“It all started when I stopped!
Before the pandemic hit the UK in March 2020 I was spending a huge amount of time travelling for work. I work for a Global food company called Kerry Group, in Business Development. My life was all about work, extremely busy and stressful and not a lot of time to think or look after myself.
When I arrived in my early 50s, I felt exhausted. I am married with two adult sons who at that time were both living at home. One in the army and the other a tree surgeon. I had recently had both hips replaced due to Osteo-arthritis, had carpal tunnel corrective surgery and was also suffering from tennis elbow constantly.
It’s no surprise that I was struggling with constant pain in my joints, not sleeping and feeling like I had hit rock bottom. I even convinced myself I was developing early onset dementia as my memory had become so poor and I was constantly feeling “foggy”.
I had always been very fit and had a healthy diet. Having worked in the food industry for 30 years, I thought I knew about food and nutrition, but now I realise that my knowledge wasn’t geared up for midlife and women’s ageing.
For my birthday the previous year I had bought our third Border Collie Pup, Pip. She requires a lot of exercise so walking everyday was the plan. But even this became hard. I was in so much pain and just didn’t have the energy.
It wasn’t long before I began to put on weight as well. This made me feel even more depressed as my weight had been constant since I was 18.
Gradually, I began to lose my self-confidence and as such, my marriage began to suffer. So, on that day in March 2020 when I was forced to stop and I was at home with time to think, I started to re-evaluate what I was doing and how I was feeling and realised something had to change.
My first thought was ‘I want to leave work’ (my husband persuaded me that this was not the answer thankfully). Then I watched a documentary about Menopause with Davina McCall and I suddenly had a Ureka moment … “that’s me!”
I rang my GP surgery and asked to have blood tests , explained all my symptoms, but I met a brick wall as the Dr I spoke to said that blood tests would not tell me if I was in Menopause. Also, with my family history of breast cancer I could not go onto HRT ( having lost both my Mum and my sister within 6 months of each other a few years earlier).
However, now I began to understand what was happening, I was on a mission! Spurred on by Davina I started to trawl the internet and came across Wendy’s MyMT™ website.
After watching Wendy’s Masterclass on Menopause webinar, I debated long and hard about investing the money to do her 12 week Circuit Breaker course.
Now I’m so glad I did .. it changed everything!
I embraced all the information and started to change my diet (this was tricky as like most women, I was cooking and eating the same way as my sons, but Wendy addressed this, saying that we have different nutritional needs as we move through menopause. I realised that I didn’t need to eat like them and they are both in jobs that are physically demanding. However, we all adjusted during lockdown and it was a team effort, so I just ate what I needed to eat.
This was when I realised I could change things and for the first time, it gave me hope. I started to regain my confidence and took back control of my changing health.
Grief counselling for my mum and sister followed, and this began to reduce my stress levels. Then with Wendy’s programme I also began to sleep better which meant I could cope better with the pain. However, over time, the more changes I made, I noticed less inflammation which meant less pain.
Working from home, also meant that I could adjust my exercise to what was being recommended in the MyMT™ programme. It made so much sense not to do high amounts of load-bearing exercise until other health concerns were addressed. I started to do Pilates online and because I wasn’t travelling I could attend 3 online classes a week and do some on my own every day.
The combination of the MyMT™ programme information and the pilates, meant that I began to get my shape back. I lost the stone (7kg) I had gained. I also changed up my exercise to incorporate more myofascial extension and lengthening exercise which my Pilates Instructor was promoting.
With my new found confidence and after emailing Wendy, I also got an appointment with a Menopause Specialist. She assured me that despite my family history, bioidentical HRT was fine.
The combination of this, my new, gentle exercise regime, walking Pip every morning and Wendy’s programme advice, as well as the support and Wendy’s posts in the MyMT™ private Coaching Community transformed everything about my life including my Libido. I felt amazing!
THAT’S WHEN BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF MENOPAUSE AT WORK BECAME MY FOCUS!
With my own experiences and nearly leaving the workplace I loved, I became determined that other women shouldn’t struggle like I had, so I set out to make changes at work.
On starting conversations with some of my female colleagues at work we soon realised that a lot of us were in the same boat – but suffering in silence. None of us understood what was happening to our bodies and minds.
I knew we had a Diversity & Inclusion Committee at Kerry Group and I now had the confidence to join it. Whilst I found the initial discussions uncomfortable, because it was not a subject which was ever discussed freely in our workplace before, I persevered.
Wendy also made some academic papers available which helped me understand that menopause in the workplace had been well studied but companies were struggling with implementation.
Now, fast forward to today – we realised that education was crucial and so we asked Wendy to share her online 2 hr Masterclass on Menopause webinar with employees – male and female, young and old! After an initial pilot trial of it going to 10 women, we are now rolling it out and the response has been amazing.
The webinar has gone global in the company just by word of mouth. I feel so proud of what myself and my colleagues have achieved and we are now planning a training programme which will be rolled out to the whole company (men included).
We also have Coffee & Connect Mornings in our sites attended by both men and women attending. It’s fantastic that the “M” word is now common place in our everyday conversations.
In fact, whilst some have gone on to complete Wendy’s programmes, Aisling (in the banner below) has now become a MyMT™ CPD Accredited Menopause Champion in the Workplace, funded by Kerry. I’m so excited to do the same in an upcoming course.
And, the exciting news is that now the year has ended, I have now made the decision to leave Kerry and pursue my newly found passion for nutrition and lifestyle solutions for health aging. I wanted to thank you and all the ladies in the coaching group, for helping me my find my new “why” and giving me back the confidence I need to do this.”
The difference over the last couple of years has been amazing. Without Wendy’s support, I would never have had the confidence to make changes in the workplace. We even have a male Exec sponsor so that other men feel comfortable to join us and learn more so that they can support their female colleagues as well as their loved ones at home.
I urge you lovely ladies to do the same at work and help others to live a better life through their Menopause years.
The photos below are from before I did the Circuit Breaker course and changed my exercise regime in Sept 2020 and then there is a photo of me now, in 2023. I feel healthier, stronger and fitter and I have started taking my niece to Dance Fitness classes every week as well as walking every day.
I now enjoy my walks with my dog, Pip as well as my other exercise, now that I have so much more energy. It’s great!
Thank you Wendy for your continued support and for constantly updating us on your research and motivating us that menopause is a time for change, in more ways than one. It’s fascinating!
Nicky Dear, Kerry Group, UK & IRELAND
Join either of the MyMT™ programmes (Circuit Breaker or Transform Me), so I can support you to thrive during your menopause transition.
Circuit Breaker is for thinner women and details are HERE for you.
Transform Me is for overweight women and details are HERE for you.
As Nicky found out too, what you learn may just change your life. It would be my privilege to support you.