Does Yoyo Dieting Damage your Metabolism?

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This is something I hear often and was the subject of a live training I ran recently with my group coaching programme ‘The Fabulous Butterfly Club’.

People say that if you are constantly on or off a diet you will wreck your metabolism but is this really the case.  And what is metabolism anyway?

Metabolism is the term used to describe the processes by which the body uses energy to support the various systems it needs to survive, such as our digestion, hormonal, growth and repair and respiration among others.   We hear about a fast or slow metabolism, and this is simply the rate at which the body is able to use energy to support those systems previously mentioned.

A person’s metabolism is dictated by a number of individual factors including age, gender, body composition, genetics, health conditions and even the types of food they’ve eaten.  Surprisingly, often when we see someone slim we assume they have a fast metabolism or if someone is overweight we assume it’s down to a slow metabolism.  But, in fact, the smaller a person is the slower their metabolism needs to be since it has less ‘body’ to support and vice versa.

So, does yoyo dieting actually damage your metabolism?  Despite this being a common statement thrown around in the media, it’s not really possible to damage your metabolism.  You can’t break it!  However excessive dieting can certainly cause what’s known as ‘metabolic adaptation’ or ‘metabolic down regulation’.

In simple terms this means that when you commence a diet (ie create a calorie deficit through lowering calories from food) your metabolism will naturally start to adapt to a perceived shortfall in food.  The body is incredibly adept at survival.  It has in-built mechanisms to help it maintain life.  So when it thinks it may be short on food it begins to slow down some of the systems that aren’t immediately essential to life.  For example, it will cause us to move around less to preserve energy.

It makes sense then, that the bigger the deficit we create, the more of a panic our body will perceive, and the more aggressively it will slow the metabolism in an attempt to preserve us from death.

When we crash diet, in effect creating a large and rapid calorie deficit (as is the case with some very low-calorie diets such as meal replacement programmes) we may immediately see some very rapid weight loss (although this will almost certainly not be fat loss which is ultimately what we want when we diet).  But before long our metabolism will have slowed down to accommodate the lack of energy being received, thus causing an inevitable plateau.  When we reach this plateau weight loss will stall.  If, in the case of some very low-calorie diets, you’re only on between 600-1000 calories you’re left with nowhere to go.  You can’t realistically reduce your calories any further, and chances are you don’t have enough energy to create a further deficit through exercise and movement.  Remember chances are your body will have already turned the switch down on moving around too much.

It’s unrealistic to expect that a person could remain on a severe calorie restriction indefinitely, so there will undoubtedly become a point where self-discipline and willpower give way and a blow out ensues.  Binge eating is a common problem when someone has been severely calorie restricted for an extended period of time – coupled with the psychological impact of hitting the plateau, leading to feelings of ‘what’s the point’.

Let’s look at what is likely to happen now that we’ve ‘blown the diet’.  Not mentioning the emotional factors – feelings of failure, guilt, shame among others, physiologically we’re not in a great place either.

We’ve now likely consumed a large number of calories but our body’s systems have all slowed down, so what we could have maybe got away with at the start of the diet we can no longer get away with because we’re not burning calories at the same rate we were before.

Let me try to explain this a bit more clearly.

Our calorie needs are based on our Basal Metabolic Rate – this is the amount of energy we require just to exist.   We then have the energy we require to move about and function day to day.  This is known as NEAT which stands for non-exercise activity thermogenesis.  We then have EAT which is the energy we require on top of BMR and NEAT if we want to play sport or go dancing or workout in the gym.    In very simple terms these factors make up our Total Daily Energy Expenditure (there are other factors such as the thermal effect of different foods but let’s keep things simple for now).

So let’s imagine we have a female who requires 2000 calories per day to carry out her daily activities.  Let’s also assume that her basal metabolic requirements are 1400 calories per day and her NEAT and EAT account for the remaining 600 calories.

She decides she wants to lose weight and believes if she drops her calories to 1000 per day she’ll see fast results.

She is now eating 400 calories less than her body requires just to fuel its basic needs (remember BMR!).  Her metabolism starts to adapt to the lower calorie intake and slows right down to preserve energy.

She sees some great results for the first few weeks then bam, she goes for a couple of weeks without any changes.  She thinks the only thing she can do is to drop her calories further so she starts eating just 800 calories a day.

Again, she sees her weight start to come down but she’s constantly hungry, hangry and feels pretty rubbish.  She’s got no energy, her skin looks sallow, her monthly cycle is erratic and she’s pretty sure her hair is falling out!

Pretty quickly she reaches another plateau as the body frantically tries to adapt further to the lowered energy intake.

We can see that there is no way she can simply keep reducing calories.

Or maybe another scenario is that she reaches her target weight and decides to go back to eating a more ‘normal’ amount of calories.  So being conscious that she doesn’t want to  regain weight and go back to the 2000 calories she used to eat, she ups her calories to 1800.  She’s still eating less than she used to but her weight is going back up, in fact before long she’s not only put back on all the weight she lost, but more than likely a bit more on top.

This is pretty obviously when we realise that her metabolism hasn’t yet caught up with her increased calorie intake.

So what is the solution?  Are diets doomed to fail every time?  Is there any point in trying if they’re never going to work?

Well thankfully it is quite possible to lose weight and keep it off but we do have to be a bit more realistic about the time frame in which it can happen.  Creating a small deficit in energy intake through food, and creating a corresponding deficit through energy output (increased NEAT and EAT) can help to offset metabolic down regulation.

Small, habitual changes will help the body to gradually adapt to the lowering energy needs, as well as avoiding the psychological challenges that severely restricting food choices can create.  Being realistic about how quickly the weight will come off is vital – chances are it didn’t go on in 12 weeks so it’s pretty unlikely it’s going to come off and stay off in 12 weeks.

Choosing whole foods that take more effort for the body to digest will help too.  When we eat highly processed foods much of the work of breaking it down for processing by the body has been done before it even comes out of its plastic wrapper.

Finally incorporating exercise that helps to build muscle tissue, such as resistance training, will also help to maintain a higher metabolism, as well as helping to shape and tone the body and provide essential core balance and coordination – vital as we head into our later years.

So, to summarise, while crash diets won’t break your metabolism they will certainly cause it to slow down to a level which will negatively impact not only our ability to lose the weight we want to lose, but also our quality of life, energy levels and vitality.

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Bev Thorogood is a Midlife Transition Coach and Trainer.  A certified nutritionist, personal trainer and health coach specialising in helping women over 40 navigate their way through midlife and beyond.  Using her unique NEST framework she offers a whole mind/body/soul approach to her coaching, finding balance between Nutrition, Exercise, Sleep and Stress, Thoughts and Feelings.

If you’d like help to improve your NEST through ongoing support, education, coaching and the community of a group of midlife women all intent on being the best, healthiest, most vibrant version of themselves come and join The Fabulous Butterfly Club.  Simply click on the purple text below to join.

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The Fabulous Butterfly Club is a group coaching programme that provides members with access to an ever growing library of educational resources, recipes, workouts, videos and webinars as well as a private Facebook community for support and accountability.  Included in the monthly subscription is a fortnightly LIVE coaching session with me via an online meeting platform where members can get their individual questions answered.

There is no minimum term contract, no tie and in you can cancel at any time.  What’s more you can try a whole month for free to see if it’s right for you.

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21 Lessons I’ve Learned in my First Year of Being a Self Employed Coach

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On 29th March 2018, at the ripe old age of 52, I walked away from a secure 32 year career with the Ministry of Defence (Royal Air Force) to embark on a brand new venture as a self-employed Health Coach.

With a very small client base and a slowly growing Facebook Group I set off into the world of business, without a clue what I was doing or any guarantee that I could be successful.  I gave myself a 12-month window to prove that my business idea was viable and made a promise to my husband, Mark, that if it looked like it wouldn’t work, I’d go back and find a job.

