Hey, it’s me again, Jen. I thought I’d do a quick video about my struggles with menopause.
The transcription of the video is below if you’d rather read it, or you can read the article Menopause affects every woman differently. for even more content.
Hi. I thought I’d just pop on and talk to you about menopause and weight loss. So about a year ago, I was becoming increasingly tired. I couldn’t think straight, couldn’t remember anything. My periods were really long and I just didn’t feel like myself.
And those that know me know that I’m very dipsy, forgetful, and I often haven’t got a clue what’s going on anyway. So imagine having that magnified tenfold. I was really feeling pressured and stressed at work, which didn’t help. But like us women do, we battle on and say, I’m fine. My sleep was getting worse and worse.
Restless legs in the night. I didn’t sweat, but my whole body just felt like it was on fire inside. I kept putting things off and said, I’ll give it another week. And the weeks kept going on and on. I thought, I just see how I feel.
My brain fog got so bad, I started even googling symptoms of having a brain tumour and Alzheimer’s. I was convinced I must have something seriously wrong with myself. I just felt like I couldn’t be bothered to do anything. And I craved really high sugary foods. Nothing seemed to fill me up and I could start to feel my clothes getting a little tighter.
So after a little while, I finally called the doctors, who first just passed it off as stress-related. So I left it a little while, I called again and a week later I was fobbed off once more. So on my third phone call, I just broke down. I begged for something to help me. I literally begged. I was finding things really tough with the company I was working for, which really didn’t help my situation.
So we spoke about what I could do about that, to take some of the stress I was feeling away. And then I decided also that I was going to start on HRT. So I started on the patch and Progesterone tablet, as I was still having periods, but she believed I was in perimenopause and at 43 it wasn’t too uncommon, apparently. So I put the patch on and started my HRT journey.
After three days, I suffered the most horrendous headaches and my whole body ached and I just felt bloody awful. After eight days on it and I was due to go on holiday, I decided to stop and give my body a break. Fast forward three months later, I was back on the phone yet again, in tears, just asking for help. So we decided to try me on a tablet only form called Feministon. I was really worried about taking it in case I felt the same as last time, but there seemed to be no side effects at the beginning, which was great.
I knew the added pressures of work stress, how I was being made to feel, wasn’t helping me at all. So I made the decision I had to step away as I needed to focus on being happy and taking this awful pressure off myself. I also knew that not exercising or eating well wasn’t benefiting me. And I also started to read about menopause and all the kind of things related to it. I heard so many people say that menopause maybe put weight on or you can’t lose weight whilst going on, go up through it all.
So I thought, let’s just have a read through, let’s just find a little bit more information. So there are lots of elements during menopause that can really stuff us ladies up. Why I say, I always say, I’m sure if it had been men going through this, there would be much more help years ago, but let’s just not go there. So we get a reduction in muscle mass due to hormonal changes, in particular a decrease in oestrogen during menopause, which slows down our metabolism. So with fewer muscles to burn calories, our metabolism can slow down, making weight loss feel like a bloody uphill battle.
And our metabolism is what burns the calories and that’s what helps us lose weight. Plus, because we are so bloody tired, it means we’re less active and don’t move as much as maybe we used to, which is what slows down that metabolic rate even more. Then let’s talk about sleep. Lack of sleep can really mess with our hormones that help regulate our appetite. Now I know why at times I wanted to eat myself and everything and everyone in sight.
So lack of sleep also means we’re less like to be active, as we’re so tired we just don’t want to move. And who can blame us? But enough doom and gloom, how can we help ourselves? So what really helps is by incorporating some strength training exercises into our routine. So by doing this, you can help preserve and even rebuild your muscle mass, which revs up that metabolism and boosts your weight loss efforts.
And simple things you can do to help this at home could be like squats. Just thinking about that hurts or maybe a weighted hula hoop. Have some fun. It doesn’t have to be leaving the house or crazy circuit training, maybe even on for a high-fibre breakfast like porridge, maybe a jacket spud with beans for lunch, those filling foods. Maybe even batch cook when you have the energy and plan ahead for when you are too tired to think what to have. I did both of these and that massively helped me. Make sure you have lots of healthy snacks in the fridge to graze on.
Things like lean meats with that important protein that helps you keep lovely and full. Emergency carrots for me in the fridge helped, along with boiled eggs, and fruits like mini satsumas, which are lovely and sweet and really give you that sweet kind of craving. To help with sleep, how about blocking out any light coming into the room that can stop the release of the sleep hormone called melatonin. So we bought a blackout blind and I got an eye mask, which massively helped too. Now, I know it’s hard to get up and go when you’re feeling crap at around 2.30pm in the afternoon for me was always a danger area, but by forcing myself to get up and going out for a walk just for 15 minutes, can really give you an energy boost.
And it’s surprising by doing that how you don’t feel as hungry and feel like you want to devour the whole fridge when you get back. Maybe give that a try. For me, the HR has helped and I know it’s an individual choice, so you do what’s best for you. I know it was how menopause was making me feel which made me go and raid the cupboards daily. That was starting to put the pounds on.
But by taking back some control, making changes, planning ahead, and getting rid of stress in my life, which I know isn’t easy for everyone to do, but has made a world of difference to me. Do I still forget things? Yes. Do I still struggle with wanting to eat two tubs of Ben and Jerry’s from time to time? Yes.
But this now seems manageable and not a daily occurrence. I feel like I’ve got tools in my toolbox to help me in these situations and also know it’s okay some days to be in your PJs, not brush your hair and have self-care. A love you day, I call it. So I hope this little video may have helped some of you, but please know you will get through this and there will be ups and downs, but all of us women are in this together. Lots of love.