My mind has been on Sheffield in the United Kingdom this week. With the news that it is going into Alert Level 3 restrictions due to an upsurge in coronavirus cases, I’ve been thinking of the women who attended my presentation there, only in March this year. Elaine was one of them. I loved my visit to this fascinating city and enjoyed learning about the extraordinary wartime heroines who ran the munitions factories during both World Wars when the men were absent.
That’s where I met Elaine. I was so appreciative that she drove over an hour to get to my Sheffield presentation. It wasn’t her first time listening to me either. She had already attended my live ‘Masterclass on Menopause’ event the year before in London. Then she had come on my 12 week programme and I was so pleased to meet her in person. (This Masterclass is now available for you to download online). Working as a Sports Therapist and Personal Trainer, she was keen to come back and build on what she had learnt on my programme, so she could help her mid-life clients. Menopause isn’t a topic that many exercise professionals learn about in their courses, so with gaps in her knowledge connecting exercise, weight training, nutrition and being thrown into early menopause post-hysterectomy, as she told me, “Doing your programme changed my whole approach to how I now look after myself.”
So, with Elaine on my mind and the other women from Sheffield who came to my seminar earlier this year, I want to introduce you to Elaine. I am so grateful to her for kindly sharing her story with you … because it just might be your story too …
“In late 2015, having found a lump in my abdomen, I was diagnosed with an ovarian cyst. A complete hysterectomy followed along with the most horrendous hot flushes and night sweats. I felt exhausted. At the three week post-op check-up, expecting to be given the all clear and discuss potential HRT options, I was told that biopsy had revealed Ovarian Cancer and HRT was now out of the question.
Six rounds of chemotherapy quickly followed. At the end my weight had ballooned and my menopause symptoms increased. This was despite continuing to exercise and eat well. And whilst I can’t say whether the weight gain was due to being thrown into menopause, the steroids I had to take during treatment or a combination of the two, the sweating and lack of sleep was definitely happening before treatment.
I’m lucky enough to be a Sports Therapist and Personal Trainer, and out of desperation, I embarked on one of the programmes our gym uses with the added incentive of a photo-shoot at the end of the process. Heavy training followed and gradually the fat began to disappear. I noticed my sweats had disappeared too. Two and half years post chemo I was 9kg lighter (19 lbs) and no menopause symptoms.
I thought I had it sussed … but I didn’t!
My insomnia, hot flushes and night sweats came back… I know that poor food choices were to blame but not sleeping and the return of my night sweats was a mystery, especially as I was still training heavily. Ironically, it was during one of these 3am wide awake moments that I discovered Wendy’s MyMT™ website.
This got me thinking – ‘what was it that had reduced my weight and symptoms initially?’ I ploughed into some research and various courses and these mainly kept leading to three things:
- What I consumed,
- Doing daily physical activity and
- Dealing with cortisol (stress) levels.
But what I didn’t understand, was the way that all my training was also impacting on my symptoms. I simply had no idea of the changes that result in our muscles during the menopause.
In 2019, I discovered that Wendy was speaking in the UK, so I quickly signed up for a ticket and attended.
Listening to her speak was a revelation.
Suddenly I began making links with what was going on with me. And although some things I already knew from my Personal Training courses, the area of menopause is not well understood. What she said in her presentation made so much sense to me.
I signed up for Wendy’s online programme and began to learn from her about the powerful connection between what I was eating, when I was eating it and my sleep disturbances. I also learnt about reducing hot flushes and night sweats and how, when our blood vessels change, this increases blood pressure, temperature and heart rate too.
A few nutrition and habit tweaks later after completing her programme and I’ve maintained my figure, restored my sleep and eradicated night sweats and hot flushes.
The knowledge I have gained from Wendy has enabled me to change my life as well as help my clients make sense of menopause. I can’t thank her enough.”
Elaine Atkinson, Core Fitness, United Kingdom.