Twelve months on and I’m glad to say my business does look like a viable option.  Am I making heaps of money and living the laptop life?  Sadly, not yet.  And despite what the internet ‘gurus’ would have you believe, there is no such thing as a free lunch and you don’t get to see the pounds rolling in while you push out the odd blog post in between cocktails on the beach.

Having said that, I’m as passionate about what I want to achieve now as I was when I embarked on this journey over 2 years ago and I haven’t regretted for one minute making the decision to change direction in life – despite being a middle-aged grandma with no previous business experience.

So, a year on, I thought I’d share my 21 lessons learned.  These lessons may not be true for all new businesses, and I don’t profess to be a business expert.  Far from it.  But maybe, if you’re in the early days of starting a new business, you may relate to some of these lessons or, if you’re contemplating making the leap from employed to self employed you may find them interesting.

1.      It can be a lonely place being a self-employed coach. As an extrovert I love being around people.  I consider myself to be what you might call a people person which is possibly just as well since my purpose in life is to help and support others to reach their potential.  So I find it amazing that feeling isolated was not one of the problems I foresaw when I decided to leave my job.  Going from working for a large organisation, surrounded by workmates and the social activities that that brings to working in a home office (my spare bedroom!) and only speaking to clients through the medium of online video messaging was a major shock to the system.  My mental health suffered a bit in the first few months and it wasn’t until about 4 or 5 months into the year that I really started to recognise the negative effect not being around people was having on me.  Scheduling a couple of hours at least 3 days per week to get out of the house and work from a café went some way to helping, and latterly getting out and networking more has really helped.

2.     Everyone wants to tell you what you need to be doing – and then charge you for it!   When you don’t know what you’re doing, it makes sense to seek advice and help.  Consequently, I found any number of people keen to help me build my business, and charge me a hefty price to do so.  Whilst I don’t believe any of the people that offered help truly intended to ‘rip me off’ my lack of clarity around what I was trying to achieve meant I made some poor financial decisions before I finally started to get a bit more strategic about what I wanted help with.    With hindsight I should have sat down right from the outset with a good business coach and created a solid business plan.  This would have helped me to clarify in my mind what I wanted to achieve and then budget accordingly. 

3.     You have to build your network and that means getting out and meeting real people.   For the first 9 months or so I avoided networking.  Despite being an extrovert and having no problem whatsoever standing up and speaking in front of a room full of people, the idea of going to a networking event where you had to go up to complete strangers and introduce yourself and, God forbid, SELL, filled me with dread.    Thankfully I learned pretty quickly that once you take out the need to sell, it removes a whole lot of pressure and allows you to be yourself.  I’ve also learned that the more I do it the easier it gets.  And, in fact, it even becomes quite enjoyable.  There’s a certain ‘buzz’ to be felt when you meet someone and they say ‘oh, you’re Bev, I’ve been hearing a lot about you lately’.  Let’s face it, if you want a business to be successful, people have to know you exist.

4.     Collaboration is better than competition. This was a game changer for me in terms of self-belief.  When the penny dropped that there is more than enough business to go around and that, as a coach, clients buy because of who you are rather than simply what you do, the pressure to compete was lifted.  Instead, being open to collaborating with others in a similar field makes for some amazing joint ventures.  The old saying ‘the whole is stronger than the sum of its parts’ is very true.

5.     Opportunities are everywhere, grasp them and say yes. I’ve been so surprised by how many opportunities have come my way.  I believe they are everywhere but sometimes we just don’t see them, we aren’t looking for them or we simply don’t say yes when they arise.  I’ve learned to just say yes and figure out the how and the why afterwards.  I would just caveat this point with the fact that I only say yes to opportunities that align with my goals, as there is a danger (and one I’ve fallen foul of on occasion) of saying yes to absolutely everything then finding I really wished I’d said no as it simply didn’t help me on my journey.  But if the only thing making you say no is self-doubt and fear, ignore it and say yes instead.

6.     You need help – get a good coach. I spent a lot of time and a lot of money trying to figure things out for myself or paying for online courses that simply didn’t live up to their hype.  A good coach is an investment that will pay for itself easily.  Find a coach who really understands you and what you want to achieve.  Speak to a lot of people and try to identify who will work best for you.  Group coaching is great for social support and the feeling of being part of a community, but one to one coaching will really accelerate your progress and hold you accountable to your goals.

7.     Don’t be scared to change direction or ‘pivot’ as you grow. The business I see for myself now is not the business I saw when I started 2 years ago.  I struggled with changing direction for fear that people might think I was indecisive or ‘flighty’.  In reality business, as with all aspects of life, is a living, growing and ever-changing organic being so it makes sense that you’re likely to want to change direction or ‘pivot’ as you learn and grow.

8.     Self-care can take a back seat – even for a health coach. Despite being told this numerous times by many coaches, I didn’t really believe it, but it’s true.  Our own self-care can easily be dismissed as we try to juggle so many other priorities as a solo business owner.  It can feel like there are an endless number of jobs to be done that take priority over exercise, play and social time.  Add to that the fact that I now spend a vast amount of my day sat in front of a computer screen just 2 metres away from the loo and a short walk to a kitchen (and a fridge) full of food and it’s no surprise that my weight has gone up.  I’m learning to schedule time for self-care into my day, making sure that if I do nothing else, I include 20 minutes yoga practice into my morning.  I’m still working on padlocking the fridge door and fitting in more regular walks, runs and gym sessions.

9.     There’s a wealth of free resources out there.  Websites such as Eventbrite and Meetups are a great source for finding events close by.  Everything from networking events, business training and business expos to workshops and trade related seminars, many of these events are free or very low cost.  Local authorities and colleges often run courses to help new businesses to create their business plans and tap into funding opportunities.  Established businesses will often offer free courses packed with valuable information with the hope that you might buy into their paid products and services.  I’ve yet to attend such an event and feel any kind of pressure to buy, although there have been occasions when I’ve been so impressed by the quality of the free training that I’ve chosen to invest in their paid products.

10.     Other women in business are your biggest allies. Despite the belief that whenever you get groups of women together you’ll find cliques and bitchiness, my own experience of women in business has been quite the opposite.  In fact, women only networking groups have proven to be an incredibly supportive and warm environment where the overriding feeling is of ‘all in it together’.    Maybe this aligns with lesson number 4, collaboration beats competition!

11.     Facebook is Fickle. I don’t really have a lot to say on this subject other than figuring out how to use Facebook for advertising is a dark art and Mr Zuckerberg appears to change the rules of the game on a daily basis.

12.     Don’t shy away from your numbers. If, like me, the thought of staring at a spreadsheet is slightly less interesting than standing behind the woman with the coin bags in the post office queue, tough!  You need to know your numbers.    Apart from the fact that shying away from your accounts means you’ve got a pretty horrendous amount of work to do when it comes to self-assessment time, avoiding looking at the reality of the financials within your business can lead you to think things are far worse than they actually are (if you’re lucky!).  But as well as keeping your accounts up to date, you also have to get your head around cash flow, profit and loss, forecasting, financial targets, sales targets etc.  I know, it’s not fun, but get over it, it’s essential.  Personally I discovered Quickbooks and it was a lifesaver.  No spreadsheets and I can do pretty much everything from my mobile phone.

13.     The biggest hurdle you’ll face is YOU. There is every resource you could possibly need to make you a success, pretty much at your fingertips.  But until you realise that the only thing really holding you back is you, you’re likely to stay stuck.  Feelings such as fear, self-doubt or imposter syndrome hit everyone, even the most successful, so learn to manage the feelings and push through regardless.  Behaviours such as perfectionism, procrastination, excuse making and blame will also keep you stuck, so learning to let go of blame and accept responsibility for EVERYTHING that happens to you and your business is essential.  If you’re struggling refer to Lesson 6 and get yourself a good coach.

14.     Shiny object syndrome is real and it’s a dream stealer. As a graduate of shiny object school I can quite honestly state that it’s not a great qualification for running a business.  I believe shiny object syndrome is the result of insecurities and a lack of planning and accountability.  Rather than sticking to one clear path based around well defined goals, we flit from one great idea to the next or we’re seduced by one fantastic opportunity or another.  It’s another form of procrastination borne out of self doubt.

