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Coming up next on Passion Struck.


When you are experiencing a symptom, like many of them that I've described in parimenopause, the brain fog, the energy, the water retention, the body composition changes, these are just ways that your body is trying to talk to you. So rather than being punitive and saying, God, I am broken. This stupid body is not doing what I want, instead being more of an agent for change for yourself. So what does the symptom mean? And what can I do about it that's within my control.


Welcome to Passion Struck. Hi, I'm your host, John R. Miles. And on the show, we decipher the secrets, tips, and guidance of the world's most inspiring people and turn their wisdom into practical advice for you and those around you. Our mission is to help you unlock the power of intentionality so that you can become the best version of yourself. If you're new to the show, I offer advice and answer listener questions on Fridays. We have long-form interviews the rest of the week with guests ranging from astronauts to authors, CEOs, creators, innovators, scientists, military leaders, visionaries, and athletes. Now, let's go out there and become passion struck. Hello, everyone, and Welcome back to episode 439 of Passion struck, consistently ranked the number one alternative health podcast. A heartfelt thank you to each and every one of you who return to the show every week, eager to listen, learn, and discover new ways to live better, be better, and to make a meaningful impact the world. If you're new to the show, thank you so much for being here, or you simply want to introduce this to a friend or a family member, and we so appreciate it when you do that.


We have episode starter packs, which are collections of our fans' favorite episodes that we organize in a convenient playlist to give any new listener a great way to get acclimated to everything we do here on the show. Just go to passion struck. Com/starterpacks or Spotify to get started. If you're not aware, throughout 2024, we are conducting a weekly challenge to help inspire you to become passion struck and flex your courage muscles. We We release a new challenge every week in our newsletter, which goes out to over 30,000 people in our community. Just go to passion struck. Com to sign up. In case you missed it, last week we had three great interviews. In the first, we dove into the world of high performance coaching with Sean Foley, the renowned golf coach behind some of the biggest names in the sport. From his unique coaching philosophy to the mental strategies that can turn a struggling golfer into a champion, Sean shares insights you won't want to miss. I also interviewed Ethan Mollet, a Wharton professor, author of the groundbreaking book Co-intelligence: Living and working with AI: In the mind behind the popular One Useful Thing sub stack.


Lastly, I interview Dr. Jeff Karp, a luminary in the realm of bio-inspired engineering, who is a distinguished professor at Harvard Medical School in MIT. His journey from a curious child grappling with learning deficiencies and ADHD to a titan in biotech innovation is testament to the transformative power of being lit, a state of heightened awareness and engagement with the world. Dr. Karp unveils the secrets of tapping going into this dynamic state. I also wanted to say thank you for your ratings and reviews. And if you love today's episode or any of those others, we would appreciate you giving it a five-star review and sharing it with your friends and families. I know we and our guests love to see comments from our listeners. Today, we are joined by the remarkable Dr. Stephanie Esteema, who has navigated a fascinating journey from being a leading chiropractor to making the life-altering decision to close her highly successful practice. Dr. Stephanie has since dedicated her focus to metabolism, body composition, functional neurology, and specifically, female physiology, transforming the lives of thousands of women through the Esteema Diet. In addition to her transformative work, Dr. Stephanie hosts the podcast, Better with Dr.


Stephanie, where she continues to share her invaluable insights on health and well-being. In today's episode, we dive deep into Dr. Stephanie's transformative approach to health and wellness, as detailed in her book, The Betty Body: A Guide to Intuitive Eating, Balanced Hormones, and Transformative Sex. This isn't just a health manual. It's a radical call to action for women everywhere to embrace their unique physiological needs, debunking the one-size-fits-all approach to health that has dominated our understanding for too long. Dr. Stephanie enlightens female listeners how to transform their relationship with their menstrual cycle, from one of dread to celebration, the critical importance of orgasms for female health, and the power of intuitive eating to honor our bodies through every stage of life. She tackles the hidden sexism in her daily routines and offers strategies for crafting a life that respects our from building lean muscle to understanding the strategic role of fats and carbohydrates for our metabolic health. Whether you're looking to reshape your body, balance your hormones, or revolutionize your relationship with your health, this episode serves as the ultimate blueprint for achieving optimal feminine health. Thank you for choosing Passion Struct and choosing me to be your host and guide on your journey to creating an intentional life.


Now, let that journey begin. I'm I am absolutely thrilled to have my friend, Dr. Stephanie Esteema on Passion Struct today. Welcome, Dr. Stephanie.


Oh, I'm thrilled to be here. Thank you for having me.


Stephanie, you and I are relatively new friends, and we ended up meeting at Jim Kwik's Book Launch in Miami, Florida, a few months ago. How did you get to know Jim, and what brought you to that event?


Oh, wow. Well, Jim was first a friend of my husband's, Giovanni. They're both, as you know, Jim is a very big superhero aficionado, and so is my husband. So they would geek out over Marvel movies and the newest DC thing or the latest drama or what have you. And then when I started getting to know Jim, of course, we also shared a passion for brain health and brain metabolism. So he would geek out with geo on cartoons and comic books. And then whenever I had an opportunity to spend time with him, we would talk about brain health, brain metabolism, optimizing our minds as we age or just in the everyday practice of living. And had him on my show a bunch of times. I've been on his podcast a bunch of times. And just over many years, have a mutual respect for each other's work and the contributions that we bring into the health space.


Yeah, it's interesting because one of the things that Jim is known for is being the boy with the broken brain. And when I got to talk to him, I told him I could honestly relate feeling that way. Because when I was four or five, I was playing a game of tag in my side yard in Bay Village, Ohio, when one of my friends ended up pushing me from behind. And with my momentum of running away from him, it ended up thrusting me in the air, and I crashed headfirst through our basement window, which ultimately caused a traumatic brain injury, which resulted in having some vision impairments, speech impediment problems, cognitive dysfunction, migraines, and other long-lasting symptoms. I can completely relate to his story, which made us immediately bond to each other.


