Contrary to the belief (and fear) of many pre-menopausal women, hitting menopause does not mean life is over. On the contrary, most postmenopausal women have a third of their life ahead of them.
Mind you, that third can be lived in good or bad health, and unlike in your youth, it won't be so easy to get away with bad habits. There may have been a time when you could skip sleep, skip meals, or eat too much, and drink too much and still look and feel smashing.
The other side of menopause marks the un-ringing of that bell. Now (or pre-menopause wouldn't hurt) is the time to get smart and realistic about what is good for your body and mind in terms of lifestyle and diet.
I don't mean diet as in living on starvation rations or living on your bathroom scales. I mean diet as in eating food that feeds and nourishes and keeps your body and brain strong and healthy.
You are probably going to find that your body needs less calories once you're over 50, than it did back in the day. You may find that those calories, even in smaller more menopause-appropriate amounts, have a greater tendency to hang around your middle than they used to. But this does not have to be a deal-breaker for looking and feeling your best.
There are going to be new challenges inherent to getting older. But let these things galvanize you to living in a more conscious and determinedly healthy way. You can help yourself to your best health by instituting a number of changes.
After menopause, you may want to increase your vitamin D, calcium and magnesium intake to protect your bones. Once we're over 50 years of age, many of us are not digesting our food and absorbing nutrients like we once did so consider vitamin supplementation.
Drink plenty of water. Avoid empty calories from processed foods. Know your body. If you have food sensitivities or allergies, get serious about it and don't toy with them.
Gluten a problem? Get familiar with other grains than the gluten-containing wheat, barley and rye. Extra veggies at dinnertime are a great substitute for white rolls or bread.
Replace soda with water and a lemon slice. Dump your coffee for herbal tea.