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Fuel Your Strength Episode 426 Navigating Midlife Changes Perimenopause and Fitness w Amanda Thebe

Navigating Midlife Changes: Perimenopause and Fitness w/ Amanda Thebe

Menopausal women are overloaded with information, but not all of it is accurate or safe. Social media is rife with misinformation, and unfortunately, the diet and fitness industry follows many unethical marketing practices. I’m joined by Amanda Thebe to discuss the realities of coaching menopausal women, how to choose ethical coaches, and why there is finally a spotlight on menopause.

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Key Takeaways

Understanding fitness during the perimenopause transition by:

  1. Working with a menopause informed coach
  2. Avoiding diets and fitness plans that are focused on quick fixes
  3. Seeking out support when a coach refers out

About Amanda Thebe

Amanda Thebe is the co-founder and Chief Wellness and Branding Officer at Nyah Health and the author of the Amazon best-selling book Menopocalypse: How I Learned to Thrive During Menopause and How You Can Too! With nearly 30 years of experience in the fitness industry, her exercise workouts and health and fitness tips have been featured on Oprah, Shape, Prevention, Health Line, CBC Radio, Global News Canada, The Doctors, and many more. She is also an affiliated member of the Canadian and  North American Menopause Society.

Misinformation In Social Media

Social media can seriously change our perception of menopause… and not always for the best. There is so much misinformation out there from uninformed coaches who recommend pseudoscience and diagnose without the proper qualifications. Only a doctor can diagnose that you are in menopause – a coach can help once you have a diagnosis.

There is a huge market for menopause products and services right now because women are finally open about their experiences. Coaches are finally becoming menopause informed. And overall, there is a huge improvement for women experiencing menopause.

Finding A Menopause-Informed Trainer

But, as an industry, we need to do better. So many unethical marketing practices are in use, essentially selling women something that doesn’t exist. Menopausal women deserve better, and the diet and fitness industry can give it to them.

So, how do women find an ethical fitness plan and ethical trainer? It comes down to personal recommendations, reviews, testimonials, and looking for someone who is menopause-informed. If something sounds too good to be true, that’s because it probably is. Do your due diligence!

What has your experience been like finding a menopause-informed trainer? Share your thoughts with me in the comments below.

In This Episode

  • How social media can change our perception and understanding of menopause (9:30)
  • How coaches can help after diagnosis (16:00)
  • Why there is a larger market for menopause-related products now (17:30)
  • How more coaches are becoming menopause informed (29:00)
  • Why the diet and fitness industry often uses unethical marketing tactics (42:00)
  • How to help people find ethical fitness plans (46:00)
  • The comparison between a personal trainer and going to the gym on your own (50:00)

Quotes

“Women with menopause are really seeking answers. They are really frustrated. They do not feel good on a day-to-day basis. They want to feel better.” (18:30)

“Listen, I can help you. But there isn’t a magic pill. And there isn’t anything dynamic we’re going to do. I’m going get you to nail the basics,  and I’m going to get you to understand.” (22:51)

“We can’t always help people fix those things. It is outside our scope. The diet industry of our time has gotten so bad. I feel like it’s particularly bad now for menopausal women because we have a pain point that they see.” (36:54)

“If you’re going to stop this from happening and you want to do better in this industry, then it’s on you to do better.” (40:48)

“I know that finances can be a barrier to this, but I feel very strongly that if someone is new to lifting weights, they’re going to get so much mileage out of working with a trustworthy trainer.” (48:18)

Featured on the Show

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Listen to With All Due Respect

Find Amanda Thebe Online 

Should Men Talk About Menopause? – Amanda Thebe TEDTalk

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Related Episodes

FYS 414: How To Leverage Essentialism For Fitness

FYS 383: Crossfit & Peri/Post-Menopause

FYS 375: Strength Training Changes for Peri-Menopause and Post-Menopause

Navigating Midlife Changes: Perimenopause and Fitness w/ Amanda Thebe Transcript

Steph Gaudreau
49% this is the number of post-menopausal women who said they did not feel informed about menopause, and more than 90% said they were never taught about menopause in school. This data comes from a study published in post-reproductive health that resulted from an online survey in May 2021 of 829 post-menopausal women. When it comes to talking about peri and post menopause, things are really starting to shift online, and more women are seeking out qualified information and resources to help them navigate this period of life. But what we also see is a little bit troubling on the flip side, a new market of menopause-labeled products is popping up everywhere you turn. How do you know what’s legit? How do you navigate this space when you’re seeking out resources, information and ultimately support for navigating your transition through peri and post menopause?

Steph Gaudreau
On the podcast today, I’m re welcoming back a very special guest. We’re going to be diving into all of this and more. If you’re an athletic 40-something woman who loves lifting weights, challenging yourself, and doing hard the Fuel Your Strength podcast is for you. You’ll learn how to eat, train and recover smarter, so you build strength and muscle, have more energy, and perform better in and out of the gym. I’m strength nutrition strategist and weightlifting coach, Steph Gaudreau, and why, once you’re approaching your 40s and beyond, you need to do things a little differently than you did in your 20s. We’re here to challenge the limiting industry narratives about what women can and should do in training and beyond. If that sounds good, hit subscribe on your favorite podcast app, and let’s go!

Steph Gaudreau
Welcome back to the podcast. Thank you so much for having me today. I’m really excited to welcome back a very special guest to this show. Before I introduce her, if you love the podcast and find it valuable, would you please consider subscribing to your favorite podcast app, if you’re watching over on YouTube, then please hit subscribe there as well and ring the bell for more notifications. All right, today’s guest that’s coming back is the very wonderful Amanda Thebe. She’s the co-founder of Nyah Health, a very experienced fitness and nutrition professional and author and speaker, and she is an incredible advocate for women who are experiencing peri and post-menopause to have the best quality resources and information at their fingertips to make informed decisions.

Steph Gaudreau
Amanda is also not afraid to call out a lot of the BS that she sees directed at women who are going through the menopause transition and are feeling vulnerable, lost, and in need of solutions. So on this podcast today, we are covering a lot of ground, but really talking about how women experiencing peri and post menopause can more confidently navigate this time of life with the support that they really need. This is an incredibly important conversation, so feel free to forward this episode on to anyone who you think could value hearing this conversation. Without further ado, let’s jump into this podcast with Amanda Thebe before we dive in.