I'm so happy that you're sharing that because I think that it brings whenever we share our stories, it also gives permission for other people to come forward with their stories and bring awareness. Concussion is something... Severe concussion, like Jim and you have suffered, is very hard to diagnose. It's often been missed. And then these symptoms can perseverate for years and years and years. So very happy for you to be sharing that story. I think it's an important one that people can learn from.


Stephanie, thank you for saying that. And I've tried to do a number of traumatic brain injury episodes because I've experienced that one when I was a kid, but also some when I was playing division one sports and then also in combat situations. So thank you for bringing that up. It's remarkable that not only did you operate as a chiropractor for many years, but you were one of the top 1% of all chiropractors. And you did that for over 16 years, which is a testament to the success that you had in that field. And the decision to make a career pivot, which I've had to do myself, is such a profound step into the darkness that many of our listeners and also potential clinicians may be contemplating. Can you delve into the factors that drove you to making this decision?


Oh, wow. Yeah. I would say that first, very proud to be a chiropractor. I always say that I grew up in chiropractic. I've had just the absolute pleasure and blessing to be mentored by some of the smartest minds in what means to promote health or salutogenesis. We may go down that path, we may not. But chiropractic really is one of the first practices, health practices with practitioners who don't just bandaid things. There's not a pill for every ill. There's a belief, philosophical premise that health starts from within, and it's up to us to unlock it through physical means, chemical means, and emotional means. So very proud to be a chiropractor. I remember the day I got my acceptance papers into the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College. It's this big, thick envelope. Even before I opened it, I was dancing around. I opened up, over the course of my career, opened up several clinics. I never worked for anybody else because I realized very early on in my entrepreneurial journey, I am completely unemployment. I do very poorly with direction and would often find myself wanting to do things my way. So I was in private practice, so I graduated class of 2003 and closed the clinic in April 2019.


It was about a 16-year run in private practice, and it was wonderful. I had built the clinic of my dreams. I had a rehab center. I had an open adjusting area. I had clothes adjusting areas. I had rings and vibration plates and Swiss balls and all the beautiful things that you could ever dream of in terms of a rehab center. We had people coming from... I practiced in Toronto Toronto, Canada, so we had people in the GTA or in the city proper. But then also a lot of people would travel from the outskirts to come and see me. And it was great. It was wonderful. Wonderful patients. I built a wonderful team around me. And I will say that one of the things that I mentioned it briefly, some of the tenets of chiropractic philosophy is like, what's your physical movement look like? What's your chemical inputs look like? And what does your emotional and spiritual life look like? And so, of course, the chiropractic piece falls under the physical movement, like rehab and proper mechanics and so forth. The other thing that we would do very often in the clinic is we would run nutrition programs.


So teaching people how to cook at home or how we look at calories or what the composition of the calories are, et cetera. And I started this nutrition program in-house. It was a ketogenic-based nutrition program and really took off. And I had one of my patients, I'll say she was very online savvy. She's like, We need to put this into a course. We need to put this online. We did that and it just blew up online. I guess it was just maybe at the beginning arc of the ketogenic movement and did really, really well. I started thinking about what it would look like to not have a clinic and to just be online. I was just flirting with the idea, and I flirt with it for years. I think coupled with, at least for me, and I don't know if this speaks that maybe other clinicians I can relate to this, but when you've been in practice for 16 years, you start to see the same patterns over and over again. You start to see the same resistance. You start to see the same things. I remember there was this one patient, and I remember after interacting with her, I said, Okay, I really need to check myself here, because she was trying to get pregnant, had done all the things that you might think, IVF, and timing, and her cycle, and this and that.


I started working with her. I took a lot of training in pediatrics and prenatal care and pregnancy. She came to me one day, maybe I can't remember how many months after she had been working with us, maybe three, four months, something like that. She's like, You'll never guess what. In my head, I'm like, You're pregnant. I didn't say anything, but I was like, What? Tell me. She's like, I'm pregnant. My reaction, of course, to her, I said, That's wonderful. I'm so happy for you. This is great. But in my head, I was like, Of course, you're pregnant. Of course, you're pregnant. We've removed some mechanical biomechanics. We've improved your diet. We've improved your stress. Of course, you're pregnant. I remember going home that night and I was like, Oh, no. I felt tired of practice. When I felt like I wasn't excited anymore, more about a patient becoming pregnant, which is obviously one of the most joyous things that you could ever experience as a clinician to help facilitate or be a small part of that. I was like, All right, I got to check myself before I wreck myself. And so started the transition.


I started working with a mentor of mine, Dr. Jeff Spencer, who actually would be a great guest on your show if you haven't already had. Do you know Jeff? Do you know Dr.


No, I do not.


Okay, so very quick, I'm going to pitch him for your show. You have to have him on. So he was in the 1972 Munich Olympics. He was a medalist. He later went on to be the chiropractor for Lance Armstrong. He is so amazing about delineating between the human mindset or the human condition and the difference between that and the champion mindset. So I'll make the introduction offline. But he's actually the reason why I wanted to become a chiropractor and a sports chiropractor, because I remember being a student, seeing him being on Lance Armstrong's team, and Just having so much admiration for him and the sport. Anyway, so I had him. I called on him because I said, Listen, I want to close this clinic. But whenever you make a decision, closing a clinic, leaving a relationship, changing jobs, jobs, any life-changing decision, the moment that you emotionally admit that you want this change, and then the time between that admitting and when you can actually affect the change, it just seems like it opportunity. And I wanted to make sure that I close the clinic with integrity so that when I look back on the way that we transition patients, the communication, the way we treated everybody, it would be something that I would be proud of.


