Navigating mid-life and aren’t sure where to turn? Unfortunately, the lack of education around this time of a woman’s life has left many feeling confused, frustrated, and unsupported. Luckily today we are joined by female hormone expert Bria Gadd for an episode all around supporting our hormonal health during perimenopause and menopause. 

Join us as we dive into a conversation around educating ourselves on midlife issues, what happens in the body during perimenopause, the four phases of women’s cycles and their effects on sex, and how we can support each other through this process. Although this episode is full of wisdom for women, men can learn a lot about this season of life for the women in their lives as well.

Let this episode be a reminder that it is important to prioritize our health and that we can feel good despite these hormonal changes!

In this week’s episode, we discuss:

[02:05] About Bria Gadd

[03:44] What drove Bria to work with perimenopause and postmenopausal women? 

[10:38] How can we educate ourselves on midlife issues?

[13:36] The difference between perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopause

[17:08] “Menopause is our second spring”

[19:35] Two major things are happening in the body during perimenopause 

[25:08] Two reasons why we get stuck with weight and symptoms in perimenopause

[31:04] Four phases of the infradian rhythm and their effect on sex

[37:24] Supporting each other through this transition

[44:34] Bria’s process – addressing the four main pillars of our lives

[49:42] The importance of prioritizing our health and feeling good

[55:00] Bria’s favorite date

About Bria Gadd

Bria Gadd is a female hormone expert, integrative nutritionist, holistic health coach, and certified personal trainer who specializes in helping women with weight release and energy gain in perimenopause and post-menopause – while finding clarity in the hormonal chaos. After helping 1000s of women lose weight in their 20s and 30s, Bria recognized a difficult shift in women’s ability to get results during their perimenopause years. With more than 12 years of experience in the fitness and nutrition industry, Bria created a proven strategy to dramatically improve the challenges women are experiencing in weight release and energy. 

What drove Bria to work with perimenopause and postmenopausal women?

In Bria’s late 20s to late 30s, she was a personal trainer and nutrition coach. She always focused on working with women and helping them feel great in their bodies. Around 35, she started to notice a shift in her clients. Many of them were the same age as her, had extreme PMS, and were not getting the results that they were used to getting. A few years later, this started happening to her. It started with a little bit of lethargy, then it became weight gain, and she tried all of the tools that she had previously used. 

She went to her doctor and they said that she was the picture of health. But she did not feel this way which led her down the rabbit hole of different certifications around women’s hormones, and gut health, and she started to understand this topic a bit more. Through learning this, she was able to shift her life and is happier and healthier than she has ever been, and now helps others do the same.

How can we educate ourselves on midlife issues?

Bria shares that it is not our fault that we do not have this information. As women, we have been raised in a man’s world where the emotional labor of life is off-kilter — especially in heterosexual relationships. Women were not required to be a part of the fitness, wellness, and medical research studies until the mid-1990s which means that every workout and nutrition plan was only tested on men. 

She shares that midlife alone is a challenge and then adding a relationship on top of it is a real stressor. If you do not feel good in your body, your libido is out the window, and you are frustrated that your partner does not understand you then you have a recipe for disaster. 64% of midlife divorces are brought to terms by women (probably because they feel misunderstood and unsupported). If we can understand midlife, it can help heal our relationships and move forward.

The difference between perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopause

Menopause is 365 days after your last period. When you go one year without your period (usually in your 50s unless you had surgery) that is menopause. After this is post-menopause. Everything leading up to that is perimenopause which Bria likes to call reverse puberty. Perimenopause is as significant as puberty, pregnancy, and postpartum. This includes a massive switch in hormones yet there is nothing to support women in the longest and most significant hormonal switch. 

“Menopause is our second spring”

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, they call menopause our second spring. It is an amazing opportunity where the subconscious-driven fog to reproduce moves away. We have the opportunity to be more creative, and confident, and get better results because we have clarity and a chemical shift in our mind that allows us to thrive. Some of the most successful women in the world are in their 40s and 50s because this is an amazing opportunity to create what it is that we want. Celeste shares with her clients that this time is really exciting. If they were married before and are newly dating, they get the chance to date someone who is more aligned with who they are. You have a clearer vision of who you are and what you want in life. 

Two major things are happening in the body during perimenopause 

Around 35 when we start perimenopause, two things are happening in the body. The reproductive hormones have been passed from our ovaries to our adrenals. Our adrenals are our stress managers so the state of our adrenals is based on everything else going on in our lives. There are 34 documented symptoms of perimenopause which include weight gain, night sweats, hot flashes, insomnia, skin issues, fatigue, etc. Our adrenals can only handle so much and when our body pulls all of our resources, this is when we start to lose hair, gain weight, etc. If estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone stay fairly balanced as we go through the transition, then it is much easier. 

The other thing that is happening is that our brain becomes sensitive to the shifting of these sex hormones. We start to become aware of unresolved trauma that we have had in our lives that we have not dealt with. This is where a lot of women can feel frustration and different emotions. All of the things that were shoved under the rug start to come out. 

