Welcome to the Dear Menopause show!
April 13, 2023

Unlocking Midlife Health Secrets with Roma van der Walt

Unlocking Midlife Health Secrets with Roma van der Walt
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Are you tired of the same old ineffective and unrelatable advice for improving your health and well-being in midlife? 

Roma van der Walt, an entrepreneurial women's health expert and exercise professional, seeks to establish a common-sense approach to healthy living for midlife women by challenging the extremes of highly qualified but unrelatable doctors and influential celebrities to find the balance between metabolic health and health span advice.

The goal should really be to live those extra 20 years vibrant. - Roma van der Walt

In this episode, you will be able to:

  • Discover the significance of metabolic health and exercise specifically for midlife women.
  • Uncover the secrets to balancing supplements and establishing a solid foundation for your wellness journey.
  • Learn the crucial role of biometrics and wearable technology in tracking your health goals.
  • Master the art of incorporating cardio exercise for maintaining optimal heart health.
  • Embrace midlife changes and thrive by implementing effective well-being strategies.

The key moments in this episode are:

00:00:10 - Introduction,
00:03:06 - Extreme Fasting,
00:09:48 - Confusing Information,
00:12:26 - Recommended Supplements,
00:15:37 - Iodine and Thyroid Health,
00:17:01 - Importance of Nutrient Balance
00:18:11 - Foot Strike Deficiency and Iron,
00:23:51 - Importance of Cardio for Heart Health,
00:27:29 - Importance of Biometrics and HRV,
00:30:35 - Using Wearable Devices to Manage HRV,
00:32:32 - REM and Slow Wave Sleep,
00:34:08 - Importance of Regular Sleep and Circadian Rhythm,
00:36:54 - Perfectionism and Metabolic Health,
00:40:47 - Embracing Midlife and Perimental Health,
00:45:31 - Empowering Women Through Information,

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[00:10] Sonya: Hey there. Welcome to a new episode of Dear Menopause. Today is very conversational. It is Roma van der Walt and I sitting down to just chat through a whole host of topics relevant to women in their midlife years. But the biggest takeaway that I hope you get from this episode is how you as a woman can leverage these midlife years to improve your health and extend your health span. We are going to talk through a whole range of things from fasting supplements, cardio, the importance of it, your biometrics and how you can understand what they are and tap into that information perfectionism and navigating the chasm that exists between really highly qualified but perhaps not relatable men that speak on the topic of health and the extreme of the celebrities and influencers that are also out there, creating a lot of confusion and sometimes misinformation in the space. So this is a brilliant laid back, casual chat. I hope you enjoy it.

[01:14] Roma: Yeah. Thanks, Sonya. I'm really happy to be here again. We had a really lovely conversation a few months ago and my background is in exercise physiology, which is part of what we'll touch on today. I'm an entrepreneur and women's health expert and in my work, I really try to help women optimise their daily lives, especially in midlife, and then help them hopefully achieve better health span and then better quality of life as we all live longer now. Yeah. And today we want to talk about, I think, something we observed in a recent talk we did on Instagram. So in that chat, if people want to check back on it, we talked about resting heart rate as a very important biometric. And I think when we logged off, we were like, there's actually so much conversation on social media right now.

[02:09] Sonya: Yeah, we spiraled off into a whole kind of other field around biometrics and women's health and really kind of touched on where women in particular get their information from, particularly when it comes to social media platforms and media. And that was what kind of triggered us to like, oh my gosh, we actually should be recording this conversation because there was so much gold kind of going back and forth between us. So I think that was what prompted us to sit down today in a little bit more of a formal setting record. Our chat and really talk about oh, my gosh, everything from social media influences to really qualified, highly regarded members of the health and wellness industry is on.

[02:56] Roma: The one hand, we have these authority figures that are neuroscientists. They're exercise physiologists, they're doctors. Functional medicine doctors. So that's one side. Then we look at the other side of the chasm and we have extreme interviews like we just heard by Gwyneth Paltrow or Miranda Kerr. So let's just put them under supermodels actors and people who are also a little more difficult to relate to. But a lot of what we're hearing there is a lot of fasting, which may or may not work for women, and I personally don't mind it, but my fasting, not only do I intermittent fast, but also my fasting periods are intermittent. So if I fast for five days, I give myself the weekend off. I never want to suggest to my body that we're going into starvation mode, depletion, decline. So I always suggest to my body, okay, look, we're still doing everything fun and normal, but Monday to Friday, we were a bit more on point.