Because when I decided decided that I wanted to close the clinic, it was already well past the time that I had wanted to do it. So when I admitted it, it was like, All right, let's just do it. Let's just close the clinic, shut it down and move on. But of course, you can't do that when you are a doctor and you have patients that you have to care for. You have a responsibility to them. So hired him to work on my mindset and to work on pacing and to get really comfortable with that tension, being in that tension between the time that I've admitted something and the time that I can actually affect the change. And so he walked me through that. We slowly dwindled, we'll say, the clinic down. I can't remember how many thousands of patients we had on file at the time, but making sure that all the patient files were transferred and everyone had a new chiropractor to go to. We had all the files in order and all the things. Probably took three or four months to do that properly. And then I took time off. So close the clinic.


It was April 2019, and I basically just grieved. Even though I wanted it, I basically was almost grieving the death of part of me, part of my personality, an act, a really important time in my life. I was known and I thrived. My identity was really baked into this idea that I was a healer and I helped people, and I affected all these changes and people came. And a lot of my satisfaction in my job came from that. And then all of a sudden it was gone. So grieved for several months, took the summer off. So through the summer, I didn't really do much and wanted to start a podcast. This is something that had been on my mind for many years. I remember listening to Tim Farris. I remember actually walking with Giovanni, my husband, boyfriend at the time. And we were talking about, I can't remember who he had had on as a guest. Might have been Dom D'Agustino. It was a health guest, someone. And I said, I would love to have the same conversation with that guest, but bring a female perspective to it. But I was still in practice. Podcasting, as you know, takes a lot of time, effort, energy, preparation.


I just didn't have the bandwidth with running a clinic. Started flirting with the idea that I might now follow that dream and start the podcast. I did later that year. I think it was the last couple of days of September into October, where we launched our first episode. Close the Clinic April 2019, and then call it September, October of 2019, we started the Better Podcast.


I love the podcast, and thank you for having me on it to help launch the book.


Yes. You were a recent guest, and we had a lot of great feedback from it, actually. We had a lot of women who really resonated with your messaging as well, because I think certainly your podcast is for men and women. My podcast tends to skew more female, but I really appreciated your perspective on what it means to live a life that is passion struck and what are some of the components of that. It really resonated with my audience.


Well, thank you for that. I'm glad you brought up Dom because he's a personal friend of mine. Actually, he lives right up the road from me, and he and I are preparing to do something big. Oh, nice. I've just been trying to find camera crews to help us pull it off, but I can't wait to do it because he's remarkable.


I agree.


I'm going to ask you a couple more questions about this.


I have often talked about this feeling of quiet desperation that Henry David Thoreau talks about from Walden. I was wondering, did you ever feel that when you were in this process of deciding what to do with the clinic? Meaning you maybe were feeling emotionally numb? You just felt like you were going through the motions and you were stuck and you didn't know how to get out of it?


100%, yeah. And that's really the tension that I was describing because I was that quiet, desperate. What I wanted to do was I just wanted to stop practicing. And it wasn't for... My patients were wonderful. The money was wonderful. Everything was wonderful. But I just felt like there was more for me in the online space and being more of a thought leader and a teacher and a woman's health educator versus being limited by my geography. Because even though we were a very successful clinic, we did very well, as I mentioned, but I'm still going to be limited by geography. My reach is going to be mainly Canadian, and even then it's going to be mainly in the province of Ontario. And as much as I love and I'm proud of where I come from and who I am, definitely felt a calling to be serving more women on a global scale. So there It was absolutely a desperation to close the clinic, and that's precisely why I hired Dr. Jeff, because he really helped me override those instincts, because my primal instinct is like, I want to be out of here. I want to be done.


I'm finished. I want to do other things. And I had to really override that with my frontal lobe. I had to override it with empathy and thinking about the future and planning the exit strategy, if you will, for these patients and making sure that all of that was really done in a way I would be very proud of and with the integrity and excellence that I would bring to the care and the delivery of those patients. So yes, absolutely. I'm giving you a longer answer here, but there was absolutely a quiet desperation. And I really did feel at the time that I needed, and I think all coaches will say this, the best coaches, the best teachers all have teachers themselves, right? That you have to always remain humble and remain a student. And I felt in that moment that I also needed someone. I needed a counselor, if you will, someone who could help inform my decisions to make sure that I was making decisions that were aligned with my best self and something that I would be very proud of rather than just doing my instinct, my primitive impulse, which is like, let's close the clinic now and be done with it and actually get to the things that I'm really passionate about doing.


I just want to explore this a little bit more because the change you made is not an easy one to make. I had to make a similar one. It's interesting talking to you about this because although I was in a corporate career and you were in a medical career, I think I felt many of the same things transpiring myself. I had started out as a management consultant, doing strategy consultant, and then had spent time in both the largest of large companies, Fortune 50s, down to medium-sized companies and startups. What was amazing to me is I'd walk into these companies, and it's like 80% of the stuff you see, it's the exact same things that are broken. It's just on a different scale. It's interesting because it's almost you saw the same thing with your patients. You keep running into the same thing again and again.


You don't ever want to be at the place where someone comes in. This is why this particular patient, I was like, Oh, God, that's such a bad reaction because she was so excited. I was like, I've seen this a thousand times. I was so uninspired by it. I was unexcited. I was almost indifferent to it. That was really a cue or a clue for me that I had to explore a little further and say, Okay, what is going on here? Am I burnt out because I know that that happens, or am I just not really excited about practice anymore? And I think that I came to the conclusion that even though I loved my patience, I loved the life that I had built for myself, I had almost climb up. I had ascended the ladder, if you will, the proverbial ladder, and I felt like there were other ladders that I wanted to climb. I felt I had exhausted my capacity and my potential and my value as a practicing physician wanted to find other ways to make an impact.