15.     You can’t be on every social media platform, so don’t even try. If you’re not careful you can end up spending ridiculous amounts of time and getting extremely stressed out trying to stay on top of all the different social media platforms.  I’ve found that sticking to 2 platforms which are predominantly where my market audience live, means I can share better quality content and not feel under so much self-induced pressure.  The other positive side effect to this strategy is that I also spend less time getting distracted by other people’s content.

16.     Start before you’re ready. This is a pretty widely shared bit of business advice, but it’s completely valid.  You’ll learn more as you go than you will trying to have everything perfect before you get started.  Feedback will help you as you go so watch and listen and amend as you go.  Failing to start before you’re ready is likely to result in you never getting started at all.

17.     Books are your friend – but you have to actually apply what you learn. Not only books, but also audio books, podcasts, blogs – all will help you to grow and develop both as a business owner and as an individual.  But, reading information will not make any difference if you don’t actually apply the learning you gain.  Maybe you’ll read something and try it and find it didn’t work for you but that’s fine.  At least you now know what doesn’t suit you and you can try a different approach.  I can’t remember the last time I listened to the radio in the car – now it’s an audiobook or a podcast every time.

18.     Follow other people for inspiration not for comparison. Over the last 12 months I’ve learned that some people inspire me and some simply make me feel lacking.  This has absolutely nothing to do with the other person and everything to do with me.  So I have a policy now that if following someone doesn’t leave me feeling inspired and motivated, but instead leaves me feeling riddled with ‘comparisonitis’ and less confident, I delete or unfollow them.   And it may change over time so keep vigilant to how someone makes you feel and realise that you have the choice about how you react.  If you can’t control your need to compare yourself, then you can at least control you social media feed.

19.     Find a balance between consumption and creation. I’ve learned that fear and lack of confidence have caused me to spend too much time consuming information and not enough time creating it.  A need to be ‘qualified’ or to have more expertise can keep us caught in the procrastination trap where we fear creating our own content because we think we’re not knowledgeable enough.  Whilst I’m all for personal development and lifelong learning (see Lesson 17) there is a balance to be found between consuming and creating.  I try now to work on a 70/30 split in favour of creation.  Creation includes writing and recording content, serving my clients as well as the normal day to day tasks needed to run my business.  Consumption includes books, podcasts, blogs, websites, seminars, training days etc.

20.     Not everyone will like you – get over it. As a born people pleaser it’s hard to accept that some people simply aren’t going to like me, won’t agree with me and might even want to be rude to me.  But life is like that and I’m learning to accept it and not let it affect me.   Having had my first few trolls I’m assured this is simply a rite of passage into the world of running an online business.  Sad, but true.

21.The more you learn the less you know. One of the contradictions in life is that the more you learn the less you know.  When I started out as a nutrition coach and personal trainer I thought I knew a lot of things about a lot of things.  Turns out I only scraped the surface.    I love learning so this is a good thing for me, and it also takes a bit of the pressure off the need to be seen as an ‘expert’.

So there you go, I could probably add another 50 lessons at least that I’ve learned but you’d be asleep before I got through them all (if you’re not snoring already!).

To finish I can say that despite it being a scary move, I have never regretted making the decision to start my own business.  I’ve encountered challenges I never imagined and learned skills to solve problems I didn’t expect to have.

Thankfully self-belief and self confidence grown the more you get out and do your thing and I truly believe that the only way I can fail is if I give up.

Finally to summarise I leave you with the following:

You have to learn to understand:

WHO YOU ARE

WHO YOUR CUSTOMERS ARE

AND THAT YOU TRULY WILL NEVER MASTER FACEBOOK’S ALGORYTHMS!

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Bev Thorogood is a Midlife Transition Coach and Trainer.  A certified nutritionist, personal trainer and health coach specialising in helping women navigate their way through midlife and beyond.  With a strong focus on mindset she offers personal and group coaching to help women remove the blocks that stop them from living their best midlife.

If you’re looking for help to move you towards a better midlife book a FREE breakthrough call – it might just change your life!

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Oh, and just before you go, why not join our fabulous Facebook community ‘Fifty, Fit and Fabulous’ for support, help, inspiration and motivation from other women just like you?

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My Miracle Morning Musings

 

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Can a leopard change its spots?

Or, in my case, I wanted to know can a dyed in the wool night owl change their nocturnal preference to become an early bird?

So, to find out if it really was possible to change after 53 years of telling everyone how much I hate mornings, I decided to dive into The Miracle Morning 30 Day Challenge.

If you’re not familiar with the Miracle Morning let me start off by giving you some context.

The Miracle Morning is a book written by Hal Elrod.  In his book he claims to be able to ‘Transform Your Life Before 8am’ using the 6 Habits that he has developed following his own personal journey.  He is on a ‘mission to change one million lives, one morning at a time’ which is a pretty big goal!

I have to say I did enjoy reading the book and found his story quite inspirational.  He was a pretty high flyer at a young age but was brought back down to earth with a bang when he was hit head on by a truck.  What followed caused medical staff to pronounce him ‘clinically dead’ for 6 minutes before paramedics brought him back to life, where he remained in a coma for 6 days.  He eventually learned to walk again, despite much doubt that he ever would, and has gone on to become an international best-selling author, coach, motivational speaker and internet celebrity .

As someone who has ‘had’ to get up early to go to a job for almost all of my adult life I’ve never ever been a fan of the alarm clock and would claw back every possible last minute.  The snooze button was the most well-worn button on the clock!  At weekends I would happily lie in until gone 10am given half a chance.

When I was studying for my degree I would feel my brain fire up into action in the evening, and I’d often work through from 8pm until well gone midnight and have to get up for work at 6 the following morning.  I’d be groggy and grumpy and really not very pleasant to be around.  Add to that the fact that I had a 40-minute drive to work, despite being shattered, and it probably wasn’t the best combination.

I’d talked about how I wanted to get more productive too the members in my Facebook group Fifty, Fit and Fabulous and thought a better morning routine would help.  I’d read Mel Robbin’s book ‘The 5 Second Rule’ which told of how she had conquered her snooze button habit by counting backwards from 5 to 1, and I’d started to use the rule in lots of areas in my day but hadn’t managed to apply it to getting my sorry ass out of bed in the mornings.

A member of the Group very kindly sent me a copy of Hal Elrod’s book The Miracle Morning and as I read it I kept thinking I could never stick to getting up at a ridiculous hour to do the habits he mentioned.  Apart from that, I was pretty much doing them anyway, just not first thing in the morning.  But as I read on and he talked about a 30 day challenge, I thought ‘what the hell’ at least it’ll prove that whatever Mr Elrod says, not everyone is good in the morning.  It’s all about our circadian rhythms after all, and we’re all unique so what works for one doesn’t mean it’s going to work for everyone.

So I committed to doing at least 30 days – more to prove him wrong and me right if I’m honest!

Before I go any further, let me tell you what the 6 habits are.  He calls them ‘LifeSAVERS’ a handy little acronym to remind us what to do.  They stand for:

Silence (meditation)

Affirmations

Visualisations

Exercise

Reading

Scribing (journaling)

He gives you a link to download some resources for the Challenge on his website which include his Fast Start Kit, his recommended book list and a few PDFs with various affirmations.

So, on Friday 25th January 2019 I started my day with the alarm clock going off at 5.30am.   Maybe it was novelty or that initial burst of motivation you get when you start something new, but I literally flew out of bed.  I dived into the bathroom to brush my teeth as recommended.  However, in my sleepy haze I managed to put toddler toothpaste on my brush and it tasted vile!

I then changed into workout gear that I’d set aside the night before, at the same time as I’d recited out loud the recommended ‘bedtime’ affirmations which reminded me that some of the most successful people have managed on 4 hours sleep a night and we only need as much as we tell ourselves we need!

I grabbed a glass of water and tried to down it as advised, although it tasted pretty yuk after having just brushed my teeth.  I managed to finish it over the course of the next hour as drinking it in a oner was making me feel quite sick.