[04:00] Sonya: So while we're talking about fasting, the science, from what I can understand, and I'm very uneducated, really, in this field, the science is a little bit kind of gray, isn't it, as to whether fasting is beneficial for women or not? I believe, if I'm right, that a lot of the science that has been done on it is around fasting in men. And then we see these incredible results, obviously, in performance and weight loss and weight management and all those sorts of things. But when it comes to women, there's not as much science to prove that it actually is beneficial.

[04:36] Roma: Yeah. There's one study that was done on women, and unfortunately, in that study, when you eliminated the other bodies, male bodies, there was just a lot of concern that the depletion of fasting was detrimental to our hormone balance. So our levels of cortisol have an interplay with progesterone. There was a concern about exercising fasted and women having low bone mineral density and potentially hurting themselves. And then what I've observed hands on when I've worked with women is that women will sometimes take it too far. And so rather than the fasting being the issue was almost breaking the fast. So going, I can do another hour. Oh, I can do another 2 hours, and then I'm not actually going to replenish with food. Food during that window. And this is where we tap back into the interview that was recently given work yeah.

[05:34] Sonya: With Gwyneth Poultry, where she talked about her fasting in the morning. She talked about soup for lunch, which was actually bone broth. Exactly. And coffee. Yeah. So exactly what you've described then is the fasting window was probably way too long, and when she did break it, she wasn't replenishing her body with food that was actually going to fuel her.

[05:57] Roma: Yeah, well, and then she also exercised fast. She exercises fasted.

[06:01] Sonya: That's true.

[06:02] Roma: An hour before she has a rather small meal. If that's true. And then the other interview I just heard was Miranda Kurd, who talked about having 16oz or a liter of water before anything else in the morning, then additionally having 16oz a liter of celery juice, which is a very thin it's not really food. So that's two liters of liquid in your stomach before you add anything else. And then I think there's exercise and coffee, and then at some point, there's a smoothie. But again, at what point do we actually ingest food. Why do we exercise fasted? Which is this is just going back to my marathon days. When you run fasted as a marathon, there's a reason you're trying to train your body to run depleted. You're trying to train your body to actively use the fat cells as energy source because you've taken all the Glycogen out. It's a horrible feeling when you know that that's what you're doing and you go into those runs and you run 10, you run them faster. A, you have to run really slowly. So intensity plays a role. But number two is that you know you're going to feel like absolute garbage. And so why we would do this.

[07:29] Sonya: To ourselves every day by choice, not with an athletic goal in mind. I believe that there are some benefits to fasting when you are talking about perhaps people that are healing from certain cancers and things like that. Those are such extreme scenarios when we're talking about it in everyday life, the question I always come back to is why? Why would you be doing that?

[08:01] Roma: Yeah, I think if we have these two extreme examples, you and I really said we need to get together and we need to start having these conversations among women and women in midlife of what is the common sense? Approach of using some of the science that is out there and also the tools that are out there and bringing them to women who don't want to do the extreme and that also want to see themselves represented in normal women like you and me. We are exercise professionals and we know a bit more because we've either studied it and you've had so many conversations with experts in the field. On top of that, we have the lived experience and we've also spoken to a lot of women who are affected. So I think I'm really happy to be here again and chat to you and just break down some of these topics, have a laugh, not take ourselves so seriously.

[09:04] Sonya: Short yeah. And I feel that there must be so much confusion for women when they are being bombarded by either the gentleman that we referred to earlier that they have globally listened to podcasts, for example, where they are having very high level, scientifically based, researched conversations. But often it's man on man. Very rarely do you hear one of those men having a conversation with a woman about women. I know that there have been some women on recently, but they do still seem to keep those topics very men centric. And then you've got, like you said, that chasm where you're then the opposite to that is we're hearing from the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow and Miranda Kerr. So how do you recommend that a woman that is feeling a little bit confused by all of this conflicting information that's coming out, find the middle ground and be able to go listen to okay, so let's say Andrew Huberman said this, but Gwyneth said this. How do they find their middle ground? How do they find a way to be able to acknowledge the noise that's going on around them but take out of it what might be relevant to them without putting too much weight on either side?

