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Before I hit my late forties, I hadn’t really given the menopause a second thought. Well, why should I have? Like most of us, I’d been dealing with fluctuating hormones throughout my life – mostly making their mark during adolescence and pregnancy – spots, weight-gain, crazy PMT and haywire hair. That was just a few of the symptoms – annoying – yes – but dealable? I’d say so. Hormonal hiccups in my health – physical and mental. But not major problems, so I wasn’t expecting anything untoward from the menopause. Haha – cue bellowing laugh from Mother Nature who cruelly raised an eyebrow and said, “Hormonal hiccup? Ok, Little Miss Sunshine, let’s see how you fare with a hormonal hurricane!”

And that’s when I realised that the menopause was something bigger than I’d ever had to deal with when it came to how I felt – and to some extent – how I looked. I had to stop sticking my fingers in my ears, shaking my head shouting blah blah blah at symptoms that were coming thick and fast and finally own up to it. Things were about to change and I was going to have to face it. Seeing that I’m a lover not a fighter, I didn’t want to get involved  in any violence with Mother Nature (or Mother F**k*r as I felt she really should be termed) even though she was behaving quite deplorable. Instead, I set about calming things down. Here’s what I discovered…

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We are all in the is together. So, don’t be fooled – nobody is immune to the ravages of the menopause – even if you’re lucky enough to have mild symptoms, there WILL be some symptoms. So, when you’re among a group of friends who are discussing their experiences with the big M, please don’t be the kind of woman who smiles and says, “I hardly noticed it. It was just how I found giving birth really – quite simple if you took a few deep breaths every now and then and chanted OMM NOMM MAAAA a few times.” NO! Have a little sympathy for those beetroot faced women around you who are dripping buckets and stripping off mid-winter and panting ‘ooh, mild for this time of year isn’t it’ . Discuss, offer suggestions, sympathise and share. We can help each other more than you know!

You are not going mad – even though it feels like it.  Have you ever looked up the symptoms of menopause. It’s long. And I didn’t realise until I started becoming embarrassingly forgetful and anxious,  that menopause affects your mental and emotional wellbeing as well as your physical wellbeing. Don’t be ashamed or worried about going to  your doctor if you feel that things are a bit out of synch – even if you can’t quite put your finger on what it is that feels out of kilter. Just having an understanding ear to listen to you can make you feel better. And if your doctor isn’t very clued up on the menopause, start searching the internet and book shelves at the library or on Amazon – there is a lot of help out there. I will list some great reads at the end of this post that are a great source of advice and menopause knowledge. Also, don’t be fobbed off with a GP that isn’t really interested and insists you’re just ‘a bit depressed’ if you don’t think that’s it.  Get some blood tests done and see where you’re at with those levels and push for the help you need – you are not a nuisance you are deserving of help if you need it. 

Your body shape may suddenly change. I noticed that even though I have a wide trunk (and tree trunk legs too – I am a tree!) No, seriously, even though my legs could hardly be called thin – my shape seems to have changed and my legs are actually looking slimmer than they did (it’s a bit of a lucky illusion) as most of my fat has collected around the middle. Even though I’ve never had much of a waist, a decline in oestrogen has just helped to add more bulges to my barrel as it causes cells in the stomach area to hang on to fat. Cruelly, it also reduces the body’s ability to burn fat and it is said that most women can expect to gain between 5 to 10 pounds during menopause. Fun. So, prepare for those body changes!Breakfast_Flowers

You can still feel good about yourself! I know the above may make if seem as if it’s all doom and gloom once you hit hormone hell but it really isn’t – well, it doesn’t have to be. You see, once you make a concerted effort to try and deal with how you are looking and feeling, you will start to feel better just by making inroads into looking after yourself. There are a lot of women out there of 40, 50 and beyond who are regulars at the gym and will pooh pooh the idea that menopause means weight gain – and I bow down to their determination, I really do. If hitting the gym a zillion times a week works for you and your body and wellbeing then go for it! It’s great and a real inspiration (I’m looking at you, fabulous Tracey at FaceUpBeauty) If you’re on Instagram, please head over to @FaceUpFitness and check out Tracey’s amazing workouts. I don’t choose to go mad at the gym but I really do know that keeping on top of my wellbeing, is more essential than ever. So do what I try to do and incorporate exercise into your life – whether walking, running, swimming, joining the gym or dancing. Do whatever activity you love as often as you can and it will help boost your mood, clear your mind and it’ll also go a long way to preventing brittle bones and osteoporosis – which menopause makes us more prone to. And if you find you love working out, who knows, you could get into better shape than you’ve ever been – it isn’t impossible. Have you seen the amount of strong, flexible over 50 bodies there are over on Instagram. Wow. Don’t let those images make you feel bad about yourself – you don’t have to look like that or want to look like that, but getting older is never an excuse to let yourself go. Just go for moderation in all things as much as you can 🙂

