimney and came from the base of my spine. I was doing this TV called Murder, and every take there’d be, ‘Stop! She’s having a flush!’ At the National, I’d come off stage for a quick change and have to shout, ‘Garth, the tray!’ And this guy would come with this big tin tray and fan me. Harry Potter, I was in a wig and padding, and they had to put this big tube of air conditioning in my face.”

The stories sound funny, but Julie confesses it was dreadful. I’m loving this woman more and more.

Do you suffer from fuzzy brain like me? Take comfort. During a live question and answer session with fans, Walters discussed how hard she found filming for the movie musical, Billy Elliot, saying,

“It was awful, and I couldn’t get the steps right. It was the menopause again, I don’t want to go on, but it was. I went up to the end of the room, and I’ve never done this on a set before or since, and cried. But anyway I had to come back and face everybody. It was just terrible. Anyway we got it right in the end.”

Her honesty is so refreshing and I feel so much better knowing I’m not alone. The other reason I love Julie is because she gives us all hope. Those of you who like me who spend years – yes, I’m talking years and years – in menopausal mayhem and hormonal hell can be reassured that the future looks bright.

Now 64, Julie says she feels liberated and better than ever.  “If you deal with it in a healthy fashion then I think you come out the other side a better person,” she says. “I’ve got so much more energy now than I ever had in my early 50s before the menopause.”

A healthy lifestyle for Julie included cutting down on alcohol (say it isn’t so!) and she credits acupuncture with helping her manage her symptoms. So there you go. There is hope at the end of the tunnel. By the way, as icing on the cake, Julie looks fabulous in her post-menopausal years!

What we’d like to ask if we’d had a few glasses of wine: How in the world did you get through menopause without wine? Not that I plan on trying it – just curious.

Photo Credit:  “Julie Walters 2014 (cropped)” by Christopher William Adach from Mexico – The Harry Hill Movie – Julie Walters-1. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Julie_Walters_2014_(cropped).jpg#/media/File:Julie_Walters_2014_(cropped).jpg

Susan Sarandon, Menopause? No problem.

Susan Sarandon, Menopause? No problem.

Ignore the aging process and instead, focus on saving the world.

Thelma & Louise took my breath away.

This revolutionary film starred two women well past their prime by Hollywood’s standards. Yet, they were still portrayed as sexually attractive. Their personal transformation, self-discovery, and empowerment made this a potent movie. And who can forget the scene when they drive off the cliff together holding hands? Oh my! The movie was just one of Academy award-winning Susan Sarandon’s great roles.

Considering her reputation as an outspoken political activist, perhaps it’s no surprise that this 68-year-old dynamo took menopause by the bullhorns. Believing in aging gracefully, she rejected the idea of hormone replacement therapy and embraced menopause with a healthy lifestyle that included a good diet, exercise, and stress management.

“I went through menopause late and uneventfully,” Susan told WebMD. “A lot of people I knew were on hormone replacement therapy…but I never went down that road.”

After menopause hit at age 54, like many menopausal women, Susan’s metabolism changed and she found she was accumulating more weight around the middle. In response, she cut back on carbohydrates and when she indulged, chose whole-grain products over refined grains such as white bread and pasta.

Another tip from Susan? Ignore the aging process and instead focus on saving the world. “When you’re engaged in the bigger picture, you can’t afford the space to become so self-involved that everything is a crisis for you,” she says.

Wait a minute. Unlike myself, Susan has admitted that she didn’t have major menopausal symptoms. But all right, all right. Maybe she does have a point. There’s more to life than hot flashes!

What we’d like to ask if we’d had a few glasses of wine:  At the time, did you find Brad PItt attractive or was he too much of a “boy”

Photo by David Shankbone.

Kim Cattrall, Still Telling It Like It Is

Kim Cattrall, Still Telling It Like It Is

 Hot Flash Heroine Kim Cattrall, “I see menopause as the start of the next fabulous phase of life as a woman...”

Like many women, I got to know Kim Cattrall as the Golden Globe award-winning star of the HBO series, Sex and the City. She played Samantha Jones, one of four glamorous, fashionable, sexy, and single gals in New York City. The four girls never ceased to shock viewers with their provocative dialogue and brazen ways. Samantha took the lead and, as we all know, had tons and tons of sex in that city.

