Strap yourselves in for a refreshingly candid conversation with certified non-diet health and life coach, Kate Williams Stone, as we delve into the often overlooked subject of perimenopause. Kate, a compassionate ally for women undergoing this transformational path, dispels myths and misconceptions with a wellspring of wisdom and empathy.
Our conversation takes us through the fascinating changes our bodies undergo during perimenopause. We discuss the unexpected ways our bodies protect us and address the societal pressures and internalized fat phobia that often make body changes daunting. However, we also celebrate perimenopause as an era of self-acceptance and the dawn of a new reality.
But, we don’t stop at self-acceptance; we take the plunge into practicality, covering everything from identifying signs of undernourishment to cultivating healthy habits that support this transition. This episode is far more than a discussion – it’s an empowering manifesto for all women about to embark on, or currently navigating, this significant phase of life.
About our Guest
Kate Williams Stone (she/her) is a non diet health and life coach who helps women in perimenopause build confidence around food and feel good in your body so that they can feel amazing without the diet culture BS. She uses the principles of Intuitive Eating coupled with hormone honoring health habits as a powerful way to support women through the challenges of perimenopause. Her signature framework includes: Mindful Eating, cyclical living, normalizing body changes with feminist non diet mindset coaching. Originally trained at the Health Coach Institute, she completed additional Intuitive Eating training with Evelyn Tribole (co-creator of Intuitive Eating) and Stephanie Dodier (Going Beyond the Food Method). She is also a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University from the prestigious Drama program (B.F.A).
About the Host
Kim Hagle (she/her) is Certified Personal Trainer, Registered Holistic Nutritionist, Body Image Coach and founder of Radiant Vitality Wellness.
Through mindset and movement coaching she helps women heal their relationship with food and exercise while disconnecting their worth from their weight, so they can feel healthy, happy and confident in the body they have.
Want to feel good in your body without focusing on weight? Register for our 5 day mini training course. For just $27, you’ll receive one short video and worksheet each day for 5 days that will help get started with the non-diet approach and feeling better in and about your body.
Ready to take the next step? Book a free consultation call to discuss how coaching can help you reach your goals.
Let’s stay in touch! Kim is on Instagram and Facebook @radiantvitalitywellness. Disclaimer. The information contained in this podcast is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice. Always consult a health care professional about your unique needs.
Befriending Your Body and Understanding Perimenopause
Hey and welcome back to the Power and Motion podcast. So we’ve been talking on the last several episodes all about befriending your body, and today’s episode was to be all about the process that I actually used to help my clients move from hating their body or trying to change and fix themselves, to fully accepting their body as it is and being fully confident, healthy and happy in their life. But we’re going to actually do that next week. We’re going to interrupt our regular scheduled programming today to share with you an interview with my friend and perimenopause expert, kate William Stone, and I’m bringing you this today because Kate has a free workshop coming up next week, on October the 18th, called Is this Perimenopause or Am I Losing my Mind? Which I can tell you. If you are in this stage of life, like you’re a person with a uterus over 35 years old, you are going to get great value from this workshop and you absolutely should attend. It’s free online so you can watch from anywhere in the world and the recording will be sent out to everybody who registers. So the link for that is in the show notes, and Kate joined me on the show this week so that you can get a taste of what she’s all about and this is a really great conversation. We had a very open, honest conversation about what happens in Perimenopause, what to expect, how to support yourself through this change of life without all the diet culture BS, without fighting against yourself and trying to control or fix your body. So this really fits right in with our theme about befriending your body. So let me tell you a little bit about Kate.
Kate Williams Stone is a non-diet health and life coach who helps women in Perimenopause build confidence around food and feel good in their body so that they can feel amazing without the diet culture BS. She uses the principles of intuitive eating, coupled with hormone-honoring health habits, as a powerful way to support women through the challenges of Perimenopause. Her signature framework includes mindful eating, cyclical living, normalizing body changes with feminist, non-diet mindset coaching. Originally trained at the Health Coach Institute, she completed additional intuitive eating training with Evelyn Tribbley, the co-creator of intuitive eating, and Stephanie Dojie, the Going Beyond the Food Method. She’s also a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University from the prestigious drama program, so let’s dive right in.
