Understanding Challenges & Opportunities In Dealing With Menopause With Dr. Marie Agnew

Episode #779

Are you prepared to navigate the challenges of menopause alongside your partner?

In this engaging conversation with Dr. Maria Agnew, DNP, a Functional Medicine practitioner, explore the intricacies of menopause and its impact on women’s emotional well-being.

Wondering about the role of nutrition in this phase? Uncover the surprising links between processed foods, hidden sugars, and hormonal changes, and learn practical steps to transform your family’s pantry for optimal health.

How can you proactively support your partner during menopause? Dr. Maria Agnew, DNP, provides insights into fostering open communication and understanding the emotional shifts women often experience. Discover the importance of addressing identity changes and learn actionable steps to cultivate a positive self-narrative for both you and your partner.

In this episode, gain valuable knowledge about finding a practitioner focused on root cause healing, optimizing nutrition, and promoting overall well-being during the transformative phase of menopause.

Hungry for more?

Head over to our BONUS page for special access to some of the deeper tactics and techniques we’ve developed at The Powerful Man.

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Doug Holt  00:00

Hey guys, welcome back to another episode of the TPM Show. We had such a great episode just before with Dr. Marie Agnew that we asked her to stay. The conversations off camera were amazing, and I begged her to stay and so she’s here with us. If you haven’t gone back and seen the previous episode, please do so. Dr. Marie Agnew is a functional medicine doctor. She’s got a special clinic here right inside of Bend, Oregon, Central Oregon, where I’m located. She’s worked with not only myself, but with members of our Inner Circle, which is one of our highest level mastermind groups. But she also works with men and women all over the US.

And I will tell you a little secret, we had some guys from the UK and Canada here for the last event, and she was able to help them out too. But we started having some great conversations off camera, and that she was willing to stay and continue to these on camera as well. So thank you so much for sticking around.

Dr. Marie Agnew  00:50

Yeah, happy to.

Doug Holt  00:51

Yeah. So one of the things that we were talking about off camera, is we started doing a little bit of a deeper dive into polarity, but also menopause, peri-menopause, we talked about in the previous episode just a little bit and touched base. So I want to do a little bit more of a deep dive into those subjects.

Dr. Marie Agnew  01:06

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, there’s so much to talk about, there’s so much to say. I see women oftentimes in one of those pre-menopausal years, which is kind of usually about 10 years or so before menopause actually occurs. And we were talking about last time how menopause actually means a woman going a full year without menstruation. So really, the years prior when a lot of hormonal fluctuations will start to occur, and there are a lot of symptoms that happened during that time.

Doug Holt  01:33

Let’s talk about those. So some of these guys are seeing these symptoms and they’re saying geez, like, is it me? Or is it my wife or our sex life isn’t as good as it used to be? I’m doing all the right things, Doug, what could be going on? And a lot of times, I feel as if they throw on, well, my wife must be menopausal because we’re not having great sex in the bedroom. And although that could be a possibility, let’s talk about I guess the peri menopausal, that age range before menopause. What occurs for a woman, what’s happening in her body so the guys can understand?

Dr. Marie Agnew  02:10

Yeah, great question. So a lot of things are happening, I’ll focus more on the hormonal changes. So oftentimes, progesterone will start to decline. And for women, progesterone is more of a grounding hormone. So when a woman has sufficient progesterone, oftentimes they’ll feel more grounded, not as anxious and they’ll also sleep a lot better at night. And estrogen will start to kind of have peaks and declines. So there’s a lot of changes happening with estrogen, and then ultimately, a decline that happens around the time of menopause.

And testosterone as well oftentimes will start to decline. Testosterone has a lot to do with women’s libido, among other things. And then also DHEA we’ll start to see changes in as well. DHEA, without going too into the weeds of all the science, it’s a little bit higher up in what we call the hormonal cascade. So it’s more of a precursor to other hormones, such as testosterone and estrogen. Anyway, DHEA will start to decline as well, and DHEA gives women a lot more energy. So it’s a really good idea to keep a close eye on these hormones when a woman is going through some of these changes.

Doug Holt  03:14

How would a woman know if… Do women innately know that they’re in this phase? Or is this something that should be tested so they know exactly where they’re at?

