The Upgrade

How the Female Brain Gets Stronger and Better in Midlife and Beyond

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Pub Date 19 Apr 2022 | Archive Date 31 Aug 2022

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Welcome to the better half of your life. The New York Times bestselling author of The Female Brain explains how a woman’s brain gets “upgraded” in midlife, inspiring and guiding women to unlock their full potential.

“This is an important book. I want all women to read it. I wish I had read it years ago!”—Jane Fonda

Dr. Louann Brizendine was among the first to explain why women think, communicate, and feel differently than men. Now, inspired by her own experiences and those of the thousands of women at her clinic, she has a message that is nothing short of revolutionary: in the time of life typically known as menopause, women’s brains are reshaped, for the better, in a way that creates new power, a bracing clarity, and a laser-like sense of purpose if you know how to seize it.

With guidance for navigating the perimenopausal and menopausal storm while it lasts, and actionable, science-backed steps for preserving brain health for the rest of your life, The Upgrade is a stunning roadmap, told through intimate stories, to a new brain state and its incredible possibilities. Dr. Brizendine explains the best science-backed strategies for:
Hormones: If timed and handled properly, hormone management can save your life. Brizendine cuts through the controversy to give you the latest guidance for HRT.
Exercise: Leg strength correlates directly with healthy brain function at age 80. Here are the strategies for maintaining your strength.
Sleep: It’s critical for maximizing the Upgrade, and Brizendine shares how to achieve healthy rest during challenging transitions.
Mindset: Brizendine shows how to seize the opportunities of your midlife brain changes by shifting your mindset and vision with intention.
Brain Health: The Upgraded brain requires special care when it comes to sugar, alcohol, inflammatory foods, and the microbiome. Here’s advice for fueling and maintaining cognitive function for decades.
The Upgrade amounts to a celebration of how women step into their power and an entirely new—and radically positive—understanding of aging.
Welcome to the better half of your life. The New York Times bestselling author of The Female Brain explains how a woman’s brain gets “upgraded” in midlife, inspiring and guiding women to unlock their...

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Featured Reviews

The Upgrade
by Louann Brizendine, MD
Rodale Inc., Harmony
Pub Date: 19 Apr 2022

A unique look at women's lives post-menopause, suggesting that physical changes -- i.e. less estrogen -- free a woman from seeking caregiving roles and instead, allow her to come into her own, say "no" more, and focus on what SHE considers most important in her life. Emotional health improves, and women are more able to leave behind past traumas and negative self-image. Instead of a time of multiple losses, post-menopause can bring great joy as women finally reach a stage of genuine authenticity. A fascinating read!

Thanks to the author, Rodale Inc., Harmony, and NetGalley for the ARC. Opinions are mine.

#TheUpgrade #LouannBrizendine #NetGalley

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I found Dr. Louann Brizendine’s book, The Upgrade,  served as an affirmation of what I experienced going through the change of life, or transition, as she refers to it. I the term “Upgrade” for the third stage in a woman’s life can, and should be, an uplifting and fulfilling time in our life, if we allow ourselves to experience it that way.

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Louann Brizendine's THE UPGRADE is possibly the most important book I will read this year. Her clear, straightforward insights are empowering and motivating even as she shreds the myths and supposedly reliable debilities that aging promises women. We can all use that shaking up and moving on -- everyone, men or women, can benefit from her questions, citations of research, and expertise honed through years of experience. I am recommending this book to women of all ages as a guide to what can be possible as you upgrade your life. I received an advance copy of this book and these opinions are my own, unbiased thoughts.

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This book could not have come into my life(Kindle) at a more perfect time. I am a woman in my mid 40s. I have started to experience some of the things discussed in this book. I honestly felt like as I was reading it, Louann had been listening into conversations I have been having with my friends. Some parts of the book are ahead of where I am in my Transition, but I will be referencing this book and making use of it for years to come. I have already told some of my friends about it and they have added it their TBR list or pre-ordered the book. I truly believe that most if not all Gen X woman need to read this book.

Thank you to NetGalley and Rodale Inc., Harmony for the ARC of this book. All opinion expressed are my own.

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Stats: 38 years old. Frequent night sweats. Hormonally-induced amenorrhea. Amount of time spent on menopause research or knowledge prior to reading the Upgrade? Nearly zero.

I was invited to review this book by the publisher based on reading history. I’m glad because I would never have picked it myself and was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it.

This is an easy to read science for laypeople book. I appreciate Dr. Brizendine’s approach to sharing science with personal and shared anecdotes about the hormonal changes that happen to women in mid-life. She refers to menopause as the Upgrade, and the hormonal changes that happen leading up to it as the Transition. For me, it was motivating to hear about the positive changes alongside the challenges. Hearing about the broad range of experiences helps normalize them. Some of the research quoted is mind-boggling (I.e. fecal transplants minimizing anxiety in lab mice?!).

While I do think Dr. Brizendine’s bias shows up, overall, I heard her message that this is an individual journey—listen to your body, find healthcare providers who you can trust and that validate your experience, take care of yourself and socialize. I’m surprised that these conversations haven’t become more present in my world… maybe in another 5 years?

Given this is my first book on the Upgrade, I don’t have a good reference for comparison. However, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this to friends or family amidst these hormonal changes. Well done.

As this is an ARC, it’s possible some of my concerns about informational redundancy will be resolved by final publication.