I know you’re going to love this interview. And here’s Kate. Can you Kate? Welcome to the Power in Motion podcast. I’m so excited to have you here today. Thanks, kim. I am so looking forward to this conversation that we’re going to have about Perimenopause and all of the myths and misconceptions and the changes that happen in our bodies and I know that you shoot from the hip so we’re going to get a really straightforward, honest and open conversation. But before we get into all of the juicy good stuff that I know is to come, why don’t you just tell us a little bit about yourself and how you came to be doing this work that you’re doing now?
Yeah, hi everyone. My name is Kate William Stone. I am a certified health and life coach who helps women in Perimenopause feel great about their bodies without all the diet culture, bs and gosh. The short version of the story of how I got to do this work is I was previously a weight-neutral, non-diet health and life coach. Five years ago and three years ago I walked through my own personal health challenges which I would say exacerbated my Perry Menopause symptoms like really, really fast. Probably not the typical Perry Menopause experience. I had uterine fibroids and extreme iron deficiency and it took a lot of navigating the medical system, the wellness culture, to find a solution that worked for me and in that I realized oh my gosh women and their courtes are not being told so much about their bodies.
We are undereducated, we are under supported, under resourced. Like why is nobody talking about this? And I realized so clearly how I could support women in this stage of life Because basically, I help women in the way I wanted to be helps. You know, I’m the resource I wish I had.
Well, I’m so glad you’re doing that work because I agree with you 100%. Like I’m at the same stage of life myself. I’m 46. And I have not had any health challenges per se. I haven’t had any extreme symptoms of Perimenopause, but I was blindsided when they first hit. I had no idea that I was in Perimenopause. I started having difficulty with sleep, like I was having insomnia, and I was just like, okay, what’s going on with me? Like am I drinking too much coffee? I didn’t think I was stressed. I was like trying to check off all the list, I couldn’t come up with anything. And then one of my friends said to me well, maybe it’s Perimenopause. And I was like, oh yeah, I’m so glad to know that it’s not just me who feels like this is not talked about and it’s kept like a big dark secret. Why is that? Why are we not talking about this? Why is it? Why does it feel so secretive?
I think we’re the change makers, we’re the generation that is normalizing this conversation, but the previous generations didn’t talk about it. Right. It’s that patriarchal model that the more disempowered and undereducated women are about the functions of their bodies, the less power we have, right, and so you know, and some of its you know it deals with uteruses and vaginas and breasts, and not everybody wants to talk about that stuff, right? So I just think it’s part of, like a societal change that we’re undergoing and that’s why, like, I think it’s so important to bring the conversation around normalizing body changes, normalizing symptoms, realizing them when all of a sudden you’re up in the middle of the night, like this, is part of this natural hormonal transition, and some of these symptoms are really uncomfortable and inconvenient, and so to know the cause of them is also really helpful.
Sure, yeah, that’s what I found. As soon as that was said, I was like oh, it takes a lot of pressure off, like oh something totally this is just the stage of life that I’m in. This is something.
I grew right.
And that’s not to say that there’s nothing we can do to support those symptoms, which I would love to talk about in a little bit. But you know, it’s that normalization, that this is just all part of our life journey. So because it’s kept so quiet and it’s so hush, hush, let’s like bring it out into the light. What? What are the symptoms of perimenopause? What should we be on the lookout for? And like, how might we know that we’re starting perimenopause?
Yeah. So basically, if you are a person with a uterus, I’d say 35 years of age and um up. These are the things to be looking out for. Obviously, there’s overlap inside of these symptoms with other medical diagnoses, so that’s where seeing a healthcare provider can be really helpful. But there’s also some really common symptoms that we can just normalize and like air out right here. So, um, changes in your cycle would be the first thing. So either your cycle getting shorter in days or longer, it can go either way. But I think the thing that catches women by surprise is that frequently in early perimenopause, cycles can get shorter versus longer. So your 28 day cycle is all of a sudden 25, 23 days long. So look out for that. Um, at the same time, your flow can change, or menstrual flow, so maybe it’s getting heavier or lighter or just changing in other ways, getting more clotty. We’re going to get really gross here, Like clot.