[10:29] Roma: Yeah. So I think almost we need to be able to zoom in and zoom out on our own lives. I really feel that perfection is just not attainable. And honestly, if we haven't learned that in midlife, then it's going to hit us over the head on a Monday or a Wednesday. I put my dirty dishes in the fridge on Saturday. In the fridge instead of the dishwasher.

[11:01] Sonya: They didn't get cleaned though, did they?

[11:03] Roma: Oh no, I found them 2 hours later. But the nice thing is that I tell other women this and one of them said, yeah, she punched her pin number in the microwave. And another person said that they put the electric kettle on the gas stove and turned it on and wrecked the kettle for eternity. There's establishing an optimizing baseline for yourself with the help of a professional if you feel unsure about it. There are generally recommended supplements now that we know women should probably be on to enhance their body and their mind. So taking a probiotic, it's not something we get enough of in our diet. A lot of us don't eat dairy anymore or don't have access to really good dairy. So getting some of that good gut gut flora going is very beneficial for perimenopause and menopause. A lot of women, unfortunately, still benefit from vitamin D, either because we don't get enough of it or because again, it's not like dairy is enriched with vitamin D in the US. For example. But we don't gulp dairy anymore. No magnesium for sleep and for just bone function and joints. I really love collagen but some people laugh. But I think that's where I subscribe to the bone broth as well. If you don't want to take the collagen powder, sip on bone broth. They even make fish broth now for people who don't want to consume meat meat, it's just a bit harder when people are vegan. And so there's a baseline of supplements that you could go through without getting too crazy and you don't even need a blood test for that. Most of them are just, I would say, blanket statement. Good for you. Barring extreme diseases.

[12:58] Sonya: And what's the best sorry, before we move on from supplements, what's the kind of recommended guidelines around how to source your supplements? And is buying a supplement at the supermarket or at the pharmacy, you know, off the off the, off the shelf as as such going to give you as good a results as perhaps seeing a professional, whether that be a naturopath or having a conversation with your pharmacist and getting something that's a little bit higher grade. What are the pros and cons of those.

[13:34] Roma: Looking up the recommended dosage per day is really easy now because we all have access to the internet. And I would say having lived in the US and having lived in Australia, we're very spoiled that. For example, here you have brands that you can get in the supermarket that are incredible, quite high quality, like Black Moors. And so their high potency magnesium works like a dream for me. With magnesium, for example, I usually tell women to take them in the more solid form than the powder because the powder can be a bit of a laxative. That's just a side note. In the US, there's more and more companies coming out now that are over the counter, but they're almost pharmaceutical grade.

[14:18] Sonya: Yeah. Okay.

[14:19] Roma: So if you look at companies like Thorn, which is the most sort of prominent, I find that has made headlines now, those are really good companies and they make sure they use clean ingredients. I think some of them, if you look at anything that is okay for athletes to not trigger anything in terms of doping, you're great. As an individual that is not at that level. The only thing I would caution against are multivitamins. And that's not because the companies are not great. It's more the fact that the individual components of each vitamin are probably too low and to make a dent. And then you might as well try and get those three nutrients in your.

[15:05] Sonya: Food and your food. Yeah.

[15:07] Roma: Which ones are you on? Also comparing that your past five years.

[15:11] Sonya: Have been yeah, so I take vitamin D, I take Iodine because my Iodine levels were ridiculously low. And this is actually a really interesting story. So I had all my thyroid testing done by my GP and came back as everything's fine. I fell within all of the range that the GPS check your bloods by. I still wasn't happy with that as an outcome. I expected to see something different. My GP was happy to move on from it based on what the results were. So I then followed up with my naturopath, showed her the exact same bloods, and she was like, yeah, no, something here is not right, can you go? And we did. And admittedly it cost me a little bit more money because I did it privately. But I had my Iodine checked and a few other little things. My Iodine came back almost unrecognizable. It was so low. And for anybody that's listening, iodine is a key contributor to thyroid health. So you can't have one without the other. So I went onto an Iodine, really quite high strength Iodine supplement and that has made a world of difference to me. Huge. So, really interesting gap there between what the GP felt was okay and warranted further investigation versus my naturopath. And I also take I take Collagen, I take Probiotics Prebiotics, I take a really high quality greens and a fiber and yeah, I'm on a bit of a gut health kind of healing journey at the moment as well, because it's something that I didn't invest in. After my cancer diagnosis and treatment, I healed all sorts of other parts of me emotionally, physically, but I really kind of neglected my gut health. And so that's actually what my focus is at the moment.

