What if the secrets to strength and resilience are hidden in the annals of women’s shared histories?
Today, I am unearthing these stories, illuminating the silent strength of our foremothers, and embracing the power of sisterhood. I dive into the societal perceptions of women through different life stages and tackle the stigma and shame linked to women’s bodies. I recognize the wisdom in seeking help and the freedom in finding our own paths.
Imagine a time when women thrived in multigenerational living, and the guidance of elder women — the crone — was cherished. I traverse through this era, understanding the impact of patriarchy and cultural shifts on women’s communal living. I unveil the repercussions of transitioning from these cohesive communities to isolated nuclear households.
Along this journey, I find solace in the narratives woven in books like The Red Tent and Women Who Run With the Wolves. They serve as mirrors to our societies, reflecting both their charm and scars. By appreciating these historical shifts and rekindling the spirit of sisterhood, I aspire to reclaim the power and unity that was once ours.
Join me on this remarkable journey to rediscover our collective strength.
We explore the power of sisterhood, the wisdom of elders, societal perceptions of women, collective wisdom, seeking help, and the stigma of women’s bodies.
We explore the strength of women, communal living, the wisdom of the crone, fear and suspicion of women, nuclear households, and books like The Red Tent and Women Who Run With the Wolves.
Have you ever felt alone in your struggles as if the world expects you to juggle everything with grace and never let a ball drop? Have you felt the pressure to figure things out on your own, whether it’s weight loss, child rearing, or navigating the twists and turns of menopause? Now, what if I told you historically, women were never meant to face these challenges alone.
>p>Today, we’re diving deep into the power of sisterhood, the wisdom of our elders, and some unexpected forces that shifted how society perceives women, especially as we age. It’s a conversation I believe is vital, and one that might reshape the way that you see yourself and the women around you.
>p>Now, today’s episode might feel a little different than what you’re used to from me, but bear with me. As I’ve journeyed deeper into the realm of women’s health, and I’ve stumbled upon narratives, histories, and experiences that honestly have shaken me. And I need to give them voice.
>p>And these stories are not just about our bodies, but also the roles we play, the expectations laid upon us and the silent strength that we harbor. You ready? Let’s get started.
>p>Welcome to the Done With Dieting Podcast, where it’s all about designing the life you want in midlife. I’m your host, Elizabeth Sherman, a master certified life and health coach, personal trainer, nutritionist, feminist coach, and specialist in women’s hormones.
>p>Are you tired of scales, food logs, and strict diets? Struggling with hormonal symptoms and the challenges of aging, changing relationships, and entering the next phase of your life? You have come to the right place.
>p>Here, we talk about food freedom, nurturing a better relationship with your body, and feeling great again. All without the weight of traditional dieting methods.
>p>Through a mix of solo podcasts and conversations with industry experts, I’m here to guide you towards a healthier, happier you.
>p>Join me as we explore ways to look and feel better and strive for optimal health regardless of where you are in your journey. But more importantly, to reclaim control, confidence, and joy in this beautiful stage of life.
>p>This is the Done With Dieting podcast. Let’s dive in.
>p>Hey everyone, welcome to the done with dieting podcast episode number 143. I am your host, Elizabeth Sherman, and I hope that you are having an amazing day. Now, here on the Done with Dieting podcast, I often touch on my individual journey. And today, we are going to explore something deeply communal, something that transcends our solo experiences.
>p>You know, it’s fascinating how women, many of us sometimes feel that we’re all alone in our experiences. Be it in our weight loss, or with motherhood, or the unpredictable waves of midlife changes. These paths filled with unique struggles, joys and revelations often make us believe we are walking them alone.
>p>But the truth is that we were never meant to be solitary travelers. Our history is rich with tales of women being each other’s anchors, with elder women guiding the younger ones through life’s intricacies. Think about it.
>p>There was a time when every pivotal moment was a collective experience, not a solo endeavor. Every challenge, every joy shared and multiplied within a circle of other women. So, why do we now sometimes feel so isolated in our experiences? What has shifted?