Steph Gaudreau
If you listen to this episode and you’re like, Okay, I am ready to get to work. I want to take my strength, muscle, energy, and performance and take it up a notch. I want to take it to that next level. I want to feel like a badass, but at the same time, do it in a way that works with my physiology as an athletic woman over 40, with coaching and community support. Then go ahead and check out Strength Nutrition Unlocked. This is my group program. We’re going to lay out the framework for you and guide you as you implement and really customize it to all the things that you’re doing, your preferences, your likes, and the places you want to go with it. Then go ahead and get on board. You can start your process by submitting an application at StephGaudreau.com. Apply. We would love to hear from you and see you inside the program.

Steph Gaudreau
Hey, Amanda, how are you doing?

Amanda Thebe
Hey, Steph, good.

Steph Gaudreau
We’re doing something a little bit different today, which is where we’re kind of recording at the same time for both of our podcasts, which I haven’t done before, but I have to say, is kind of efficient on our part. So I’m excited to chat with you again. This isn’t the first time we’ve talked in a podcast, and of course, we know each other. You know on the internet streets as well. I’m excited to ask you about some of the topics we haven’t really touched on this podcast yet, but I think are so important, so I’m excited to have this chat with you.

Amanda Thebe
It’s genius that we’re doing this. It won’t be the first we haven’t just reinvented something. This is obviously something that people do. But you know, my podcast is called With All Due Respect, and your podcast is called…

Steph Gaudreau
Fuel Your Strength

Amanda Thebe
And we decided that you know, Steph and I, gosh, I can’t even think how long ago we connected, but we connected a couple of years ago. I’m going to say, and think we both liked each other’s work, but then we actually, you reached out to me and said, Do you want to jump on a Zoom call? And I’m like, Yeah, sure. And then that’s when we really, sort of realized we really hit it off. We have a lot in common. Steph wrote a book that basically was, like, my book, we just say the same things. Both married Scotsman as well. So there was that, right? That was our, like, little connection too.

Steph Gaudreau
Yeah, we always a fun time when we can talk about our Scottish husbands. And, you know, I really loved all the pictures that you were sending through from when you all went to Scotland. And we went back to Scotland to visit last year. But anyway, it’s a, it’s a nice connection point. And, you know, just to even talk about knitting and all of the things that we do, but have in common outside of our businesses as well and the things that we do online. Because I think sometimes people think, Oh, well, we, you know, we’re only gonna it’s only about the business. And I think you do an amazing job with your own social media be really human, and I think that’s something that’s missing so much from what’s on the internet these days.

Amanda Thebe
It did take a lot. I’ve always been very real like that’s not new, but I’ve never been particularly vulnerable. And I had to be vulnerable if I was going to start talking about menopause, and it was never something that was on my bingo card in particular. But I, you know, I went through a phase of my life that I struggled with, and didn’t have any answers to lots of questions, not many answers and sort of decided to make it my mission to find those answers. And they’re out there. It’s just very difficult to pass them all together, right?

Amanda Thebe
And, in our industry, you know, we’ve both got similar education as well. And, but in my industry, like, I had never heard anyone talking about menopause specifically, you know, I think Stacey Sims was the first person I heard, like, bringing it up into the conversation. But like, historically, I remember, like, all of the textbooks and the lectures I’d go to, and it was like, changes, really. And it and it was like, it was like, nothing changes your strength training is still important, especially as you become older. And it sort of went from, like the pregnancy conversation to the old people conversation, and it went from lifting weights to doing weights in a chair. It’s like this gap in the middle.

Amanda Thebe
And you know, I just think that even if the nuances are small of what we need to do in menopause, even if the changes aren’t that dramatic, we just need to at least have the conversation, and the conversation was missing, at least it was 10 years ago when I started going through this conversation is here now, thankfully. But what I’m finding is, when we’re talking about menopause, in the conversation, is that women are looking for these or they’re hearing, I should say not.

Amanda Thebe
They’re not looking for them but they’re hearing these sound bites in social media, and I think that’s what we want to talk about, that seems to make it so extreme and dire and negative and awful, and it can be, but they’re looking for this magic pill because they’re so vulnerable and they’re feeling desperate. And so when people like you and I are coming on saying, Well, this is what we know, this is what the menopause societies are saying, This is what the studies are saying. It doesn’t, it doesn’t get as much traction. I think we should dig into that a bit today.

Steph Gaudreau
You mean like the nuance and the context and the fact that social media, in and of itself, can become a bit of an echo chamber for the more extreme points of view, or the only the sort of black and white of it. Or the binaryness of this conversation, right? Because that’s what gets people’s attention. That’s what fuels the algorithm, right? Anytime something is posted where people want to argue back and forth, that’s, that’s quote, unquote engagement, but it also has this knock-on effect.

Steph Gaudreau
And I would be curious to know, you know, in 10 or 20 years, how, even just the way content is amplified across a social media platform can change people’s actual real lives in terms of what they’re doing or not doing. And I mean, it is like, on the one hand, is great, because we have. Having this democratization of information and sharing and things that we never had before but on the same token, is really fucking scary, because sometimes the things being shared are not the most helpful…

Amanda Thebe
Or accurate. And it’s funny, because today, I got a text message from somebody who’s going through menopause. She’s a coach. She’s a trainer, going through menopause, trying her best to be educated. It’s very, very evidence-based. She really wants to give accurate information to her clients. And she said to me, holy I thought the nutrition world was bad. Now I’m in this midlife menopause world, and my mind is being blown. She said, Why are doctors on there saying things that fall outside the medical consensus, fall outside the agreed position statement of the organizations that are talking say like the North American menopause society, when they do a consensus statement, they look at every single, every single piece of evidence that exists, and they come up with the best-known data.

Amanda Thebe
And nobody else is going to do that for us, right? And so then, when a doctor will come out and say something along the lines of, should you put vaginal estrogen cream on your face. Sure, why not? You’re an adult. Make a grown-up decision. You decide for yourself. You know, the menopause society are not the gatekeeper of you, and this is what a thought leader looks like. I mean, that was the post I saw the other day. And I’m like, me, right? Is that where we are now? Like, and women are like, really, I can put estrogen on my face, and I’m sat there going like, so first of all, there’s so many questions outstanding with that. For one, do women truly understand the different types of estrogen that exist? Estradiol, Oestrogel, Evorel, right?

