My menopause was a difficult emotional time time for me, like many other women. I remember being really unhappy, as I was going through a messy divorce, working 10 hours a day in a job which I was not appreciated for, looking after 2 kids, a home and other members of my family, and drinking far too much, as I drowned in my sorrows.
One morning, I woke up and I just couldn’t stop crying, so I didn’t go to work, which was unusual for me, as I very rarely had time off work. I phoned my mum and the flood gates opened, whilst I was speaking with her. Towards the end of our chat she just said ‘look love, it’s your life, you’re not starving or fleeing for safety, so it’s up to you to make the changes, it’s never easy but it can be done, it’s in your hands. It didn’t happen overnight but I gradually started to make menopause lifestyle changes, and I’m so happy that I did. So here’s what I did.
1. I changed my diet
This was the biggest change that I have made in my menopause lifestyle. When I was 50 and perimenopausal, I really wanted to feel different, stop putting on weight and feel healthier than I did, so I changed my diet. Here’s my dietary routine.
1. Each morning I drink hot water with freshly squeezed lemon juice – I start the day with my daily detox. I’ve been having this hot water with fresh lemon drink for over 10 years, even when I go on holiday I have to have it. It’s the start of my day, and I feel strange if I have to do without it. I have half of a freshly cut lemon in hot water before I eat anything in the morning. It detoxes my body and cleanses the liver, the main organ that processes all the food in my body, so it makes sense to clear it out each day.
2. Breakfast is yogurt, berries, and seeds – this sounds boring but it’s not. I have organic flavoured Greek yogurt, berries, mango, pomegranate seeds and sprinkle Chia seeds on top. It’s delicious, filling, and easy to make, and has a cocktail of goodness, all in one bowl. It sets me up for the day. It’s my perfect menopause healthy eating breakfast.
3. I Banished Carbs – this is the biggest dietary changed that I made when I started menopause. It’s helped me lose weight and get me back to my ‘happy body weight and size’, dropping from a size 10 to size 6 to 8 in less than 6 months. I did this by cutting out carbs from my diet, (with some exercise). I cut out white rice, potatoes, pasta, processed bread, and I only have sour dough or homemade whole meal bread. I allow myself a carb treat when I go out for a meal, so I might have steak and chips or a pasta seafood dish. Now I eat fresh fish with vegetables or meat and vegetables for dinner and a light lunch such as avocado on sourdough bread or poached eggs on toast. I don’t feel bloated like I used to, and my waistline has dropped 2 sizes in less than a year.
4. I topped up my veg intake – to replace the carbs, I eat twice as many vegetables and have introduced more phytoestrogen vegetables into my menopause diet, such as Pak Choi, greens, white cabbage, and colourful vegetables such as red and orange peppers, kale, and organic carrots. I also make a green smoothie, twice a week, Which I put in the fridge and drink daily in between meals. It’s simple to make I blend, kale, cucumber, spinach, blue berries, add some chia and pumpkin seeds, and top it up with either pure cranberry or apple juice. It’s a tastier alternative to drinking lots of water for me.
5. I eat more fish and white meat – I love fish, so now I buy more fish and try to eat it at least twice a week, grilled or pan-fried salmon or sea bass are my favourites, with vegetables. They make lovely, simple and easy to cook menopause healthy meals now.
2. My motto is use it or lose it
Exercise and fitness were one of the best changes I made during my menopause. I found it difficult like many women to find the time when my children were younger to have a regular exercise routine.
We all know about being the free taxi service taking the kids, and their friends here there, and everywhere, and collapsing at the end of the day with a glass of wine or two before bed, only to repeat the whole thing over again the next day.
So, when I got to 50, I decided I’d had enough, enough of not looking after myself, enough of not finding time for myself, enough of putting everyone else first. I rejoined a gym and started going late in the evening when the kids were in bed.
I also started running doing 10 minutes every 2 to 3 days, before collapsing at the gate for the first few weeks. I stuck at it and after a month, I steadily started doing longer runs and feeling great. In the end, I was doing 40 to 50 minute runs 2 to 3 times a week, and the weight started dropping off me.
I also started doing yoga again, which I’d stopped for many years, and took up weight and strength training, both of which I still do today and I’m well over 50.
My motto is ‘use it or lose it’ which is what happened to me. It’s never too late to start a new fitness routine. Personally, I feel better than I’ve felt since I was in my 30’s, I sleep better, eat better and I look better.
Regular exercise during and after my menopause, has helped me face personal challenges in my life, as it has given me something else to focus on when things get tough. The feel-good hormones in my body help me to feel positive about myself when these challenges become almost unbearable.
I would certainly encourage anyone whose going through the menopause or having a tough time in their life to start a regular exercise routine, whether at home or in the gym. It’s hard to start, but if you stick at it, it gets better and becomes part of your life. I think exercise for menopause is important for both the body and the mind.
3. I’m not a fashionista but I like to look stylish
Many retailers think that because you’re over 50, you must dress in flowery apron like baggy dresses, that you can often fit two people in one dress.?
Celebrities over 50 or 60, are not seen in big flowery dresses why should we? I’m not against flowery dresses that show your curves, but these are hard to find in my opinion.
I feel happier and more confident, and I like to feel a little bit sexy, yes even though I’m over 50, If I have a tight fitting plain black, red, or even a dark fitted pink dress, that suits my skin tone, with high heel shoes or open toe high sling back shoes and fashion jewellery.
I love wearing plain tight-fitting dresses in the evening, just above my knees but not too short, or plain black or white tight trousers, with a tight-fitting brightly coloured plain top, high heels, and fashion jewellery. In the day, I love wearing tight jeans, tight short sleeve brightly coloured plain tops or blouses with heels, wedges or boots in winter. I feel more stylish in plain, tighter clothing to make me look slimmer and make me feel more confident.
4. I try to get more sleep
I try now to get cat naps now in the day if I can and I try to sleep in at least one day over the weekend to recharge my battery and shutdown my body for longer. I would rather sleep than watch morning TV, it’s much better for me and as I get older, I like the idea that I can get more quality sleep. I don’t take my phone in the bedroom anymore, as it was always the first thing I looked at in the morning, and sometimes the last thing I looked at at night before bed. so I avoid that now as it disrupts my sleep. I was looking at things on Facebook or Instagram and then I’d feel utterly exhausted in the morning. So, it’s off limits now when I get to bed until the morning and it’s one of the best things I’ve done.
5. I’m more mindful of my thoughts
They say you are what you eat, that’s true but also ‘you are what you think’. The menopause is a tricky time for women, the hormones can not only mess up your body, but your mind too. So, I’ve had had to train my mind to think positively, even when things are difficult for me. I say my daily mantra ‘I’m a good person, I deserve better, I will have better, and I will survive for the better’ over and over in my mind. When I was confronted with a difficult situations or with difficult people, I just keep saying this to myself. It has become part of me, my mantra and it works for me.
I also realise that negative thoughts, can manifest themselves in negative behaviour, and produce negative things, so I try now to get rid of these as soon as they enter my mind and replace these with my mantra, even when I’m crying. Since I’ve become post menopausal, I’ve continued with my lifestyle changes and, I’m fitter, healthier and happier and definitely more confident.
Thank you new lifestyle, I’m enjoying you and you me.