The first step is awareness

Aware, Confident African American Teen Woman

When it comes to health, most women I’ve met want to be fit. Most women want to be energetic; we want to feel sexy; we want peaceful, happy (read: non-hormonal!) relationships with our significant other, as well as our children, family and friends, and – especially as peri-menopause and menopause enter the picture, we want to remember where we put the car keys. Does that sound about right to you?

And it is *not* too much to ask that you have these things. In fact, you need these things at the very minimum in order to meet the demands on you that I can imagine in your life. So, if you are stumbling in any of these areas, the first request I have is for you to determine whether you have considered that you could feel any different. In other words, have you simply accepted changes in your weight, mood, flexibility, sex drive, brain power and so on as they way things are rather than something that could be different?

A lot of times, I think there is unconscious acceptance of how our bodies look, feel and respond to people, to our environment and to our food and beverage choices. What I mean is that change can happen so slowly, sometimes we don’t notice it. Let’s face it: we go through our entire lives in the same body. We get used to it. We don’t question it. I also think that, because we don’t question it, we get stuck and may not make choices that are particularly good for us.

I have a recent example from my own life: my 22-year-old daughter mentioned to me several months ago that when she eats potatoes, her throat feels ‘weird.’ I started experimenting with different potato varieties to see if that would make a difference for her. Then, the other day, after eating potatoes, I noticed a burning in my throat, followed by an immediate thought that it was probably nothing because that’s how my throat always feels after I eat potatoes. What? My throat always burns after I eat potatoes. Why had I never consciously made that connection before? Well, very simply, if potatoes have always made my throat burn, why would I question it when they make my throat burn? The answer is that I wouldn’t. It took my daughter pointing out her observation about herself that brought about my awareness for me. And now that I am conscious of it, I can determine whether or not potatoes are good for me. Make sense?

So, just as my daughter was a trigger for my consciousness, now I’d like to do the same thing for you.

Have you noticed that you are cranky more often than you’re comfortable admitting? Did you notice that your kids or spouse steer a wide berth around you sometimes? Did you notice that you’re getting forgetful? Did you notice that your favourite things don’t bring you joy like they have in the past? (Are you unhappy most of the time?) Did you notice, as you buttoned up your shorts after a season in winter clothes, that they are a little more snug than they were last year? (That one you would probably notice!) Do potatoes make your throat burn?

Know that the items in the preceding list are merely symptoms telling you that you are not giving your body what it needs in order for you to have vibrant energy; a happy, positive and confident mood; gorgeous skin, hair and nails; and great relationships with those closest to you – all from the comfort of your skinny jeans. Because you can have all these things, if you decide to make choices that support bringing them about.

For the next week, your homework is simply to notice. Several times throughout the day, check in with yourself and become aware of your body. I’d love to learn about your observations.

Until next time,
I wish you vibrant health and a beautiful day!


Lisa Petty, PhD

Lisa Petty, PhD, is a midlife mentor and well-being strategist who helps women release the pressure to be everything to everyone so they can take care of their own well-being—without guilt. Dr. Petty helps women move through midlife uncertainty to emerge re-energized, with a redefined sense of who they are and what they want.