Dr. Marie Agnew  03:25

Both. So, a lot of times women will innately know. I hear a lot of times from our patients and friends, as well, I feel crazy. I know, I can almost see outside myself. I know that I shouldn’t be reacting like this, but I feel crazy. And so they know things are happening and they know things are changing. But there’s simply not a lot of clarity about exactly what is changing, so that’s where the diagnostic testing can really be helpful. And with looking at those hormonal changes, we like to use in our clinic and a lot of other functional practices will agree, we like to use what’s called a Dutch test, and that’s actually looking at hormones through urine as opposed to blood or saliva. So the reason we like to check through urine is we get to see not only the total hormone amount, but the hormonal metabolites. So it gives us a lot more levers to pull to basically support the overall hormonal profile.

Doug Holt  04:17

What’s a hormone metabolite?

Dr. Marie Agnew  04:19

Yeah, good question. So the body basically metabolizes hormones through and then we excrete hormones either through our stool or through our urine. So we’re able to see what metabolites are there, so basically the breakdown particles of the hormone.

Doug Holt  04:32

Okay. And are those the leftover parts, the not used parts or?

Dr. Marie Agnew  04:36

Yeah, good question. It’s basically the not used parts, the parts that the body wants to clear out. So an example would be estrogen. There are basically three main estrogens and again, I don’t know how into the weeds to go here with you guys. But…

Doug Holt  04:47

Yeah, do whatever feels natural. We have a lot of doctors that watch this, we have a lot of truck drivers.

Dr. Marie Agnew  04:51

Perfect. Wonderful. Okay, great. So I’ll just start going. Let me know if I should clarify something. But basically the three main estrogens, there’s three main pathways that the body uses to metabolize estrogen out. One is called the 2-hydroxyl, one is called the 4-hydroxy, and one is the 16-hydroxy. So this is just an example of why metabolites are important. The 2-hydroxy is actually really efficient and a much more safe pathway for estrogen to be cleared out of the body.

The 4-hydroxy tends to cause more other metabolites that can actually be harmful to our DNA. So those are called reactive quinolones. We don’t want a lot of those around. And then the 16-hydroxy is more of a neutral pathway. So getting the data of how the body is processing the estrogens out can help us to really support people, women and men, really, but we’re talking about women. So, support women and how we are basically altering or optimizing their estrogen level. So let’s say they have a ton of these 4-hydroxy harmful metabolites, we are going to use tools to push from the 4-hydroxy to the 2-hydroxy. So we’re basically using that as a way to optimize hormones. Just more data.

Doug Holt  05:57

No, that’s great. Well, I think the more data the better, right, because you can start picking apart what’s really going on. So, I’m trying to think of sort of a guy listening to this right now; he’s run on the treadmill listening to this. What are some of the things that as a man that we might recognize that our woman might be in this state? And I know we talked about this earlier as well, in the previous show, but what can he look for and how can he be supportive during this time?

And when I say supportive, obviously a lot of these guys are in a situation, Marie, where them and their wives have turned it more into roommates, than passionate lovers. Like kids have been in the mix, work’s in the mix. And they’ve just lost each other over the way over time. And the guys are looking mostly in silence for solutions to bring them back together. So what are some of the things that he might recognize of like, oh, that makes sense. My wife’s doing X, Y, and Z?

Dr. Marie Agnew  06:58

Good question. So let’s talk about progesterone first. So progesterone declining, things you might see, more anxiety. So maybe your wife hasn’t been somebody to really worry about a lot of things. And suddenly, she’s starting to just worry, that’s a really good sign. And also not sleeping as well. So maybe she’s waking up a lot more in the middle of the night, or she’s not falling asleep as well. That’s a big sign. And then another thing to look for are things like irregular periods. Say maybe, I don’t know if you track your wife’s cycle, but…

Dough Holt  07:26

I do.

Dr. Marie Agnew  07:27

That’s great, I think you should. But you know, the cycle might be 21 days one month, and then it might go all the way to 40 days the next. So irregularity is another thing to look for. Also, I don’t love to focus on weight gain, but that’s a big thing that can happen. So women can start to hold on to more weight, typically midsection than make sense. So maybe they’re still eating the same way, working out the same way, doing all the same things, and they report I’m gaining all this weight that it doesn’t add up. It doesn’t make sense. It can be another sign. And then also the libido. So when certain sex hormones start to decline, the libido will start to decline as well. So women might say, hey, I feel connected to you, I love you so much, I want to want to have sex, that drive just isn’t there anymore.

Doug Holt  08:12

Interesting. Yeah. So a lot of guys are going to relate to this in a lot of ways. And of course, there could be a lot of reasons for all of those outside of the hormones. There could be emotional disconnection. You know, infidelity — we can go down the rabbit hole there. Now, how does, I’m curious from your point of view, working with, one, being a woman, but also working with so many women; how does the role of the husband and the man play in that relationship? Whether it be polarity or other things that happen inside the home.