Nonetheless, in the movie, Sex and the City 2, even racy, free-spirited Samantha had to face menopause. Perhaps, it wasn’t too big of a surprise since the TV show was famous for addressing taboo subjects like sex, relationships, and orgasms. Why not tackle the big M-word too?

In real life, Kim, at age 58 is attacking menopause head-on by teaming up with Pfizer Inc., makers of prescription menopause treatments, as part of a new US awareness campaign, Tune In To Menopause.

She has confessed in the past that menopausal symptoms were more disorienting, overwhelming, and even humbling than she had anticipated. On Tune In To Menopause’s website, Kim compares hot flashes to diving into a pot of boiling water. However, even with all the bothersome menopausal symptoms, Kim manages to keep a positive attitude.

“In short order, I reached out to my doctor,” she explains on the site. “She reassured me and explained my hot flashes, and said that she would help me through menopause…that we would go through this together. I learned more and started to ‘tune in’ to my body…I relaxed, made adjustments, and realized I could manage this.”

“I see menopause as the start of the next fabulous phase of life as a woman,” she adds. “Now is a time to ‘tune in’ to our bodies and embrace this new chapter. If anything, I feel more myself and love my body more now, at 58 years old, than ever before.”

I find this all oddly reassuring. If Kim Cattrall, as a sex symbol, can handle menopause, so can we. Right?

What we’d like to ask if we’d had a few glasses of wine: Just what (or who) were you thinking about when you were having all those on-screen orgasms on Sex and the City?


Photo:  Kim Cattrall at ЯEFLECT – 18th CFC Annual Gala & Auction. Photo by Trevor Haldenby. To learn more about the Canadian Film Centre, please visit: cfccreates.com

Whoopee for Whoopi!

Whoopee for Whoopi!

We salute Whoopi's take on life!

Who doesn’t love Whoopi Goldberg? Her roles in movies like ‘The Color Purple’, ‘Ghost’ and ‘Sister Act’ have catapulted her to fame and entertained us. But what I love most about Whoopi is her fearlessness when it comes to being honest about menopausal symptoms.

It’s so dang refreshing!

Case in point: The actress and comedian, age 59, has openly confessed to having hot flashes more than once while co-hosting on The View. After a serious segment on the attack on the U.S. embassy in Libya in 2012, she announced, “I just had a big ol’ hot flash!” You could see Barbara Walters squirming in her chair but I was cheering her on as I watched at home. Down-to-earth Whoopi – who also admits she “spritzes” and pees her pants when she laughs or sneezes – added, “And my underwear is wet. So I have to go.”

She has also talked openly about how menopause has changed the way she feels about sex. Whoopi told Contact Music, “My sex drive has totally changed. One minute I’m like, ‘Yeah! I can’t wait for it.’ The next I’m saying, ‘Oh God, go away.’”

Yup, been there, done that.

Maybe I’m not quite as open about “spritzing” as Whoopi, but I do think women need to talk more about our menopausal woes. Let menopause out of the closet! True, we don’t all have exactly the same symptoms, but by sharing our experiences and what we’ve found to be helpful, we can learn from each other. We can support and guide each other through this transitional and sometimes confusing time of life.

And isn’t it good to know we’re not all alone? So whoopee for Whoopi! Let’s talk more frankly about menopause!

What we’d like to ask if we’d had a few glasses of wine: Be honest now. Did you get some kind of perverse joy from making the powerhouse Barbara Walters squirm on The View?

Photo Attribution:  Photographer is Daniel Langer, dlanger on flickr.com. Copyright is held by Daniel Langer and Comic Relief, Inc. – http://flickr.com/photos/dlanger/310838776/

The Upside of Stress

The Upside of Stress

It turns out that thinking that stress is bad for you is … really bad for you.

In 2013, health psychologist Kelly McGonigal gave an incredible and revolutionary TED Talk about stress.

And in less than 15 minutes, McGonigal proceeded to completely destroy everything that I believed to be true about stress.

The first assumption is that most people these days feel stressed. Okay, that’s true.

But here comes the first shocker: Thinking that stress is bad, actually makes things worse.

Here’s a quote from the TED blog:

It turns out that thinking that stress is bad for you is … really bad for you. Incredibly, she says, over the eight years of the survey, 182,000 people died prematurely from the belief that stress was bad for them. She extrapolates for us: If that estimate is correct, then believing this is so would have been the 15th largest cause of death in the United States.

