How I finally became happily menopausal after a lifetime of dreading it
I am the youngest of my friends going through the menopause. Based on an exhaustive list of 21 friends and family members, I am the only person who currently talks optimistically about it and I’m on a mission to change the narrative for good!
I went into the menopause with no warning in 2017 when I underwent an oophorectomy – a surgical procedure which removed both of my ovaries – and after eventually coming up for air, I looked around at the new world I was in and wanted to run as fast as my newly menopausal body would take me. Words like; hot flushes, vaginal dryness, mood swings and weight gain were swirling around and all seemed to be followed by the timelessly funny-not-funny qestion: “Want me to open a window?” wink, wink, laugh, laugh!
I didn’t laugh.
Instead, I made a few mental adjustments, reapplied some mascara and started my Instagram page: @life_begins_at_menopause. I also came to the most liberating conclusion of them all – whether I believed the menopause would be all doom and gloom OR NOT, I was right.
I decided the latter and continued my mission to prove my Instagram name right.
Fast forward five long years – time spent obsessing over clinical papers, enrolling for a diploma in nutrition, reading book after book, listening to podcast after podcast, getting coached and learning to coach myself and gathering as much information and knowledge as my bulging brain would allow!
I am nowhere near where I want to be in the journey but from conversations I’m having, I realise I have a lot of information up there… and so I have decided to share and care and here, for you my dear friend, are my top 5 favourite hacks that have so far helped me through:
- Prioritise sleep
It is so underrated!! My favourite science backed hack of them all is one by Huberman Lab podcast where he encourages us to look up at the sky as close to sun rise as possible for anywhere between 2-10 minutes.
- (Gentle) Intermittent fasting
There are a few opinions where this one is concerned but I sit firmly on the side of introducing a gentle fast every day. I started my fasting journey with 12 hours which was enough to give me some digestive rest, and slowly worked up to around 15-16 hours fasting and 8 hours for my feeding window. My earlier mentor Cynthia Thurlow first introduced me to the idea and has since written a book on the subject that I love and highly recommend.
- Avoid processed sugar/alcohol as much as possible
I cannot stress this one enough. It was the biggest game changer for me for so many reasons – the biggest one being that it’s easier to say no after NO bites/sips than after one bite/sip.
When you need space from those ruminating thoughts, get them down on paper, or your computer or even a voice note on your phone. Just get them out of the darkness of your head and shine the light on them. The lightness I feel after pouring my heart out is physically empowering and I suggest it to all my clients.
- Never drink coffee on an empty stomach.
Not only does it increase the acid in your stomach and lead to bloating, but it spikes your blood sugar quicker than The Smiler at Alton Towers turns you upside down (I don’t recommend that either by the way)! I have come to realise that although I have a real and strong fondness for my coffee, my coffee does not – and never will – feel the same way about me and so I adjust and have it with some protein to stabilise the effects.
So, there you have it my wiser friends. I’ve saved you the hassle of trawling through thousands of papers and gifted you my tips to get your menopausal narrative off to a flying start and hopefully a brighter future.
Just don’t forget your cape whatever you do!
You are amazing Stef…. The way you write is so personable and easy to follow and your personality literally shines through it…. Well done u as you have managed to create a wicked website too!!!! You are flying my girl, so proud of everything you are… just had to tell you that 😘😘😘😘
Beautifully written, thank you for sharing your tips! I know where to come when the time is nigh!
Thanks for your blog, nice to read. Do not stop.