>p>That’s exactly what we’re diving into today. We are going to rediscover that lost connection and explore the silent strength of our foremothers and maybe, just maybe, rekindle that flame of unity and collective wisdom.
>p>Now, I remember the day I decided to take control of my weight. The moment was both liberating and daunting. As with any major life decision, that initial step always feels so monumental. Now, I believed, like many of us do, that this was a journey that I had to do all by myself. After all, it was my weight, my body and my responsibility.
>p>But the road to self-improvement is seldom traveled alone. And I soon found out that it’s actually lined with many, many voices. Friends, coworkers, and even acquaintances became unexpected advisors. Giving me their opinions about what I should be doing.
>p>Everywhere I turned, there was a new diet to try or an exercise fad to adopt. This worked for me, one would say. You should absolutely try this, chimed in another. Each piece of advice was like a well-meaning hand trying to guide me. But it often left me in circles.
>p>Is this something that you can relate with? We always get advice from other people. This worked for me, so you should do it too.
>p>Now, while I’m grateful for every single piece of advice, they all came from a place of care, I often felt overwhelmed. It was like standing in a vast library where every book claimed to have the secret to weight loss. But the pages were filled with conflicting information. What worked wonders for one person just didn’t resonate with me or was something that I wanted to do.
>p>And because everybody is absolutely unique, what suits one person might not suit another. And so, there came a point when I realized, I wasn’t looking for just any advice. I was actually seeking knowledge tailored to my needs and experiences. I wasn’t trying to fit into someone else’s story, I was writing my own. And for that, I needed a mentor, not a chorus.
>p>Someone who had been through the journey understood its nuances and could provide guidance without imposing their story on mine. Now, seeking help doesn’t mean you’re relinquishing control. It’s actually quite the opposite. And when I found the right guidance, it was like finding my compass for my own journey.
>p>I was still the captain of my ship. I was still doing the things that I needed to do. I was still doing it on my own. But now, I had a clear direction. And so, it reinforced my belief that while the journey might be personal, the wisdom we gather along the way is collective.
>p>Now, when we think about menopause just the word itself often evokes hushed conversations, side long glances, and sometimes, sadly, a sense of discomfort. But why is that? Why is it that in a world where women have achieved so much? Does this natural phase of life still remain a topic that is so misunderstood, that is covered in a cloak of secrecy?
>p>My journey through perimenopause and into menopause felt like I was navigating a labyrinth with absolutely no map. Hot flashes, mood swings, sleepless nights, these became my unexpected companions. And while these experiences were challenging, it was the isolation that I felt that was even more pronounced.
>p>Why is that?
>p>Because we, as a society, have made it so. We’ve shrouded this natural progression of a woman’s life in so much silence that many of us feel lost and alone when we go through it. This isolation, I believe, is rooted in the larger issue of societal stigma and shame attached to women’s bodies.
>p>From a very young age, we are so subtly taught that our bodies, with their natural processes and changes are something to be concealed or apologized for. And as we age, these things can get amplified.
>p>Menopause is just one of the many facets of womanhood that’s cast in an undeserved shadow. But here’s what I’ve learned, and what I want to shout and let everyone know about.
>p>Our experiences, no matter how varied, are not wrong. They’re not abnormal. And just because my menopause journey might differ from yours, doesn’t make either of us an outlier. We just need to redefine the story. To understand that the spectrum of experiences is so vast, and every point is extremely valid.
>p>And so, it’s high time that we actually break the cycle of silence. And let’s empower ourselves and future generations by speaking out, sharing our stories, and validating every other woman’s journey through this phase of life.
>p>Now, a few weeks ago I had an incredible experience because I hosted my very first retreat here in my home in Mexico. I invited both current and past clients, and the response was amazing. I hosted eight amazing women from different walks of life, but all united by a common thread, and she made the journey. And together, we spent just an amazing transformational week.
>p>Now, I’ve attended retreats before, but hosting one, especially one of such intimate magnitude brought with it a profound sense of responsibility and anticipation. The goal was simple, yet profound. To dive deep into our perceptions of health and the power that we, sometimes unknowingly give away to other people in our lives. And then, the stories that society puts upon us that we take on, especially as women navigating the complexities of midlife.