There’s also like um, the term is flooding, like intense menstrual, like flooding where all of a sudden it’s like you’re, you’re gushing. You know, which is really inconvenient. There is, Uh, yeah, Um. Night sweats is another common one. So, along with the insomnia, women are frequently waking up just feeling like so hot or actually like drenched in sweat.
Can we talk about this, can I? I want we’ll come back to the symptoms, but can we talk about this? And how scary that can feel the first time. Yeah, is that just me too, like I had? I’ve only had a couple of nights when it’s, but the first time it happened I had to wake up my partner. I think something’s wrong?
Yeah, absolutely. I mean you literally can be drenched, like your bed sheets, your pajamas, everything you would sink. You had a fever, yeah, right, like you were a flu-ish, but it’s a night sweat. That’s just due to hormonal changes. Um, going on, yeah, and it can be really inconvenient for getting a good night’s sleep. Also, sure, yeah, um. Other symptoms increased migraine headaches. This is one I experienced and in hindsight, looking back around 39, I started getting migraines which I had never had in my life before, and it was right before my period and I didn’t put it all together at the time. But that’s one to look out for. Another one that’s tricky is increased anxiety or depression. So it’s not that perimenopause is causing the anxiety or depression, but you’re experiencing an increase in that emotion. But obviously, if you’re somebody who has had these mental health challenges previously in your life, it’s really hard to untangle. Is this by normal anxiety or is it this hormonal anxiety, like it’s all that are connected. But just to pay attention to these mood changes.
Yeah, and I’m sure some of that also ties into the changes that you’re experiencing physically and like not understanding them or like the diet culture stuff that creeps in which we’re going to talk about, but like not being at peace with the changes that are happening in your body. I’m sure can contribute to anxiety.
Yeah, I mean absolutely so. The next symptom I would talk about is weight gain is really common and or just changes in your body. So, like a different, your weight may be the same, but like your body looks different. Right, your butt is bigger, your hips are bigger, your stomach, your breasts, like it’s just like your body distribution has changed and that can cause huge amounts of anxiety and depression in women. We know why because of all the body image stuff that has been put upon us, but yes, it’s like a very tender subject in perimenopause. These body changes.
Yeah, yeah, okay. So let’s let’s talk about the body changes for a second, because at any time on the internet, at the stage of life, everything that you see is going to be all about targeting the metal belly and shrinking the belly fat and everything’s all about weight loss, cutting out carbs and getting out of sugar and all of these like crazy extreme things to try to shrink your belly.
Ken, I know that you have a different viewpoint on why that’s grounded in science, why our bodies put on extra fat or weight during this time in our life. Can you please share that with our listeners?
Embracing Perimenopause as a Transformational Journey
Yeah, yeah. So, as you’re going through this normal hormonal transition, your production of estrogen is wavering, right, it’s not on a clean decline as you get closer to menopause. It’s like up and down every month changing, but it is slowly declining. And estrogen is really protective to the body. It’s great for bone health and brain health, and so our bodies are doing this amazing thing of trying to protect us by retaining estrogen production as it’s declining. And one way our bodies do that is by retaining fat, specifically in the stomach area, because that also retains more estrogen. So I think, just knowing when I learned that, I was like, oh, this just normalizes some of these body changes for me, like I’m not doing anything wrong, my body’s not broken, my body’s literally just tried to do the best thing for me and unfortunately, it doesn’t meet our modern day aesthetic. It is actually like working for my greater good.
Yeah, I know there was another conversation I had with you previously, I think on an Instagram live, where we were talking about this topic and you said something else that really sunk I’ll never forget, which is about how our bone density also decreases as we age. Yeah, Added layer of fat around our hips and our belly protect us from broken bones if we happen to take a fall in our older years.