I want to ask two questions from that point, because I think a lot of people might find themselves in this point of knowing they need to make the change. But what you did was almost a complete self-reinvention, recreating this new person you wanted to be for the world. I'm sure at this point, you didn't really have a social following. You really hadn't put yourself out there outside of Toronto. What were some of the initial actions you took to set yourself on this new path? And a second part of this is, did you encounter skeptics or individuals who dismissed your ambitions as being unrealistic?


Good question. Well, the first action I did, like I said, was I grieved. I cried a lot. I stayed in bed a lot. It was like I would have qualified for dysthymia or a subset of depression. Everything, there was less color. The bird's song was less vibrant for me. I was always in a low mood. And really, it was almost the entire summer, I was just down because I felt like a part of me had died. And I laugh, and I bring that up as a first action step, because I do think that it is very important that whenever there is a big change, that you acknowledge that there's been a loss. So if you are going through a divorce, or you are going through a career change, or your children are now adults and they're growing, they're leaving the house. These are all monumental and can be cataclysmic events in your life. And what I think society would have us Well, maybe not society, but I'll say that the tendency for the individual is not to feel like they are burdening anyone else. So we tend to harbor these feelings. We tend to not talk about them at all.


That I never felt sad, that I just left my marriage and I just knew it was the right thing. It's like anybody who's ever gone through a divorce knows how emotionally traumatic that might be or grieving the children leaving the home. I mean, some people might say, Yay, my home is my birds have flown the nest. But there's also a grieving that takes place in terms of a loss of a role of being the caregiver, the primary caregiver. So that was the first thing I did, and I actually let myself sit in it for a while. I gave myself permission to grieve the loss of that identity for myself. And then, I'll call that, even though it was summertime, it was like my winter. There was like a creative void. Everything felt dead for me. I didn't want to do anything. I didn't want to go out. I didn't know what to do with myself. And then slowly, as I processed that part of my identity, I started thinking about what follows winter, spring, I started thinking about and planting some of the seeds of what I would like to be doing. And one of those things, as I mentioned, was the podcast.


The other thing that I have always wanted to do and ended up following through on it was write a book. And so these are things that extraordinary time commitments that just weren't possible with running a clinic. So the first action item was the grieving. And then as I allowed myself to work through and metabolize all of those feelings over several weeks, it was starting to think about and plant the creative seeds of, Okay, what's next? So what's now and what's next? So now I have the freedom of time, and what do I actually want to be creating with this time? And the first thing I did was the podcast, as I I mentioned. And then I published my book in '21, so that would have been two years later. So it took 18 months or so to write the book and reference the book. And you just published passion struck, you know what it's like to do Bring a book into the world. So it's like an 18 to 24 month process. So I wrote the book in about 18 months. The editing, the promo, all that stuff came out in February 2021. And yeah, so that was the first part of your question.


And then the second part was, did anybody I get in my way or were there any naysayers? And I would say, I'm trying to recall, I am fairly good at keeping a... I have always known that there are going to be people who are cheering for you, who are really cheering for you, and there's other people who are going to be saying that they're cheering for you, but they're just leaning in whenever there's some juicy gossip or something like that. So I've always been relatively good at keeping a relatively tight inner circle. So I didn't have anybody telling me necessarily that my head was in the clouds, or you're just dreaming, or you should never... If anything, the person who was getting in my way was probably me. My own self-doubt, who am I to start? Does the world really need another podcast? I was saying this in 2019, it's even more apparent now in 2024. But at the time, I was like, Do we really need another podcast? It was like 700,000 of them. What am I going to uniquely bring to the table? So there wasn't any other individual, probably other than myself, questioning the value that I could bring, and could I actually move the needle with any of the endeavors that I was dreaming about?


And I ended up deciding that, yes, I do have something unique to say. I do think that I have a unique position. Am I the first person to ever talk about menstrual cycles for women? No. Will I be the last? No. But I think that when we can see a similar idea filtered through different individuals and their own lived experiences, I think we have the opportunity to learn from them, which is why I love that you shared your story of brain injury, because someone might not go through a basement window and have speech impediments following, but they can reflect on their own experience and find commonalities and similarities in those experiences to help them relate to themselves better and to their world around them.


Yeah. Well, thank you for sharing that. And something I thought I found interesting about your background is I've been friends with a gentleman named Mark He's been running off for 25 years now. Mark was a senior executive at Oracle. Many people thought he would eventually replace Larry Ellison, but he also felt this apathy or indifference to what he was doing He ended up taking a long vacation in Hawaii. While he was there, he found this calling that he wanted to solve this new thing he discovered, cloud computing. I understand if I have the timing right, that when you taking this period of time off, you went to Italy.


Yes, I did. I took my kids to Italy. I've talked about this in the book. For my whole life, I struggled with, not my whole life, but all the years that I've been menstruating, I've struggled with it. So the week before, lots of PMS, lots of moodiness, lots of water retention, cramping. And then, of course, the week of bleed week has always traditionally been very difficult for me, usually on very heavy medication for several days. And it's interesting, your friend Mark Benioff. I took my kids to Italy that summer, so that summer of grieving, if you will, took the kids for a vacation, and we were there for about three weeks. Lots of, as you do in Italy, lots of walking, lots of sight seeing, lots of gelato, lots of pizza, all the things. And while I was there, we were there for three weeks. I had my cycle, my period the last week that we were there, and it was wonderful. There was no cramping, there was no PMs. I didn't need to take medication. I joke about this in the book, and I say, you could make the argument that everything is better in Italy, right?


Like the food is better, the weather is better, the language is beautiful. But the constant is that it's still my body. My body in the environment in Toronto, Canada, running the clinic and the stress that may be that ensues versus being in a place where I'm getting lots of natural sunlight, lots of low-grade activity all day long, enjoying time with my family. So I really... And again, when I came back to Toronto, I said, Okay, so it's the same body, right? So my body in Toronto is the same body that that travel to got on the plane and was in Italy. So what were some of the circumstances that brought about this change. And so I wanted to, when I came back to Toronto and figuring out what I was going to be doing, how could I continue to have that experience? And so started changing the way that I eat and started changing the way that I train and started really doubling down on stress management. So all of these different things started the process for me of developing the framework that I eventually wrote a book on, which is that the tagline, if you will, of the book is like, women are not small men.