I set the alarm on my phone to go off after 5 minutes so that I could do my Silence (meditation) and again for my Affirmations (I didn’t use my own, but read out loud the ones suggested for the Challenge), followed that by some timed visualisation.  The time went really quickly, it felt like I’d no sooner closed my eyes than the alarm was sounding (I’m pretty sure I didn’t keep falling back to sleep though!).

For the Exercise I’d decided to embark on a 30 day yoga challenge with a You Tuber called Adriene whom I’d followed off and on for the last few months.  I knew from past experience that yoga helped a long-term back problem, but I’d been pretty sporadic at consistently sticking to a yoga routine, so it made sense to run the 2 challenges alongside each other.  So I got my yoga mat out and did day one of Adriene’s 30 Day Yoga Challenge.  I finished feeling totally energised and eager to see how I would progress after 30 consistent days.

Finally I did my reading and journaling.  I set a timer for 20 minutes on my phone and picked up the book I’d been reading – The Power is Within You by Louise Hay.  I was already about half way through and I always have at least one book on the go (usually far more, plus audio books too!).  But I really struggled to keep my eyes open to read.  My head was nodding and I didn’t really feel like I was getting much understanding out of what I was reading.  Plus, I was getting a little impatient and rushing to get to the end of the 20 minutes as my granddaughter was staying over and I knew she’d be waking up imminently.

By 11.30am I felt like I’d been up a whole day, although I can’t honestly say I felt I’d been any more productive than usual.  Maybe my expectations were a tad unrealistic!

By the end of the day I was surprised I wasn’t feeling more tired when I headed off to bed at 10pm.  I did my bedtime rituals of getting my workout gear ready, making sure my journal and affirmations were ready, along with my yoga mat and book and headed off to bed feeling quite positive about the next day.

Day 2 is a Saturday so the idea of getting up at 5.30 is a little bit weird.  In fact I wake at 5am having slept very well.   I get out of bed at 5.20, with a whole ten minutes to spare before the alarm is due to go off.

I go through the LifeSAVERS much as yesterday although it does feel strange being up so early at the weekend and leaving my other half in bed.  He’s always been the early riser so being up and about before him is definitely odd.  But I do all the things I’m meant to do and feel surprisingly ok.

I’m keeping a video diary of the Challenge for my Facebook page Floresco and have noticed a couple of people commenting and cheering me on (one of which was the lady who sent me the book!).

Day 3 and waking up at 5.30 on a Sunday is just totally wrong.  I really struggled with the negative self-talk this morning. Although I got out of bed (hard not to when the alarm is strategically placed on the windowsill forcing me to have to get out of bed to switch it off) with relative ease, I found myself perched on the side of the bath, eyes closed, toothbrush buzzing away thinking ‘maybe this morning I’ll just do yoga in my PJs as it’s cold and I don’t feel like getting into workout gear’.  Which quickly degenerated into ‘maybe I could just leave the yoga out this morning and do it later when I’m not so cold’.  I even contemplated doing the LifeSAVERS and heading off back to bed for an extra bit of kip.

However, thanks to Mel Robbins I applied the 5 Second Rule and just got on with it (although I did do yoga in my PJs, which I found I much preferred, and continued to do for the rest of the 30 day challenge!).

So I’m not going go through every day in detail but I will, instead, give an overview of how the following 26 days panned out.

First off, I’m proud to say that I did, indeed, complete the challenge, finishing on Saturday 23 February.  I’m now on day 33 and still getting up at 5.30 – it now feels totally normal and I can honestly say I can’t imagine going back to my lazy morning lie ins.

There have been some days that have been decidedly harder than others, but on the whole I would say the ratio of good to bad is about 90:10.    There is no one more shocked than me that this has proven to be the case.

As for whether I need to be up at 5.30 each day, well, that’s debatable.  I think it’s more important to focus on having a productive morning and being aware of how many hours sleep you’ve had than sticking rigidly to a set time.  Life, invariably, throws us a curve ball from time to time which means a late night is inevitable.  On a couple of occasions when this happened, I tried to force myself to get up at 5 or 5.30am despite only having had 5 hours sleep.  This really did not work for me.

Hal Elrod suggests that how much sleep we require is mostly a case of believing we need more but I don’t agree that that’s true.  I learned that I thrive on between 7 and 7 ½ hours.  Anything less and I feel tired and grumpy – in fact I’d go as far as to say that it increased my morning anxiety and induced a depressed feeling.  Anything more than 8 hours and I feel lethargic and groggy.    Maybe when Hal is 53 he’ll change his opinion on whether or not we can truly perform well on 4 hour’s sleep!

I stopped doing the night time affirmations very early on in the Challenge (about day 4 I think).  I actually just forgot about them and it didn’t seem to affect my ability to get up as planned.  I also stopped changing into workout wear as I genuinely prefer doing yoga in my PJs.

I also changed the order of the LifeSAVERS to fit with my morning better – preferring to do them in the order of Affirmations, Reading, Scribing, Exercise, Silence and Visualisation.  It made more sense to me to put the silence and visualisations at the end of my yoga practice as I lay, relaxed, in Shavasana.  I don’t think there’s any reason to do them in the order Hal suggests, it just makes a nice, neat acronym.  And my way spells ARSES-V which probably wouldn’t sell quite so many books.

I also added in taking my multivitamins as part of my morning routine which was good for me as I tended to be a bit forgetful.  Linking the habit of taking my vits with the habit of drinking a glass of water each morning made sense and worked.

Also, in the last week of the challenge I started to add in a morning walk after my ARSES-V.  In fact, I skipped the reading and silence and combined an audiobook and meditation with my walk.    I got to see some amazing sunrises and also got to say good morning to lots of lovely people I don’t usually see during the day.

Finally, I stuck with the yoga challenge too and I’m now reaping the benefits of being able to sit cross legged for far longer without wanting to swear and cry than I could at the beginning.  My back doesn’t seem to have improved too much though, so maybe another trip to the osteopath is on the cards.   If you think you have to be flexible to do yoga, think again.  Adriene has a fantastic way of making everything feel achievable.  I’m hooked.  I only wish she lived a bit closer but I think she’s a Texas gal!

So all in all, whilst I can’t say that The Miracle Morning has totally and utterly changed my life, it has certainly helped me to create a better sleep routine and a more productive morning routine.  I think it’s important to not get too stressed about it all though.  I have a saying that ‘stressing about eating the pizza will kill you quicker than eating the pizza will’ and I think it’s true of the Miracle Morning.  By that, I mean stressing about trying to stick rigidly to a morning routine is probably more damaging than having no routine at all.

As for the future, I think I can well and truly say I no longer feel like I’m a devout night owl, and now consider myself to have joined weird and mystic clan formerly known as ‘happy morning people’!

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Bev Thorogood is a Midlife Transition Coach and Trainer.  A certified nutritionist, personal trainer and health coach specialising in helping women navigate their way through midlife and beyond.  With a strong focus on mindset she offers personal and group coaching to help women remove the blocks that stop them from living their best midlife.

If you’re looking for help to move you towards a better midlife book a FREE breakthrough call – it might just change your life!

BOOK A BREAKTHROUGH CALL FOR FREE

Oh, and just before you go, why not join our fabulous Facebook community ‘Fifty, Fit and Fabulous’ for support, help, inspiration and motivation from other women just like you?

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Sober Talk -Seeing the World Beyond the Fog of Alcohol

alcohol bottles celebration color

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Are we going for a walk mum?’

I’m nudged into awareness by my daughter at the end of my bed, walking shoes on, ready to go.

It’s Sunday, the sun is shining through a gap in the bedroom curtains but it’s not enough to ease the awful fog in my head.

‘Not today, I’m not feeling great and besides what time is it?’ I reply, pulling the quilt over my eyes to avoid the piercing light.

‘But mum, you promised, it’s quarter to twelve, you are always ill, we never do anything’. Flinging her arms in the air with a look of exasperation she stomps off. I faintly hear her downstairs saying ‘dad can we go for a walk please, mum is ill again….’