[17:04] Roma: Yeah, it's so important, and it's great. I'm actually happy you mentioned iodine because I had a transient thyroid dysfunction, and iodine was a big one for me. Iron, which is another female powerhouse during pregnancy, dropped to nine, which in a range of 20 to 100 should be something that would alert my midwife. But she said it was normal.

[17:31] Sonya: Whoa. Okay.

[17:31] Roma: Yeah, she said it was fine. And I was, woozy. I have more blood because I'm pregnant. At that point, I was running through pregnancy and I had to advocate, well, ultimately, I just took an iron supplement. But it's shocking how often the normal range is interpreted as normal. And that's fine because people are not looking closer at your lifestyle. Which brings us back to out of.

[18:00] Sonya: Interest, while we're talking about iron, and we're talking about and you're a perfect person to talk on this because you are a runner, foot strike deficiency in iron as a result of foot strike. For anyone that's listening, that is a runner. Can you talk us through that a little bit? Yeah.

[18:15] Roma: So there's been research that showed that not only does extreme heat and humidity contribute to the loss of iron, but if you're a runner and you hit because we don't run enough on soft ground anymore, grass and gravel, we run on concrete and asphalt. Every time your foot strikes, which is off a lot and runs, there's these micro tears in your blood cells through which blood leeches, and it's not dangerous and it's not horrible, but you lose iron through that. And so long distance runners will often well, they deal with iron, low iron, due to a lot of reasons, but that's a big one that contributes.

[18:57] Sonya: Yeah, I think that's a really it's a really key thing to remember for women that perhaps are in midlife that have been runners, long distance runners specifically, and are struggling with that low energy, that cognitive fogginess, get your iron levels checked, because you may be surprised to find that they're not what you think they are.

[19:20] Roma: Yeah, I love that you brought that up because I had a few questions, I guess, for us to chat about, and one of them was, okay, maybe sorry, I'll take a step back and I'll say what metabolic health actually is. So metabolic health is the absence of metabolic diseases. And those diseases are things that can alter our lifespan, become chronic conditions, and they are things like type two diabetes, cardiovascular health, differences in our blood glucose or decline in our blood glucose or insulin resistance, cholesterol, anything cholesterol related. And liver enzymes. So these are all tests, by the way. We could do a whole other show on the testing that should actually be done, and not just vitamin C. And all these fall under that. So lipid levels, fasting glucose, liver enzymes. Well, our cardiovascular health, so iron also falls within that. And so when we in midlife, a lot of these things become more likely to happen because of our hormonal decline. And so really, metabolic health is to come for me, is to come out of midlife and out of menopause still healthy without a chronic condition that will impede my health span. And health span is the quality of life you have during that longer period of life that we now live through. So we used to go through menopause as women and then die at 60. So you had ten years, five years, and then you were done. Now we live until 80. The goal should really be to live those extra 20 years vibrant. Because I think if you gave someone the option, do you want to live until 80 and then just go quietly, but until then have had a full life? Or do you want to be sick for 20 years or maybe sick for ten years and then go, I think we would all choose the former, the first option. Absolutely. So there's a lot of talk about longevity, but I think health span, and it's a term coined by Dr. David Sinclair, who's an exercise physiology, just health span is really where it's at. It's like living happy and healthy for longer. But then when you mentioned cardio, because we all love cardio.

[21:49] Sonya: From a runner to a lifter.

[21:52] Roma: Okay, so even better question for you, when did cardio get such a bad rep?