We're not little men with pesky hormones. We do function on a different rhythm. We do have certain hormones run on circadian, like daily rhythms. But for women, there's also monthly rhythms. Our reproductive cycle is by far the most obvious differentiator between men and I'm in, and I talk about the hormonal shifts and changes. And that was born, that really started from my trip in Italy, because I knew that if I could feel so awesome and get my period in Italy and not feel like I'd been knocked over by a truck, I could also do that in North America. Maybe it's an Italy thing. Maybe there's a part of it that's just Italy is fabulous and it's amazing. But also I can also recreate those conditions in my everyday life in Toronto and make it just as wonderful.


Yeah. Well, thank you for sharing that.


I think it's an interesting experience. Thank you for having the conversation and not turning green because some men are like, Oh, no. She's talking about that. So thank you for that. I appreciate your... I feel safe to express that with you.


I've lived in Spain for three years, and I just found over there in Southern Europe, the way that you eat is just completely different. Never did I go to a supermarket and buy a week long list of groceries. You got everything fresh the same day.


For the day, yeah.


I've been to Italy probably 20 times. One of my favorite areas of the country is Pulia, which is heel. Similar to you, when you're down there, it's just like time is on a different dimension in the way that they live their lives. I think over here in North America, so many of us live to work. And over there, I was constantly told by my Spanish friends, We work to live. And there's a huge difference.


And even some of the things that we had here versus there, like Italians and Spanish and the Portuguese notoriously eat really late at night. They're all so... They do so well. They age beautifully. I mean, there's many different reasons for it. I have many theories, but you were going to ask me a question, and I interrupted you. What were you going to say?


No, I was just saying during this trip to Italy, you began to realize the impact of menstrual cycles on productivity, mood, and health. You're talking to many of your female patients about their challenges with weight loss, drive. The name of your book is The Betty Body. But in addition to that, I just wanted to call out your presence on Medium, because if I have it right, your stories have been viewed now four million plus times, which is pretty impressive. Where I wanted to go with this is maybe a little bit more in-depth into your book. One of the things that you embrace is the importance of understanding the body's cyclical nature through all stages of life, including the often misunderstood transitions into perimenopause and menopause. How has recognizing and respecting these hormonal ebbs and flows influenced your own personal journey, especially when you wrote the book and now?


Oh, wow. The biggest thing, I would say in my research, in developing some of the protocols that I have is, and it might sound really funny, but forgiveness. Allowing, forgiving myself and giving myself grace and permission to not always be hunting and achieving and pounding the pavement and hustling because I'm just not built like that. And this for me really shows up. And I'll say in the vein of transparency and truth, I still struggle with it, but I'm much better at it today than I was five years ago or even 10 years ago. But there's times in my cycle when I'm at the gym and I could be perfectly, I could sleep perfectly, I could be perfectly fueled. All the conditions are perfect for having a great workout, and I don't. And part of it, oftentimes, is like, Where am I in my cycling? And, Oh, yeah, I'm day 25. That's why, that's why, that's why. It explains things for me when I would otherwise jump to blaming myself, when I would otherwise jump to the inner voice that would say, Why can't just freaking do the squat that you were doing. Just do the workout that you did last time.


Just punch it out and stop being such a ninny and just get it done. And so understanding the ebbs and flows, the energy shift, the mood shift, even sleep and the way that our sleep changes over the course of the cycle, which I talk a lot about in the book, has given me almost like a roadmap to understand when I don't feel like working out. Now, do I always feel terrible on day 25 of my No. But when I do, it gives me the grace and the permission to say, Okay, maybe this is just what it is this month. And there's maybe a softness is what I'm trying to get at. There's a softness that has developed from understanding how I can't always be pedal to the metal, going, going, going, all 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 29 and a half days a month.


I know we'll have men listening to this, so I want to jump back into a question for men, which would be, if your partner is going through this period, a lot of times we want to abhorate the person because we think they're going crazy or something else. How can we be more supportive and empathetic to our partners.


Oh, I love this. So for the three men that are still listening because they've been talking about my period, I'll say this. My work is, I said, it's skews for women, but it's also for the men who love them, right? There's nothing more powerful and dare I say sexy, than a man who understands his woman's cycle and who knows how to respond to her. So I would say both of you learning together what some of the changes might look like and have the flexibility of thought and the flexibility in your approach to know that, Hey, maybe you both, you were going to do something together, and maybe she's now not in the mood for it, or she's tired or whatever, understanding that it's not her being lazy or her going crazy, that there are, and certainly in perimenopause, we know that there are neurological changes that are happening in the brain. There's a pruning that's happening for a woman's life. She dedicates a lot of her neural resources to caregiving, raising her children. So through In pregnancy, we've all heard of baby brain. You give birth to the baby, and then all you can think about is the child.


That part of that is a neurological, it's a survival mechanism to benefit the baby so that the mom is tuning in to the emotional and physical needs of the child. In perimenopause, most of us have passed our fertile, or we are hopefully past our reproductive window, and the body recognizes that and starts pruning. So you start to see things like brain fog, forgetfulness, We're getting words, constant confusion. In some cases, it can actually look a little bit like a post-concussion syndrome. So we get constant confusion. We're like, what's that word again? It's that retrieval because there's a redistribution of priorities in the female brain through her 40s and 50s and beyond. So we have neurological changes. Obviously, we have changes in body composition. Hormones are declining. So it can be rough for a woman. And I think that if you have a man who understands it, supports and nourishes her and makes her feel safe, that she is free to be whoever she wants. And maybe this is like a bridging, a psychological maybe discussion or a societal or a relational discussion. But if a woman feels in her home with her partner, and maybe he doesn't jump to the, let me try and fix it, attitude, I think that there can be a beautiful harmony between men and women at any point in their relationship.