Dr. Marie Agnew  08:43

Yeah. So with my clients, oftentimes, I like to talk about this idea of polarity. And I absolutely love that you talked about this with your tribe as well. It’s great. But really the idea that when a woman specifically is thinking about in the day to day, all of the to-do’s and taking care of the kids and all the work things and the laundry, and the shopping lists and just execution, they’re really in their masculine minds. And it’s just a terminology we use to kind of identify that getting stuff done mode. I don’t know if I can…

Doug Holt  09:13

We call it getting shit done. [crosstalk] GSD.

Dr. Marie Agnew  09:17

So it’s hard for women to go from that mode, which a lot of women nowadays, they’re in that all the time to suddenly wanting to have sex and being in their body. It’s a very big shift and transition that has to happen, and it can’t happen just suddenly. And so we like to coach a lot of women to take some time and we call it, in our practice, the sacred shift, and that’s something I should give credit to one of my coaches. Her name is [inaudible 00:09:41] Milan. But anyway, I got that term from her. It’s this idea of when you go from a busy day or execution, all the things and being in your mind, making sure that you give yourself some type of a transition period to then get into your body and be mindfully in your body. So I talked with women about out if you get home from work, before you walk through the front door, maybe take three breaths and just try to drop in.

Or if you’re able to, even go to your room, take a shower and put on some different clothes that don’t feel so business-y and masculine, but feel more kind of feminine and maybe even sexy. Just really be mindful of how do I feel more in my body? And not only that, not only that shift, but also through the day, are there moments you can take to actually drop into your body and check-in? And this can be a big conversation because there’s so much behind the scenes here, especially for women with diet culture and this idea of maybe feeling hungry, but denying those cues. And so there’s a disembodiment that happens where they’re in their mind looking at counting calories, and what can I eat and what can I – I have to go to the gym and all these to-do’s that not checking in, well, what actually feels good to my body? So more practices of checking into the body are really important.

Doug Holt  10:58

I love it. So to give the guys, we’ve done over 700 podcasts and shows at this point, we’ve talked about polarity a lot. And what Marie’s talking about, guys, what we asked you guys to do is what we call the Alpha decompression. So whether it be an hour or 30 seconds, decompress before you switch modes and come into your family life versus your work life, whatever you’re doing. Have a way to close out your day and get into changing roles.

Dr. Marie Agnew  11:22

So important.

Doug Holt  11:23

Oh, it is.

Dr. Marie Agnew  11:23

So, so important. Because it’s really it’s hard to connect with your partner, right, when they’re just — I mean, men and women, if you’re in that headspace to-do mode, you don’t even see your partner, and they feel it.

Doug Holt  11:33

Yeah. I mean, you have children yourself and I do too and it’s easy to focus on the kids. Right?

Dr. Marie Agnew  11:39


Doug Holt  11:40

Kids are almost, almost unconditional love. They’re at that stage. I remember someone telling me one time or I was at an event. And they were talking and said women tend to, when the relationship isn’t working out, and this was this person’s theory or studies, that they will put the love into the kids, because it’s unconditional. And they said just wait till your kids turn 18 and then you tell me if it’s unconditional because they’re gone. And the theory and then who are you? And I think for the men do the same thing. They’ll pour into the children, then it’s logistics. Tommy’s got baseball, Judy’s got soccer. What are we going to do? Hey, we’re having this family over. And they lose the fact of what they were like when they were dating, right. The mystery, the intrigue, the flirting?

Dr. Marie Agnew  12:27

Yeah, it becomes kind of like a business partnership. Right? Like, you just get it done.

Doug Holt  12:32

A roommate with a ring.

Dr. Marie Agnew  12:33

Yes, yes, exactly. And I think that there’s another aspect of that, too, which is just this playful energy that you need to joke around. You need to flirt, you need to have fun with your partner again, and stop all the logistical talk all the time.

Doug Holt  12:46

Absolutely. So here’s a question that could be a really delicate one. And I have my answer, but I’m curious to hear yours. Let’s say there’s a guy here, it’s like, yeah, my wife is definitely going through this. We’re having some difficult times right now, communication isn’t great. How can he broach this subject with his wife about peri-menopausal or her going to see someone like yourself? How can he broach that subject in such a manner that she doesn’t feel that he’s trying to fix her?

Dr. Marie Agnew  13:18

That’s a good question. That’s a good question. I think that it’s important to not blame and not obviously say things like, you are not doing this right or make them feel like they’re falling short. But maybe bring it up as I am noticing this and I want to support you. How can I help? I mean, I think that that — what women would not respond well to that? What do you think?