Yeah, I mean, the other thing we don’t talk about a lot is bone health. As we age, and so as you have a decrease in estrogen, it can compromise your bone health. So a lot of women have osteoporosis, which means dry, brittle, weaker bones, and so there is some research that ties this increase in weight gain to actually protecting our bones. It’s really cool, because a lot of the aging challenges women have I’m talking in their like 60s, 70s and 80s is falling and breaking a hip.
Yeah, that’s like the worst thing, like our bodies are miraculous when you think about it this way, like falls aren’t good, falls aren’t awesome, but like how our bodies just know what they need to do to protect us at each stage of life. When you look at it that way, I’m like, oh, this is really cool, yeah, great.
Okay, really cool.
Really cool, and still it’s hard to accept these changes when they happen. So let’s talk about why body image struggles are so common at this stage, why dieting feels like the answer. Let’s talk about this.
Yeah, so I mean I’m also 46. So if you’re in your 40s, you lived through 90s diet culture, right? Kate Moss, Heidi Klum these were the body ideals we were told Britney Spears was fat. Oh right, remember I had to get some sun yeah.
Yeah, and so this is like the body dysmorphia that we all lived through and we also grew up in the rays of low fat, no fat knack. Well, take the fat out of every possible thing you can. And we’ve internalized all of that. So now, as we come to perimenopause and our bodies are changing, it makes sense to be like, oh, I need to fix this with some extreme diet culture like take out all the carbs, take out all the sugar, go on this really rigorous exercise plan, all of those things out there.
You also have millions of dollars in advertising targeted against you, making you think that your belly is wrong and you need to be fixed. So it all makes sense and, honestly, in my own personal experience, some of the most profound healing and help I’ve gotten in this stage of life is doing my own body image work. Yeah, like more than any bleep aid, supplement, exercise or team, I really had to unpack my own internalized fat phobia from years, my own perception of my body. A big aha for me was realizing how much I thought I was in control of my body in my 20s and 30s, like I took so much credit for how I looked like I was in control.
And it made me feel really important and gave me a lot of self-esteem. I thought so then, when it started changing yeah it was a big crash.
Yeah, yeah, when you no longer can control, when the things that you used to do that were effective no longer work. Or you know, maybe like the things you tried in the past didn’t work and now you’re at the stage where, like, if it didn’t work then it’s really not going to work. Now, like you’re really confronted with the realities of, like I can’t control my body anymore, like I think that One of the gifts of perimenopause is you just face with the reality that it’s an invitation. It’s an invitation to accept yourself as you are, fully and wholly. Would you agree?
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I think it’s an invitation to step into a whole new reality, like emotionally, physically, spiritually, like a whole new perception on life. I had this acupuncture as to who I worked with One day. She said to me she said, kate, you know, perimenopause is a portal of transformation for those who are open to receive it. And I was like, laying on the acupuncture table, like what? And she’s like only a few are open to it, but you truly can experience like radical transformation. And I was like whoa, I mean, that was part of my journey of being like I want to have a different voice around perimenopause than what I’m seeing out there, which is you are wrong, you need to be fixed.
Yeah, yeah. I’m so glad you brought that point forward, because this is the Power in Motion podcast. We are all about feminism and supporting women to be authentically them and stepping into their power. So, yeah, flipping the script on perimenopause and thinking about how we can look at this time as an opportunity, an invitation to transform, to be more authentic, to be more of ourselves and really claim our power. I think that’s a really beautiful way to look at it. Do you recall in the Mastermind groups that we were a part of, where our coach mentioned how perimenopause can be like a rite of passage?
Can you share?
what you remember about that conversation.
Well, I remember her saying like it can be a time where you transform your identity. This is what I took from it, and I think this is what perimenopause is like stepping into this new identity of being like the wise old woman or this crone energy. So, if you think back to when we lived in family units that were more interconnected when you were no longer in reproductive ages, the value of having a grandma around like that old, wise woman is that her energy is no longer focused on like her own kids or reproducing right, and so she can be like this greater source of wisdom, guidance, mentorship, like it’s a whole different way of nurturing your family unit.