 

I wish I could say that was the turning point, the lightbulb moment, that ‘wow wasn’t I good to recognise what a crap mum I was being and change my life around’ hook that all the good stories have. The truth is it wasn’t, it was just another day that I’d gone back on another promise.

I never considered myself an alcoholic. Alcoholics are those people you see criss-crossing down the street with a brown paper bag in hand or being leery and loud at the pub. I was never that, but somehow the social drinks had slowly become something more.

I found myself regularly getting home from work and opening a bottle of wine. And if I had to share the wine with my husband (because it was the last bottle in the house), I’d pour myself a vodka first. It was a constant source of irritation to me that my husband would never properly share, he’d always grab the extra glass out of the bottle so I had to ‘Be Prepared’ like I’d learnt as a girl guide.

I’d often down a couple of vodkas before he got home from work so it looked like the glass of wine was my first drink of the night.

It felt so good, the bitterness and stress of the day just melted away as the alcohol warmed my insides. And if it was red wine even better. I told myself it was good for me, after all I’d read that a red wine ingredient that I couldn’t pronounce had been scientifically proven to be healthy. If one glass is good, then surely two must be better.

No, there was no light bulb moment, I just increasingly started to feel more and more uneasy about my behaviour around alcohol. I was really irritable if I had to drive in the evening to pick a daughter up, so couldn’t drink, and became aware that alcohol had moved from something social to not being able to unwind without a drink.

I also lost a lot of Sundays, many times not surfacing until 4pm and sometimes not being able to remember a lot about the night before.

I told myself I was a happy drunk, alcohol made me funny, I lost my inhibitions and was fun to be around after a drink, so losing Sundays was a price I had to pay to be that person.

The fog was now around me most mornings on waking and I had to fight the urge to stay in bed during the week. I told myself this was part of getting old, that you lose that morning springy up feeling.

But still, something under the surface about how I was living just didn’t feel right.

I don’t know how I became aware of the Jason Vale book ‘Kick The Drink Easily’, I’ve tried to remember, maybe it was the universe, maybe just coincidence, but it appeared in my life and I decided to give it a read.

I remember thinking at the time, ‘wow this is an underwhelmingly common sense book where’s the magic?’.

But somehow, after reading that book, alcohol lost its pull enough for me to really think on a conscious level about what alcohol was doing to me. It was definitely subtle but I started noticing more articles and books about the effects of alcohol and how people were living great lives without it.

So on the 14th December 2018 I decided to see what my life would look like without alcohol.

I joined the ‘One Year No Beer’ Challenge to make myself accountable. But I also told myself if I really wanted an alcoholic drink I could have one, but I had to drink a soft drink first.

I don’t make things easy for myself. 14th December was my work’s Christmas Party. As the ‘boss’s wife’ it’s always been a stressful event. Never knowing how to pitch it and not feeling comfortable in my own skin. Alcohol made it bearable, like a security blanket and yet here I was deciding to show up without it.

So now I’m almost two months in with a Work’s Do, Christmas and New Years Eve all experienced alcohol free, what are the main things I have learnt and experienced so far..

That People Don’t Really Notice You Aren’t Drinking:

At my works party, because I was a ‘new non drinker’, I didn’t want the ‘why’ questions. So I drank Fever Tree Tonic with ice in a gin glass and everyone assumed I was drinking gin and tonic.

It all felt a bit ‘David Attenborough’ watching the frivolities whilst being sober ‘..and here we see another breed which makes its appearance at 9pm once the sun has gone down, commonly known as the drunken monkey, it relishes in the hilarity of a joke heard for the fifth time ..’

I danced and joined in with conversations and laughed (all five times) and it wasn’t until everyone was ordering taxis at the end of the night, and I said I didn’t need one as my car was outside (‘you can’t drive, you’ve been drinking’), that they realised I’d not been drinking. And I realised I was just the same person without a drink and not the shy, unsociable person I had believed I was.

I’ve Gained Extra Hours:

How wonderful it’s been to be able to enjoy Sundays. Who knew the weekend has two days. From walking with my daughter (and being able to say yes, be present and fully enjoy our activities has been gorgeous) to just choosing a chill out day or get some jobs done, Sundays are amazing.

The Groggy Cloud has Gone!:

The weekday morning feeling that I’d chalked up to middle age has gone! This is nothing short of miraculous. The day feels clear and inviting and I feel light and an excitement for the day ahead.

 My Skin Is So Much Clearer:

As a long term sufferer of rosacea (red cheeks) and Keratosis Pilaris (better known as chicken skin), since ditching the alcohol my skin looks so much better. I still have slightly red cheeks but my skin feels a lot smoother without the toxins.

I’ve Lost Weight:

I’ve not changed anything about my diet, in fact I’ve probably eaten more sugary snacks but so far over a couple of months I’ve lost ten pounds!

So you might ask ‘is everything a good experience then?’

Well, yes and no.

If like me you’ve been using alcohol to numb your feelings, then it’s been really difficult not resorting to ‘the alcohol blocker’ when those feelings and stresses show up. Sitting with those feelings is tough but I do believe the only way out is through. Experience the feeling, let it sit and come out and it loses its power. Journaling the feelings is also a great way just to get it out of my head.

The cumulative effect of deciding not to drink, right now, (I never say ever as it’s too much pressure, it’s always ‘not right now’) has also changed my social life. I no longer want to sit in a pub all night listening to ‘drunk talk’. I crave experiences, a meal, the cinema, a show rather than a night of watching everyone drinking. Having seen people move from sober to drunk throughout the night on a few occasions now, I can honestly say everyone is so much more interesting and enjoyable to be around at the start compared to the end.

If I had to pick one thing so far that’s affected me more than anything, it’s knowing that every day I can choose to do or go wherever I want, with a clear head and be fully there in the moment. I’ve found dropping alcohol has allowed me to experience life like a child feels but with the head and experience of an adult.

With joy, clarity and an excitement for what the future holds.

*********

The above article was written by a member of my Facebook group ‘Fifty, Fit and Fabulous Kerry Wilde.  I’m indebted to her for her candid, raw honesty in sharing her story for inclusion in my Blog.

I also recently recorded an episode of my podcast Generation Exceptional in which I’m chatting to another inspirational lady, Norah Ginty who not only gave up alcohol but also changed her Hypnotherapy practice to include programmes specifically to help others to give up their habitual and psychological dependency on alcohol.

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Bev Thorogood is a Midlife Transition Coach and Trainer.  A certified nutritionist, personal trainer and health coach specialising in helping women navigate their way through midlife and beyond.  With a strong focus on mindset she offers personal and group coaching to help women remove the blocks that stop them from living their best midlife.

If you’re looking for help to move you towards a better midlife book a FREE breakthrough call – it might just change your life!

BOOK A BREAKTHROUGH CALL FOR FREE

Oh, and just before you go, why not join our fabulous Facebook community ‘Fifty, Fit and Fabulous’ for support, help, inspiration and motivation from other women just like you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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8 Tips for Dealing with Overwhelm and Freeing up some Headspace

overwhelm

According to the first definition that came up on Google ‘Overwhelm’ is described as:

To Bury or Drown Beneath and Huge Mass of Something, especially water…..

Well, I couldn’t have summed it up better if I’d tried.  That’s exactly how overwhelm feels to me.  Like I’m flapping my arms and legs for dear life but sinking deeper and deeper as I feel the control slipping away from me.

What Creates Overwhelm?

Overwhelm can be the result of any number of things.  Taking on too much.    Not saying ‘no’ and then feeling anxious that you won’t be able to fulfil a promise.  Not letting go of tasks and feeling like you’re the only one who can deal with them. Feeling out of control.   Not being in control of our time or giving our time away too freely.

When we take on too much it’s often as a result of not being assertive and worrying too much about what people will think of us if we say no.  What if they think I’m being selfish, or lazy.? What if they don’t like me?  What if they think I can’t cope?

