A.Vogel Talks Menopause: What to do if you have overindulged

Eileen Durward
Ask Eileen

26 December 2016

Read the full video transcript below

Today's topic

Hello, and welcome to my weekly video blog. And today on A.Vogel Talks Menopause, I thought that, seeing as we’re just in the holiday season, that I would talk about overindulgence.

Oh dear, if you’re anything like me, then you’ve probably overdone it already and are possibly suffering from the consequences. Now, I love food, and if anybody ever says to me, “You can never have a glass of wine again or a lovely cup of coffee or a piece of really gooey chocolate cake,” I would very, very seriously cry.

So, in these holiday times is when there’s going to be lots of food and drink and other temptations around us. It’s very difficult to say no. So, today what I’m going to talk about is how extra foods can actually affect our menopause symptoms, but what you can do to actually rectify it as soon as possible.

The main culprits

High sugar foods

So let’s have a look at some of the foods that are probably the main culprits. We’ve got high sugar foods. Now, that’s things like our biscuits and cakes and mince pies and all those boxes of chocolates that people have given you for Christmas. Now, too much sugar will very quickly trigger your blood sugar levels which will start to go up and down like a yo-yo.

Now, once that starts to happen, that can trigger your flushes, it can trigger dizziness and it can give you the stress palpitations as well. That’s just for starters. Never mind all the, you know, extra calories that are going on to various places.

High salt foods

Next, we’ve got the high salt foods. So that’s things like your crisps and your salted nuts and your crackers and your cheese. Now, too much salt will dehydrate you, and if you’re already having flushes or night sweats, you’re going to get even more dehydrated. And we know that dehydration stresses the nervous system, and a stressed nervous system will trigger more hot flushes and night sweats. So this is one to really, really watch. Make sure that you’re drinking plenty of water. And the high salt can also give you the palpitations and it can also cause a bit of dizziness as well.


We’ve got general carbohydrates. Now, especially if you’re not used to eating a lot of carbohydrate foods, this can be a real issue because once you start eating a lot of carbohydrates, they actually make you crave more. So you will just keep eating. You won’t be able to stop eating. Too many carbohydrates will cause bloating, can cause a huge amount of wind, and can also cause constipation as well.

Foods rich in carbohydrates

  • Stuffing
  • Wheat products including bread, pasta and rice
  • Roast potatoes
  • Roast parsnips
  • Puddings
  • Nibbles


Now, we’ve got alcohol, and this is one to really, really watch. Alcohol will dehydrate you very quickly. So, remember, again, with the hot flushes and the night sweats, they can certainly get a lot worse if you’ve had a little bit of extra drink. Alcohol will trigger your blood sugar levels as well, and that can make you really hungry. And between that and the alcohol actually loosening your self-control, if you like, you can end up over-eating a great deal in between all the drinks. It can actually cause palpitations, and too much alcohol can cause dizziness as well.

One of the other things that it will do is it will disrupt your sleep. When you drink alcohol, especially if you’ve had just a little bit too much, it’s great in that you can fall asleep really, really quickly. But too much alcohol will put you into a very deep sleep for roughly about five hours and then you will probably wake up with a start and you will find that at that point you can’t actually get back to sleep, and you will end up having a really long night with lots of tossing and turning. If you drink a lot of alcohol, it can also wash magnesium out the body. We know just how very important magnesium is, don’t we? You might find that for the next couple of days that your mood is a little bit lower, or your anxiety will actually go up as well.


Now, if you don’t very often eat a lot of meat, we tend to eat quite a lot over the festive period, and that can actually put a real stress on your digestive system. It can cause constipation and that can give you a lot of bloating as well.

 Know that you're going to be overindulging? 

Going to a party, a special ‘Do’ or on holiday where you know you will be eating and/or drinking more?

Why not prepare for it in advance and give your liver some extra TLC? A week before going on holiday or the day before the event start taking Mill Thistle Complex and remember to drink lots of extra water to help both with dehydration from alcohol and for preventing constipation from all that extra food!

And the result is – a stressed liver

Now, if all of these were bad enough singly, if we lump them all together, then all these things will put a huge amount of stress on our liver. And we know that just the general hormonal change, just going through the menopause by itself can really stress the liver. And if you add all of this on top, then your liver can be in for a really, really hard time and it can actually take four or five days for the liver just to actually recuperate from one hard day or one hard night. And when that happens, you will possibly find that any of your menopause symptoms can get worse.

Other symptoms

So it’s not necessarily just the blood sugar level ones, the flushes and the digestive problems, you might find that your muscle aches, your joint aches are worse. You might find that you’re getting more headaches. You might find that your skin is getting a lot more itchy as well and that you get quite a bit of that kind of foggy thinking.

What can you do about it?

Drink plenty of water

So if you’re in this situation, what can you actually do about it? Really, the first important thing is get plenty of water down you, really drink plenty of water to ease any of the dehydration. And that can make a lot of difference actually within about half an hour or so. It can just make you feel that little bit better.


Try and get back to your normal diet as soon as you can. You know, have these lovely days, and I enjoy them as much as everybody else, but just try to get back to proper eating as quickly as possible.

This is a difficult time just now, because here in the U.K., we have Christmas and then we just have a few days and then we’ve got the whole of the New Year’s celebrations as well. And very often we don’t actually go back to sensibly eating in between. We keep doing the nibbles and the leftovers for days afterwards. So it’s very important to get back to a sensible diet as quickly as you can. Take a little bit of extra magnesium. That will help with just about everything. Have lots of veg. When you’re having your dinner or your meals, just have some extra veg in with it because that will help give you a few extra vitamins and minerals and it will also help with fibre and roughage, and that will really help your digestive system.

Get outside

Try and get outside a little bit. Now, I know if you’re suffering from that third helping of Christmas pudding, which is usually me, that actually getting up, putting your coat on and going out for a walk is not the least bit appealing. But going for a walk is great for several reasons. First of all, it will take you away from all the temptation. And sometimes just having a little break like that can make a huge amount of difference. We can get our common sense back, if you like. Fresh air is great. It will waken us up, it will energize us. And also that little bit of walking is going to help to massage our digestive system and that will really help it cope with all the extra food that we’re putting in there.

Enjoy yourself

And above all, really enjoy yourself. And if you do go too far and overindulge a bit too much, don’t beat yourself up. You know, this is supposed to be a great time. Have fun and just do all the right things as soon as you can afterwards.

See you next week

Now, I hope this has been a little bit of help and that you’ll actually feel better, and I will look forward to seeing you next week on A. Vogel Talks Menopause.


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  • Patricia 's photo avatar
    Patricia — 25.04.2017 16:32
    I am the queen of overindulging at times and I try to get back on track quickly. I like the tip to get outside. It gets your mind off of eating and when you are finished, the craving may be gone.


    • Eileen's photo avatar
      Eileen — 26.04.2017 13:19
      Excellent very true!


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