Amanda Thebe
Two, will they be able to pass that information and say, Oh, the diva gel, or the estrogen gel that I put on my body that’s systemic. Oh, can I just wipe a little bit into my face afterward? It’s completely different to localized vaginal estrogen. And three, are there any long-term data studies to show that the tissue of the vaginal area is the same as the tissue on your face, and it’s perfectly okay to use if there isn’t. And so yes, it’s okay for someone to say, you’re an adult, make your own mind report. I’m just like you potentially putting people at danger. What for the clicks, for the lights? And I’m going to just finish this by saying, and I know that that’s why it was done, because the same person then came on and went, Oh, my post went viral, isn’t that amazing? And I’m like, Really, that’s what you’re looking for. You’re looking for that viral post. That’s the world we’re living in. And I’m just like, I want to get off.

Steph Gaudreau
I know, I want off this ride. And that’s definitely not the first thing that you know, even we send messages back and forth to each other sometimes, like, have you seen this? And it’s easy to get so preoccupied with you know, what are the things that people are saying that, like you said, are there’s no evidence behind this. It goes against the major consensus papers that we have from these organizations with people, people who have really put in the time to look, look through all the research, comb through it, come up with a best practice statement, and that’s the best we have at this point. At the same time, it’s so easy to unknowingly put so much time and effort into all of those things that we sort of lose the threat of even our own business, what we’re here to do and share and like, what our own a zone of genius is, but also what our scope of practice is, and it’s tough, it’s really, really hard to just kind of put the blindfold on, or the blinders on, rather, and just kind of make your way, because we are seeing the fallout, and I know you work so closely, right with different groups of people, right?

Steph Gaudreau
You are a trainer. You work with organizations that are trying to put out better, more informed resources for women. You go out and speak like you’re talking to a lot of people, and at the end of the day, those folks are coming, I’m sure, to you and saying, I did XYZ, I followed what this, this person, that person said, and I’m either no better off for it or I’m worse off for it. So at the end of the day, it kind of does filter down a lot of the times to coaches and other folks who are here for you know, maybe the lifestyle change, and that’s the stuff that we can do in our scope of practice. But we’re seeing the effects of this sort of trickle-down of misinformation and things that people are doing.

Amanda Thebe
You touched on it as well, about the scope of practice. It’s so important that we that people realize. Is that like you and I can never, ever say to someone, I think you have perimenopause and you should be on HRT even that statement that seems maybe benign to someone and innocuous is not we have no right to diagnose people. Yet, there are certifications in our unregulated world that actually give this false idea that coaches should be able to take your blood work, analyze your hormones, determine what’s wrong with you, and then maybe refer you. This is what happens to a functional doctor who they’re working with to get unregulated hormones potentially and that scares the bejesus out of me. Since when was that okay?

Amanda Thebe
The experts in that field are the endocrinologists the OBGYN who have done the menopause training, not a coach who did a weekend course on hormone management, or whatever they’re calling it. And I just think that as coaches, I wouldn’t wonder why we would want to do that and take on that type of responsibility, when, when? What we can do is we can say, Hey, these are some good resources. This is how you can talk to your doctor. This is what the current prescribing guidelines are. These. These are, like the latest studies or whatever. There’s so many different ways you can help people, and then we step in and go. But your lifestyle choices, can make a difference. And this is how we can help, because this is our scope of practice in our area of expertise, right? But it’s not enough. It doesn’t seem like it doesn’t. And honestly, I’m like, literally flabbergasted. People send me, you know, does this account okay to you? Does this look okay to you? Hormone expert? And I’m like, no, no. It’s just a no. I don’t even need to look at it.

Steph Gaudreau
Yeah, it’s and it seems like it’s only, it’s only increasing in intensity and how many accounts there are and people who are offering these types of services. And I think that kind of comes back to one of our original thoughts and one of the things I wanted to talk with you about is this idea of women at this stage of life who are potentially not feeling super great, who are looking for answers. And 10 years ago, there was not the market for marketing things to women in menopause there is now it’s almost become this complete 180 flip where before, and I’m sure, yes, there’s where.

Steph Gaudreau
There’s still a lot of taboo here. And, you know, women didn’t hear these conversations from their aunts and mothers and grandmothers. And you know, we’re sort of this, like new generation coming through of, hey, we’re going to start talking about this. But you’re so you’ve been such a leader in that conversation, through sharing your own story and sort of the things that you’ve learned along the way and then creating resources. But I think now, at least from my perception, we, kind of, went through this really rapid change where it was like no one was talking about this. And then all of a sudden people realized, oh, women with menopause are really seeking answers. They are really frustrated. They do not feel good on a day-to-day basis.

Steph Gaudreau
They want to feel better, and oftentimes they have a lot more income freed up because of the phase of life that they’re in. Can we market all sorts of things to them, you know, and we’re not even talking about really good quality coaching for the lifestyle stuff or whatever it is, but just these products, you know, like shampoo for your menopause hair and all, just all these things that are out there that are now the word menopause is slapped on it to get someone’s attention really fast and get them to buy something. Whereas before it was almost, you know, part of the pink it and shrink it, right? Oh, let’s make this drill for a woman. Let’s make it pink, you know?

Amanda Thebe
And now it’s like, the same, the pinkwashing. Now it’s the men who are washing.

Steph Gaudreau
Yeah, yeah.

Amanda Thebe
You think you nailed it there, though, when you said it’s out, the Gen Xers are, like, pushing back. Well, like, why don’t we know about this? It shouldn’t be a mystery. We need more information and more support. Well, we don’t do we need more products. No, probably not so the market is $16.1 billion for menopause alone months. The majority of that is made up of supplements, which shouldn’t surprise you, I’m pretty sure it doesn’t. And when you and I see them all the time, don’t we like these men? Or blends, the meno blend of four. Yes.