[21:58] Sonya: You know what? I have a lot of hate with cardio. I do cardio. I enjoy my cardio when I do it. If somebody said to me, okay, today you can choose, are you going to go into and do some cardio or are you going to go lift? I will choose lifting every time. But that's how I'm built. Like, I am built to lift. And I truly believe that our bodies are built one way or the other. I'm athletically built, and I have power and strength naturally. So therefore, that's my go to. I have been cardio queen at different times in my life. I think at one period, I did four to five spin classes a week for about three years. That was before I was introduced to lifting by a personal trainer. And then I bought in some balance. And then when I probably flipped into was when I really got heavily involved in lifting and I was working. CrossFit became a thing, and I was working. I started playing with Olympic lifting, and that's when I really realized that I was actually really good at that. Where cardio was always, unless I was on a bike was hard. I ran I loved running at one point, but I suffered injuries, and the thought of going and doing cardio was much harder for me than going and doing something different. So I believe we need to do cardio. I do steady state cardio and I do high intensity cardio once each a week. I think you're probably better off answering because cardio does have a bad rap.

[23:38] Roma: Oh, my God.

[23:39] Sonya: Yeah. And it's a real problem because heart health becomes so important and cardio is key for our heart health.

[23:47] Roma: Yeah, that's exactly where I was going with this. But also, we have to preface that with you live in a very walkable city in Sydney, and people walk a lot, which I love. And then I lived in New York, where you had to walk because very few people had a car. And so we take that for granted. I think now that I live in a place where there's more driving, I find that really, you notice it. I notice it in my lung strength. I notice it in just going back to more running and realizing this is now exercise, whereas before I would be running to catch the subway. But again, on social media, a lot is now about lifting and resistance training, which is so great for women who fear it, and that whole fear of building too much muscle. But now we've taken it too far. Now it sounds like women in midlife shouldn't do cardio. And I'm like, no, women in midlife should do 150 minutes of aerobic work a week. And yeah, whether that's walking or biking or running or rowing. I've started rowing recently.

[24:58] Sonya: Rowing?

[24:58] Roma: Yeah, I know. Me, too. I actually discovered that it really kicks my behind. It does, in a very humbling way.

[25:06] Sonya: While we're talking about rowing, just slight deviation of conversation. I read an interview once with Hugh Jackman when he was at his peak of Wolverine fitness, and maybe it was Tim Ferriss, he might have been Tim Ferriss that interviewed him, that was on Tim's podcast. And the question was, if you were on a deserted island and you could take one piece of equipment with you, what would it be? And Hugh's answer was and it was actually really he goes, I'd take a rower because I can literally do everything on the rower in terms of hitting every muscle, and then I just need to do some push ups for my chest and I'd be thorough. And I was like, yeah, Barrett, he's right.

[25:46] Roma: And you know what's funny is a friend of mine did a rowing challenge that he was in with Hugh Jackman. So when you're saying this and she actually met him in one of the COVID Refuge, the refuge island countries that people were seeking during COVID So it's hilarious.

[26:07] Sonya: Did you require a private jet to get to this island?

[26:10] Roma: No, she wouldn't have one, but he may very well have used one. But she told me how hard it was, but for some reason the rowing stuck. And actually, I think they do it once a year, twice a year, and it's become a thing. And then I got intrigued and now I have blistery hands because I actually enjoy it and to challenge my whole body. But yeah, so I think cardio can look powerful like rowing for people who feel like, god, long distance running is so annoying. And on the rower, all it takes to really destroy you is about 15 minutes, 20 minutes, and usually you have to break that up. That's such a good full body training. So I think if we leave women with one thing after this conversation is like, please don't shy away from cardio. As another medical advisor for me said, one thing is for sure, more women will die because of a cardiovascular disease than anything else. So she was like lifestyle first when it comes to these things. Like, make sure you get your exercise in and also get that heart rate up. And this segues me into the next topic, is pay attention to your biometrics. And so last time we talked about resting heart rate, then you brought in the heart rate variability. And I looked into that a bit closer because I was like, what is the difference? And then I realized, okay, it's the actual duration between heartbeats. But now my question to you, fellow aura ring wearer, is we should stop. What do we do with that?

[27:48] Sonya: Yeah, that's a really good question.

[27:49] Roma: And how do we actually affect it?