And if you haven't seen the video, it's not about the nail. Have you seen this video?


I have not.


Oh, my goodness. So if you can put it in the show notes as a compendium for what I'm about to say. So I won't spoil it for you, but it's basically a man and a woman are having a discussion about a problem And she has a nail in her head. And there's literally a nail in her head, and she's like, Oh, and there's achiness, and it's snagging all my sweaters, and it feels awful. And he's like, Well, why don't you just take out the nail? So he jumps to trying to fix the problem. And she's like, oh, you're always trying to fix things. I just want to talk about how I feel. So it's a really funny banter between how men approach problems, which is like, let me jump in and fix it so we don't have this problem anymore. And women who tend to want to marinate in our feelings a little bit. We want to tell you how the nail feels in our head, and it feels achy, and it's snagging all my sweaters, and I can't hug people without... It's so funny. But I think that it's a really clever video on how men and women can relationally be a little different to each other.


And then at the end of the video, he's like, Okay, tell me how it feels. It's just really funny, but it's a really nice explanation about how men and women can better understand each other. Women want to talk about our feelings first. We want to feel understood and heard. And then and only then are we ready to solve the problem. I want to talk to you about how I feel. And then once I know that you understood how I feel, then I'm ready to talk about solutions. Whereas men typically like, All right, here's a problem. I see here's solution A, B, and C. And I think both are beautiful, and we just have to understand how to talk to each other a little differently or understand our tendencies a little bit better.


Okay. And I want to ask another Another question that I think will be served for all audiences. You touched on this a little bit with what you were just saying with the nail representation. But sometimes I think we get symptoms that are impacting us, and we view them as things that are happening to us instead of for us. This is one of the things you've really explored, that if you start looking at symptoms are happening for you, it It creates a significant shift in mindset from nurturing rather than punishing your body. Can you talk a little bit about that philosophy?


Yeah. Thank you for bringing this up. I think when we think about any symptom, whether you're male or female, irrespective of age, symptoms are your body's language. In the way you and I are communicating right now, we're communicating in the language of English, and we are moving our mouths and making certain sounds, and the vocal cords are contract. So we can communicate, you and I, communicate verbally. Your body doesn't have... Your pancreas doesn't have a mouth. Your liver doesn't have a mouth. So your body is going to try and talk to you, if you will, through the language of symptoms. Problems when there's something off. Now, of course, that's not true. I do want to say that that's not true in all cases. So one of the things we know is being 16 years of pain can be nonspecific pain can refer. So you can have pain in the shoulder, but it can actually mean something is viscerally... Some What is going on with an organ? So it's not always a perfect nature has not derived the mechanism to 100% be able to communicate perfectly in all things. Another example would be cancer. Cancer is pretty silent in most cases.


But when you are experiencing a symptom, like many of them that I've described in perimenopause, the brain fog, the energy, the water retention, the body composition changes, these are just ways that your body is trying to talk to you. So rather than, as you said, being punitive and saying, God, what is wrong? I am broken. This stupid body is not doing what I want, instead being more of an agent for change for yourself. So what does the symptom mean? And what can I do about it that's within my control? There's going to be some things that you cannot do, but there are going to be, I can assure you, specifically with metabolism and body composition and aging, there are several things that are within your control. There are many levers that you can pull: resistance training, nutrition, stress management, relational health, emotional health. These are all things that are well within your control. And so when we start to look at symptoms as acting in your body's way of sending you a text and saying, Hey, girl, or, Hey, guy, something's a little bit off. I just need you to pay a little bit more attention to me.


I think that that's a better way to look at symptoms rather than my body's falling apart. I am I've turned 40, and now all I'm doing is I'm disintegrating into a pile of a mess. I think that that's a better way to look at it. It also gives you agency, because now you can say, what's the problem and what am I going to do about it? Maybe the do about it is I'm going to go on hormone replacement therapy, or maybe the do about it, if you're a man, maybe I need testosterone replacement therapy, or maybe I need to get myself a gym membership, or maybe I need to download a breathwork app, something, right? So the symptom is is often your body trying to let you know that homeostasis, that balance, that you are out of balance. It doesn't mean that you are out of balance forever. It just means you're out of balance right now. So what are some of the action items that you can do to bring you back to that state where things are in balance.


One of the things that I love that you talk about, and you've touched upon it a couple of times now, is that during the menstrual cycle, women can change the way that they're viewing it to become a reflective period, as you put it, for stress management and life adjustments, which is pretty revolutionary. How has this practice of introspection and adjustment impacted women who you have worked with? And what are some things that a listener could do today to put this into practice for themselves?


The number one thing I hear from the women that have either been in my... They've been patients of mine, they've been private clients of mine, et cetera, is that nobody ever told them about... I have women that are mid-fourties, deep in perimenopause, and no one ever told them about their cycle and how they can feel different. So I would say that the number One thing, if you are a woman or you are a man who loves a woman who's still cycling or she's in perimenopause or around that menopause transition, is for her to track her cycle. However erratic it might be, it's just a data It's just a baseline. If you've never done it before, you just need some data. You need to understand how often you're cycling, if you're still regular, how long is it, what's your flow like when you do get your period, do you know, can you feel when you're ovulating, do you have any spotting? There's so many different things, information that you can begin to accumulate so that when you now go to your primary health care provider, you can arm them with the same information. So many women...