Doug Holt  13:43

I think — I agree with you. I think it needs to be phrased in such a way that it starts with a cookie. Because a lot of these guys, they don’t communicate like that with their wives, currently. So it is so logistic and they’ve taken, a lot of the men would tell me, or they wouldn’t tell me but they’ll relate to this is, they’ve been such a — they’ve tried to make their wife happy for so long that they turn into the nice guy. We call it the nice guy role. There’s a guy named Dr. Grover wrote a book called No More Mr. Nice Guy, and it describes all the symptoms these guys will go through. And eventually that doesn’t work, so they just shut down. Right?

And then the wife has to take on the masculine role because she’s not feeling safe. She needs to take on these roles for security reasons. So my point is, is I think what I would recommend a guy do, most guys, bell shaped curve and all, is stop their wife and say, babe, I love you and I’m noticing a couple of things that seem a little bit different. And I noticed things different about me as well. What do you think about both of us going and getting checked out…

I wouldn’t say checked out, but going and getting some diagnostics done so that we can live our best lives together moving forward. And I think it’s really important for the man if he’s going to, especially when he leads, also to future pace that what he wants in the future is to be with her, her to have her best life. So she doesn’t think that this is something that he’s trying to shove on her.

Dr. Marie Agnew  15:11

I absolutely love that. Because a lot of things I hear from a lot of my patients during this timeframe is a lot of self-doubt. You know, they feel really guilty and like they’re not showing up. They’re not showing up for their partner. And so of course they have that not, of course, but they do have that narrative of well, is he going to leave me if I’m not showing up in that way? Is he going to love me long-term? And so I absolutely love the idea of a partner coming and saying, hey, let’s do this together. I love you. We’re in this together.

Doug Holt  15:41

Yeah, we have a course coming out called Hidden Motives Technique, Marie, and that’s exactly what it covers. We call it Hidden Motives Technique, but it goes over this way for men to find a way to communicate. Because as guys we’ve just never taught that. It’s kind of like in the locker room talk, we grunt.

Dr. Marie Agnew  15:57

You should give yourself a little bit more than that.

Doug Holt  15:59

A little bit more, but there’s some really good anthropological studies and theories about why men talk in very short sentences and why women will talk, and it’s called the meadow. And we’ve gotten into that a lot, but it makes sense to me. And so we teach the men how to reframe that in a way that works for them, and the situation. So, he’s had this conversation, and she’s like, okay, what are some options for her, where are some of the places that she can go to seek guidance and help?

Dr. Marie Agnew  16:27

Yeah. Well, I oftentimes hear from these women, it’s not just a lack of libido, oftentimes, they feel absolutely exhausted and they’re not sleeping well. A lot of times they have got symptoms, they’re not digesting in the way they want to, they might feel bloated. These things really go together, and I want these women to know they really are connected. A lot of women also worry that oh, there’s something really wrong with me. I have all these symptoms that are happening and it really is all connected. But I would definitely recommend finding a functional practitioner, somebody who can look at everything being connected, and really help get to the root of what’s happening, support healing the gut, support hormone optimization, support good sleep, and all the things that need to happen.

Doug Holt  17:11

Yeah. I love this. And when you’re talking to a woman about her situation, how in depth do you go into these different areas? Like, her sex life, her stress levels, what she’s eating, nutrition? Give me kind of a framework that’s applied to this?

Dr. Marie Agnew  17:28

Yeah, yeah. I mean, very in depth, that’s the short answer, very in depth.

Doug Holt  17:31

Fair enough.

Dr. Marie Agnew  17:32

And also, however much a woman is willing to share. You know, I think sometimes it takes proving yourself as a practitioner for somebody to really open up, right. So we usually start with the basics, we’re going to do a pretty broad lab panel. We’re going to look at gut health, typically, even before we look at hormone health, because the gut influences hormone health so significantly, so we’ll start there.

Usually, by that time, they’ve gotten to know us enough that they start opening up about, all right, so I’m fatigued, but also my libido is tanked. Is there something wrong with me, and then we can start talking about how it’s all really connected. And so in that process we’ll have them working with our nutritionist, we’ll be really cleaning up their diet, we’re getting them moving again, if they are not already, and then moving into more hormonal optimization work. So it’s really, it needs to be a multi-factorial approach, because when people have symptoms that are popping up, it’s usually not just one culprit, right, it’s the system in which the symptoms have started.

