A deep dive into the four FOSS pillars (Food, Offline, Sleep & Stress).
Updated: Jan 3
As a Nutritional Therapist, I believe that a happy and healthy life starts with great nutrition. I developed the 4 pillars as a way to support my clients through the menopause by making nutrition and healthy habits part of their day to day today.
Today, I want to dive a little deeper into each of the 4 pillars to explain exactly what they mean for me and my wonderful clients.
I’m a member of the British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine (BANT) and the Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC) – so it’s safe to say that I live and breathe food. However, I’m also a big advocate of not turning people into slaves of their routine. A Low GI diet (Glycaemic Index) is a manageable way to keep your gut bacteria, hormones and musculature in good shape.
It increases mental performance
Reduces the risk of age-related eye conditions
Keeps your body fuelled with sustained energy
Reduces the risk of breast cancer
Improves symptoms of PCOS, endometriosis and menopause
Contributes to healthy hormones
Manages menopausal weight gain
Reduces the risk of Type 2 Diabetes and heart disease
The Low GI diet simply keeps the body away from sugar highs and lows – it’s not a hugely restrictive diet and still allows you to eat out occasionally. For your hormones, keeping your sugar levels in check in particularly important. During the menopause, our ability to regulate and absorb sugar efficiently, changes.
We spend so much time online now that it’s actually getting in the way of our health. When I say ‘offline’, I don’t just mean ditching the iPhone or turning off Netflix – I mean getting fully offline! Getting outside and soaking up that much needed vitamin D, taking a brisk walk and waking up those endorphins, getting out in the community and creating new relationships. During peri-menopause and menopause, it can be easy to want to stay in and be alone – but it’s not good for our mental health.
When we get offline and get outside, we open ourselves up to joyful experiences that we’d never have between 4 walls. It’s also important that our pursuits are varied. I recommend a combination of strength work (weights and weight-bearing exercise), restorative movements (yoga, pilates) and cardio (dancing, walking, running, cycling).
It’s a touchy subject – in the UK, we’re only sleeping for an average of 5.5 hours. The recommended amount of sleep? 6 to 8 hours!
When we don’t get enough sleep during the menopause, we’re forgetful, more hungry, irritable and much more likely to make unhealthy choices. It’s a compounding effect that sees us reaching for more and more caffeine and sugar – which prevents us from sleeping furthermore. Hot sweats and sleep disturbances, that come with age, are also managed by good diet and better sleep practises. Such as:
Lowering the temperature in our bedrooms
Putting screens away at least an hour before bed
Getting on top of our nutrition
Exercising a little every day
Aiming to get to bed for 9.30pm/10pm and rise around 6am.
The final pillar is one of the most concerning: 74% of UK adults have felt so stressed at some point over the last year they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope. A lack of sleep, poor nutrition, fluctuating hormones, vitamin deficiency and minimal exercise all lead to one thing – stress.
As part of the work I do with my clients, I try to help them manage their stress. By limiting sugars and caffeine and working with the breath, we try to keep the body in a state of homeostasis (balance) as much as possible. Stress makes us gain weight, struggle with sleep, make poor choices and sideline our mental health. By aligning all 4 pillars, we aim to limit stress – which helps us to sleep better, eat more healthily and feel confident enough to get out and about.
The 4 pillars are designed to promote an anti-sarcopenic lifestyle – which means helping the body to maintain muscle mass, that starts declining naturally from the age of 35. On top of this, a Low GI diet and regular exercise are also proven to help relieve some of the symptoms of menopause.
If you’re menopausal or are experiencing any symptoms of menopause, there are things you can do to help yourself. You don’t need to suffer in silence you deserve to feel like your old self again- happy, balanced, vibrant and energised.
Get in touch to start your journey – the FOSS way.