Now, we are told all the time that we have to “avoid stress” or “de-stress” as if stress were like limescale that needed to be cleaned periodically, or a pothole to swerve around. If you’re like me (a relatively normal woman in the real world where bad sh*t happens), you are gonna stress about stuff. Some of it big stuff, and some of it small stuff. Which brings me to McGonigal’s second incredible point:

We need to change our perceptions of stress.

 “The harmful effects of stress on health are not inevitable,” McGonigal says. “How you think and how you act can transform your experience of stress. When you choose to view your stress response as helpful, you create the biology of courage. And when you choose to connect with others under stress, you can create resilience.”

This was the biggest lightbulb moment. That stress should never be handled alone…that it actually drives us to reach out to other people…that stress can create connections, really resonated with me.

We all know that menopause can be a hugely stressful thing. But what if we tried, just for a moment, to stop “avoiding” stress? What if we embraced it?

And what if we used it to reach out and bring us closer to other people?

Well, it would almost make the hot flashes worth it. Almost.

Get over it.

Get over it.

I do not lie, menopause has kicked my ass.

This is the time of year we “spring forward”- move the clocks in advance of spring to give us more daylight. You know I love “new starts”, I think they are great opportunities to “get over” some of the barriers our own minds put in place. Things like “I could never” and “I’m not ready”, that keep us from being who we really know we want to be.

SO- big important thought here, [DRAMATIC PAUSE] – what is it that you feel is in your way, and what would it mean to get over it?

Here’s an example. I do not lie, menopause has kicked my ass. I have put on pounds, very easily, I might add- and they are wrapped around my middle. I am the typical cartoon menopause shape. I haven’t yet been able to lose it. I see this whole big, long, horrible diet marathon ahead and I immediately want a cheeseburger and a glass of Cabernet to get over my trauma! So here’s how I’m going to spring forward- I’m going to leap past the diet bugaboo and go to:

“I am a woman who eats to have a healthy body. I eat well, sometimes I indulge, but all in all, I am taking extremely good care of my body and my energy.”
(aka “man, I am tired of having a body that doesn’t reflect who I know I am.”)

I might add support, like weight watchers, and I will come up with a plan, but, honestly, if I get over the wall of “NO, I CAN’T STAND DIETING”, and go on to “hey, I’m pretty cool, I want to be healthy and I really need more energy, I’m going to eat for my health”, that feels a lot more do-able. I feel much less resistance. I can do that. And frankly, it ain’t like I don’t know how to lose weight. Yes, before you leap in to tell me, exercise is part of it- but for me, the food thing is the biggest factor.

What is your brick wall? What would be thrilling to leave behind? That’s the challenge of the weekend. Decide to spring forward. Life is short, make it the best you can!

p.s. If you want to make a public commitment, well, you can do it here! We are a friendly, supportive gang!

The Secret Pleasure No One Told You about Menopause…Really

The Secret Pleasure No One Told You about Menopause…Really

For those of us who aren’t feeling like Little Miss Sunshine, the “fake it till you make it” technique can help.

We don’t normally associate “menopause” with “pleasure.” Unless, of course, you think an emotional rollercoaster that you can’t get off of is actually fun.

Well, Dr. Christiane Northrup is here with a mission: to share with all us gals all the things that can go right during menopause. Dr. Northrup is an expert in this field. We can trust her.

She says that women over 50 are just hitting their stride, finding their voice and becoming a lot more assertive about their needs.

And that includes sex and pleasure, too. Here’s what she tells us about a little thing called nitric oxide. No, not nitrous oxide (that’s laughing gas). Nitric oxide is what triggers pleasure.

You can turn yourself on,” she tells women approaching midlife. “You can rewire your brain and your body to feel more pleasure. The brain is the biggest sex organ in the body.”

Getting to all this pleasure, she says, depends on paying attention to your nitric oxide levels, which she’ll bet are probably too low.

Nitric what? Many midlife women may never have thought about — or heard about — nitric oxide.

Nitric oxide is a colorless, odorless gas that tells blood vessels to relax and to widen, in turn resulting in a lowering of blood pressure. Discoveries about nitric oxide that led to the development of the ED drug Viagra earned three scientists a Nobel Prize a decade ago.

