As promised I am going back to the beginning, or what I can remember being the beginning of this dreadful phase called menopause.
I am doing this because I have received some direct messages on Instagram asking me on how I managed to kick menopause in the balls and realised that a lot of my followers on this blog and Instagram are new.
So, I have decided to start re-writing or recapping this blog and I really hope that my professional experience of nearly 25 years in the health and fitness industry and my own menopause experience helps you.
Let’s rewind 5 years to when I was not at my physical or emotional best, I was 46 years old.
The words from my GP “Yes Jane your blood tests have come back, and you are low on oestrogen – you are menopausal” hit me like a freight train.
What! no? Not me, I am fit and healthy and not old enough.
Stop, wait, I am 46; I suppose I am old enough and just because I am a personal trainer with my own studio I am not actually that fit and healthy right now.
I had been dealing with a lot of emotional and physical stress.
I was hit by a car a few years previously and still suffering from back and hip pain, I was recovering from evasive shoulder surgery, which resulted in having a frozen shoulder; not great when one is a personal trainer!
About 2 years before the GP’s appointment when I was told I was menopausal after my accident and surgery I was going through other emotional stresses.
At that time my studio was a lot larger than it is now, I had a team of 6 and we offered early morning boot camps, small group training and 1-2-1 personal training. The studio was open from 6.30am until 8pm Monday to Friday at 8am until 1pm on Saturday.
Because of all my physical problems listed above, to help my recovery, I employed a studio manager who I thought I could trust. When I was slowly recovering and still at my lowest ebb I discovered that she was stealing from me, which nearly resulted in bankruptcy, I had taken my foot off the pedal and it showed.
I was physically and emotionally spent, strung out and on my knees.
During this time I had to make some really hard decisions, I had decided to downsize my studio and let my fabulous team go, however I had commitments to my members and financially in the red so gave all group class members a 6 week window to finish courses that were pre-paid but I also had to get in front financially so had to take on more 1-2-1 personal training clients.
So, for nearly 3 months I taught all the above and probably worked 70 hours each week.
Downsizing the studio in itself was physically hard as I was trying to work around a building site, keeping clients happy and had to be very hands on with the works, which was hard for my recovering body.
Why is all the above relevant to menopause?
Stress and adrenal fatigue all have a massive impact on our hormones, it certainly did for me.
During this time, I was suffering with sever anxiety, waking up at 3am in a cold sweat and was aching from head to toe with a constant headache, brain fog was a relief from the headaches!
I was in always in a bad mood but that was all down to stress, right? Of course, I put it down to stress and the sever aches because of what my body had been through.
I also was not looking after myself properly. I could not really exercise, even through I was teaching sessions I was not actually doing them myself, I certainly was not practising meditation and even through eating regularly, it was not up to my usual standard of goodness. So, I did not produce any feel-good endorphins through specific exercises and didn’t have time to stretch out my aching muscles, I only accelerated my cortisol levels.
Once I had downsized my business and studio I managed to take on a better routine, my work life balance improved, I started to look after my failing body again, however this time things seemed different. I had suffered injuries and stresses in the past and always been able to pick myself up but not this time, my energy and ability to look on the bright side had defiantly left the building!
I was on the pill and decided to come off it as it didn’t “feel right” anymore as when I was supposed to be having a bleed the headaches turned into migraines. My periods were non-existent, but I had never really suffered with periods and they were always light; the penny still didn’t drop as I was only 46.
When our ovaries stop producing oestrogen our adrenal glands take over but if your body is under stress then they also produce cortisol – our stress hormone.
We also have oestrogen receptors all over our body, from vagina, skin to hair. My skin started to age and my hair was even thinner than ever. Was this just the ageing process? Yes, to an extent but also a massive decrease in oestrogen.
As well as my adrenal glands being over worked, my nervous system had taken a battering both physically and emotionally, post accidents, surgery and having to deal with a stressful few years, one could say one wasn’t feeling ones best!
After my doctors apt when he announced that at 46 I was menopausal I was in denial for a while.
Did I accept it? hell no, did I tell my husband? of course not, I can’t even remember if I told anyone at the point, I was embarrassed and totally in denial.
Embarrassed; yes, I was, I am now ashamed to admit it, but there you have it, honesty is the best policy as I do hope my disclosures help you.
I will let you know in chapter 2 the next phase of my menopause, which will follow in a week or 2.
In the meantime, as it is menopause awareness month I shall be sharing some great competitions along with featuring guest bloggers along with the usual; exercise nagging and some beat the belly fat recipes.
In the meantime, do not hesitate to shout if you have any questions.
O yes – ps I cried lots.
Hugs, Jane xx