Note: The following blog an is expanded version of a piece that will appear in Eden’s upcoming menopause booklet.

Menopause is a transformative phase in a woman’s life that is often not spoken of and can lead to many women feeling like they are struggling with symptoms alone. Some of these changes can lead to symptoms of anxiety, low mood, and low energy levels, at a time in life when demands may be high. 

As estrogen levels naturally decline (from the age of 40 onwards), leading to the eventual cessation of periods, the body naturally experiences many changes including a slowing down of metabolism, increased appetite, sugar cravings, and insulin resistance.  As a result, many women experience weight gain, particularly over the stomach area, which can have a significant impact on body image. It is normal to “not feel like yourself anymore” or look in the mirror and “not recognize the woman staring back at you”. 

My mikveh teacher always told us that she is very discreet when women go into the water for their tevillah. She used to joke and say, “I promise I’m not checking you out to see if you’ve been eating more pizza than normal!” Regardless of how respectful the mikveh ladies are, feeling so physically vulnerable at a time when your body has changed can lead to increased anxiety and stress over a mitzvah that is meant to be about renewal and connection. 

So how can you embrace this time of life, where you are starting to become more mature and empowered, without body image and physical changes “weighing” you down? 

Learning about the changes that are happening and understanding how to support and nourish your body is extremely helpful. My clients who work through the process in this way feel less frustrated and more connected to their bodies, and themselves, and in charge of their own transition. 

Here are some main tips to keep in mind:

  • Focus on keeping your blood sugar levels balanced by eating regular nourishing meals
  • Avoid restrictive diets which deplete you of nutrients and whole food groups. These can actually cause weight gain
  • Include regular exercise with a focus on resistance exercises with light weights. Strength training not only supports weight management but also contributes to overall strength, bone health, and improved metabolism.
  • High-intensity exercise can stress the body and may also result in weight gain so be sure to avoid only including these kinds of workouts.
  • The old tricks of eating less and exercising more (that may have worked in your 20s and 30s) do the opposite for women over the age of 40. Now is the time to include wholesome meals with vegetables, healthy fats like olive oil, avocado, olives, tahina, nuts and seeds, lean protein, and wholegrain carbohydrates.  The Mediterranean approach to nutrition is the most supportive and keeps the body in a state of lower inflammation and more stable blood sugar levels. 
  • Find ways that work effectively for you to manage stress and include daily practices that stimulate The Vagus Nerve. When cortisol levels are high (due to stress) it can intensify symptoms like joint pain, brain fog, anxiety, sleep disturbances, and weight gain
  • Practice mindful eating by tuning into your body’s hunger and fullness cues. Slow down during meals, savor each bite, and pay attention to the signals of satisfaction. This approach can help prevent overeating and promote a healthier relationship with food. 
  • Drink an adequate amount of water throughout the day to stay hydrated. Hydration supports various bodily functions, including metabolism, digestion, and overall well-being.
  • Establish a regular sleep routine and aim for quality sleep. Sufficient rest is vital for hormonal balance, weight management, and overall health.
  • Reach out to a healthcare professional, a registered dietitian, or a menopause specialist for personalized guidance and support. They can help you navigate the changes and develop strategies tailored to your specific needs and goals.
  • Don’t wait until you are experiencing symptoms to start the conversation and begin the process of supporting your body. It’s never too early to learn and start to include habits that will make the years from 40 until you enter post-menopause less stressful. 

Every woman’s transition from perimenopause to menopause and beyond is a very personal and unique journey. If the food you eat and how you feel in your body have been areas of challenge for you, then there is no better time to embrace healing this relationship. 

This time of life demands attention and if you are able to approach it with a sense of kavod and gratitude for how miraculous your body truly is and how it faithfully keeps going each day, then you will be open to a more loving and nurturing connection to your body and yourself. 

I encourage you to embrace the wisdom and beauty that come with age and let your journey through menopause be a testament to your strength and resilience as a woman, so that it may lead you to a deeper sense of self-love, acceptance, and well-being.


Justine Friedman is a Registered Clinical Dietician and a Mindset Mentor. Justine has run a private practice for over 20 years and specialises in women’s nutrition in midlife. She empowers her clients to nourish their unique and changing bodies while healing their relationship with food. Her mission is to change the face of how women relate to food to break patterns of restriction and dieting and support a life of wellness. Visit her website: