Are you feeling nervous about the changes that your body will go through later on in life? Have you been trying to fight your body’s natural changes to continue looking a certain way? Can you stop and think about how you can truly improve the relationship you have with your body? In this podcast episode, Dr. Cristina Castagnini speaks about perimenopause and how to navigate it intuitively with Kate Williams Stone.


Kate Williams Stone (she/her) is a non-diet health and life coach who helps women in perimenopause build confidence around food and feel good in their bodies so that they can feel amazing without the diet culture BS.

She uses the principles of Intuitive Eating coupled with hormone-honoring health habits as a powerful way to support women through the challenges of perimenopause. Her signature framework includes Mindful Eating, cyclical living, and normalizing body changes with feminist non-diet mindset coaching. Kate is a certified health and life coach (Health Coach Institute), with additional Intuitive Eating training with Stephanie Dodier (Going Beyond the Food Method) and Evelyn Tribole (co-creator of Intuitive Eating). She is also a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University from the prestigious Drama program (B.F.A). Visit Kate Williams Stone's website and connect on Instagram. FREEBIE: Non-diet Guide to Perimenopause


  • Bodily changes in women’s 40s are normal
  • Let go of trying to control everything
  • How dieting in your 40s disrupts your hormones even more
  • Health is more than just the physical
  • Living in sync with your cycle
  • Trust your instincts

Bodily changes in women’s 40s are normal

Women’s bodies often have so much shame already placed on them, no matter how they look and no matter how old or young they are.
There’s so much targeted marketing against women in their 40s, [like]; “Busting the muffin top” and “Banishing the meno-belly” and just demonizing the body changes … And coming from an eating disorder past, and being an intuitive eating coach, I’m like; “Oh no, we do not need more shame around our bodies.” (Kate Williams Stone)
The system is set up so that nothing is perfect or good enough so that services and products can be bought to make things “better”. Once you get out of that system and that mindset, you can shed those ideas around your body that keep you stuck in the cycle of constantly chasing something deemed “better”, and actually start living.

Let go of trying to control everything

So many women are often trying to control everything in their life, including their bodies. And so, when their body begins to change in their 40s after having been almost the same for maybe 20-odd years, it can feel disorientating. Many women react to their bodies naturally changing by forcing them to try to look the same, or as similar as they were before, which can end up harming their bodies in the long run since health is not dependent on size or shape. Not to mention that many women who are currently in their 40s lived through some of the worst of diet culture without any support or knowledge of what it was.
It makes perfect sense when you’ve been raised on diet culture, like the 90s … to then think, “Oh my god, my body is out of control right now, I better reign it in. I’ve got to control these things”, and we were sharing that research has shown recently that the times that women are most susceptible to eating disorders are in their teens … but also in their 40s. (Kate Williams Stone)
This urge to try to control the body and suppress or stop its changes can often lead to women resorting to eating disorder behaviors, which leaves their bodies suffering and their mental health ailing.

How dieting in your 40s disrupts your hormones even more

Kate talks about hormone-supporting habits, and how you can build a strong foundation for yourself that feels level while you are going through the hormonal transition of perimenopause. Hormone-balancing habits are buzzwords in the health industry at the moment, and Kate wants you to focus on supporting your hormones prior to balancing them.
Somehow women think they’re the ones responsible for managing all of the emotional life of the family and I think perimenopause can be a time where we find a new identity, a new behavior, and sometimes it has to come into this perfect storm … and feel really messy as we hit a bottom and then step into this new identity. (Kate Williams Stone)
Perimenopause is not a curse or something to be avoided, shut down, or pushed away. It is an entirely normal process for women as they reach their 40s, and it is a normal, natural part of life.
You’re going through a normal hormonal transition and stepping into the next chapter of being a “wise woman” … That’s what’s on the other side! (Kate Williams Stone)

Health is more than just the physical

Being “healthy” doesn’t just mean being physically healthy. It is also about your mental, emotional, and even spiritual health as well. Western cultures place more emphasis on the physical health aspect of the overall process of what health is in people, so the perimenopausal change is seen as a medical factor. However, it is a time of huge change for a woman. Perimenopause takes you from your young to mid-adult years into the next chapter of your life, and it can be a huge reckoning if you allow it to be. It can be a time of profound - good - change if you let it.
How am I going to take care of my total health? Not just my physical [health]. (Kate Williams Stone)

Living in sync with your cycle

Kate’s advice to all women is that if you are not already tracking your menstrual cycle, start now so that you know what your “standard” cycle is so that you have that information. Once it begins to change, you then will be able to see what is changing and where because you will learn so much more about your body and your hormones once you learn about and track your cycle.
You start to understand that your body performs differently with a different cognitive function, your emotions might change … You know, we know during the luteal phase which is like the PMS phase, people are more body-aware, that’s when the body dysmorphic thoughts can come up and the bad body image days. That [mental shift] is based in hormones! (Kate Williams Stone)
Once you enter into perimenopause, this cycle will change, and that is also normal. Having the data can help you to understand and make sense of the outliers as they come to pass.

Trust your instincts

Many doctors only get a minor education in perimenopause that they would have learned 10 to 30 years ago when they were studying, that’s why so many women get dismissed when they go to the doctor with their symptoms because it’s understudied. Unless a doctor specializes in perimenopause, it’s likely that they would dismiss a concerned woman since the symptoms could be attributed to so many things. If you are a woman over 40 and you are experiencing perimenopausal symptoms, assume it is, and find a specialized doctor to consult with if you would like to. Try this website to find one near you.
35 to 40 [for noticing] changes in symptoms and cycles. Your 28-day cycle is all of a sudden changing, either shorter or longer by a few days. Up to seven days would be early perimenopause, if it’s changing 60 days or more that would be considered later perimenopause. (Kate Williams Stone)
Women between the ages of 35 to 40 should be on the lookout for:
  • Changes in the days between their cycles
  • If there is a fluctuation in their menstrual flow and if it is getting heavier or lighter
  • Night sweats
  • Hot flashes
  • Mood changes
  • A change in weight but also a change in the weight distribution around the body
If you want to learn more about the changes that can happen in your body, check out Kate’s guide.
You may be the same number on the scale but just your body distribution has changed, and that is normal … It’s actually so amazing. The reason your body is hanging onto more fat is because it wants more estrogen. Estrogen is retained in our fat cells, so as we’re producing less estrogen, the body is so smart and [decides to] hang onto more fat to retain estrogen which protects your bones and your brain and all these amazing things. (Kate Williams Stone)
What diet culture has demonized is actually your body protecting you and caring for you in so many ways.



  I am a licensed Psychologist and Certified Eating Disorder Specialist. While I may have over 20 years of clinical experience, what I also have is the experience of having been a patient who had an eating disorder as well. One thing that I never had during all of my treatment was someone who could look me in the eye and honestly say to me "Hey, I've been there. I understand". Going through treatment for an eating disorder is one of the hardest and scariest things to do. I remember being asked to do things that scared me. Things I now know ultimately helped me to get better. But, at the time, I had serious doubts and fears about it. If even one of my providers had been able to tell me "I know it's scary, but I had to go through that part too. Here's what will probably happen...." then perhaps I would not have gone in and out of treatment so many times. My own experience ultimately led me to specialize in treating eating disorders. I wanted to be the therapist I never had; the one who "got it". I will be giving you my perspective and information as an expert and clinician who has been treating patients for over 2 decades. But don't just take my word for it...keep listening to hear the truly informative insights and knowledge guest experts have to share. I am so happy you are here!


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