Doug Holt  18:29

Sure. Do you see with — of all the people you’ve worked with, and I got to guess there’s been thousands, do you see some common things like, you know what, most people need to do these few tenets?

Dr. Marie Agnew  18:39

Oh, good question, I like this question. Yes, absolutely, nutrition and gut health tends to be just so foundational. I’ve actually had people come to see me for hormone health. And we start with the gut, and then they’re good. They’re like, I actually don’t — I’m good. So yeah, that happens. So I would say absolutely looking at specifically what foods might be causing inflammation for them. So going through structured elimination food plan. We talked about this a little bit in the previous episode so I won’t go too into depth. But we know that the half-life of some of the antibodies that appear in a reaction to eating foods that one is sensitive to is about 21 days.

So if you give that three-week period of cutting the food out, then people tend to feel differently in their body. And we recommend cutting all inflammatory foods out. We actually have a list we give people. During that time, they oftentimes feel a lot better. Then you add one food back in at a time, and then they feel in their body if they’re actually reacting to that food. So we’ll do that at the same time as running a gut microbiome test, and that’s where we’re going to be able to heal the gut. We’re looking at the root cause of why are there sensitivities, or why is there inflammation happening because of food? So that’s really the gut healing work.

Along with that, looking at the lab work. So is there deficiency in B vitamins or how’s their blood sugar regulation? You’re getting all of that data. And then really, I’d say the third big bucket is starting the conversation about what is your self-narrative? You know, do you believe you deserve to feel healthy? And are you beating yourself up all the time? If you miss a day at the gym, do you beat yourself up about it? You know, do you have movement that you enjoy? Like really getting into? How do we encourage this person to really love themselves? Again, it sounds so cheesy, but it’s so important for healing, you have to believe you deserve it. So you have the gut, the labs, the self-narrative work, and then from there, we worked on hormone optimization, and we find that that really works well for people.

Doug Holt  20:38

Yeah, it’s interesting that you say that because you know, we’re at the TPM Ranch right now. And in the main house next to us are 13 men going through an experience, we call The Alpha Reset, and I’m not leading this one, as I was telling you earlier. But I walked in the room and these men that I’ve never met in person before, got up and gave me a hug and thanked me for changing their lives. And it’s because they found themselves, they found things they didn’t know about themselves that were there, if that makes any sense.

Dr. Marie Agnew  21:06

That’s beautiful.

Doug Holt  21:07

And it’s just part of that process that we get to go through as men, women, as well. What are — I’m thinking about this and I’m thinking about my own life and what I do. And so if it’s important for me as a “provider” and protector of my family, that is, how do I also connect? I can also do this through protecting my family’s health. What are some of the things these guys listening to this and the women that are listening to this, what are some of the things that they could do, going into their pantry or their kitchen today that you think could be broad brushstrokes, so to speak?

Dr. Marie Agnew  21:39

Yeah, yeah. A big thing is and most people, I would say know this, but it’s one thing to know and another thing to do, right? But really looking at what are the ultra-processed packaged things that have a lot of sugar, or even don’t have a lot of sugar, but really are things that your grandmother wouldn’t have recognized. There’s so much Frankenstein food out there that our body literally doesn’t know what to do with. So that would be really, step number one is decreasing the amount of sugar and processed foods, trying to eat more kind of foods that our grandparents would recognize back in the day.

Doug Holt  22:12

I love it. And I can tell you, somebody who’s got young kids, I mean I go —

Dr. Marie Agnew  22:19

Oh, man. Don’t get me started.

Doug Holt  22:21

Exactly. But you go and you look at some of the foods, like even the yogurt, like, hey, I’m going to give my kid a yogurt

Dr. Marie Agnew  22:25

Candy yogurt.

Doug Holt  22:26

Oh my gosh. When I was trying to, like I’m going to cut sugar out for a little while and see what that’s like, I’m going to have a yogurt. And there’s natural sugars, of course. So you’re going to have natural sugars in milk products — dairy products as they are. But holy cow, I was shocked at reading some of the labels. Like cane sugar, right, second ingredient, then you keep going down and you see fructose, all the other sugars that are hidden within the label. You’re like, this thing has very little nutritional value, if any.

Dr. Marie Agnew  22:59

It’s wild.

Doug Holt  23:01

It is crazy.

Dr. Marie Agnew  23:01

Yeah, corn syrup. And then you look at all the additives of all the different food colorings, and it’s going to our kids.

Doug Holt  23:07

Yes. And a lot of them are banned in other countries.

Dr. Marie Agnew  23:09

Yeah, as they should be.