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‘By the time you reach your late forties or fifties, you’ve been through a mountain of experience. You’ve traversed the turbulent teens, when you were trying to figure out who you were; the unpredictable twenties, as you struggled to find your way in the world; the buckle-down thirties, when you were trying to implement your life plan; and the juggling forties, when you were living the life you’d made for yourself - for better or worse. What’s next? This is the big unanswered question.’

This was the book I needed to read. Dr. Brizendine shares much here to reassure and educate women, assisting them as they enter the second half of their life. There is science, recommendations, personal and professional stories about menopause/transition, or as called herein, The Upgrade. I found this book to be beneficial on so many levels and reassuring as women face circumstances that are definitely challenging.

‘The Upgrade is about the path to becoming your best deep self - okay, maybe it’s a bit grandiose, but if not now, when? In the second half of my life, I want to upgrade my skills and improve my willingness to take responsibility for doing so. I want to develop my enthusiasm, patience, humility, commitment, and determination to make the most of this life transition’

Dr. Brizendine thoroughly investigates how this transition impacts women’s lives and paints a positive and rather liberating view on how this change can work for you. It ranges not only from hormonal facts but, what I found enlightening, is the social and personal aspects that not only validate your feelings but encourage and empower you to set your own boundaries to achieve a truer sense of self.

‘… as I entered the second half of life myself and started to feel the invisibility reserved uniquely for women of a certain age, something inside me rebelled. I could feel a new power, a new clarity, a laser-like sense of purpose emerging in this phase.’

This book was inspiring with the guidance offered and personally, knocked down some figurative boundaries that I had unknowingly erected. Yes, there is plenty of science but this is accompanied with steps to help reset your life after the upgrade.

‘In the Upgrade, that game is over. And with it comes a new beginning, with new rules and a survival imperative that drives a new sense of purpose … I am here to signal to your brain that you are just getting started in becoming who you’re meant to be.’

This is such an important book for all women to read. Dr. Brizendine explains how a woman’s brain is essentially rewired during this period and when we can get in tune with that, it opens proverbial doors on clarity and purpose to living a fulfilled second half of your life. You can pick and choose sections that are most relevant or pertinent to you - HRT, exercise, sleep, ageing, mindset etc - and I found it to be rather liberating, powerful and celebratory of how women can truly embrace their best self to successfully make the most of the latter half of their life.

‘… the liberation is amazing. Just think back over all the times you wished you’d said no, the times of feeling buried under the mountain of “yeses,” the mountain of regrets over not saying no. It’s time to push back on demands. It can change the way we live the second half of our lives.’

One of my main takeaways from this read is that each person's journey is unique and to trust your intuition, listening to your body. This book validated how I am feeling, the journey I am on and it made me feel complete. I highly recommend this read to all women, not only those in transition to the ‘upgrade’ but seeing as conversations still seem to be few and far between, this book contains the words you may need to hear.

‘I want time for walks, for thinking, for rest, for reevaluating life, priorities, choices. If I am growing consciously into a better person, I can be better for everyone. If I can find peace and happiness, that will make a difference to others around me. It took a long time to understand, to really deeply get that my happiness is not selfish - it’s a contribution to the happiness of others. I don’t mean that small thing of being satisfied. I mean the big happiness that comes when you drop your worries about looks, clothes, money, possessions. When you can embrace life’s joys and its scary uncertainties.’

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. The quoted material may have changed in the final release.

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This book should be required reading for every woman. It explains in depth through anecdotal accounts and research how the female body goes through the change from child-bearing years to the Upgrade as Louann Brizendine calls it. It is very highly readable and well recommended.

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I for one hate the word Menopause and loath when men think it’s funny to say to a middle aged woman. “Your hot, must be going through menopause” I loved that the author took a negative life event and turned it into a positive…a different way to view something that happens to women’s bodies wether we like it or not. Consider yourself on an “Upgrade”. Freedom from your monthly cycle, your more mature and have a better understanding of who you are and what you want in life. Usually you have more freedom from child rearing and financial commitments.
“ A glorious time of freedom and discovery”
I love that line! Although I’m not at this point yet I found the book to have a lot of helpful information on how to transition both emotionally, physically, and mentally. What actually happens in our brains and bodies to cause us to go into menopause and how we can embrace these changes.
I’m definitely not looking forward to the hot flashes I’ve heard friends complain about, but I can always appreciate the upfront honestly so I can prepare myself for what’s ahead.
I thought the author did a very good job i’m describing medical facts mixed in with amazing descriptions everyone could understand. This is a journey In our lives and it’s nice to know we’re not alone. Women’s bodies are truly amazing I mean we can create life! I appreciate being able to work at menopause as a completion of a time. No different than going out of childhood and into adolescence, and adolescents into adulthood. Such a well written book!

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When I started reading The Upgrade I wasn't sure if this book was the right fit for me. Well, it is! It is an easy to read book and a very informative guide to dealing with menopause. I have found that this book has explained many things about menopause that others (like my doctors) have not. Every woman should read this book well before the transitioning phase of menopause. If not, it's still a must read book for any woman who wants to learn more about the many changes to their own body!

*Thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Random House for an e-copy in exchange for my honest opinion/review.

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How incredibly refreshing to read a book about women’s later years that honors and validates our experiences, without making us out to be victims.

In this science-based book, Dr.Brizendine suggests that understanding the impact of hormones on the female brain can help us navigate the transition and even walk away from stressful mental patterns engrained on us through the years. We can choose what we bring with us into the next phase.

With its foundation in science and strong focus on cognitive health, this book is a gift for any woman seeking a better understanding of a much-maligned stage of life.

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