Talking of an expanding waist line, we’ve all heard the term ‘wine belt’ – that roll of fat around the middle that might just be caused by what you’ve been drinking as well as eating, If you’re a pint of Pinot girl (and I can’t lie, I’m with you on that one) then you might want to listen to some great advice from fellow ‘menopause and mid-life doesn’t have to suck’ supporter,  Dr Louise Wiseman. Louise and I often banter back and forth on social media, offering our thoughts and advice about what can make us feel and look great as we age and I have been watching her progress as she vociferously researches some amazing health, beauty and wellbeing information for her upcoming book – so excited to read it!  Louise believes if we really want to see improvements in the size of our stomachs, then we really need to think about cutting out – or drastically cutting down – on our alcohol intake (stop crying and grow up!). She says,

“Although alcohol speeds up metabolism of some enzymes in the liver, it can generally downgrade the metabolism in the days that follow a drinking session, so it is no good for weight loss and your general feeling of wellbeing.”

Louise also believes that apart from greatly contributing to weight gain, alcohol can increase many menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes and anxiety as a result of vitamin and mineral deficiency that can arise indirectly from excess alcohol intake, and from its detrimental effect on sleep patterns and temperature regulation, recommending we cut out alcohol for 3-4 days a week to start seeing overall body and wellbeing improvements. Follow Louise on Instagram at @drlouisewrites and Twitter @drlouisewriting for amazing tips and informative health/beauty advice.

It’s a natural beginning in your life.  Just as one part of your life might be coming to end with menopause – the childbirth years are over – now can be liberating and it is a brilliant time to start thinking of the future and what you want to do with all the vital years still ahead of you! Foggy brain, wobbly belly and hot flushes, mood swings etc…can be really scary when you’re not sure what exactly is happening with your body. But once you get informed, start researching ways you can help yourself – and there really are loads – then it can be exciting. I don’t think there’s ever been a better time to be middle aged and even though I wouldn’t say no to wrinkle free skin and a firm, taut bum and thighs, I’m looking forward to the next 50 years!

As promised, click on the links below for information on menopause health, beauty and emotional and physical wellbeing. And let me know if there’s any brilliant tips you’ve come across too! 

 

 

Well, the party is finally over for 2017 and it’s time to get into the groove of 2018 – a fresh, new and shiny year! I’ve never been one for setting New Year resolutions as I feel they put too much pressure on yourself to be unrealistically perfect and then make you feel crappy when you (invariably) break them. And all that dry January malarkey – why on earth would anybody do that to themselves in the coldest, gloomiest, most depressing month of the year? Surely a tipple or two is medicinal for us SAD sufferers – in moderation, of course. However, I do like to have a sort of fluid – very fluid – plan of action at the beginning of the year to ease me along the path to health and happiness. Here are my Top 3 Health Goals for 2018…

There’s definitely a time and place for long, relaxing treatments that encompass beauty and wellbeing, or for those slightly invasive techniques that delve a bit deeper into your skin concerns and may leave you with a day or two of downtime. And that’s all well and good, but with Christmas around the corner and not enough hours in the day, I want no-fuss, get-me-looking-good-right-now kind of help.

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As I gazed in awe at a photo of Yasmin Le Bon in a recent newspaper article, two questions went through my head: 1. What must it feel like to be able to walk down the street and have people swoon at your supermodel beauty – when you’re over 50?! and 2. Where can I get my hands on those Lumity Life supplements she’s harking on about for giving her back her vitality and bloom since hitting the menopause? Unfortunately, I will never know the answer to question number 1. But – hoorah! – question number 2 was sorted…I found out where to get that Lumity Life stuff!

And?

Pull up a chair…I’ve got exciting findings to divulge ☺

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I’m normally pretty rubbish at remembering to take any supplements but these little capsules came in such pretty packing (oh, I know! I’m such a soft touch) that I was quite happy to leave them out by the kitchen sink so that I remember to take them…well, I’m forever filling up the kettle for my copious amount of coffee green tea. But who needs green tea when you have antioxidant boosting ingredients like this?..

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Lumity creator, research scientist and Cambridge University graduate, Sara Palmer Hussey, PhD, is the woman behind these little capsules of hope. She says:

“My aim was to create a product that offers real, tangible benefits. I thought if we could offer women something that noticeably improves the way they feel on a daily basis and gives them an effortlessly healthy, glowing appearance, they would have the energy and freedom to focus more on the things they love.”

And how was I feeling? Well, I’ve known for some time that my dizzy spells, raging PMT, forgetfulness, middle-age spread, lethargy (I could go on and on) must have something to do with my age. I’ve felt that my hormones have been wreaking havoc and making physical and emotional changes that I don’t like very much, so I was definitely more than ready to give these a go.