Doug Holt  23:11

Yeah. There’s an app out there, I don’t know if you’re — I’m sure you know this, but I think it’s called Yuka, Yaka, but just let the guys know, and I have it on my phone, I can pull it out and look at it, and guys, I’ll put it in the show notes or ask me and I’ll get it to you. But you can take, as a father, this is something I did. And I took, you scan the barcode and it’ll tell you all the ingredients in there that might not be good.

So let’s call it, I don’t want to call it a brand, but I did this with Cheez-Its. I grew up on Cheez-Its, it was always in my house, they’re friggin’ great, right, salt and fat. I mean, who doesn’t like crunch. Who doesn’t like it? But then they’ll show you the ingredients in there, the food colorings, or things that might be bad and it has different levels. But then it also shows you an alternative.

Dr. Marie Agnew  23:51

I love that. It’s great.

Dr. Marie Agnew  23:52

Which is so great, because you go through your pantry all day eliminating everything, you’d end up with a few snacks that probably aren’t practical for the average person. However, if you’re able to put in something that’s just a little bit better for you, right, so take out the let’s say it’s the Yoplait strawberry yogurt that is just loaded with crap. And then you can add in maybe a Greek yogurt or Kefir or something else that might be a little bit better.

Dr. Marie Agnew  24:20

Yeah, yeah. I love that idea. And that makes it doable too. I would never want to say to somebody, you have to cut all this out without giving them alternatives of things to bring in. Because that’s setting them up for failure. Right? We know that with habit change, you have to replace, you have to find something else to take the place of what you are taking away. So, I absolutely love that.

Doug Holt  24:38

Yeah. Anything else that, again, broad brushstrokes that the guys who they’ve seen, the men in particular, but things they can do for their family that they have kids, and they want themselves to make the changes. What are some of the other things that they could do?

Dr. Marie Agnew  24:50

I mean, I think that really not just focusing on yourself. I mean, that’s obviously important as well. But I think that there are ways that you can further distance yourself from your spouse, if let’s say, your spouse is not as engaged yet in the health journey, and she sees you going to the gym making all these changes, she might feel a little intimidated. So really finding ways to bring your family into those changes, I think is big, and really important to be mindful of.

Doug Holt  25:20

Yeah, I agree. Most of the men, we teach something called Alpha Rise & Shine, and part of that is exercising. And nine times out of 10, when the guys are doing it, the wife start going, what’s going on over there? And if they’re not already exercising, within a month or so, the kids are now doing exercises, and the wife has now joined in and doing stuff. So they’re leading by example, rather than rhetoric.

Dr. Marie Agnew  25:44

Yeah, which is the way to lead, absolutely.

Doug Holt  25:48

Yeah. And it comes — and getting more and more. In fact, last night, mindful eating, like we had dinner over candlelight to calm the kids down a little bit and have a dinner sitting as a family. And I know a lot of these guys, Marie are going to be, they’re the type of guy that would give you the shirt off their back. So they’re more likely to make these changes in their family’s lives than they probably are their own. So I’m trying to find a sneaky way of getting them to change to focus on their kid kids and their wife, which will then direct them a little bit more.

Dr. Marie Agnew  26:18

Yeah, yeah. It really is so beautiful to see that happen. And we see that in our practice where one partner starts to make changes and really does pull the other one with, and it’s a beautiful thing for them to do that together. Absolutely.

Doug Holt  26:30

Do you ever work with whole families?

Dr. Marie Agnew  26:31


Doug Holt  26:32

Oh, wow.

Dr. Marie Agnew  26:32

Yeah. Usually more in the program sense. That’s usually not more of the ala carte option, but in the programs, absolutely. And it’s great.

Doug Holt  26:39

What do you see when the family gets together and goes through?

Dr. Marie Agnew  26:42

I see more change and more excitement about it. I mean, it really does make a difference for people. You know, it depends on the kids’ ages. We’ve had teenagers that are a lot more engaged, surprisingly. I was actually surprised about that. But the younger kids, they need a lot more guidance, obviously. They don’t love having their candy yogurt taken away.

Doug Holt  27:01

Understandably so. They’re frigging good.

Dr. Marie Agnew  27:05

Yeah. And just to circle back, I love that you decided to eat with your family with candlelight. You know, that’s kind of a random comment. But there’s so much medical literature coming out about the importance of light and dimming the light at night, having more bright light in the morning. I absolutely love that you’re aware of that. I think it’s so important.