Two reasons why we get stuck with weight and symptoms in perimenopause

Bria shares that there are two reasons why we get stuck with weight issues and other symptoms. One is that if we do not listen to the whispers of our body we end up in a major hormonal imbalance. Then if we try all of the methods are were originally designed for men, we shift into a lower metabolism and this is why we gain weight more quickly in this period. 

The other reason is that we are not syncing our efforts, workouts, nutrition, love life, and work life with our hormones. This is where we can feel great for 2 weeks out of the month and then regress. If this is happening, you need to go through inflammation elimination. We need to take the time to eliminate this inflammation throughout a month to help us repair our hormones and our metabolism. We then need to look at the stress in our lives and be extra honest about what we are missing. Once we tone the stress down, we can start to optimize our hormones. 

Four phases of the infradian rhythm and their effect on sex

Bria shares that all creatures have a circadian rhythm, which is our 24-hour clock. This regulates our hunger and tiredness. If you have a healthy circadian rhythm you are going to wake up feeling rested, you will feel hungry 3 times a day and you are going to fall asleep well. So once we have that solid then we can look at how women have an infradian rhythm which is a 28-day clock. Menstruation is the first phase, then follicular, then ovulatory, then our luteal phase, and back around. 

Our follicular phase is almost like the spring. This is when lubrication begins again so we may be intrigued by new ideas and new experiences. This is a great time to experiment with sex because you are more open!

As we head into the ovulatory phase, that is when we are most lubricated because we are designed to have sex and conceive at this time. You can have multiple orgasms during this time so make sure to lean into that.

Then we have our luteal phase which is more like the fall. This is where energy plays a big role. Many women say they do not have a libido at this time and she asks them “Are you not getting wet at all or are you too tired to get aroused?” When the body is stressed our reproductive system shuts down. This is a time when we need massages to get ourselves in the mood.

Lastly, the menstruation phase. This is a great time for clitorial orgasms and most people are happy to have sex during this phase.

If you are sleeping well, have the energy, are syncing with your hormones, and still have vaginal dryness, then we want to look at supplementation. For lubrication, we need zinc, and omega threes, and we also need to be hydrated.

Supporting each other through this transition

Depending on where your partner or friend is at in their cycle, can show you what they need support in. Celeste shares that many of her clients find themselves in a sexless relationship and when it comes down to it, they do not feel needed or wanted. Women are going through this on their own and they need support and education so it is not the blind leading the blind. Bria shares that there are so many cycle apps that you and your partner can use so that you are on the same page. She also has a free daily hormone checklist that you can use for support. She also reminds us that if we are having irregular periods, it may be because of stress. So eliminate the stress and support each other through this time!

Bria’s process – addressing the four main pillars of our lives

Bria shares that if you have not already made your health a priority, do it this year. You have to create a good foundation to build from there. Within her practice, she had her clients spend a month looking at the “four main pillars” of their lives. She gives the example of a dining room table, if one leg is rickety, it is a bit of an annoying dining experience. This is the same with these 4 pillars of health. 

She first looks at sleep because this is a critical part of our hormonal health. We need to make space for eight to ten hours of rest and you want to make sure you are not looking at screens before or after. The comes movement, we want to make sure we are getting at least 7000 steps in a day, stretching, or doing some yoga to release the pent-up stress and pressure. Daily walking is a foundational pillar. 

With nutrition, we need to eliminate inflammatory foods. She also says to cut back on caffeine, have one coffee a day, and never on an empty stomach because it spikes cortisol. We also need to remove sugar, alcohol, gluten, GMO soy & corn, and conventionally raised dairy. We can eat those but during the month of inflammation elimination, we need to clear it out because it’s another job for the body to deal with. 

Then we need to prioritize pleasure and eliminate stress. Take 30 minutes each day to relax and use vagal nerve exercises to calm your nervous system down. We also need to be calm when we eat because that determines whether it enters our body and is stored as fat or burned as energy. 

The importance of prioritizing our health and feeling good

Celeste shares that our health is the foundation of life itself. It is so important to love and nurture yourself because we have one body. Why not make it the best so we can enjoy life more? If all of your relationships are consumed by what is going on in your body you are not able to have the richness of that relationship because you are uncomfortable. Your sex can only be as good as you feel. 

It can be really difficult for women to prioritize themselves and ask for help. Martyring yourself does not serve anyone at the end of the day. This is a time in your life when you can focus on yourself and remind yourself that you deserve to feel better. 

Bria’s favorite date

Bria and her wife were in Montreal and they rented bikes and went down to the river. They walked around the farmer’s market and had a picnic as they lay by the river under a tree. They sipped wine and ate fancy cheese. It was so beautiful and relaxing.

Connect with Bria:






Free Daily Hormone Checklist


Navigating Perimenopause and Menopause with Bria Gadd

March 18, 2024