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[EXPLICIT] Episode 33: Cortisol, Boundaries, and Menopause...Oh My!

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“If you can create better boundaries to just slow down a little bit, it is crazy how everything else will feel so much more amazing,” shares Stephanie Fusnik, nutrition coach. Stephanie saw through her medical schooling and career that there were large gaps in the way the healthcare system approaches physical rehabilitation, chronic disease, and weight loss. In particular, her older female clients were struggling to lose weight or improve their health based on their doctor’s recommendations that were not taking into consideration the impact of hormones on metabolism. Stephanie soon realized that by teaching perimenopausal and menopausal women about the role of hormones like cortisol in their bodies, her clients finally saw noticeable results not only in weight loss, but also overall quality of life.

Once perimenopause and menopause begin, women’s bodies no longer can handle stress in the same way that they were able to before. Cortisol levels increase and stay high rather than returning to normal, because there is a lack of hormonal buffers like estrogen and progesterone that would typically help with controlling them. When cortisol levels are high, women experience increased brain fog, weight gain, digestive problems, and trouble sleeping. Learning to implement and uphold boundaries in order to reserve time and energy for yourself to not get overly stressed is pivotal for helping lower cortisol levels. With proper boundaries and an understanding of how hormones impact overall health and metabolism, it is possible to repair your relationship with your newly changed body. 


Perimenopause and menopause cause large changes in the way women’s bodies work. The shifts in hormones cause increased cortisol, slower metabolism, and in turn an increase in a variety of other health issues. Tune into this week’s episode of The Catalyst to learn more about the impact of menopause on the body, why boundaries are so important for overall health, and how nutrition plays a role in managing hormones.

About Stephanie Fusnik, BSc & MSc Kin, DOMP, Nutrition Coach:

Stephanie has worked in the health and fitness industry since 2013 first as a personal trainer, and then as an exercise and neurokinetic therapist, manual osteopathic therapist, and nutrition coach. She found as she progressed through her education and career that there were huge gaps in the health care system and the way it approached not only physical rehabilitation but also chronic disease and weight loss.

After working with clients who were “doing everything right” by “eating less and moving more” yet still not getting the results they should, she really dove into the roles of hormones and metabolism. Then she realized that her female clients going through peri menopause (and onwards) had different struggles and that hormones, cortisol, and metabolism were the most important things to address for not only weight loss but increased quality of life as well! She grew tired of hearing that women would go to their doctors saying that they felt like their bodies were being taken over by aliens, they did not feel like themselves anymore, and that they were really struggling with their weight yet all they were told to do was to eat less, move more, and that it was just “how things are now”.

She became passionate about empowering women, by educating them on how their bodies change during this time in their lives so they can finally reach their health and fitness goals, live a life full of vitality and feel in control and at home in their bodies again.

Stephanie Fusnik MSc. Kin, BSc. Kin NSCA – CSCS CSEP – CEP&HPS Neurokinetic Therapist – Level 3 NCI Nutrition Coach Level 1 MOCC – MOTD LCO – DOMP

In This Episode We're Talking About:

  • What actually happens hormonally during menopause (estrogen and progesterone changes)
  • How cortisol will influence hormonal changes (resulting in weight gain/struggling to lose weight) and how to combat it.


  • “There’s not enough information on this out there because lots of studies are done on men, and the whole fasting thing, and not eating your carbs, and eating low calorie, and those things don’t work anymore.” (5:04-5:13 | Stephanie)


  • “To dismiss someone’s health concerns is one of the most disrespectful things you could ever do.” (7:25-7:29 | Stephanie)


  • “Stress is stress. And you get the same response whether it’s good or bad, your body doesn’t give a shit. So then we go through these hormonal changes. And typically before, we can handle it okay, because we have hormonal buffers like estrogen, progesterone, they all help us deal with that kind of stuff. As soon as we go through peri-menopause, and menopause, and those things drop, our body cannot handle that stress anymore.” (10:13-10:34 | Stephanie)


  • “If you can create better boundaries to just slow down a little bit, it is crazy how everything else will feel so much more amazing.” (15:56-16:04 | Stephanie)


  • “You’re supposed to be selfish in certain aspects of your life. If you’re not taking care of yourself, or doing things that you love, and you’re not happy, that will bleed into all your relationships.” (17:15-17:24 | Stephanie) 


  • “Just because you’re not scheduled for something doesn’t mean you’re available.” (19:53-19:57 | Stephanie)

Links for this Episode:

Connect with Stephanie Fusnik:

Connect with Dr. Lara Salyer:

Thank You For Listening!

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About The Catalyst Host, Dr. Lara Salyer:

I worked as a family physician for 15 years until burnout changed the trajectory of my career. I realized I wanted to start a holistic functional medicine practice in my rural hometown and made it happen. In addition to practicing functional medicine, I now mentor practitioners who are looking to change their paths in healthcare by using what I refer to as the “Catalyst Roadmap”. I share each step of this framework with listeners so that they may apply it to their careers, relationships, personal goals, and projects. 

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