Doug Holt  27:22

You know, the coolest, the coolest part about that, in my opinion, is it’s something my family does. But the night before one of the guys in the movement, his nickname is Silverback. So all the guys get nicknames after they go through the experience that’s going on next door. He has sent me a text message, a personal one with was an Instagram clip about eating with candlelight with young kids and how helpful it is. And the coolest thing about it is he didn’t have to do that. He did that out of love for me and my family, and I’m sure he sent it to other people too. It’s just such a great community of men that are just out there to better each other.

Dr. Marie Agnew  27:58

Yeah, it really sounds like it. I mean, I know I shared in the last podcast but I love what you guys are standing for. I’m all in however I can support you guys in your movement. I think that it’s so needed and so important. And I love it. It’s great.

Doug Holt  28:10

Well, you’re doing a great job. I mean, this information alone, we’re going through. So coming back full circle to menopause again, coming back. So let’s imagine that this man’s wife is going through this. She goes and gets tested, turns out she is peri-menopausal or menopausal. Is there anything else these guys should know about that process? What’s going on for a woman emotionally, physically?

Dr. Marie Agnew  28:34

Yes. Again, so much there. So a lot of these women I mean, it obviously depends on the woman. But I would say by and large, there’s been an identity that they have a certain identity up until motherhood and then their identity changes. And then they have kind of this mother identity, procreation. There’s a lot of power in that, right. And then it’s almost as if they report they feel like some power is being taken away from them, or some importance is being taken away from them. It’s hard to find the right verbiage, but it’s something I hear from a lot of women kind of going into menopause.

And I think historically, I think that women were kind of revered during that time. They’re seen as wives, and they were held up as really important in their culture. And that’s not the case anymore. I mean, now, women are more respected when they appear younger. And so I think that there’s a lot there for women as they age. And so continuing to just give her messages that you love her the way she is, that’s so important.

Doug Holt  29:38

We teach the guys that your wife needs to feel seen, heard, and desired. Safe being the fourth one, but that should be obvious, but anyway, seen, heard and desired. And I can imagine that I’m trying to put myself in the position that these women would be in, because as you said, our culture really reveres youth, right? And when we look at sexuality, it’s going to be, especially from a man to a woman’s perspective, it’s a fit younger woman who’s very healthy and vivacious and vibrant. And if I felt like I wasn’t any of those things, or at least diminishing those levels, I think I would feel very self-conscious with it.

Dr. Marie Agnew  30:17

Yeah. And also, I mean, sexuality comes into play there too. There’s power in sexuality and feeling sexual and when that feels — when that’s taken, I wouldn’t say taken away, but it’s definitely diminished in those menopausal years. Again, I think women kind of are left thinking, well, what now? And where’s my place? And so it’s a hard time. It can be.

Doug Holt  30:39

Yeah. Well, I’d imagine, though, also, I mean, are the conversations, oh, wow, is my husband going to leave me? Is he going to cheat on me?

Dr. Marie Agnew  30:48

Yeah. I think deep down. I think a lot of women wouldn’t come out and say that to their partner. But I think deep down there is sometimes a lack of self-confidence because, again, they’ve had all of these ways that they had their identity, and then suddenly, it’s decreased. And so when they’re not showing up for their husband in a sexual way they know it’s important to their husband, I think that sometimes there’s that doubt.

Doug Holt  31:12

Interesting. I can see that doubt, and this is for the some of the guys. And if their husband’s not responding in a positive way, perhaps even a negative way, if you will, because he’s now having self-doubt. Like, why is this not happening as much? That could lead to a woman feeling unwanted, undesired. And then because this happens a lot, especially with social media, then the boyfriend from high school starts messaging them, you know, or whatever, and we hear all the time. Because we literally have tens of thousands of men communicate with us a month that are interested in our programs that these things start to creep in, that door starts to open up. When you have somebody that’s feeling insecure, and they start getting filled up by somebody else, rather than their partner.

Dr. Marie Agnew  31:56

Yeah, that’s a recipe for disaster for sure.

Doug Holt  31:58

Slippery slope.

Dr. Marie Agnew  31:59

Yeah, definitely. And also what you’re describing, I can see it’s almost a snowball effect where a woman feels insecure, and also is not feeling much libido. And then the husband doesn’t respond in a positive way and then she feels more insecure and then there’s less — It’s just, it’s not a good cycle.

Doug Holt  32:15

No, then they go further and further apart to not finding each other.

Dr. Marie Agnew  32:19

Yeah. And I think open communication about it all is fantastic, you know, a women being vulnerable, and saying, hey, these are some things I’m feeling really bad about. I want to show up in this way, and this is where I’m at. And then you know, husband responding, I just am all about communication.