Although it’s the stuff by which erectile dysfunction (ED) drugs work, it’s not the exclusive domain of men, Northrup says. (Indeed, one of the 1998 Nobel recipients, Ferid Murad, MD, co-wrote a book, The WellnessSolution, published in 2006, promoting a regimen of diet, exercise, vitamins, and antioxidants that works by increasing nitric oxide levels.)

Northrup says it’s time midlife women discovered the benefits of boosting nitric oxide levels as their own gateway to better sexuality and sensuality at midlife and beyond.

“Most of us don’t produce enough to keep us vibrantly healthy,” she says.

Practicing her suggestions will boost levels, she says. Simply thinking joyous thoughts can boost it, she claims. “A joyous thought would be: ‘The best times of my life are yet to come.'”

Boosting nitric oxide can also be accomplished by exercising regularly, meditating, and having sex regularly, she says.

So according to Dr. Northrup, who is a recognized effort- it might be as simple as thinking happy thoughts. For those of us who aren’t feeling like Little Miss Sunshine, the “fake it till you make it” technique can help.  Even on your worst days, try to find ways to focus on the positive. That may sound trite, but it really does work. I try to find something, just one thing to be thankful for and excited about every single day.

I’m happy that the barista got my coffee order right the first time. I’m happy that my daughter gave me an extra hug this morning, just because. I’m happy because I am a powerful, wise, amazing woman with so much to give.

According to Dr. Northrup, all these happy thoughts are going to put me in the mood and heighten my pleasure. I’m willing to try it. What about you?

And the Lucky Woman Said…

And the Lucky Woman Said…

"My sex drive INCREASED with menopause. My husband is thrilled."

“My sex drive INCREASED with menopause. My husband is thrilled.”  This is a first-hand report. It was told to me, by someone I wanted to write for us here. She hasn’t yet, but maybe… Now that I’m talking openly with women about their journeys, I’m hearing so many different stories. But this one, it’s kind of like getting an authentic picture of Sasquatch! And definitely one of those “I’ll have what she’s having” things, as well.

I wanted to share, because it’s pretty easy to wallow in all of the real and imagined downers related to peri/menopause. And post-menopause, for that matter.

Other good things worth noting? Well, a LOT of women, more than I imagined, have sailed through menopause with no issues to speak of. Some were helped by hormone or other treatments, some had few or no symptoms to treat. I have an actress friend from college, and I really want to work with her, so I thought she could do some video as a grumpy menopausal lady, but she said she just couldn’t relate. “It happened years ago and I think it was about a week…”. No problems to make fun of. No rants to use to make some fun video.

And then there are the women who are “beyond” menopause, who are proof that this issue that seems so huge when we’re experiencing it, goes away in the future. They say it’s too far in the past. They can’t relate. Even the one who said that during perimenopause she chose to use hormone therapy, because her husband and son might otherwise put her outside the door and leave her there. Because she was so out of sorts. I’ve started meeting lots of those wise women who are on the other side of this issue, and hope to share more from them here as we add to HotFlashDaily.com.

So- there ’tis. Some good news, keep it in your back pocket, and use it when it seems your body is out of your control and definitely not on your side! It will get better. “All will be well.” Just a matter of time…

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Write for Hot Flash Daily.

Share your story? Advice? Ideas? Cartoons or videos you've created? We'd love your contribution.

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Share your story? Advice? Ideas? Cartoons or videos you've created? We'd love your contribution.

©2016 Hot Flash Daily. All rights reserved.

©2016 Hot Flash Daily. All rights reserved.

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HotFlashDaily.com was created in the spirit of making every day your very best, even when you just don’t feel like it.

The site was conceived and built through the combined efforts of contributing bloggers, technicians, and impassioned women who believe the way we treat ourselves is a direct reflection of how we feel about ourselves.

We’re looking for true short stories for the website, and perhaps for inclusion in an e-book, from women who want to tell others about their experiences with peri-menopause, menopause, and beyond. We’re looking for experiences, ups/downs/unexpected highs and lows, sticky situations, “what I wish I’d known”, “what I’d tell my younger self”.. you name it!

Submissions should be first-person posts written in a blogging, editorial, or columnist style WITHOUT commercial links.

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