>p>Now, one story that truly encapsulated the essence of this retreat was shared by one of the women, Fawn. She spoke out about the overwhelming experience of bringing her newborn baby home from the hospital. And I saw nods of understanding and Empathy from the other Women.
>p>Fawn, like so many women, felt completely isolated in that moment of joy and vulnerability. And while motherhood might be a universal experience, every woman’s journey is totally unique. Fawn’s story became a powerful testament to the fact that no woman should ever feel alone in her experience.
>p>And Stacey found what she was looking for and more. She sought like-minded women, deepened conversations, and a sense of sisterhood. She left the retreat with friendships forged in the fires of shared experiences and mutual understanding.
>p>Christina, on the other hand, reveled in the luxury of the experience and feeling of being cared for and pampered in a way that every woman deserves.
>p>And then Fern, she was struck by the universality of all of our struggles. Despite our varied backgrounds, so many of our battles were so incredibly similar.
>p>Beyond the introspection, there was joy and celebration. The retreat wasn’t just about reflection, but also about restoration. we laughed as we learned to cook like a true Mexican. The day out on a yacht, basking in the sun, feeling the Caribbean breeze, and watching the sunset was nothing short of magical.
>p>The taco tour, the laughter, the sheer fun of it all, made this experience an unforgettable one. And this retreat underscored the vital realization for me. In every stage of life, be it the uncertainty of motherhood, or the challenges of menopause, women need each other.
>p>We thrive in spaces where we feel seen, heard, and understood. And as we journey through life, we need to ensure that we create and seek out these spaces for ourselves and for each other.
>p>When I think about the strength and wisdom of women, my mind often wanders back to a time when our societies were more intertwined, more communal. A time when the wisdom of older women, the crones, weren’t just respected, but they were actively sought out.
>p>Historically, women didn’t have to navigate these challenges of life solely based on their personal experiences. They had a vast reservoir of knowledge to tap into, the lived experience of older women.
>p>These crones, with their years of accumulated wisdom, played a vital role. They were the pillars of guidance when it came to childbirth, raising children, and managing households, and even navigating personal relationships.
>p>Imagine, just for a second, a world where as a young woman, you’re not left to figure things out on your own. You have a trusted elder guiding you, sharing tales from her life, offering insights, solutions, and sometimes, just a patient ear. This was the safety net that ensured that women felt supported, heard, and valued.
>p>Families weren’t just nuclear units, isolated from extended relatives, we lived together. Often, with multiple generations under one roof. And it wasn’t just out of necessity, this multi-generational living brought with it the advantage of pooled wisdom. Grandmothers, aunts, elder sisters, they all contributed to a rich tapestry of shared knowledge. Their experiences became the stepping stones for younger women to traverse their paths with confidence.
>p>In such a setup, the challenges of life didn’t seem daunting. Raising a child wasn’t an enigma. It was a journey undertaken with the guidance of many. And this very essence of community, this shared wisdom is something that we’ve distanced ourselves from in modern times. But revisiting and understanding its importance can be our first step towards rebuilding those bridges.
>p>In understanding the journey of women and our historical support systems, it’s impossible to ignore the dark shadows cast by patriarchy and our cultural shifts. As the influence of older women, the crones grew, they became seen not just as reservoirs of wisdom but as actual threats.
>p>Their knowledge often, rooted in nature, spirituality, and centuries of tradition was viewed with suspicion. Tragically, this suspicion took on a sinister turn. And many of these wise women were labeled as witches, and persecuted, and in the worst cases, executed.
>p>It’s heartbreaking to think of the vast amounts of knowledge, guidance, and support that were lost due to these unfounded years. This dark chapter in history was not just an assault on these women, but an attempt to break the matriarchal chain of wisdom.
>p>Simultaneously, societal structures began to evolve or rather, devolve. Families became more isolated, moving away from communal living to nuclear households. The once invaluable intergenerational support started waning. The voices of grandmothers and elder aunts, which used to resonate through households with guidance and love, started to become faint whispers.
