I love this photo of Jo. I took it when we met at the Christchurch ‘Masterclass in Menopause’ seminar earlier this year. It was so great to meet her after our numerous emails over the past few months and I’m so grateful that she has allowed me to share her story with you all.
You see before Jo came into the MyMT programme, she had bought a nutrition programme that was from the United Kingdom and when she told me what it was, I realised it was not designed for her changing hormones in menopause.
Like many of the programmes that are marketed to women, it was designed to be very high in protein. For many years, this strategy has been promoted in the fitness industry (which I used to promote too), because our body needs protein and in exercising women doing a lot of weight-training, it helps to repair muscles. The other thing that high protein diets are reknowned to do, is to boost metabolism. But there is another thing that high protein diets do too – and for women in menopause it can lead to much frustration and confusion. Jo was feeling this way too. She had sore joints and muscles, wasn’t sleeping and felt bloated and over-weight, despite the diet!
When I discovered the diet that Jo was on and how high it was in protein, I explained to her that high protein diets cause women to feel hot. With lowering oestrogen, our blood vessels become more constricted and we don’t sweat as much. Then because protein is ‘thermo-genic’ [which is a physiological term meaning ‘heat generating’], the tendency for women, is to overheat, when they are on a high protein diet and aren’t doing the resistance training that is designed to go with these high protein diets. Body-builders have known for years that protein not only repairs and grows damaged muscles, but it is a food that requires a lot of metabolic energy to digest and absorb it. That’s why it has been used in weight loss over the years.
Many women don’t need high protein diets as they go through menopause, because they aren’t doing the amount of training that maybe they used to do – many are too exhausted and because so many of us, struggle with sleep, then our body isn’t able to do the repairing of muscle tissue that it used to do in the past. Jo was the same. As a business-woman running a house-hold with busy teenagers, Jo’s activity levels were mainly cardio – running around after everyone else! But because she thought she was on a weight-loss diet, her confusion and frustration was mounting by the day. She felt bloated, heavy and her clothes felt tight and uncomfortable and her energy levels were at rock-bottom.
That’s why I implored Jo to at least try my ‘Transform Me’ programme. With oestrogen dominance being the main cause of our weight gain as we transition through menopause, I have researched exactly the step-by-step lifestyle solutions that we need to put into place to reduce this condition which makes our fat cells store excess oestrogen. I have also designed the programme from the studies that have emerged more recently from women’s healthy ageing research, which was the topic of my doctoral studies.
Menopause is the transition to the next phase of our lives – our ageing. And in a completely new hormonal environment, what we have done in the past to look after ourselves may no longer work. I also told Jo, that once she had done the programme and learnt how to sleep, eat and move to suit her changing hormonal environment, she would have the template for maintaining improved energy levels, so imagine my surprise, 6 months later, when I received this email from her:
In a “previous life” I could not do a run at Mt Hutt without stopping for a breather or to rest my limbs. I would have to go down to the car for a nap too.
So it has been an incredibly pleasing experience yesterday and today to have skied from top to bottom (of the triple) without stopping, not even puffed! I still can’t quite believe it. It’s just fantastic! I’m over the moon.
It’s my absolute privilege to be able to help women get their life back on track. Menopause is a time of our lives that has been hidden from view, but for busy, active women like Jo, it’s time to change that and it’s my passion to share how to do this through the MyMT programmes. Circuit Breaker is for women who are thinner and leaner and want to sleep all night and remove their hot flushes, joint pain and anxiety, whilst Transform Me, is for women, like Jo, who want to stop their weight gain and get losing the weight that has gone on in menopause. Both programmes help women to restore their energy and feel like their old self again.
Wendy Sweet, PhD/ MyMT Founder & Coach.