We only have about the medical system is flawed. I have many colleagues who are medical doctors, love and respect them and revere their profession. And the way that it's set up is not for... They don't have 45 minutes to sit and chat with you. You have maybe 10. So you have to be able to present them with the information in a succinct way. You need to be able to say, Listen, for the past couple of years, my cycle has been 29 and a half days on the dot. And over the last several months, now it's at 26. And this is how my length has changed, my bleed week has changed. You need to be to give them that information because that's also going to color in their understanding of what's happening for you as well. So that would be the number one feedback that I've received from women is the data is so powerful. It informs their own And I've mentioned it briefly before that the data has given me permission to have a little bit more grace with myself and have a little bit more forgiveness with myself. And it can also help inform your health care.


So you can bring this data to your primary health care provider and talk to them about some of the things that are happening. And you are now going to, by default, get better care, hopefully, because now your primary has more information to deal with. So that's the number one thing. I would say, and I detail this a lot in the Betty body. So for listeners who are wanting more details, certainly you can pick up the book for more information. But over the course of the cycle, and this is part of your original question, usually in the second half of the cycle, so the luteal phase, so after the woman ovulates, and particularly in the mid-third and into the fourth week, we tend to be... Women can be more sensitive in that week. So I will make a joke and I'll say, Every four weeks, my husband's chewing bothers me. And I'm just more sensitive. I'll look over at him. I'm like, Do you always chew this loud? And every four weeks, it's a predictable pattern. Just my sensitivity to to noise. I'm much more of a sensitive person. And of course, as soon as I get my period, I'm like, Oh, it wasn't his chewing.


It was just where I was in my cycle, and hang my head. So I say that as a joke, but also If you find yourself in that fourth week ruminating on, maybe it's not as simple as your husband's chewing is bothering you. Maybe there is an issue in your relationship that it continues to exist despite having conversations or despite trying to address it. This is another way that your body is telling you in the next cycle of your life, this piece, this particular piece, you should try to work on it and try to resolve it. So that might be a call that you're not having with your mother. That could be something that your friend said or continues to say to you that hurts your feelings. It could be something going on with your child, et cetera, et cetera. So that time, it's like the middle of the third week to the middle the fourth week, we are a little bit more, and I'll say, exquisitely sensitive to stressors and unresolved items. So it's a beautiful time rather than rolling our eyes and being like, Oh, it's that time of month again, actually to quiet the mind a little bit and to listen to what are some of the things that are coming up so that you can begin to address them in the next cycle, literally, or in the coming months.


Well, thank you for that, Stephanie. And I'm I'm going to switch gears on you a little bit. Last year, I got to interview a dear friend of mine, Emily Morse. I have to tell you, as I was approaching this interview, and for the listener who doesn't know who she is, she hosts the most popular sex podcast. It's called Sex with Emily. She's probably one of the longest-standing podcasters that I know. I think she's been doing it almost 20 years now. Last year, she was inducted into the podcast Hall of Fame.


Twenty years Oh, my gosh. Good for you, Dr. Emily. That's amazing.


She talks about the health benefits that come with sex, and it's something that you explore in the book as well. Can you give maybe the listeners some idea of the importance of female health and well-being of having a good sex life?


Sure. Yeah. I would say that it's a cornerstone to health and well-being for women in the same way that it is for men. So when we are connected Connected with our partners, we release, and particularly if you are able to experience an orgasm when you are having sex with your partner, you're going to release, and even if you don't, you'll release oxytocin, which is really important. It's the love hormone, right? It's the bonding hormone. It's the same hormone that mothers experience when they're breastfeeding their children or when they have children. So we feel bonded and we feel safe with our partners. Oxy tocin does a myriad of other beautiful things in the brain, drives up dopamine, drives types of serotonin, which we all... And those things also decline with age, but dopamine very famously is involved in the pursuit of things and the pursuit of success. Serotonin is in the pleasure of receiving. It's what we feel after we've had a nice meal. We feel warm and fuzzy. That's part of that serotonin. So oxytocin, of course, is driven up. Our hormones actually are very... There's a balancing effect. So if you are someone who deals Just with PMS, as we've been describing, having regular sex with your partner, and particularly, orgasmic sex, is going to help.


It has a balancing effect on your hormone, and specifically, your reproductive hormone, so your estrogen and your progesterone. In your testosterone. Great for mood, great for skin. You have that post-glow, that postquoitus glow, if you will. Everything is just, I wrote an article on this on Medium around how an orgasm for a woman lights up her brain almost like a Christmas tree. You can actually see the brain light up. And so there's more activation, there's more blood flow. It's great for your heart. All of these different health benefits. And I will just say with heart health, women don't pay nearly enough attention to it. It's the number one killer for women. We always think about breast cancer as the thing that we're most scared of. And of course, that is a scary disease, but it pales in comparison to the amount of deaths that we see from cardiovascular disease in women. So doing things that are great for the heart, sex sex would be one of them, and things like resistance exercise training and cardio and all that. But certainly the benefits of having a sexual relationship with your partner is going to impart. I don't even think that we know the full extent of it Because I think that whenever we're thinking about health, we think about, Okay, what's the diet look like?


What's the calories look like? What's the fitness and the movement look like? What's the stress management? Those are things, of course, our main pillars of health, but we don't actually talk about sex. And even in practice, it was only after I had developed a significant amount of rapport with my patients where they might say, Doc, you know how I was telling you that I came in for pelvic pain? Well, it was really because I couldn't do a certain position with my partner because my hips would hurt too much or whatever. But now you've helped me resolve that. So people don't want to talk about it because there's a lot of shame. And it's also very difficult to just talk to your doctor or whatever about it. But just know if you read my book or Emily Morse would be another great resource, some of the benefits of having sex are going to impact your brain. They're going to impact your metabolism, your heart health, your overall physiology. I mean, it's just like, I'm sure you know, when you finish a really good resistance training workout, your mother, Theresa. The world is brighter. You'll give to someone who wants to...