Another cause of overwhelm is the fear of letting go of control.  We feel that no one else will do the job as well as we do, or maybe we think it’ll take more time to teach them exactly how we want it done, and therefore it’s quicker just to do it ourselves.  This form of perfectionism is absolutely flawed thinking and will keep you drowning for sure.

Of course, there likely will be some tasks that you really are the only person able to do them but, chances are there’s not that many and if you were to let go of the ones that don’t require your unique expertise, you’d free up more time and headspace to be able to concentrate fully.

Sometimes we fail to tackle tasks because we genuinely don’t know where to start.  We maybe don’t have the skills or resources to tackle the job and alongside everything else we have to deal with we don’t think we have the time to figure it out.  So the job stays undone, and our anxiety just keeps on rising.

Overwhelm can feel like we just can’t see the wood for the trees.  Our head is spinning with all the things we have to do.  It feels overpowering and exhausting.  So we end up at best treading water and at worst failing to even get started at all and we simply procrastinate.  Finding other jobs to do that are easier, safer or simply more fun but don’t address any of the real tasks that are creating the anxiety in the first place.

How to Reduce the Overwhelm?

1.   DO A BRAIN DUMP: First of all, we need to get all that noise out of our head and onto paper.  Literally just do a brain dump.  Grab a notepad and pen and make a list of absolutely everything that you need to do.  Everything – no matter how small.  Don’t worry about how you’re going to get it done at this point, the aim of the exercise is simply to get it out of your head so you can get some clarity about what is really going on.

2.   SCORE THE TASKS: Now that you have absolutely cleared your head of EVERYTHING you have to do it’s time to start figuring out what’s most important.  Give each item on your list a score out of 10.  Ten means it is absolutely vital that the job gets done, one means it’s really not even remotely important.  Be honest and be ruthless.

3.   APPLY THE 3D METHOD: Now that you have a list of all your tasks with a number written next to it, grab yourself 3 different coloured highlighters.   You’re going to decide which tasks you need to DEAL with, DELEGATE OR DITCH.

Chances are any items that scored a 5 or less can probably be DITCHED so go ahead and highlight them one colour.

Next decide which of the items you can DELEGATE.    Let go of some of that control freakiness and figure out who you need to get help from.  Maybe it’s family members or friends, maybe it’s co-workers or maybe you need to pay someone.    You can bet your life there’ll be someone out there that would just love to take that job off you for a bit of money.  Now you can go ahead and highlight all those jobs you can delegate.

Finally highlight the jobs that are left.  These are the jobs that only you can do and which scored more than a 6.

Now that you’ve cleared the list out, hopefully the overwhelm is reducing and you’re feeling a bit calmer about the jobs you have to do.  However, you now have to get down and dirty and get the jobs done!

4.   EAT THAT FROG: Chances are, now that you’re left with the list of jobs that only you can do, there’ll be a couple of jobs on that list that you’ve been putting off for some reason.  Maybe as mentioned earlier it’s because of fear or lack of knowledge or whatever other reason you’ve been procrastinating over.  It’s time to put the jobs into order of priority with your 10/10 tasks top of the list.  Tackle each task individually and commit to getting it done before moving on to the next one.

The well-known author and motivational speaker Brian Tracy wrote a book called Eat That Frog where the main tenet of the message was to get the worst and most scary or difficult job out of the way first, literally nothing could be worse than eating a frog, so get it over with and you can move on.

Create a to do list for the next day with JUST 3 ITEMS on it.  These are your top 3 FROGS – your most important tasks.  The tasks that have the most severe consequences if they don’t get done.  Forget endless, long to do lists, simply decide on 3 things and commit to getting them done.

5.   SAW THEM INTO BIT SIZE CHUNKS: You might find even though you’ve identified which task is the most important, the task still feels daunting and just too big.  This is where SAWing the task down into bite size chunks is helpful.

SAW stands for ‘Smallest Achievable Win’ and breaking tasks down into SAWs means you can start to take action on something small, immediately, and that small action creates momentum to help you get started.

For example maybe you’ve been putting off getting your accounts done and now they feel way too big.  You could start by committing to just gathering together all your receipts.  Nothing else, just that one job.  Of course, that isn’t going to get the whole job done, but it doesn’t matter.  All you’re looking to do is get started.  Have you heard the joke ‘how do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time’?  That’s exactly what your doing when you look for the SAWs.

Getting started with a SAW gives you a sense of control.   Another example might be that you need to pack up your house ready for a move but you don’t know where to start.  A SAW might be to grab a box and commit to packing up the contents of just one kitchen drawer.  That’s it.

You’ll be surprised how once you get started momentum takes over and before you know it you’ve broken the back of the task.

6.   DITCH THE SHOULDS: Often we create our own overwhelm because we impose rigid rules on ourselves.  If you find yourself saying ‘I should’ or ‘I have to’ or ‘I must’ you may be imposing undue pressure on yourself without realising it.  Just because you’ve always done something a certain way doesn’t mean you have to continue to do it like that forever.

Ask yourself “what is the REAL consequence of a task not getting done”.  If you find yourself saying ‘I have to make the bed before I leave the house for work’ but doing so is adding extra time pressure to an already busy day, then you have to start letting go.  What’s more important, having a beautifully manicured bed or your mental health?

Of course, some things do have to be done but being brutally honest with yourself about self-imposed rules is going to help free up some headspace and release some anxiety.

7.   LEARN TO SAY NO: Another way that we impose overwhelm on ourselves is our inability to say no.  Learning to say a polite no is a skill worth learning.  It takes assertiveness but learning to be assertive is just a habit.  You’ll most probably find people are fine with a no if you explain why you can’t help.  But really, no needs no explanation.   I know it can feel hard to say no.  We worry we’re letting the other person down, or worse still that they might be angry at us.  But mostly that won’t happen and the more you learn to say no, the more people learn to accept it.

It’s far better to say no right from the outset and manage the other person’s expectations than to say yes and fail to deliver because you’ve taken on too much.  Or worse still to say yes and deliver but harbour a whole load of resentment at that person because saying yes created stress for you.

8.   TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR TIME: Often when we feel overwhelmed we just don’t feel like we’ve got the time to get everything done.   Getting honest about how we are spending our time can help free up the extra hours needed to get the important stuff done.  Very often we squander our time and although we might appear to be busy (and maybe even convince ourselves that we are busy) we are actually procrastinating, doing tasks that aren’t important so we avoid doing the scary stuff.

Doing a time audit can really help.   Stephen Covey’s ‘Time Matrix’ is a great tool to use to help you figure out where you spend your time.  I talk about the time matrix and give further tips on how to do a time audit in a podcast episode I recorded a few months back.  You can listen HERE.

So there you go, hopefully these 8 tips will help you to overcome some of that overwhelm and free up some headspace to help you feel calmer and more productive.

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Bev Thorogood is a Midlife Transition Coach and Trainer.  A certified nutritionist, personal trainer and health coach specialising in helping women navigate their way through midlife and beyond.  With a strong focus on mindset she offers personal and group coaching to help women remove the blocks that stop them from living their best midlife.

If you’re looking for help to move you towards a better midlife book a FREE breakthrough call – it might just change your life!

BOOK A BREAKTHROUGH CALL FOR FREE

Oh, and just before you go, why not join our fabulous facebook community ‘Fifty, Fit and Fabulous’ for support, help, inspiration and motivation from other women just like you?

 

 

 

 

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The Midlife Metamorphosis

green caterpillar on green plant stem

The Midlife Metamorphosis

I love this metaphor as a way to describe the transition through midlife and into the second half of our lives – what I like to call our “Butterfly Years”!

It just sums up exactly how I feel about my own transition.

It’s as though the years leading up to my midlife metamorphosis were like those of a caterpillar, devouring life and eating up every experience with so much gusto that I never actually got to slow down enough to do much else than simply survive.

When I hit 50 it was like an awakening for me.  It felt like I’d reached a fork in the road and I had some tough decisions to make.  I realised that my caterpillar was stuffed full and needed to let go of some of the ‘junk’ it had consumed along the way.