Doug Holt  32:33

Yeah, I am, too, obviously. And that’s what we teach the guys. And guys listening to this, especially guys that have been through the program, I’m just going to speak to them, if I can, for a second. This can be turned, like you can lead this conversation. And by leading this conversation, you have the potentiality of allowing her to feel safer, allowing her to feel more seen. Like, wow he sees me, which could lead to more intimacy. So you could, by making her feel seen and heard, you get what you want, she gets what — everybody wins in that situation. And so that’s a possibility for them.

Dr. Marie Agnew  33:05

Yeah, yeah, definitely. Absolutely. And I think on the flip side of that this is one big aspect. And then also going back to absolutely consider would it makes sense to give some bio-identical hormone replacement therapy. I know we briefly touched on that a little while back, but that can be a game changer for many women. And I would caution people to not just do that, just go straight to the hormone replacement therapy, but to also look at those foundations of health. Are they moving their body? Again, how’s their gut health? I feel like a broken record over here, but it’s so important. But once those foundations are in place, if hormone replacement therapy is still indicated, absolutely consider that because that has made a big difference for a lot of women.

Doug Holt  33:48

Love it. Well, again, thank you so much for taking more time and sticking with us.

Dr. Marie Agnew  33:52

Yeah, you’re welcome. It’s fun.

Doug Holt  33:53

Let’s leave these guys, if you can, with three things they could do, three action steps, I’ll put you on the spot. If a guy’s listen to this or even the previous episode, what are three things that he can do to be proactive rather than reactive regarding his health and the health of his family?

Dr. Marie Agnew  34:10

Three things, all right. I’m going to cheat and bundle them all.

Doug Holt  34:14

Okay. Well, you can do more.

Dr. Marie Agnew  34:15

Let me think on this for a second. I mean, I would absolutely find a practitioner that looks at root cause healing, doesn’t just focus on the symptom, but really looks at what are the health systems in place? And how do we give you tools to actually heal your body? And again, not just treat the symptom itself. And that would be number one, because when you have a great practitioner, I think that makes a big difference. Number two would be to really look at overall nutrition and gut health in a major way, and really think about does it makes sense to try something like an elimination food plan to see if there’s food sensitivities? How can you better the nutrition you’re bringing in on the day-to-day, because that’s your fuel? That’s so important.

And I would say the average American definitely does not have [inaudible 00:35:04] Well, you don’t work with average people. But I think a lot of people could really use a lot of help there. The third thing I would say, probably be mindful of self-narrative. Where is that narrative? Where is your self-concept? How can you build that in a way that then will lead to building your overall health and changing your health trajectory? And not only yours, but that of your family? You know, do you see your kids beating themselves up? How can you teach them to flip that narrative? I think that’s really huge.

Doug Holt  35:35

It is huge. And we talked about this a lot of time. But I think we could say almost everybody, if you talked to your friends the way you talk to yourself, they wouldn’t be your friends.

Dr. Marie Agnew  35:45

So true.

Doug Holt  35:46

It really is, and so you get to change that and be your own best friend. And your kids are going to mimic it. They’re going to pick up on the energy and your partner is too.

Dr. Marie Agnew  35:55

Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely.

Doug Holt  35:57

Well, thank you, again so much for being here.

Dr. Marie Agnew  35:59

Yeah, you’re welcome.

Doug Holt  36:00

For those interested in finding more about you and your practice, where could they go?

Dr. Marie Agnew  36:03

Yeah, so my website, so shiftfunctionalmed.com. We’ll have a lot of information there. And then also on Instagram, shift.functional.med. And then also Dr. Marie Agnew on Instagram as well.

Doug Holt  36:15

I love it. And gentlemen, thank you guys for being here. And I’m going to try to twist Marie’s arm and get her in for a live Q&A. You know, we’ll figure out how… [crosstalk]

Dr. Marie Agnew  36:23

Oh, that’ll be fun.

Doug Holt  36:24

Yeah, we’ll figure out how we can do that and answer some of your guys’ questions. But guys that are in the movement, let me know in our private channel. But gentlemen, as I always say, in the moment of insight and there’s been a lot of insights in these last two podcasts, so you should be writing these down, take massive action. Don’t go from one episode to another. I call that educational masturbation. People just go from one to another to make themselves feel good. Take action, be that 1% of men who stepped to the line and actually do something so you can get the results for yourself and for your family. Guys, until next time, we’ll see you in the TPM Show.