>p>An evocative representation of the bond and strength women once shared can be found in the book called, “The Red Tent.” It paints a vivid picture of how women came together, supporting each other through varied phases of life. This was a sacred space, a haven of shared experiences, where every tear and laughter was deeply understood.
>p>And while the world around us has changed, the essence of who we are as women, our strength, our resilience, and the innate need for sisterhood remains unchanged. It’s crucial for us to understand these historical shifts. Not just to know where we came from, but to reclaim what was lost.
>p>Books have an incredible way of holding mirrors up to society, reflecting back on both its beauty and its blemishes. One such powerful work that dives deep into the essence of womanhood is women who run with the wolves.
>p>It’s not just a book, it’s actually a journey. It’s a journey that takes us through tales, myths, and stories from varied cultures all pointing towards the inherent strength and resilience and wild spirit of women. The author emphasizes that no matter how society has tried to tame us, there’s an undying wild woman within each of us. She thrives on intuition, passion, creativity, and an innate ability to nurture.
>p>Through her stories, we are reminded that historically, women have always found strength in unity. We are pack animals meant to run together, supporting each other, sharing tales of our adventures, challenges, and triumphs. This spirit of unity, this bond of sisterhood is something that we deeply need today.
>p>In a world that often tries to pit us against each other where competition is rife and individual successes are celebrated more than collective achievements. The message of the book is a beacon. And it’s a call to connect and to reform the bonds that were once our strength.
>p>Today, more than ever, we need to embrace this spirit of sisterhood. While we might not have the traditional structures of communal living, we can create our own red tents, our own spaces of safety and trust and mutual support. Be it through book clubs, community events, online forums, or retreats. The avenues are endless.
>p>What’s vital is the intention to reconnect and to rekindle the spirit of sisterhood that has always been our strength. As we forge ahead, let’s remember, that while individual success is commendable, the collective strength of women running together, uplifting each other is unparalleled.
>p>Now, as I wrap up this episode, I recognize that today’s topic might feel a little like a slight departure from my normal conversations with you. But in reality, how we view ourselves as women directly impacts our health and our overall wellbeing. It’s more than just physical health. It’s about understanding and embracing our inherent strength and unity.
>p>Each of our experiences may vary. Some stories may resonate more than others. But the underlying essence of womanhood and the power of sisterhood remains unwaveringly strong.
>p>In a world that often overlooks or misunderstands us, especially as we age, we must remember that together we have strength, an incredible, undeniable strength. Often, society might not view us as threatening, but that’s our secret weapon. It gives us a unique opportunity and almost stealth mode to instigate real tangible change. The adage of think globally, act locally, comes to mind for me.
>p>Imagine, the change that we could drive, the narratives that we could shift, if each one of us leveraged this power in our communities.
>p>Before I sign off, I’d love to ask you for a small favor. If today’s episode resonated with you or made you reflect, please take a moment to rate, and review the podcast. Your feedback not only helps me, but it ensures that other incredible women who are just like you will be able to find the show and connect with our growing community.
>p>And if you know someone, a friend, a colleague, a family member, another woman who needs to hear this message of unity and strength, please share this with her. Together, not only can we support each other, but also instill a change that echoes for generations to come.
>p>That’s all I have for you today. Have an amazing day, everyone. I’ll talk to you next time. Bye-bye.
>p>Thank you so much for joining me today. I hope you found some gems in this episode that spoke to your heart. Isn’t it wonderful to know that we are all on this journey together?
>p>Now, if you want to dive deeper and get even more valuable tips and techniques to help with your health, I’ve got something special for you.
>p>Subscribe to my weekly emails at elizabethsherman.com/habits. I’m sharing insights there that I don’t share anywhere else. And I’d hate for you to miss out. Oh, and if you want to stay connected between episodes, come hang out with me on Instagram @donewithdietingpodcast or on Facebook at Total Health by Eliz.
>p>I absolutely love connecting with my listeners. That’s you. And your thoughts and feedback help me create more episodes that resonate with what you need.
>p>Thank you again for being here. Your presence truly lights up my community and I cannot wait to connect with you in all of these ways. Until next time, keep shining and keep being you. You are doing so amazing and I’m right here cheering you on.