Amanda Thebe
And the thing is, with supplements, again, it’s unregulated, and if you don’t need them, and your body doesn’t need them, it’s just going to get rid of them expensive PE isn’t it, right? It’s that’s essentially what we’re creating, but, but I feel as though we asked for more attention, and we’ve got it, but it’s not all welcome, right? And so I did a post the other day on boots number seven, my fave, one of my favorite brands in the in the UK, and you know, like, you’ll get this be married to Z The Scotsman. Like, Boots is a super lovely shop, and they sent me a box of goodies. And I was like, Oh, I used the number seven. I use it anyway, right? And then I opened it and it had menopause written all over it. And I went, really, really, you’ve gone there. And so I did post about it, saying, you know, I’ll always be loyal to you, and I’m going to use these products.

Amanda Thebe
But did you need to stick the word menopause on? Granted, they said they surveyed 7000 women, and they were involved in the making of this product, and it’s different from many of their other products, blah, blah, blah. So I, they emailed me, and they were saying, you know, when we did a survey, 78% of women said they would buy something with the name menopause on and then, and then, it was really interesting, Steph, because people on my post were like, I wouldn’t buy that. That’s just ripping me off. I’ve realized that I’ve created my own echo chamber, right? The people that follow me are the feisty buggers like me that are just like, stop selling us we don’t need, right? But that maybe isn’t indicative of all women out there, right?

Amanda Thebe
And so really, women must want products with menopause because the market is worth so much, right? But yeah, like, it frustrates me, because while that big market is happening and all of these products are out there, the real work isn’t happening, and the real work is the lack of support from the medical community in the workplace as well, potentially, and lack of knowledge that women have, and the inability to, sort of like hypercell, the lifestyle stuff we know works that we know is really helpful. Actually, I wanted to turn on you now and sort of say, you know when, when you specialize in women over 40, you have such an amazing voice in this space. It’s very pragmatic, very practical. And I love the way you meet women where they are.

Amanda Thebe
That’s what we need in a coach, right? And I send people to you all the time because I just value the work you do, but then you get these women in your arms, and you say to them, Listen, I can help you, but there isn’t a magic pill and there isn’t anything dynamic that we’re going to do. I’m going to get you to nail the basics, and I’m going to get you to understand what the body needs. But I wondered if there’s anything that you do specifically for menopausal women there, or if the conversation’s different because that would be interesting to sort of hear.

Steph Gaudreau
Yeah, I think, you know, first and foremost, when I say women over 40, I say that because I’m on I’m of the impression that I’m going to have women kind of across the continuum here, right? Whether it’s they’re completely pre-menopausal, they’re not even in perimenopause, yet, they could potentially be in perimenopause, or they’re postmenopausal. So recognizing even there that it’s a fluid, you know, spectrum. It’s not going to be one, you know, obviously, I could work with people who are postmenopausal and call it that, right?

Amanda Thebe
Or even postpartum really.

Steph Gaudreau
Yeah, right. So it’s just a time of a lot of transition for a lot of people with their bodies with their lives. I’ve had so many clients who are in the process of their kids leaving the house. You know, they’re going off to college, or they’re having a separation from their partner, or they’re having something with their job, or they’re caretaking for adult family members who are now ill and they’re having to be the caretaker now of their parents or their grandparents, their aunts and uncles, and it’s just a real-time for a lot of people, there’s a lot of really hard stuff. So a lot of times the conversations that I’m having with people aren’t even just about the training or nutrition. It’s really in helping to understand what are the factors that are essentially the potential barriers to people being more consistent, to developing those foundations and doing like you said, basic things.

Steph Gaudreau
So for example, if somebody’s work life. Life is extremely chaotic, and now they’re adding on top of it that they’re not sleeping really well because they’re going through, you know, changes with their sleep in perimenopause, or their postmenopausal are still having hot flushes that are waking them up in the night. That’s a really relevant piece of information to deliver and to have that conversation and just check in, you know, how are you sleeping? Well, you know, I’m not sleeping very well. I’ve got all these life stressors that are going on, and then I’ve got, you know, this interrupted sleep at night. So when somebody comes in to do their training plan, or they’re going to open their app and do their training plan, and they’re like, Wow, I really don’t have super high energy today. How are you, how am I, and how are we as coaches providing options?

Steph Gaudreau
How are we having that conversation that even checks in with that person who’s asking those questions we have to get to know people, right? Oh, you know, how’s your, how’s the transition with your son or daughter going off to school, going, Oh, I’m so stressed out about that, you know, or like, how people’s lives are outside of when we get them, in terms of either nutrition or trick strength training or whatever it is, significantly impacts what’s going on in their ability to follow through with a plan. And I think that that stuff, like even asking the question, or asking those questions, getting to know people, checking in with them, treating them as a whole person, is so key, and being there to be the person who’s listening, and also knowing when to refer out. I think this is a big thing too, that coaches can do better with.

Steph Gaudreau
So for example, I have several clients who will say things when they first come in to work with me in strength training. They’ll say, Oh, look, jump rope, I can’t do that. I’m going to pee myself. And I’m like, Okay, well, this is thanks for telling me, right, we shouldn’t have shame around those things. But B, in the meantime, what else can we do so that we can take that jumping element out or modify and three, I don’t know if I said 3 or 3/3. You know, have you had a conversation with a pelvic floor PT, or urogenital? Have you had a consult with a urogenital Doctor? You know, just even telling women that? Well, now you’re Yes, you may. You might technically not be postpartum in terms of the fourth trimester or the first year after delivering a child.

Steph Gaudreau
But by the way, even if you didn’t have a child, you can still have these grow genital symptoms, you know, and having that conversation, helping them to have that information, that knowing how they can go forward and have that conversation, even sharing, you know, what an appointment could be like with someone. I mean, I’ve had people that have come to me, and I’ve just started working with them, and they’re like, I’ve been dealing with this for seven or eight years, which I believe the average amount of time that elapses between the point where symptoms are on set and people actually seek support is something like seven years. That’s a long time to feel like you can’t be fully participatory in your life.

