When you’re going through the perimenopause, your hormones are fluctuating and your body and emotions can feel a little out of control. One minute you’re exhausted, the next angry and you seem to be getting fatter by the day. It’s a completely normal process but you’re feeling anything but normal and you’re wondering what you can do that doesn’t mean having to resort to HRT.
You probably already know that a better diet and supplements can help to ease some of the symptoms but you’re confused about which ones you should be taking and all the contradictory advice out there.
This is Emma’s story of how she went from feeling “old, tired and fed up” to feeling “energised, clear-headed and fabulous!”
Emma Langton came to work with me because she has hit the early menopause at 38 and had spent the past 7 years trying to help herself with good food and self-care. As a therapist, she knew she needed to make changes and had some knowledge around what she needed to do but she felt tired all the time and was taking afternoon naps “like her granny”.
Through working with me, she wanted to find out how she could manage the symptoms she was experiencing naturally through food and lifestyle changes, and she knew that the generic advice that she had read or heard just wasn’t working for her.
As part of my signature system The Hormonal Transformation Programme, there are 5 steps which I take my clients through to get their hormones balanced and back on track.
Step One – IDENTIFY – Digging deep to the underlying cause of symptoms so we can create the right treatment plan and get optimal results
Step Two – BALANCE – Underpinning all the other hormones to balance blood sugars, optimise hormonal health and to help give sustained energy, moods and reduce mid-afternoon slump and sugar cravings
Step Three – ELIMINATE – Taking out those foods that are working against your body, make you feel sluggish, bloated, low in energy and causing unwanted weight gain
Step Four – NOURISH – Give your body the nutrients it needs to work optimally, feel calm, focused, energised and lighter
Step Five – WELLBEING – Stress reduction and lifestyle changes can help you feel energised, reduce food cravings and be more emotionally balanced
The first step was to find out what was going on specifically for Emma, as each person is unique. We did this through an in-depth look at her health and family history, symptom checker and food diary. This meant I was able to identify what I thought the key issues were and refer her on for private hormonal tests to get to the underlying cause. We could then put a plan in place to move forward and make the changes Emma needed.
Implementing the Changes
Once we had that plan in place, we started with making sure that her blood sugar levels were balanced, through eating the right types of food to keep them level and therefore increase her energy levels, reduce sugar cravings. Emma was having severe sugar cravings, which meant she was reaching for chocolate every afternoon, by ensuring she was eating regularly (every 4-5 hours) and having foods high in protein and healthy fats, this helped her to reduce those cravings and gave her the energy she needed to get through the day, instead of feeling like she needed to fall asleep. Our blood sugars are controlled by the hormone insulin, which underpins and helps to control our reproductive hormones so it’s essential that it is balanced during the perimenopause.
Emma was also experiencing digestive issues, which is common with hormonal imbalances, as many hormones are produced and released from the gut and this has a knock on effect on how your hormones are working. We had identified that there was some candida overgrowth and that her digestion needed to be improved and also did an elimination diet (the gold standard in identifying food intolerances and sensitivities) to find out which foods were working for her and which were working against. For Emma, we identified that among other things, gluten was a major sensitivity and therefore removed that from the diet completely while we re-built her gut health. This improved her brain fog, which was making it difficult to think clearly and concentrate as well as improving her digestive health and energy levels.
Personalised meal plans are included in the Hormonal Transformation Programme to make the changes as simple as possible for the client to follow, while ensuring that they are still getting the nutrients they need.
“The weekly plans and shopping lists reduce the stress of making changes. They are adaptable to meet needs and likes or dislikes. It was so easy!”
While I always try to do as much as I can through food, deficiencies in nutrients can often be making the symptoms much worse so as part of the nutrition plan, I also include any supplements which are necessary to help bring them back up to optimal levels which can be of real benefit in the short term. The private tests we ran indicated that Emma’s cortisol levels were out of sync and that they were too low in the morning, when they need to be higher to give you energy to get on with your day, and higher at night time when she was getting a second wind late in the evening. Balancing her adrenals was therefore key to ensuring that her energy levels were increased and she wasn’t waking up tired every day. I therefore introduced some adrenal support supplements to help increase her vitamin C levels as well as some adaptogen herbs which help support the body’s stress levels. In just a few weeks, her energy levels had increased significantly.
The Importance of Lifestyle Changes
As an anxiety therapist and hypnotherapist, Emma was well aware of the importance of self-care and had the knowledge around what she should be doing, she just wasn’t practicing it herself! We discussed, where she could take more time to do things for herself, the importance of reducing stress in managing the symptoms she had (especially with her cortisol levels being too high) and she started to schedule in more time for self-care. She also recognised that she needed to use some of the techniques she uses on her own clients, on herself. Although she knew all of this already, sometimes it takes someone else to point it out and to keep you accountable in making those changes!
Throughout the time we worked together, there were many challenges that came up with family issues, holidays and busy weekends, but we were able to work together to make the plan work for her and her family, as that is the key to making changes in the long term. Finding something that fits into your unique lifestyle!
This is what Emma had to say about her experience working with me on my 1:1 Hormonal Transformation Programme:
“Rebecca’s Hormonal Transformation Programme is fabulous. It’s easy to fit into everyday family life and made a huge difference to me and my family. I highly recommend it.
I hit early menopause at 38 and spent 7 years trying to help myself with good food and self care. I also have two very troubled, disabled children which brought huge additional stressors. Even with all my own skills and knowledge as an anxiety therapist I still wasn’t feeling my best. I felt old and fed up. I was tired all the time and taking afternoon naps like my granny!
Rebecca is easy to talk to and it was clear she totally understood my situation and the ability to have in-depth tests on my hormones was a bonus. The weekly plans and shopping lists reduce the stress of making changes. They are adaptable to meet needs and likes or dislikes. It was so easy!
Six months on, all my family eat the meals. Many were not that different from what we ate anyway but nutrition is more balanced across the week. Some favourites are banana pancakes, fish stew, chicken and bean casserole – all dead easy to make! I have so much more energy, I’m clear headed and comfortable with how I feel. The bonus was I lost over a stone and people say how good I look. I feel fabulous!
Do not hesitate or faff around for years like I did! Invest in yourself with Rebecca’s programme. It’s totally worth it!”
Since then she has continued with the changes. In fact when I spoke to her recently she reported “I’m now a size 10! I haven’t been a size 10 since my twenties”
To find out how you can manage the symptoms of the perimenopause naturally, click here to book a Heal Your Hormones Strategy Call and see how I can support you in making the changes you need.