Obviously, Lumity is not designed specifically for women who are experiencing menopausal symptoms, they’re ideal for all of us busy women, but the specially blended cocktail of nature’s goodies, are certainly designed to address them.

I took the capsules religiously every day, twice a day for a month before I started feeling that something was happening. The first thing I noticed was lack of crabiness around my period! The time of the month came and went with hardly a flicker of the highly charged emotions I’d began to experience over the last year or so. I was impressed and put it down to ‘beginners luck’ but again, the second month and the third and onto my fourth – a much calmer, more balanced and even tempered me has re-emerged. And I like it. And my poor suffering family LOVE it! 😉

My sleep has improved, in that I fall asleep quicker and if I wake up in the early hours, I can thankfully go straight back to a deep slumber without annoying Stressed Husband by huffing and puffing until the alarm goes off! But although I’m sleeping better, I am sadly no more inclined to jump out of bed with renewed energy – the snooze button is still getting more action than it should do. Well, Lumity gets some great feedback but it has never claimed to dish out miracles!

The biggest change in my appearance is my hair. In fact, on my the last visit to the salon, my hairdresser asked me what I had been doing to it as it had got so much thicker! I’d thought so myself but when she mentioned it without me even telling her that I’d been taking Lumity, I knew it wasn’t just a figment of my imagination. Before taking Lumity, I had been a bit downhearted about my hair getting thinner and had put it down to ageing and a fact of life, but it has really improved and so I’m delighted.

Overall, I am impressed. There’s no doubt I’ve seen and felt some positive changes that can’t possibly be just a placebo effect and I’m quite happy to fork out for a monthly supply of these as, when you think about it, at £79 a month (which is the automatically replenish price) it’s not much more than I spend on buying a large coffee each day. And it’s a small price to pay for getting rid of that monthly monster that had tendencies to terrorise the family!

Apart from loving the supplement, I’m regularly checking out Lumity’s website – it’s full of interesting features and science backed ways to make you look and feel fantastic. You can find out more about Lumity here.

 

I’ve got a couple of friends who are excitedly on their first month of taking Lumity, I hope it works as well for them. Let me know if you decided to try it and how you get on.

 

*Contains affiliate link.

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I always remember my lovely Nanny Ciss saying ‘You should be grateful’ when I turned my nose up at something, whether it was a ‘nice bit of liver’ for dinner *shudders* or when I came second in the swimming club gala. Grateful? But I wanted sausages and chips and I wanted to win the trophy. I didn’t get what I wanted, so as far as I could tell there was nothing to be grateful for. As I grew up though, I realised, clever old Nanny Ciss knew a thing or two about leading a happy life and being thankful for what she had.

When I think about being grateful now, as an adult, I understand it all much better. While I was having a bit of a crappy day recently, it only took five minutes for me to switch my mood from yuck to yay and this is what helped…

The dog. Of course, I was going to say that first 🙂 My big, shiny, loveable Labrador Troy. It doesn’t matter that I’m being grumpy or shouting at Stressed Husband or one of the kids, my dumpling dog always forgives my moods and brings me a sock or pair of pants from the utility room as if to say ‘cheer up mum, here’s a present’. Awww. dirty socks? Nice – not. But I’m just grateful for him ‘presenting’ me with something – it’s his way of telling me he cares!

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My house. It took a while to get the building work out of the way with lots of stress, dust and family arguments, and even though it still isn’t finished exactly how I would’ve liked it and it smells of damp dog, it has lots going for it: It overlooks the river, it’s big enough for my 3 big kids and their gaggle of friends and the parties. I guess I’m feeling a bit sad now that we’ve got it on the market (news updates to follow) but for now, it’s home and I’m grateful!

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Friends and family. Of course, they’re top of the list, but today, I think Troy was the winner and got top mention as he managed to bring me not just one pair of socks and a lovely pair of unwashed boxer shorts, but a pair of slippers today too. And all, I might add, were in his mouth at the same time! Still, it only took me a quick scroll through my texts and a peek on Facebook to see how many lovely friends I have (and I don’t mean just ‘Facebook’ friends but real ‘if you’re down, I’ll listen to you moan and cheer you up’ type friends.) I’m well aware that not everybody is lucky enough to have such wonderful friends and family and so I am always grateful for that!

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Being healthy. What more can I say? I moan about my aching hips – but will never give up swinging them about while I’m dancing! I grumble about my dizziness and other menopausal type symptoms which get on my tits (and talking of tits – they’re getting droopier by the minute so I’ve got to moan about those too) but all in all, I’m so, so grateful to be healthy.

So there we have it. My reasons to be grateful today and I’d like to say a big thank you to Nanny Ciss, God rest her soul, for instilling in me that I really ‘should be grateful’  instead of moaning about stuff that doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. Love you nan. 

What are your reasons to be grateful?