Steph Gaudreau
So I think it’s it’s not so much even the technical information of like, here’s how we’re going to do reps and sets, but in the approach, how we treat someone like the whole person, we listen really carefully, even listening for between like, between the lines of what they’re saying, and how we help them to modify, again, within our scope of practice, to Meet them best where they’re at, so they can continue to move forward. But then also know when to refer out. Know who. You know, do we have references we can give them? Where are we sending them to, to NAMS and, you know, looking at these resources, you know, where are we pointing people to, or are we just saying, yeah, that can happen, and that’s the conversation, or that’s not a thing. And I think more coaches now are becoming more menopause informed, which is great.

Amanda Thebe
That’s it. Menopause informed. That’s all we want. That’s all we want, isn’t it? We’re not asking for this person, because that’s not what do you know. Do you have to unpick a lot of conversations as well, like, so like say, let’s use nutrition? You’re pretty upon all of the nutritional stuff. And yet, women are like, you know, I tried this diet that was 1200 calories, and it was intermittent fasting, and then I wasn’t allowed to eat keen I was only allowed to eat quinoa as migraines and I lost like 30 pounds, and I felt great and, and then it all just backfires, because it’s not sustainable.

Amanda Thebe
And one of the things that I really find challenging is that there are a lot of people talking with an air of authority. Women need to do this, and you need to do that. And it often isn’t the case. It isn’t a case of women needing to do that. And the example I just gave is a popular diet that exists out there, and it often gets thrown up in my Facebook group that I have. And women in my Facebook group, again, are people sort of similar to me, but there’s a lot of involved conversation, which actually I quite like. Women will say, I tried that and just felt garbage. I felt like garbage not eating breakfast.

Amanda Thebe
And other women are like, Oh, I’ve never eaten breakfast for like, five years, and I don’t eat till two o’clock. That, to me, sums up the 360 let’s look at this person as a 360 being. I have to eat when I wake up, personally, and I don’t get the idea of not eating. Like, the idea of not eating, to me is like, why would you not eat just because, like, this book told you to do it? It’s crazy. But I find that there’s often a lot of pushback. Find that there’s a lot of pushback because it’s maybe been successful for them in the past. How do you sort of deal with that?

Steph Gaudreau
This is one of the hardest, hardest things that I have to have conversations about, because it runs really deep, right? It’s not even only the I, you know, 10 years ago, or five years ago, intermittent fasted, and it was great, and I felt amazing and saw great results. And I’m like, Well, how are those results going now? Um, you know, I don’t know. It’s not going so well now. So it’s, it’s hard because, let’s say we’re talking to a woman who’s in her early 60s, that by the time she gets to work with one of us has had six or seven decades of all sorts of experiences around food at different even a different time in history where people didn’t talk about things like diet culture or bodies were talked about differently on TV shows. And you know, they’re so things have changed culturally, and yet they’re still really up in so many ways.

Amanda Thebe
And most of them have dieted like all, maybe tried like, 7, 8, 9, different types of diets, probably minimum,

Steph Gaudreau
Totally. I would say in most cases, it’s rare for me to run into somebody who’s like, I’ve never done a super restrictive diet. I’m they’re out there. I just don’t always make it to me. So we’ve had this long, extensive history of on and off dieting, maybe things that you did when you were in your early 20s or after you had a child when you were much younger, worked differently. Life was different. We have folks who, you know, unfortunately, have had really negative experiences with family members that have or who school or whatever it is, have really shaped their own beliefs of their self-worth, their body image that this is deep right?

Steph Gaudreau
You can see how all of these different facets have shaped how a person thinks about their bodies, and then what nutrition must look like for them to continue to change their body. And their bodies are often changing in this period of perimenopause, and it’s kind of this perfect storm of circumstances. And I always try to be really clear with people again, the scope of practice, that I can help someone with their outcomes in the present, and, you know, creating different systems and structures in the present that get them different outcomes in the future. But I am also really clear with people that sometimes talking to someone, having a counselor, having a therapist, is going to be necessary to help unpack some of the things that are causing people deep emotional distress, or things that they can’t seem to move past, especially around, things like their body, their self-worth, maybe it was a traumatic event. I mean, there are just certain things I can’t do.

Amanda Thebe
Right? I think that that’s so good. It’s the same here, like it’s the scope of practice, right? There’s, there’s a time and a place for everything, and even, like referring out to another, like a registered dietitian who might specialize in something like that, doesn’t always have to be a counselor, right? But, you know, I haven’t, I have an example of that like that, so I feel like I’ve always had a healthy relationship with food. I can’t relate personally to a lot of the trauma that comes around, you know, food choices and body dysmorphia, etc, but something happened to me when I was younger that made me realize that this was a thing, and I suppose I just fought back against it. And I remember I went to my granddad’s house, who’s a grumpy old man in the north of England.

Amanda Thebe
And yeah, he was always like, Oh, hello, come in. And then he gave me a hug. And he was like, tickling us, like he did with me, my brother, and just like playing with us. And he went, Oh, somebody’s a bit chunky. He said, Have you been eating too many pies or something? And I think I was maybe 16, and I, for some reason, when I was between 16 and 18, put on a ton of weight, and then it just fell off again. It was like, you know, the way the body goes through these waves. And remember, just like looking at him thinking, you think you just said, I’m chunky. And it didn’t, it wasn’t positive. And as soon as my mom’s face was like, oh god, oh my god, oh my god. And as we left, she went, you know, your granddad was telling you that you looked well. You thought that you looked healthy. And I went, you didn’t say that, though, did he? You said that I looked chunky.

Amanda Thebe
And she said, Oh, that was stupid. He’s not being mean. And he and she was trying to deflect the whole thing. And that was one of those instances where I just was like, he just said something off the cuff, and it’s made me feel really crappy. And I think that, you know, there’s households where that type of stuff happens on the day. You’re not going to eat that white bread, are you? It’s going straight to your hips, or, you know, you know, anything. It’s just fly away, fly away. But it sticks. It sticks like, and it’s hurtful, yeah, and, you know, some I read something the other day, and it was like, Are we becoming more sensitive as a generation? Are we becoming more walk or whatever? And then underneath, it was like, No, we’re just becoming more agitated.