It's going to come up and ask you for money. You just feel so good after a great training session. The same is true after a really great romp with your partner. Everything is better. Everything is more colorful. The lights are brighter, colors are more vivid. And I think that we do need to be paying more attention to the sexual health of our women. And I would argue that orgasm in particular is more important for women. I don't want to say more, but I'll say, let me take that back. I'll say that for women, it's as many orgasms as you can get. Like, the more orgasms that you're having, the better off you're going to be. And that may be the same or different for men. I don't know. But I'll say that for women, there's no downside to having more. Okay.


And then the last thing I wanted to explore with you was the interplay between hormonal health and mental well-being. And how can women address this connection to improve their overall quality of life?


Yeah. I would say that they're very intimately connected. We typically see a lot in the perimenopausal and menopausal years. While we don't necessarily see a change in metabolism, we do see these declining sex hormones, right? So we see declining levels of estradiol and testosterone and progesterone. And this This can all affect our mental health and well-being. For example, I remember a couple of years ago now, I had a private client that I was working with, and she runs a very successful business. She was saying that she used to walk into a meeting with her team. She would just make the decision. They would come to her with problems. She'd be able to say, This is the problem. This is how we're going to solve it. Very commanding, very decisive individual. And then she started going through paramedical menopause and menopause. And all of a sudden, she felt like a mouse. She felt anxious. She didn't feel like she could make good decisions. Her risk, her tolerance for risk started changing. She wasn't sure if she was doing the right thing. She just felt like she wasn't herself. And part of that is declining testosterone. So obviously, testosterone is famous in men, and we talk about it in terms of libido and muscle mass.


But there are receptors in the brain for testosterone, just like there are receptors in the brain for estrogen. And confidence and risk tolerance, in part, are influenced. It's personality-driven to one extent, but it's also influenced by testosterone. And so as a woman, we see declining levels over time of our testosterone if we're not being strategic about resistance training and meals and things like that, and maybe even hormonal replacement therapy. And that can really affect our outlook on life. We can feel scared. We can feel more anxious. The same is true with estrogen. We have receptors for estrogen all over the body, including the brain. And so you can feel as your estrogen levels are declining, you can start to feel more moody, you can feel more sad. You can feel, again, like there's that overlap with anxiety, and you can start to feel just not yourself. And part of that is the neurological pruning that I was touching on before. But it's also in part due to the declining levels of estradiol that we have as a natural consequence of aging. So I think thinking about our mental health impairment, and so many women, and I'll also say this, Because many women will go to their doctor saying, I feel sad, I feel depressed, I feel anxious.


And many in perimenopause is still this state where most providers don't know what to do. So they'll walk out with a prescription for an antidepressant or an anti-oxalytic, which is like an anti-anxiety medication when maybe what they actually needed was some hormone therapy. Maybe they needed to replace the lost estrogen or the lost testosterone or the lost progesterone that they've been experiencing. So I think that it's, and certainly I'm not trying to undermine if anybody's on an antidepressant or anti-anxiety medication. I'm not saying that that's not the right thing for you. What I am asking you to consider is that it might not be a mental issue. It might be that you are now in a hormone-deprived environment. You are in an estrogen-deprived and/or testosterone-deprived environment, and that might be a better solution potentially for you, or it It might be something that goes alongside with an antidepressant. But just know that your hormones, there are hormone receptors all over the body, including the brain, and they absolutely affect your mental health and your outlook on life.


Well, Dr. Stephanie, thank you so much for that and for everything that you've discussed here today. We've talked about your podcast. We've talked about the book. If someone wants to learn more about you, where is the best place for all things, Stephanie?


It's so generous of you. Thank you. So I I would say the free options would be the podcast. The podcast is called Better with Dr. Stephanie, which is just my philosophy on life. I don't think we need to be the best. I just think we just want to try to be better. So Better with Dr. Stephanie, another free way to interact with me is a newsletter. I have a newsletter that I send out every week. It's called the Mini Pause. So a little play on the word menopause. So it's basically a weekly roundup of the best science and action items for women who are 40 plus. So newsletter, podcast, and I I guess the other place would be Instagram. I try to be as active as I can on Instagram. I don't always... But I try to post at least a couple of times a week there, so you can see some content that I put out there as well.


Okay. Well, Stephanie, thank you so much for joining us. It was such an honor to have you, and it was great seeing you again.


It was wonderful seeing you, too. Thank you so much for having me. It was a delight.


I thoroughly enjoyed that interview with Dr. Stephanie, and I wanted to thank Stephanie for joining us on today's program. Links to all things Dr. Stephanie will be in the show notes at passion struck. Com. Videos are on YouTube at both our main channel, John R. Miles, and our Clips channel at passion struck Clips. Go there and join over 250,000 other subscribers. Advertiser deals and discount codes are in one convenient place at passion struck. Com/deals. Please support those who support the show. If you want to catch daily doses of passion struck inspiration, then go and join me on all the social media platforms at John R. Miles. And if you want our weekly dose of inspiration, you can sign up for our newsletter, Liveintentionally@passion struck. Com. You're about to hear a preview of the passion struck podcast interview that I did with Michael Norton, a renowned Harvard Business School professor and co-author of the new book Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending. And in this interview, you can discover how our spending choices can bring us joy and satisfaction and learn practical insights on how to transform your financial habits. When we do invest ourselves in making things, we do come to value them more highly.


I think a similar logic happens with rituals as well, which is it's not that Things that are built for us aren't great. They can be fantastic.


I don't know how to build a car, so I need to buy a car that's already made.


But we can also do things ourselves on the fly. And those rituals, I think, are interesting also. When we put ourselves into them, literally invest ourselves into them, they can have a different special meaning for us that can be really valuable. The fee for this show is that you share it with family or friends when you find something useful or interesting. If you know someone who could use Dr. Stephanie's words of wisdom from today, then definitely share this episode with them. The greatest compliment that you can give us is to share the show with those that you love and care about. In the meantime, do your best to apply what you hear on the show so that you can live what you listen. Until next time, go out there and become passion struck.-struck..