[27:52] Sonya: Yes, it's interesting because since we chatted about resting heart rate, I've now started tracking my wrist. And when I say I track, obviously, because we are wearing oral rings, all this data is collated in an app and it's literally a matter of looking at trends. My HRV I noticed, so I just came off like everyone off the back of a four day weekend, but I actually treated mine like a delode week I would have in my training program from a work perspective. So I still did my I'm in the start of a new training block. So I wasn't stepping away from my training, but I stepped away from work in the same way that I would my training in a deload week. And I really loved I actually was Tim Ferriss that put me onto that recently. He said we need a deload week in work the same way that we need a deload week in our training. And I was like, oh, my God, I love that. So I did that over the four days and I noticed I was so much calmer, my physical body relaxed and my tent, like, I wasn't carrying anywhere near as much tension in my body. I slept so well. And my HRV dipped to one of the lowest that it has been for ages. One night. I mean, it was just a night, but it was really interesting to look at that. And my resting heart rate as well did the same thing. So for me, I noticed a correlation between less stress, less anxiety, less busy. I did things on the weekend that I haven't done for a long time. I went on big, long ten K walks, and I ate really well, and I don't drink, so drinking wasn't a problem for me. I spent time with people that I really enjoy spending time with. I got outside in nature a lot more than I have been when I'm here in the gym and I'm working. Yeah. So those sorts of things have a definite impact on my HIV.

[30:01] Roma: Yeah, no, that's great, because I think that brings me back to the app, which shows a lot of trends, but what it doesn't show is, what should you do? Like, very often I get this the score from the Aura app, and then it tells me optimal or good or very good or excellent or whatever, I don't know what to do with that number because it's irrelevant to my life. But then what really annoys me is it then says, you did well today. You should do something nice for yourself. And there are two words that, as Taipei woman, I'm like, tell me. Okay, if I did well, can you give me examples of what that may have entailed in vitel? We're actually trying to do that now. Like, instead of saying to someone, you did well, we're actually like, okay, great. You did well, now we're kicking it up a notch. Or you did well. For you, we suspect this was in the area of mindfulness and community, so you really slowed that down. You enjoyed that company, you took in that loving, and that, in turn, was good for your body. Again, if we want women to take something away, looking at your resting heart rate is a little easier than actually managing your HIV, unless you have a device. And I'm not even sure that the GPS watches pick that up. I don't think so.

[31:28] Sonya: No. I think the first time that I came across HIV and realized and also had a conversation with a friend who's a psychologist, and she was doing a lot of there's a lot of research being done in the psychology world around HIV was when I got my Whoop. So it's been Whoop and Aura that have given me the HIV readings. Up until then, I was oblivious to what it was.

[31:49] Roma: Yeah. So I think for women, if they have access to these wearables, pay attention, sort of cross check back what could have caused the increase or the decrease, and then try and get back to that baseline. The other biometric that I love going back to is sleep. And again, if we look at just Apple Health, it's just the length of sleep. Apple Health is announcing that they're going to become much more varied in how they look at the data. And so they will be touching on REM. And then I spoke to a sleep scientist and she said slow wave sleep. And again, I was like, deep into my research and I was like, well, we've been talking about REM for decades. It's all everybody talks about. And so the difference is that REM is the time 70 to 90 minutes after you fall asleep, which is also why you should nap for too long because you actually go deep.

[32:46] Sonya: Don't want to fall into that. Yeah.

[32:47] Roma: And it's hard to get out of and it's good for emotional well being. But slow wave sleep has a physiological effect. So that's the steep recovery sleep that is non REM, but provides a homeostatic response of our blood pressure and ultimately our cardiovascular health. Mind blown.

[33:10] Sonya: That's huge. Now, correct me if I'm wrong here. Slow wave sleep, you only really tend to if you have a really good night's sleep, get a couple of hours of that each night. That's right, isn't it?

[33:23] Roma: That'd be great if you got a couple of hours. I think a lot of us don't. Yeah.

[33:27] Sonya: Okay.

[33:28] Roma: But there's ways to affect it. And so the first thing that I came across, which I love, is pink noise, which is supposed to have a positive effect. And I'm going to research a whole bunch more of things to do and what plays into that is also your circadian rhythm and going to bed at a similar time within 15 to 30 minutes of the same time.

[33:48] Sonya: While we're talking about auras, have you got the chronology set up now on your aura where it has identified what your circadian kind of rhythm is and when your ideal sleep, time to go to sleep and time to wake up falls? I think it's a beta. I clicked a button to go onto beta for it and it's amazing. And then every morning you get feedback as to they measure the midpoint. So whether the midpoint of your actual sleep matched the mid or how far off it was with the midpoint of your ideal sleep based on your circadian rhythm.

[34:34] Roma: Yeah. Interesting.

