I knew Judy for 8 or so years both personally and professionally. Professionally, she was a Callanetics teacher for many many years. You’re likely not familiar with Callanetics. It’s a series of exercises put together by Callan Pinckney (back in the 60’s) that promotes deep muscle tone throughout the entire body increasing flexibility, strength and improving posture.
Judy lived in Portland, Oregon and whenever I would go there, we would get together. The first time we met, every day for a week I went to her studio to take a class with her and watch her work. We hit it off right away for many reasons, one of which was our mutual enthusiasm for effective and efficient movement and our commitment to encouraging people to live abundant and healthy lives. Judy had a great sense of humor which came in very handy, especially while watching me attempt the Callanetic movements!
We met many times and corresponded by email. Both she and her husband were always very supportive of me, my work, and of the Joyinmovement newsletter.
Judy always sparkled. She laughed easily and had a wonderful zest for life. Being that she was 14 years older than me, I saw her as a role model, and I still do. It gave me comfort knowing that Judy was in her corner of the world, still after all these years, with such grand enthusiasm for her life’s work, making a contribution to the students who sought her out. When people ask me how I keep such energy and joy for the work I do after all these years (30+ in the health and fitness field), I think to myself, you should meet Judy Mooser!
Judy was 71 when she passed away. When I told a friend about Judy’s passing she said, “In a way, Judy’s story is the one we all don’t want to hear because she had done everything to take care of herself and still died too young.” Hearing that made me pause, yet there is another way to look at it.
None of us know when or how we’ll die, but each and every day we make choices about how to live. That’s all we can do. I have a sense that even if Judy knew how it would turn out, she wouldn’t have lived her life differently. I’m like Judy. I hedge my bets and am more concerned with my day to day life; how I feel, how much energy I have for the things in life that matter to me, and how much spirited encouragement I can bring to my students, clients, friends and family.
So I hope this month you’ll do what you can to hedge your bets! Keep moving, keep laughing and keep feeling the blessings we receive from those that support us, move with us, and join us in creating our house of health and wellness! And thank you for allowing me the space and time to honor Judy. She will be missed by many! Please remember to read the interview below.
It’s fun to look into the life, even if only for a day, of a woman who is leading a healthy active lifestyle. These are women just like us who are faced with making the same choices we all face. We’ll see what motivates them and what words of wisdom and guidance they can offer us.
First up: Judy Mooser.
Shelli: Hi Judy. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Judy: Sure, Shelli. I am 68 years old. I’m attached to the age group that didn’t receive any information from our mothers regarding menopause, and pretty much followed doctor’s orders when issues arose.
Shelli: How old were you when you went through menopause and how long did it last?
Judy: I noticed the first signs of memopause at age 50 during the period of time when doctors were automatically putting menopausal patients on HRT. At that time my symptoms were slight — hot flashes, night sweats, irregular and scant periods. The HRT totally stopped all symptoms and I never had another period.
Nine years later (age 59) my doctor recommended that I abruply stop taking HRT stating, “You are past menopause so there’s no longer a need to continue HRT.”
I stopped, and within a few weeks developed full blown, very intense symptoms including hot flashes, night sweats, exhaustion, sleepless nights, low libido, difficulty focusing and increased body fat.
I tried to work through these symptoms for several months while reading up on my situation. I heard a Naturopathic doctor who specialized in women’s health give a talk and was impressed by what she had to say. I made an appointment with her and my life changed.
First of all, she said that abruptly stopping the HRT was not in my best interest and the doctor who told me to do so was obviously not up-to-date on women’s health matters.
She explained that stopping abruptly could cause bone loss as well as the unbearable symptoms I was having. She put me on a low dose of natural hormones which were compounded to address my individual symptoms and then slowly amended the prescription monthly as my symptoms calmed down. After about six months I was totally off HRT.
Shelli: Were you always someone even before menopause, who took good care of yourself and if so what motivated you?
Judy: I began to educate myself about proper nutrition when I was 24 years old and pregnant with my second child.
I have been physically active all my life, enjoying family hikes, canoeing, skiing and bicycling.
My main motivation to be fit and healthy was the enjoyment of being active, as well as the desire to give my children the best foundation possible for an active and healthy lifestyle. It worked well – they both continued to stay fit and eat right as they entered adulthood!
Shelli: Take us through your day, focusing on what self care practices you use.
I start my day with a substantial breakfast and try to eat five times a day. If I miss one of my meals, I find that I crave the types of food that I am trying to avoid. When this happens and I eat “outside the plan,” I enjoy it and feel no guilt because I have a 90% rule, making sure that 90% of the food I eat is of value to my body.
I take an assortment of supplements. The only drug I take is a low dosage aspirin. No other medications. I take all of my medical reports to my Naturopath for guidance.
I work mornings and evenings and try to take a 1-hour walk five times a week during the afternoon. My husband joins me and we walk briskly through the neighborhood, meeting dogs on walks, cats on patrol and lots of other walkers. I always feel better and have more energy after my walks. Having my husband along makes these outings lots of fun and full of joy, plus it’s an opportunity to catch up on each other’s day.
I know that I’m not getting enough aerobic exercise and have been pondering this for a while. I tend to over-extend myself with my work, although I enjoy every minute of it. I take on more than I should because I’m motivated to help people and help society.
I’m planning to correct this soon by taking up biking again. Due to my bulging discs, I have to be careful about what exercises I do, so walking and biking work well for me.
I workout 2-3 times a week with a mind/body exercise program. In addition to strengthing and stretching my body, it keeps my back in good working order and allows me to do a lot of things in my life that otherwise would not be possible.
I have had very good results from acupuncture including stress relief and amazing energy release from scars.
I get monthly pedicures just because they feel good and provide a great foot and leg massage.
The loss of estrogen causes us to lose the fat in our face (add it to our belly!!!) and the facial muscles drop. Therefore, I do facial exercises, which are very boring but very effective.
Shelli: What advice do you have for women entering/going through menopause?
I highly recommend that women who are entering menopause work with a Naturopathic doctor who specializes in women’s health. They will guide you on a natural path designed for you personally. They avoid using harmful drugs and instead work with natural products and supplements.
Women entering this phase of life today are very lucky because today’s resources for women include books, websites and lectures that are filled with information that was not available to me 20 years ago. Also, there are discussion groups that are helpful for some women who learn from sharing.
Continue to exercise and be sure you choose something you love to do. If you love it, you will find time for it.
Most of all, learn to accept and enjoy this phase of your life. It’s all part of life’s plan. The more accepting you are and calmer you are during this transition, the smoother your journey will be.
THANKS so much to Judy for sharing her experiences and ideas with us.