Life felt heavy (I felt heavy!!) as though if I didn’t take stock and discard some of the emotional detritus I’d accumulated over the years I would not be able to move forward.

Looking back 3 years later it feels as though this was the start of my midlife metamorphosis.  That fork in the road loomed large and I had to make a choice – whether to continue to remain safe but sorry or to take a few risks, step into the unknown and take the scary path.

Midlife seems to bring with it an inherent need to re-evaluate.   I did some work on my physical appearance: lost weight, got fit and felt the ‘outer’ me had moved on, but the inner me, the real core of who I was, was still carrying all the weight of the Caterpillar Years.

My last 3 years have felt like a rebirth.

My time in my midlife chrysalis has been spent redesigning and redefining what I want from the rest of my life.  It’s been a long process.  Certainly not a sudden ‘aha’ moment.  And the vision of my future has evolved and changed and is still evolving and changing.  But now, rather than it feeling out of my control, it feels much more like a natural, organic growth and I’m learning to trust in the journey.

I don’t even know how I’ll know when this chrysalis stage is complete.  Right now it feels like there are still so many things about myself I need to learn.  Maybe I won’t know I’ve reached the ‘Butterfly Years’ until I’m able to look back.  But for now, I’m just loving the process of change.

What I’ve learned is that in order to really change we have to be willing to confront and own everything that we currently are.  We have to accept responsibility for every single thing that has happened to us during our lives.  And this can feel hard.

I’m not talking about beating ourselves up and apportioning blame.  Blame and responsibility are two very different beasts.  Blame is a negative, guilt or anger ridden emotion.  Blame is the antithesis of responsibility.  Responsibility – the ability to respond – to our experiences and situations, is a positive, empowering attribute.  Responsibility puts you in the driver’s seat, blame puts you in the dog house.

When you start to view experiences from a position of learning rather than regret it’s so much easier to let go of the negativity that surrounds them.  We all have had experiences that felt outside of our control – my parents dying way too young, a violent and abusive marriage – I didn’t ask for these things in my life but they have made me the person I am – and who that person was then, who she is now and who she wants to be in the future is completely my responsibility.

The first and most important step in making change in our life is believing that change is possible.  Believing that we are not set in stone and trusting that we have the power within us to be who we truly want to be.  When I first grasped the concept that we get to choose what we think, it was a game changer for me.   Realising that my thoughts created my feelings, and not the other way around put me firmly in control.    If I could think bad things and make myself feel bad, then surely I could think good things and I’d also feel good.

Simple, yes.  Easy?  Not so much!

The emotional part of our brain, that bit that does all the feeling, is a giant compared to the thinking part.  It takes conscious effort and continued work and energy to feed good thoughts into the brain when the mind is so well programmed to accept negative self-talk.

Much like increasing muscle mass in the gym through strength training, increasing a positive mindset takes time, patience, work and continuous commitment.  Some days feel easier than others.  And sometimes we just need a deload – I find a damn good cry works for me.  Maybe others prefer to punch their fists into a pillow or scream at the top of their voice.  What ever works for you.  But just like a deload week you have to get back into training to see the gains.  But you come back stronger and ready to take on the next challenge.

So, here’s to the Butterfly Years, whatever they may bring.

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Bev Thorogood is a Midlife Transition Coach.  A certified nutritionist, personal trainer and health coach specialising in helping women navigate their way through midlife and beyond.  With a strong focus on mindset she offers personal and group coaching to help women remove the blocks that stop them from living their best midlife.

If you’re looking for help to move you towards a better midlife book a FREE breakthrough call – it might just change your life!

BOOK A BREAKTHROUGH CALL FOR FREE

Oh, and just before you go, why not join our fabulous facebook community ‘Fifty, Fit and Fabulous’ for support, help, inspiration and motivation from other women just like you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Is Your Mindset Holding You Back from Living Your Best Midlife?

dream 2019.png

There’s something about reaching this middle period in our lives that makes us stop and take notice.

For me it was the huge realisation that I had probably more years behind me than I had in front of me, yet I still didn’t feel like a proper ‘grown up’!

I didn’t feel like I’d done anything with my life at all.  It wasn’t true, of course.  I’d raised two wonderful children, been happily married to a wonderful man for nearly 25 years, was now the proud Nanny of a beautiful granddaughter (ok so I can’t take all the credit for that!) and held down a career in the Ministry of Defence for 30 years.  But, I definitely didn’t feel like I’d reached my potential.

The catalyst for me came when I hit the big five oh!  Fifty years old, how the hell had that happened?  I was dreading turning 50.  It felt so very old.  And if I’m honest I hadn’t helped myself.  I was overweight and unfit.  I was doing a job that whilst I didn’t think I hated, I certainly didn’t love.   Everything felt a bit stale and samey.

My kids had left home and I’m sure I was struggling with ‘empty nest syndrome’.  For over 20 years my main purpose in life had been to ensure that my children were well looked after and that I was there for them in their formative years and now, they’d flown and I had lost that feeling of being depended on.

What a double-edged sword that is.  I now had the freedom to go anywhere and do anything I pleased, but the problem was I was 50!  I was fat.  I was unfit.  I was struggling with lack of confidence.  I was in a rut.  And the main purpose of my life to this point had gone.

And to top it all, the damned menopause had kicked in.

Not only had it kicked-in but it felt like yet another kick in the teeth and further proof that I was, in fact over the hill and close to being put out to pasture.

I’m not going to go into detail about how my life changed, how I lost weight, got fit, regained my confidence, upskilled, changed career, resigned my job and started my own business.  If you’re interested you’re welcome to come and get to know me on social media, my Facebook community is Fifty, Fit and Fabulous.

Instead I want to talk about what has changed in my head over the last 3 years.

First off, I should probably tell you that I’m not a details kind of person at all.  I never really think things through.  I’ve very impulsive and tend to act pretty spontaneously.   On the occasions when I have stopped to think and ponder, I normally manage to talk myself out of taking action anyway.

Again. this tendency has its pros and cons.    As you can imagine, my impulsiveness has often led to bad decisions and probably spending too much money.  Impulse buys of clothes I’ve never worn or relationships I probably shouldn’t have got into.  Arguments I could have probably avoided and career choices I may have regretted.

But, it also means I take action.  Every single best decision I’ve ever made has been on impulse.  From having kids to getting my degree, from signing up for half marathons to resigning my job.

If I could just package that impulsiveness, that courage to take action in every single part of my life it would be amazing.

But, like most people, I overthink things.  Yes I dive into things, but then the self-doubt kicks in, the inner mind chatter that tells me I’ve bitten off more than I can chew, I’m not smart enough, interesting enough, knowledgeable enough….. the list is endless.

Our mindset is the culmination of all the thoughts, feelings, beliefs and experiences we have had and the meaning that we have attributed to them.

Messages we received from our parents, not necessarily deliberately, are absorbed early on in childhood and can stay with us well into our adult years, if left unchallenged.

As the youngest sibling and the youngest of 5 cousins, I grew up believing I was bottom of the pack.  I also grew up in a very low-income family in a not great part of Newcastle so believed people like me weren’t successful.  I went to a school where teachers were more interested in trying to keep the kids from ending up in prison or dead from drugs than preparing them for University.

All of these experiences and beliefs have remained with me, unconsciously, throughout my whole life.

When I started working with a coach, reading books for personal growth and challenging some of these beliefs I started to see them for what they are.  Safety mechanisms based on misinformation and distorted reality.

The beauty is that our mindset is not an immovable rock that we cannot shift.  With commitment and a willingness to change the way we see the world we can start to reprogramme our thinking and imprint new, more beneficial beliefs in place of the old, unhelpful ones.

Of course, these changes don’t happen overnight.  They need to be worked on consistently and intentionally.  They are, after all, a part of our unconscious and therefore automatic.  Changing them means recognising that they exist in the first place and then having the courage to work through the discomfort of changing them.

But what is the alternative if we don’t?  Well for me it would have meant staying in a job I was growing more and more out of love with, remaining stuck in a body I hated and never following my real path and finding work that fulfilled and challenged me.