[34:38] Sonya: Sorry, I've sent you down a rabbit hole with your app now.

[34:40] Roma: Yeah, I think they call it deep sleep.

[34:44] Sonya: That's what they call the sheep short wave sleep. Yeah, they call it deep sleep.

[34:48] Roma: Yeah. I will go down that rabbit hole. According to this, last night, we both slept so well over this weekend. But last night I had 2 hours of that and I'll take it.

[35:00] Sonya: Yes, please take that.

[35:01] Roma: Yeah, because I could feel it. But again, I think the easiest thing for women to do is one is the sleep regularity. It's so underrated. People just think as long as they sleep a lot, but often you have an inkling of when your circadian rhythm suggests that you should go to bed. For me, that's 930. For other people, that's laughable. I have zero FOMO at night. So I'm happy to go to bed at 930, but I can also easily rise at five or six. And I think people just need to know that about themselves. And then the other thing is, there's so much more available now to play with. That doesn't just mean you have to become a monk and sit and meditate in silence, because that's another thing that just adds pressure. Whenever I've tried to have a regular 20 minutes practice of silent meditation, I don't seem to be the person to do it, but I can listen to noise.

[36:01] Sonya: Yes.

[36:02] Roma: Going back noise or brown noise. I can chant or repeat a mantra and sort of mumble it under my breath and it feels very good. Like, if I tell myself I have to do 108 mala beats, it gives me something to fidget with. My husband is horrified now because he actually does an hour plus of silent meditation a day.

[36:25] Sonya: Oh, wow.

[36:26] Roma: Yeah. But he still notices the effect. So if I've done that and it means phone off, away and no distraction, it's great. So I think we can all find a little ways to breath work or breath work another right one.

[36:44] Sonya: Yeah.

[36:45] Roma: So I think the only last thing I have is women are so quick to think that this has to be perfection.

[36:54] Sonya: Yeah.

[36:54] Roma: Right. We can only attain metabolic health. We do this perfectly every day, all the time. Do you want to say something to that? As someone who got thrown a curveball.

[37:04] Sonya: With your cancer, perfectionism is way overrated. Yeah. My coach, Olivia Park, my training coach and life coach, she has a great saying, which is progression over perfection. And once I really understood what that meant as well as then leaned into it, it's made a huge difference in all aspects of my life. Perfectionism just holds many I'm not going to say all, but holds many women back from progressing towards a goal. So we have this ability to if something's not right, then we just don't put it out there. And it might, you know and I think this is if we talked about, you know, weight loss and, you know, the diet industry and, you know, the the restrictions and the the rigorous prescribed way that women are told that they need to lose weight, you know, you are it's always going to set you up for failure. Always. And it does so much more damage than it does good.

[38:21] Roma: Yeah. I love that you mentioned weight loss because there are always people that you could perceive as having an easier time with, for example, the body. But then I would say I fall within a very lucky category of how exercise works on my body, which is that it works very well. But my mental health suffered so long for various reasons. Part of it was a difficult upbringing, but then I spent my 20s running from my mental health, figuratively and literally. First, I ran as an athlete. And then I ran into a social life. And I think it was with the decision to have children that I've told a lot of the women I work with, like, pregnancy was the healthiest, and this includes my mental health. I have been and from actually from pregnancy through now in my entire life, there was a level of I don't know what's going to happen tomorrow. I could be feeling nauseous, I could feel full of energy. I could feel like I didn't want to exercise. And I had to just take that in stride. Emotionally, obviously, was up and down a lot of things. Yeah. My body didn't respond or exercise in.

[39:42] Roma: The way that I hoped it would. And I think so judging you can't judge people by their cover. And I know women who have a harder time on the body front, but they god, if I could tap into their joy of life for a day or two days and not have something happen and think I've backslid. And I think in midlife again, because the suggestion is that we are we are deficient now of hormones.

[40:24] Sonya: Yeah. That I think the language that is being used around deficiency disease, it's frustrating and it's very frustrating. So much harm.

[40:37] Roma: Yeah. And so, again, taking this from someone I really respect, she said the decline is inevitable. So the best thing I think, and this is me adding to what she said is to work with it and embrace it. And I think some days look like my friend oh, this is a friend of mine today, she said I need help with my perimental health.

