“After meeting Wendy in London, I’m so pleased I did her programme. I feel, look and sleep so much better and don’t feel like I’ve deprived myself in any way. I didn’t realise that my routines were contributing to my menopause symptoms.
I learnt from the programme that a poor night’s sleep fires up our stress hormone cortisol, which fires up our appetite, and my 35in waist over the years was the result. On Wendy’s plan, I quit my box-set binge habit and headed to bed at 10pm.
The plan meant a total diet overhaul, especially at work, early bedtimes and healing exercise. I also decided that at the end of the 12 weeks, if I was brave enough, I would attempt to wean myself off my HRT medication with my Doctor’s support.
It all starts in the bedroom because, as far as Wendy is concerned, no menopause transformation can take place unless we get a good night’s sleep. As mammals, our bodies and hormones are programmed to love routine. My phone was left downstairs and replaced with an alarm clock, as the ‘blue light’ generated by smart phones interferes with our melatonin production.
Before menopause I could sleep like the dead and, while HRT stopped the night sweats, it didn’t stop me waking in the middle of the night with a wildly racing heart. I had no idea why, until I did Wendy’s programme. I’ve always gone to bed late (typically 1am) and get up at least once in the night to use the loo. Wendy’s sleep programme aimed to turn around my body’s circadian rhythm (our natural sleep/wake cycle) and I quickly learned that my 1am bedtime was far too late.
Our bodies are designed to be in their deepest sleep at 2am (when I was still looking at my phone screen after getting up to use the loo – a nightly habit that had become ingrained). We also start to secrete melatonin (the sleep hormone) at 9pm and our bodies need darkness to do this efficiently — not, like me, to be in front of the TV with a main light on.
Wendy believes uninterrupted sleep is key, meaning those overnight trips to the loo had to stop, so I stopped drinking liquids from 8pm.
While changing my bedtime routine and going for walks took some adjustment to my usual routine, it was always the diet overhaul that was going to test me.
You may question why anyone needs to change what they eat in menopause, but few realise that oestrogen is the most powerful anti-inflammatory in a woman’s body, so we need an anti-inflammatory diet as we move through menopause – I had no idea.
When oestrogen levels decline, it results in deep tissue inflammation from higher cortisol levels, that in turn spikes insulin which makes us crave sugary and starchy food.
When devising her food plan, Wendy studied the diets of women living in so called ‘Blue Zones’ — areas in the world where people live longer and suffer fewer medical conditions.
As I learnt at Wendy’s seminar, a study of women’s ageing in the Blue Zones locations found that many reported a symptomless menopause and they certainly weren’t taking HRT, so what was their secret? The thing the women all had in common was that their diets were very similar — they featured little meat and dairy, no processed foods and an abundance of fruit and vegetables.
Our bodies strive constantly to maintain a state of homeostasis — the perfect balance of hormones — and a healthy diet goes a long way towards aiding that.
As the programme I followed aimed to help me shift weight, it incorporated a liver cleanse. Oestrogen decline makes our livers less efficient, which means we don’t metabolise fats and proteins well, leading to the dreaded middle-aged bloating.
Just three months on the food plan, my stomach has deflated like you wouldn’t believe. I’ve lost nearly five inches around my middle and 18lb (over a stone!) in weight.
Now I don’t eat bread or pasta at all, and my sugar cravings are firmly under control. When my train was subject to delays at Victoria Station recently, I stress-bought a packet of wine gums, but instead of scoffing the whole lot, I ate two and binned the rest.
Perhaps the best news is that I’m about to enter my fourth HRT-free week by working with my Doctor and, so far, I haven’t needed to break into my emergency supply. I’ve never been anti-HRT — I’ve recommended it to many friends — but, like a stale relationship, it felt as though the time was right for us to go our separate ways. I’m pleasantly surprised it wasn’t the painful break I was expecting.”
[Claudia Connell, London]
When one of the UK’s Daily Mail journalists arrives at your London seminar and then comes onto your programme and asks to write about it, you feel a bit nervous. But I’m so pleased that she did.
It was such a privilege to meet Claudia at the Daily Mail where she works, when I was over there taking my live events in London and Edinburgh.
Dr Wendy Sweet, PhD/ My Menopause Transformation Founder & Coach.
Introducing MyMT™ Transform Me. This 12 week online programme has the integrated solutions for restoring your sleep, reducing hot flushes and sore joints as well as teaching you how to lose weight specific to your menopause transition.
It’s also suitable for those of you who are post-menopausal, because every single strategy has been researched from my women’s healthy ageing studies. Pulling all this information together changed my life and I now want you to benefit from this information too.