Yeah, yeah. And so there’s also like a theory out there, like biologically, that like when the body has shut down the ability to reproduce, it then gives greater energy to do other things, uh-huh. Makes a lot of sense.
All of those things in your life that you maybe put on hold while you were raising a family or like focusing on your career, like now that we’ve reached this age, most likely your career settled, you’re where you want to be in life. Your children are here. Yeah, it’s an invitation to come back to you, your passions, your desires, your dreams. How liberating is that.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. And I think for a lot of women, it’s like a time where I feel like it’s a real mess in the beginning, because you have like being shaken away. Do you know what I mean by that? Like a real, like you have to walk through the mess to get to that wise old woman energy, but in the like shake up in the storm, like hormonally and emotionally and spiritually, it’s like in that storm it’s finding like, okay, who am I? What do I care about? What do I want to do? What do I want to create? Yeah, so really getting like introspective about those questions.
Yeah, yeah, I think those are. Yeah, that’s just. It’s a really refreshing perspective and it gives me a lot more hope and optimism. I think about the years to come. And yeah like you say, it’s messy. Any transition is, I think, right. The butterfly has to go in the cocoon and basically die before it can emerge, the beautiful butterfly. I think in any transition there’s a messy middle part.
So, which brings me back to the more practical side of this conversation Like what can we do to support ourselves to feel and function our best during this messy middle? Like, obviously, dieting is not the answer, cutting carbs, sugar, not going to do it. But what can we do to help feel our best?
Yeah, it’s a good question. So I like to think of it as you’re in this storm, right, it’s a normal hormonal transition which makes you feel like your hormones are trying every day to be balanced or just stay the same, and it is hard work. Your hormones are working really hard and a lot of times they can’t keep up, and that’s what you’re experiencing in waking up in the middle of the night covered in sweat. And so I like to think about it as you can have health habits that create a foundation for your body when everything else feels like it’s in the storm, it’s in the mess, right. And so this invitation is like how can you build this strong foundation of health habits?
So, things like really like let’s talk nutrition first. Like focusing on nourishing your body at regular timed intervals, right, not being a slave to diet culture, but like giving yourself time to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner and snacks and making sure that plate has an abundance of fruits and vegetables and protein and carbohydrates on it, right. Like really nourishing versus like grabbing something on the go. So that would be like a perspective on nutrition. As far as exercise, like if you have already been moving your body, like, keep moving your body in ways that work for you, but also if you haven’t been moving, establishing some sort of habit of moving 10 minutes a day or you know, like starting somewhere to build that foundation of movement which is known to relieve a lot of stress it could be really helpful also mentally, for mental health benefits. We need that in this increased time of anxiety and depression. You need the mental health benefits of that walk.
Yes, outdoors, if possible, right.
Absorbing, yeah, yeah, because the sunshine is. They’re going to help with the sleep habit, right. So resetting those circadian rhythms, getting that time outside in nature, is going to help support healthy circadian rhythms, supporting sleep. All of that Mindfulness practice, right, like some sort of connection to something bigger than yourself, whatever that looks like for you and your life, whether it’s going to church or synagogue or, you know, spending five minutes in silence and meditation, a walk out in the woods with a friend, like it can look a lot of different ways, but knowing what that mindfulness practice is in your toolkit, and then also just like slowing down, right.
If we think about this aging energy, it is like, naturally, like slowing down, and so, instead of having judgment of like oh I’m slow or I can’t keep up, like how can you be more mindful in your pace or more present in your pace, versus judging the slowing down.
So there’s lots of ways that you can support your health and then support your hormone without the focus on weight loss. And I just want to say the other thing to point out is a lot of the symptoms of perimenopause, like the braid fog and cognitive function decline, a lot of them overlap With the symptoms of being undernourished.
Very good point. Yes, if you’re not eating enough, chances are you’re gonna feel a little, yeah, shaky and confused and angry.
Yeah, yeah. So, like, the other question is like is it perimenopause or am I under eating, am I under nourished? And those can show up in very similar ways in the body. So just bringing some awareness to that too and then you can see how if the hormones are in this transition period and you’re adding the extra stress of being undernourished and over exercising. Yeah you’re like adding to the storm versus building the foundation.