Amanda Thebe
We’re just becoming more aware. And you know, if I’d ever had that awareness when I was 16, which is a long time ago now, like 35 years ago, whatever. My, uh, see, I can’t do math very well. I would have said, that’s an inappropriate granddad, and he wouldn’t have cared, but whatever. But, you know, I just think that, you know, we, we can’t always help people fix those things right? And it’s, it is outside of our scope, but the diet industry, over time, has got so bad, and it’s, I feel like it’s particularly bad now for menopausal women because we have a pain point that they see. And all of these diets that come at you don’t come at you in a positive way to help you. It’s fear-based marketing.

Amanda Thebe
Saggy arms, trucker belly, meno belly, you know, wobbly legs, you name it. That’s how it comes or as your body is inflammatory, is your metabolism broken, all of those things. And it ticks me off because it’s so disrespectful. But selling a book that’s like saying this is what Balanced eating looks like, and this is eating enough protein isn’t, isn’t gimmicky enough, right? And it isn’t, it doesn’t reach those pain points quickly enough.

Steph Gaudreau
This is one of my biggest bones to pick and one of my biggest pet peeves. And you know, I will also say, when we’re I think we’re in this phase of life, we’re busy, we’re stressed, there’s so much going on, and then on top of it, we feel like it makes sense from a logical point of view, where we’re like, let me just find the quickest path out of this. Because if we’re already busy, we’re already stressed, we don’t have the space to remove things and the surface does seem like the easiest way to accomplish what we need to accomplish, but the learning of the systems, the structures, the skills that people need, the shifting of environment, the social support, all of those things that really go into making positive change take a lot of time, and they take there is a learning process.

Steph Gaudreau
It is not easy. It’s not going to be a quick fix. And so when I see and this, if I could, like, this is my soapbox of the of the time. It is all of the fitness and nutrition marketing to your point, that’s all about women fixing their problem areas, right? Fix this. Fix your love handles. Fix your bra fat, as you said, right? Where you could list, like a million of these, your underbutt, your menopause, your meno belly, all of this your bat wings. I mean, we could go on and on forever, and we see this kind of stuff in the feed constantly. The thing that really bugs me about this isn’t just the fact that it’s there and it’s it’s the thing that’s going to get you because why do people make change is because and how does marketing work? It pushes some kind of emotional button, right? It’s a pain point. And so are we as an industry, though, going to do better, or are we going to continue to feed the machine and then the consumer? What? Which, again, yes, consumers can be educated.

Steph Gaudreau
Yes, that’s a thing, right? We need media literacy more than ever before. However, it is reaching that person in that vulnerable emotional mindset, in that emotional space in their life, where they’re feeling like everything is out of control, and they just need something that’s going to be a quick fix. And yes, they hate the way that thing looks in the mirror. And so I think the onus here is on the people in the industry, some of our colleagues, even who are using this kind of marketing to bring people in and they say, but that’s what they want, that’s what they’re asking for. And I’m like, this is a chicken and egg, right?

Steph Gaudreau
If you’re going to stop this from happening and you want to do better in this industry, then it’s on you to do better and stop expecting the consumer is going to want something different when it’s all she’s seeing, and this is where I get kind of off, because people will tell me, but that’s what people are asking for, and that’s why they’re hiring me. And I’m like, right? Because that’s the kind of marketing you’re using to bring them in, and I understand it’s much harder to lead with like you were saying the kind of things you do in your book or the kind of ways that I market strength training right isn’t about fixing this body part that you hate or over promising that your body composition is magically going to change in four weeks. I mean, this just isn’t what happens.

Steph Gaudreau
And yes, does it impact probably a business’s bottom line? Could it, in theory, be easier and more lucrative to market in the way that’s going to hit that pain point in just the right way, and that person’s going to whip out their credit card? Boom? Sale done. Yes. But these are the other people in the industry who are also saying, Oh, but behind closed doors, then I educate my client about this.

Amanda Thebe
Nailed it. You nailed it because that’s exactly what they said.

Steph Gaudreau
So this is a huge problem. If you’re unwilling to do the work upfront, to actually educate the person, then to me, that sale is made in an unethical way, in an unethical way, or on unethical terms because you’re or unethical because you’re bringing that person in under different pretenses, and you use the marketing you know what’s going to target their pain points in that really kind of gross way to get them in the door, and then you’re like, but then I’ll educate them later.

Steph Gaudreau
I don’t know to me that’s lacking ethics, and I do think that people in the industry have a responsibility to market things in an ethical way. And it’s, you know, what people are willing to do is different, but then to bring that consumer in under those pretenses, or to say, well, they should just, they should just do better in terms of what they’re looking for you have a part, a role to play in that, in how you market things, and if you’re unwilling to change that, then I don’t think as an industry, we’re going to see much shifting.

Amanda Thebe
I agree. And I have an experience with this. I did a post once, and it was like, want to get rid of your soggy arms. And I just was like, how does this make you feel? Like, literally, how does this make you feel? And people were like, That’s gross. And another one was like, actually, I probably would buy into it or whatever. But I didn’t know who the author was, and then the author reached out to me, and on my post publicly said, this is how I market. Because I know women care about their saggy arms on their fat bellies but once I get them in, I care for them. I look, it was the same thing, and I’m just like, but that’s unethical, and it just, you’re a machine. It’s just a mill. It’s like a fitness mill, right?

Amanda Thebe
But then I also see the opposite being true. An example of this is somebody who’s selling a sleazy diet, right? A sleazy diet that you know is funny. It’s like starvation, and alongside it are supplements that you know you need to take to go with along with the diet. But then, on the surface of it, in their social media, sound bites, it’s all smoke and mirrors, things like, you know, everyone, every woman should be strong. Everyone should be doing strength training. And you know, every woman is worthy, blah, blah, blah. But then when you read they are going to dig deeper, it’s exactly the opposite of that, right? It’s encouraging, like smallness and thinness and youthfulness, and I find that just as problematic. And I see that a little bit, I see that a little bit more, and I think it’s because I’m so skeptical and I don’t trust anyone. I trust you, but I do. I am a bit jaded, right? And so people. Like, don’t you think this doctor or this person here is great? And I’m like, maybe, but I also know that underneath all of that smoke and mirrors, it’s a load of and it’s predatory and and so I can’t separate the two.

Steph Gaudreau
Yeah, yeah, I agree. The reverse is just as bad.

Amanda Thebe
Is this just a podcast for us to stand on our soapboxes and rant, is that what we do?