[41:02] Sonya: Oh my God.

[41:03] Roma: My God.

[41:04] Roma: Is that a meme or a post.

[41:06] Roma: Or is it that is a whole new term. Trademark.

[41:10] Sonya: Yes. perimental health. That is brilliant. And if I see anyone on social media use that before we do or after this comes out, I'll be crossed.

[41:19] Roma: This episode should be branded perimental health.

[41:21] Sonya: There we go. You just gave me my topic. Thank you very much.

[41:25] Roma: And she said she was beating herself.

[41:28] Roma: Up about having a heavier flow now in her mid to late forty s. And ultimately she said, you know what, I think on those days what I need is just a reframe because I just going to look like that. Metabolic health is not perfection. Metabolic health is not that. If you do all these steps and this perfect regimen that you're going to end up looking amazing and just having perfect digestion. And again, a funny word, the no wipe **** as the ideal ****.

[42:06] Sonya: Oh my gosh, you're kidding.

[42:07] Roma: No.

[42:08] Roma: And I was like, yeah, the character in that show literally said that it was perfection. Like a no wipe ****.

[42:14] Sonya: A no wipe ****.

[42:16] Roma: To most women, I think that is literally perfection. I told you there were going to be lots of giggles.

[42:23] Sonya: Oh my God. I have to tell you then about the conversation that we had around our dinner table the other night, which my boys were absolutely just like, mum, you need to stop right now. I was talking about the color of **** and what you can tell by your ****. Like, you can tell what your transit time is, you can tell how healthy you are. You can tell so much who looks at their poo. And I was like, well, why wouldn't you? It's a pure indication of what's going on in your body that you can visibly see. And they were just totally grossed out by the fact that I would actually stop, turn around and have a look at the **** to use that as a marker of how well I was. But I didn't think about whether I needed to wipe or not. That's that's interesting.

[43:13] Roma: No. So, you know, I think none of these tools are going to guarantee perfection. They're not going to guarantee perfect health. And we know that, especially since some very healthy people end up becoming very unlucky with terrible diseases. But I think what we can do is we can stave off chronic disease as much as possible. We can ensure more quality of life. Whether that's right now, the zooming in this moment, or whether it's ten years down the track, I think we're better partners, friends, parents, when we good care of ourselves. So, yeah, for me, metabolic health is really and midlife is a great time to do that because we have more wisdom, we have more resources. We are, little by little, more removed if we chose to have children from that young stage where we're just giving ourselves up around the clock. So I think it's a really empowering time. I'm excited what we hear from women around this in response to this episode. I'm excited to hear when we start rolling out some of our trademarks use this time, optimistically. Surround yourself with awesome women like you, Sonia.

[44:27] Roma: Have a good yeah.

[44:32] Sonya: And I think that's where we just need to remember that there are amazing women doing great work to support women, educate women, and we don't all have millions of followers, and we don't do extreme things, and we're not in it for the glory. And it is very much just about, from my perspective, with this podcast, and I'm pretty sure that you and I are on the same page for you with vital. It is providing women with a vehicle where they can just learn as much as they can about themselves, this period of life that they are transiting through and giving them a really good, solid foundation of information that can be trusted, that is research, that is qualified. And then you can go and do with that what you want.

[45:27] Roma: Perfect.

[45:28] Roma: Well, perfect. I have nothing to add to that.

[45:31] Sonya: We're talking about perfection. I am far from perfect, and I am very happy with that. Awesome. I have loved our chat, as always. I'm going to make sure in the show notes that I link through to Vital so that women can find out more about what you are up to. Because you do have some really exciting stuff happening with your app. And the side of your business that is really just emerging and going to be an absolute force when it is kind of really unleashed on the world. So, Roma, thank you so much for your time.

[46:06] Roma: Thank you again. Thanks.

[46:08] Roma: I love being here.

[46:12] Sonya: Thank you for listening today. I am so grateful to have these conversations with incredible women and experts, and I'm grateful that you chose to hit play on this episode of Dear Menopause. If you have a minute of time today, please leave a rating or a review. I would love to hear from you because you are my biggest driver for doing this work. If this chat went way too fast for you and you want more, head over to Stellarwomen.com Au podcast for the Show Notes. And while you're there, take my Midlife quiz to see why it feels like Midlife is messing with your head.