Yeah, I love the way that you said that. Yeah, and you know what I’m hearing as you’re saying all of these things is it’s Easy stuff, it’s all simple stuff, like it’s. It’s intuitive, it’s simple. We don’t need to like go and buy the big plan and like have all the rules. You know how to do this.
You know how to do that you totally know how to do this, and I think the reason it feels so like simple is it’s like none of the things I just mentioned cost a million dollars, so no one’s making a ton of money out of telling you to like go to bed and walk outside and Go on a walk and you enough take some time for lunch right. It’s like, really, it’s that simple, like, yeah, I can’t, it can be. That’s the foundation down to.
This is not a problem to be fixed. You are not a problem to be fixed, right. Yeah, yeah when you get rid of that, then, yeah, it can be pretty, pretty simple yeah the other piece I’ll mention.
I am not a practitioner who prescribes hormone replacement therapy, but it is a tool in the toolbox out there for women in perimenopause. Yeah, and any good hormone specialists that you go to or gynecologist who’s gonna talk to you about hormone replacement therapy Is also gonna talk to you about lifestyle changes, and these are the lifestyle changes they’re gonna want you to do in addition to that hormone replacement therapy. And so set the stage for that right, start those things now and then know there are other resources.
There are other tools you can access. Yeah, oh, this has been such a valuable Conversation and just such a refreshing perspective and and practical, like there’s so much here that people will be able to use. Is there any other last-minute thoughts you have or things you want to share and impart on our audience before we sign off?
Hmm, the most common mistake I see women in early perimenopause making when they’re experiencing some, they’re like something is different in my body, like I need greater support. Yeah, they’re going to their doctor looking for that support and they’re frequently dismissed and that’s really like it feels horrible for them.
Because, they’ve been dismissed by their doctor, and what I want to explain is this is why Perimenopause is not a disease state. There’s nothing wrong with your body, you are not sick. Oh, so your doctor does not have the tools to help you in perimenopause because you are not in a disease state. It’s just like when you were 12, going through puberty there was nothing wrong with you, your body was just changing.
Right was it, but this interaction happens all the time, and so then women are dismissed. They’re like they just said oh, it’s normal, it’s part of aging. There’s nothing they can do? It’s true, there’s nothing they can do, right, but there are things that you can do. But, like I said, this is not a prescription that I’ve just given you, like from a medical doctor. These are lifestyle changes, right, it’s a change in mindset of how you’re approaching your health, and so it’s like we’re going to I don’t know the hardware store looking to buy apples and oranges, like we go to the doctor looking for this support and we’re not getting what we’re looking for. And so I don’t want you to feel like you’ve done something wrong or your symptoms aren’t real because they’ve been dismissed. It’s just not the number one place to go for support in early perimenopause.
Oh, I’m so glad you brought that point forward. Yes, because yet there is nothing wrong with you. There’s nothing for a doctor to fix. But that doesn’t mean that you don’t need support, and support is available Right. There’s people like yourself, there’s body image coaches, there’s intuitive eating coaches so many people that you can reach out to for support during this time. So thank you for adding that. That last little nugget and, on that note, how can our listeners keep in touch with you if this is something that they want to learn more about?
Yeah, so you can go to my website and I have a free guide to perimenopause without the diet culture bs. It’s a lot of what we’ve talked about today with that list of symptoms You’re going to want to download. So you can go to Kate Williams Stone .com/guideFor that free guide. And then you can find me on social media, on instagram and kate w stone.
Connect with Kate Williams Stone
Okay, thank you so much. I will make sure to put the link to that guide in the show notes so that you can just click it and get right over there and download it. You’re going to want to get on Kate’s email list, to which you will when you get the guide. I’m on it and she shares a lot of really helpful tidbits, so make sure you do that hate. Thank you so so so much for coming on today and sharing your wisdom and Giving our listeners some really valuable tools to support them during this time in their life.
Wow, thank you, Kim, it’s been an honor.
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