Steph Gaudreau
I mean, it probably, it probably is going to turn out to be that. But I think it’s, I think it is helpful for people to hear this. And I don’t think it’s just for the purpose of just commiserating. I think there that, there is that, but I also think it can help people when they are looking for solutions. So for you, what do you what do you tell people? And this is, you know, hopefully going to be a practical takeaway, but they’re looking for a trustworthy, you know, nutrition coach, or they’re looking for a trustworthy lifting plan or fitness plan or gym, or whatever it is, like, how do you help people to filter through that stuff? Like, what do you say?

Amanda Thebe
How would you do that? Yeah, well, first of all, if somebody’s promising something that seems too good to be true, like, that’s my thing. Chances are it really is. If they’ve got behind the scenes selling supplements, or they’re part of a multi-level marketing scheme, many of those things are just red instant red flags, like, if they’re trying to upsell you, as soon as you, like, buy into the plan, like, that’s another thing. Like, buy this, and you can get there’s a lot of that happens. Buy this get this free, get this free. That’s the sleazy marketing.

Amanda Thebe
That’s just a little bit hard to stomach. What I would do is like, I’m really like if I built my business originally, and I think you did it initially on word of mouth and referrals, and I still think that that works, like, if you like, can find someone that can give good feedback and look for, look for like, positive reviews. Most coaches should have reviews on their site. Like, maybe check those out. Maybe see if you can do a trial with them and see if that’s something that’s an option. Or like, can you see what their content looks like?

Amanda Thebe
But then ask. I mean, I know it probably happens to you, but I get asked questions all the time, is this person worthy? Does this person feel like they give information? It’s really hard to pass through, but one of the things is that’s really helpful is having some basic underlying knowledge, like knowing that, like the person should be offering you a nutritional education, but not meal plans. The person should be able to write you a strength training program that’s adaptable, that contains, like, progressive overload, that sees you in the long term game and isn’t just like a generic, like, like generic, like 30-day blast or something, right? So it’s like somebody that actually sees you as an individual, as the whole person. It’s difficult, though it’s very difficult, right?

Steph Gaudreau
Yeah, it is.

Amanda Thebe
I hear that.

Steph Gaudreau
I think for people, you know, I oftentimes will refer people out, especially if they’re brand new to strength training. And I know that finances can be a barrier to this. But I really, I feel very strongly that if someone’s new to lifting weights, they’re going to get so much mileage out of working with a trustworthy trainer, a coach in person. You just learn so much more in such a short even if it’s a short time where you’re you’re learning the, you know, the ropes, you’re learning the basics of movement patterns and quality movement.

Steph Gaudreau
Like, I wish. I’m probably gonna get like, a million messages here, like, I wish that I had that type of facility and I could do that sort of thing because I would love to facilitate that. But I also know I don’t want to be a gym owner. So, you know, there, there is that piece of it, where I’m constantly telling people, like, if you can work with someone in person for even a few sessions, you’re going to get so much out of that. And then they’ll say, Well, how do I find someone?

Steph Gaudreau
My best answer here is to ask the people you know in the geographical vicinity in which you live because they’re going to be able to say, steer clear of Chad at this place, but also this gym over here. I had a great experience. Or people will tell you, I mean, we see negative reviews spread like wildfire, so they’re at least going to tell you they didn’t like this. They went there, but it wasn’t a great experience. And that first line of asking for recommendations from the people you know is huge because that’s going to give you great insight into where you can start your search. And I think that that’s highly underrated.

Amanda Thebe
Ask, yeah, and you know, a lot of people might say, I’ll just go to Orange Theory. Just go to F45 and they may look like viable options and maybe cheaper. But I have to be honest, if someone was to spend like three sessions with a personal trainer versus going to, like a 10-plus class for Orange Theory, which are about the same, you’re gonna get more out of the trainer. And the thing is, with things like orange theory and F45 and I’ve tried them both, is there they go from zero to 100 really quickly. There’s no nuance. I also would say to people, even if you’re an experienced lifter and you’ve just had a break or an illness, or you’ve just felt lazy and haven’t done anything for a while, whatever it’s, there’s no shame in like, looking for a beginner style program.

Amanda Thebe
And I often do that. I’ll go back to basics, do very, very light, easy workouts and I think that even if you can’t afford a trainer or something, see if you can sign up for a program that is specifically for beginners, that works on those basic functional movements so that you get used to feeling what the muscles feel like, but under a lighter load and in a more of a biomechanic way. Yeah, it’s difficult, because in this online world, oh my God, we’ve been talking forever. I think we should think about wrapping this up. I don’t want to go without talking about knitting something. Some people might watch this.

Amanda Thebe
Some people might just listen to this. So I’ve brought something to show, oh, and I’m going to describe it for those who can’t can’t see it. So I’m wearing a top that we from a favorite knitting designer, Drea Knits, and Steph got me on to it. She does all these really cool colorwork patterns, and you and I have done a bunch of them now, haven’t we? We really share our designs. I’m doing.

Amanda Thebe
I’m going to a Secret Santa next week, and I need $25 and I thought, You know what? I’m going to make something I only need one. So I’m making a traditional Canadian mitten called a trigger mitt, and a trigger mate is from Newfoundland, so right on the East Coast, I bought this knitting book called The Saltwater Knitting Pattern Book, and a trigger mate. If you were to, like, look at your hand, you’d see your thumb and your fourth finger and separate them, right? And then the other three fingers stay together, right? That’s what a trigger mitt is. So your index finger is separate, and it was used for fishermen so that they could do the fishing. And I’m sure, I’m sure, Steph, Steph, a little picture of it.

Amanda Thebe
Now don’t if everyone can see. And then the last bit is like a mitt. So you have half MIT, one finger, and then one thumb, and it’s done in lovely, like, color work. It’s really cool. And, I just found my son last year, this is what they look like when they’re when they’re finished. And so it looks almost like, you know, those Japanese socks where the big toy is separate, yeah, that’s what these gloves are, and they’re so, so cool. And I told my son, you know, you can, that you can point with them. You can do the loser sign with them.

Steph Gaudreau
I need one that goes like this. Because I’d be like, this gets a lot.

