Uniting Perimenopausal Women

September 15, 2017
Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Award-winning nutritionist and New York Times bestselling author.

Take comfort in knowing that you’re not alone.

When you’re in the throes of perimenopause, it can be a very isolating experience. You may feel as if even your body has abandoned and betrayed you. I can assure you, you’re not alone.

You are not the only woman experiencing these symptoms.

You are not the only woman who may not even realize that your symptoms are related to perimenopause.

And, you are one of many women who is on the right path to balancing your hormones, flourishing before, during and after the change—and feeling like yourself again.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Before the Change it’s my newly released book that is a fully updated and expanded version of the original New York Times bestselling version. Inside the pages is the latest information on Hormone Replacement Therapy, mood swings, weight gain, a targeted meal plan, and much, much more. You can discover the full details here.

Today, I’d like to share another story of a woman who is a member of the same perimenopause tribe.


A client called to say that a close friend would be contacting me for an appointment. Hardly five minutes later, the phone rang. Jessica sounded overwrought and begged to see me immediately on an emergency basis. I gently raised the possibility of her visiting a hospital emergency clinic, but she told me it wasn’t “that kind” of emergency. I agreed to add her at the end of an already overcrowded day’s schedule.

When Jessica walked into my office, she looked so forlorn I was glad I’d worked her in. She quickly but gracefully plopped in the chair across from me and let out a loud sigh of exasperation. “I’m thirty-eight years old, and I look like I’m eighty!” she proclaimed more loudly than I expected.

Jessica went on, obviously worked up, to relay her concerns about her dull hair and dry, prematurely wrinkled skin. She said the inexplicable and unexpected changes to her body had bothered her for some time now, but her tipping point had come when her mother-in-law had taken notice of it on a recent visit.

“My mother-in-law came to stay with us for a few days,” she told me. “We hadn’t seen her for a couple of years. She has a tendency to be overly direct and say whatever is on her mind, so my husband and two kids kept out of her way as much as they could. I wish I could have too. I told myself that I wouldn’t let her get under my skin this time, but of course she sniffed out my insecurities and dug in. She was hardly in the house an hour before she let loose. “She first asked if anything was wrong. She then went on to say that she asks because it looks like I’ve aged ten years since she saw me last.”

I understood Jessica’s concern. Not only did she not understand the changes in her own body, but also it was obvious she was a perfectionist. Just in my first few minutes with her, Jessica had paused repeatedly to fi x her hair and clothing, and corrected any grammar mistakes she had made in conversation. She wanted to present her best self, and invested a lot into feeling and looking as good as possible. I could see how deeply her mother-in-law’s blunt comments must have hurt Jessica.

“She kept harping on and on about my looks and how old I look for my age,” Jessica continued, becoming visibly more upset as she recalled events. “It was one thing for me to be upset with my body, but to hear someone else say it? A nightmare—especially from my mother-in-law. I could hardly wait to drive her to the airport yesterday morning. We got there nearly three hours before her plane took off, and I just left her there and sped away as quickly as I could.”

She mentioned her friend’s name. “She started with me at the diet clinic but dropped out after only a couple of weeks,” Jessica said. “She told me that was when she started coming to see you. I had coffee with her this morning and told her about the things my mother had been saying and how much I hate what is happening with my body. That was when she compared her neck and hands to mine. She didn’t have to say anything else. I asked for your phone number.”

“That was the emergency?”

“You bet.” She gave me a small smile. “Can you help?”

I smiled back, trying to reassure her. I was just happy she had come to me because I knew exactly how to help her.

Jessica told me she was rigorously following an extremely low-fat diet with which I was familiar. Some of its adherents, including Jessica, regarded all fat in food as more or less toxic. As a result of this overzealousness, their bodies had lower than healthy levels of certain fatty acids that the body does not make itself. These fatty acids, called essential fatty acids, are necessary for the body’s manufacture of important molecules that are the building blocks of hormones and other substances. In trying to avoid all fats, Jessica had likely deprived herself of even the good ones.

But could I be certain that her very-low-fat diet was the cause of her skin and hair problems? No, I could not. She had recently had a thorough physical, and no medical disorder had been diagnosed. So, I ruled out that as a cause. What about perimenopause? She was thirty-eight, so it was possible.

The diet I put her on provided all the nutrients that her body required and regulated her blood sugar and other hormones. When she started to look better, she would worry less about her appearance, producing fewer stress hormones. My guess was that with her blood sugar and stress hormones in balance, she would not suffer symptoms from her ovarian hormones. But we would have to wait and see.

Jessica didn’t see the improvement she wanted. It took a while for me to find out why. She finally admitted that she wasn’t following my diet. She just couldn’t bring herself to eat food that she knew contained fat. Jessica, like so many women her age, had been brainwashed by the previous generation to view fat as the ultimate dietary demon.

After several attempts, I finally convinced her that Mediterranean women have been known to have the very best skin and hair I have ever seen. And all they used was extra-virgin olive oil in cooking
and on salads. Finally, the turning point was when her acquaintances began remarking on how much better she was looking, after she had grudgingly agreed to add olive oil to her salad dressing. I needed to say no more! Jessica was now well on her way to recovering her youthful skin and hair.

Take a Turn to Hormone Happiness

You can order your copy of Before the Change here. We’re also still offering FREE bonus gifts, as well as a free Peri Protocol Cookbook. It contains delicious peri-minded meals that are just perfect for your next ladies night in.

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Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, is an award-winning New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty books including The Fat Flush Plan series and her latest book, Radical Metabolism. She’s been rewriting the rules of nutrition for more than 40 years and is internationally recognized as a pioneer in the field of diet, detox and women’s health issues. 

For a FREE daily dose of tips and strategies for maintaining healthy weight, conquering insomnia, and much more…check out my Radical Health Tips.

I’d like to meet and greet you on my Facebook groups, so won’t you check us out at the Radical Metabolism RevolutionFat Flush Nation, or my Inner Circle!


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