Amanda Thebe
Well, the minute that I knit them last year, someone said, you need a middle finger glove. And so like, I’m like, that really just means that the last two are knitted together, right? That’s literally, anyway anyway. So that’s my latest knitting project. Have you got any on the go?

Steph Gaudreau
Well, I do, and I can go grab them. But I have one that I have not blocked yet from last year because it was so cold when I finished it that I knew if I tried to wet block it outside, it just would never dry. So I have one there, and then I also have just a simple one that’s going to be more of almost like a cardigan, so like a really flowy cardigan. And it’s also a Drea design, but it’s kind of a one, like just a loose shell, and then it’s going to have a different collar, so I’m working on that, but it’s a big one.

Amanda Thebe
So lovely. You do big designs. I do these little small designs that give me a little bit of a quick win, yeah. But I’m a seasonal knitter, and it is the knitting season like the winter as pretty much I don’t knit in the summer. I can’t be bothered. So anyway, we’ll share our designs on Instagram, and maybe that’s what we do.

Steph Gaudreau
Yeah absolutely. I know. I’ve been knitting less. I picked it up again in 2019 when I was kind of going through basically, feeling really burned out in my business, and I was like, I wonder if I still have my grandmother’s knitting needles in the closet, and my grandma taught me how to knit when I was eight. Maybe, yeah, so I did it on and off a couple of times over the years, but without, you know, without somebody to go. Guide me, and without YouTube, it was really hard. Now with YouTube, you can look up stitches and like, that’s really changed the game.

Amanda Thebe
YouTube is brilliant for any crafting do you find, though, that, like, for me, it’s a moment of like, reflection and calmness and quiet and like, I just find, I struggle to, like, find peace and cut over the chaos. And I do, I find peace when I knit. And that sounds a bit profound, but I do, and you get a product at the end of it.

Steph Gaudreau
Yeah, it’s more for the process. I have to say, I mean, I have so many pieces that I wear occasionally, rarely even, I mean, I do have some warmer weather pieces that I wear here in San Diego, but I live in a pretty warm climate, and so a lot of my pieces I end up gifting, or things like that. Because for me, the enjoyment is in the making. And I also know that one of the reasons why I love it is because when I’m knitting, I cannot be on my phone. Yeah, I cannot be scrolling. I can’t be trying to distract myself with all of that.

Steph Gaudreau
Sometimes I’ll watch a show or something like that at the same time, or listen to an audiobook or something, but I can’t physically scroll when you’ve got to use your thumbs for what you’re doing. So that’s been that’s been really helpful, and I do find it really meditative, but really trying to increase my walking. And I was training for a GORUCK event, especially in the past year, a lot of my extra time where I would sit down and knit, went walking.

Steph Gaudreau
And I do know that there are people that walk in it, and I cannot be one of them, because it’s not safe around here. There’s a lot of streets, and I can’t be distracted in that way. But it’s, um, yeah, it’s something that I actually was thinking about the other day. I was like, Oh, I gotta pick up and finish that project that I’m working on.

Amanda Thebe
Yeah, yeah, I’m glad that you feel the same way about it as well, yeah, but walking on knitting is the same type of activity for me. You know, they do, they do the same thing for me, for sure. Yeah, okay, I think, I think we should wrap it up now, so but I’ve really enjoyed chatting with you. I hope everyone else has enjoyed the show. I mean, this is literally what our chats are like when we phone each other on Zoom. So it’s really quite nice that we did this recording for a change.

Steph Gaudreau
Yeah, I agree. I agree. I think, you know, I appreciate you, and your the way you use your platform is very aspirational for me. I think I look up to you a ton in terms of how you are framing the conversation. I do see you as a leader in this space, and someone who is fighting the good fight. You know, I know you want the best for women. I know that you are really dedicated to bringing the best quality resources and helping to point people in the direction of really good information, really good practices, really good support. And I just admire that a ton about you.

Steph Gaudreau
So I appreciate you. I think everybody should go check out your TED Talk. And we didn’t even talk about that right in terms of bringing men into the conversation and how important that is. So I know on our side, we’ll link that in the show notes so people can check that out. But Thanks for Thanks for doing all you’re doing and being that leader and paving the way that matters.

Amanda Thebe
And I might like thats very, very, very kind Thank you. And I’ve learned to say thank you because that’s something I wouldn’t ever do before. But I feel the same way about you. I feel as though I’m hoping this gets more people to get eyes on you, because I follow you from my own, like personal, like health, like, I love this. I’m always like, should I buy a rock stair? Should I be doing this? I mean, and I know my stuff, but I find what you do really inspiring and lovely there’s a lovely calmness about the way you deliver the topic as well. I find, well, you are so authentic, and you’re a really great voice in this space just continue what you’re doing, because I know both of us get frustrated, so don’t stop.

Steph Gaudreau
I will. I thank you so much. So yeah, thanks everybody for listening, and we’ll see you on the other side.

Amanda Thebe
Yep, take care. Bye, bye, bye.

Steph Gaudreau
All right, my friend. Thank you so much for listening. That’s a wrap on this co-recorded episode that I did with Amanda. I’m so glad that you tuned in if you’re looking for the show notes for this episode, especially if you’re looking for the resources that we mentioned in this podcast, then go ahead and check out the show notes at StephGaudreau.com, and of course, check out Amanda’s social media, her book, her TED talk, and the organization she co-founded called Nyah Health.

Steph Gaudreau
If you’re finding the podcast valuable, please hit subscribe on your favorite podcast app as well. It really does make a huge difference and if you’re looking for quality coaching and support with your fueling, training, recovery, and stress management so that you can build muscle, get stronger, and perform better out of the gym with coaching support in the community. Then check out Strength Nutrition Unlocked. You can find out more and apply over at StephGaudreau.com. Apply. Thanks so much for being with me on this episode. Until next time, stay strong.

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Steph Gaudreau

Hi, I'm Steph Gaudreau (CISSN, NASM-CPT)!

Nutrition and fitness coach for women, Lord of the Rings nerd, and depending on who you ask, crazy cat lady. My mission is to help you fuel for more: bigger muscles, strength, energy, and possibilities. We’ll do it with my signature blend of science, strategy…and a little bit of sass.

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