So I challenge you to ask yourself, what beliefs are you telling yourself that are holding you back from achieving your best midlife?

Grab a pen and paper, or your journal if you keep one, and start getting real about what it is that’s stopping you.

Write down as many beliefs as you can.  Don’t hold back, however uncomfortable it might be.  (Hint, no one needs to see what you’ve written unless you choose to let them!).

Next ask yourself if the belief is true.  Some will be some won’t be.

A limiting belief that says I can’t lose weight is totally untrue however, if your concern is that giving up alcohol might cause backlash from your friends, that may well be true.

If you decide the belief is untrue, then you can choose to disregard it.  If, on the other hand the belief is true, you still get to choose what you do with the situation.

If your mates are likely to give you backlash for not drinking, ask yourself a few hard questions.  Does it really matter?  Is this just a handy excuse for you to not give up?  What are the consequences of giving in to your mates on your health?  Would they be more understanding if you explained your reasons? Etc.

I’m not saying it’s easy to simply ignore the fear that will come with thinking differently.  But if you feel fear it’s just your body’s way of trying to keep you safe.

The mind will do one of 3 things when it senses danger:  fight, flee or freeze.  All of which are great strategies if there’s genuine danger.  If I’m faced with a life or death situation you bet your life I want to know that my fear strategies are going to kick in and either fire me up to fight the threat, or run away.

But look back at the answers you gave to what is keeping you afraid.  How many of them are really life or death?  I’d go so far as to guess that none of them are genuine threats to your safety.

I truly believe that the biggest barrier to us living our best life are the hurdles we put in our own way through the limiting beliefs that we have about ourselves.

Working on changing our mindset is the number one strategy for living our very best life.

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Bev Thorogood is a certified nutritionist and health coach specialising in helping women navigate their way through menopause and beyond.   With a strong focus on mindset she offers personal and group coaching to help women remove the blocks that stop them from living their best midlife.

If you’re looking for help to move you towards a better midlife book a FREE breakthrough call – it might just change your life!

BOOK A BREAKTHROUGH CALL FOR FREE

Oh, and just before you go, why not join our fabulous facebook community ‘Fifty, Fit and Fabulous’ for support, help, inspiration and motivation from other women just like you?

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Time for a New Year Detox?

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Time for a New Year Detox?

Christmas and New Year tend to be portrayed as a time for celebrations, festivities and fun times with friends and family.  But for many the reality can feel anything but fun.

Toxic relationships and negative thoughts can leave us feeling painfully unhappy and whittle away at our self-esteem.

So now that the holidays are over, maybe it is time for a detox?

My good old Mum used to say it was ‘out with the old and in with the new’.

The start of a brand new year is a perfect time to have a clear out and get rid of anything toxic that we’ve been hanging on to that isn’t serving us well.

By the way, I’m not talking about a nutritional detox here.  If you’ve over indulged on prosecco and chocolates over the holidays don’t worry, you have kidneys and a liver that can do a pretty good job of that for you so just get back to what you were doing before and you’ll be back on track in no time!

No, I’m talking about the other toxic parts of your life that you have to filter out consciously.

Like people maybe.

We have a fear of letting go even if we know that someone makes us feel less than we deserve to feel.

But if you are hanging on to toxic people, for your own sake, it’s time to get rid of them.

You’ll know who these people are.  They’re the ones who:

constantly criticise, belittle and snipe at us.

Time to get rid.

mask their criticism as thinly veiled advice.

Time to get rid.

make passive aggressive comments constantly.

Time to get rid.

take advantage, and take more than they ever give.

Time to get rid.

get off on putting you down in order to make themselves feel big.

Time to get rid.

Is it easy to remove toxic people from your life?

Sometimes, sometimes not.

But the easy route isn’t always the best.

When I walked away from my first marriage at 26 years old, with a 1 year old and no money or family around me it was not an easy decision, but it was the right one.

Of course, it doesn’t all have to be quite so extreme.  For example, it’s far easier to unfollow someone on social media or choose not to socialise with a particular person.

But what if you HAVE to see someone?

Maybe it’s a boss or a work colleague, or even a family member such as your mum?

Well there are always choices and decisions to be made.

You could change jobs, ask for a transfer, speak to the other person to see if there’s a way to change the situation or enforce some non-negotiables into your relationship – on your terms!

But, if you genuinely can’t change the situation then it’s time to detox the mind!

If you can’t control the situation then you have to learn to be in control of your response to it.

As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “no one can make you feel inferior without your permission”.

When toxic thoughts creep in, such as “I’m stuck with this” or “I don’t deserve better”, “I’ve made my bed so I guess I have to lie in it” or “I couldn’t cope on my own”, in fact, any number of other BS rubbish we tell ourselves, it’s time for a mental detox.

It may scare you…. a lot!

You may be fearful of what you will have to go through and yes,  it might be painful but there is nothing you can’t cope with.

You are strong enough to deal with anything and anyone.

Nothing is set in stone and there’s nothing in life that can’t be altered.

You are worthy of being happy, loved and respected.

You do deserve to be your true self, and you do deserve to stand tall in your own power.

Your opinion is as valid as anyone else’s and your life is yours to live your way.

You are pretty enough, smart enough, talented enough, good enough, lovable enough, strong enough, brave enough and sexy enough already –  you need nobody else to validate this for you.

When we clear toxic people from our lives we create the space for better ones to step in to the gap they leave.

When we refuse to harbour toxic thoughts we allow space for healthier, happier, calmer and more empowering one’s to fill the gap.

So, it’s out with the old and in with the new.

And here’s to a Happy New You.

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Bev Thorogood is a certified nutritionist and health coach specialising in helping women navigate their way through menopause and beyond.   With a strong focus on mindset she offers personal and group coaching to help women remove the blocks that stop them from living their best midlife.

If you’re looking for help to move you towards a better midlife book a FREE breakthrough call – it might just change your life!

BOOK A BREAKTHROUGH CALL FOR FREE

Oh, and just before you go, why not join our fabulous facebook community ‘Fifty, Fit and Fabulous’ for support, help, inspiration and motivation from other women just like you?

 

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Overcoming Inertia aka Getting Out of Your Own Way!

 

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Have you ever had that experience where you set yourself a great big kick ass goal?

You’re all fired up and raring to go.

You’ve made lists of lists of things you’re going to do to get into action.

You tell yourself ‘this is it.  This time I’m going to do this thing’!

You set yourself a start date and you wait with excited anticipation for the date to come.

Your motivation is through the roof, you’re feeling totally prepared, totally ready and you know that this time is going to be different.  You can just feel it.

Now at this point a couple of things happen.

Either, you’ll do exactly what you say you’re going to do.  The ‘start date’ will arrive and you’ll dive into action like a rocket launching into space.

Or, in between writing out your to-do lists, getting prepped and actually getting to the start line, you somehow manage to talk yourself out of getting going.  You convince yourself of all the reasons why it won’t work out and why now isn’t the right time after all.

Let’s take a look at scenario number one because this is looking like the better of the two options right?

So there you go, you’re flying.  You’re ticking off items on your to-do list quicker than you can write them and you are ON FIRE!

For a day or two.  Maybe even a week or two.  If you’re really fired up, maybe even a month or two.  Then blow me, one day you get distracted and you miss one of your list items.

Gradually doing all the great new things stops being quite so easy.  The novelty wears off.  You feel your motivation giving way and old habits start to creep back in.

You get despondent and start to feel like a failure – again!

You desperately start looking for that lost motivation.  It must be somewhere, you know you had here before – why can’t you find it again?

You’ve read all the motivational social media memes so you know you need to go back to your ‘why’ and do whatever it takes to remind yourself why you wanted this in the first place.

You’re doing all the right things, but that elusive motivation still won’t show itself.

So you go back to your old ways.  You miss your goal.  You blame yourself for being too lazy or too disorganised or too hopeless to stick to anything long term.

What was the point of starting anyway – you always fail right?

Wrong!

You simply made the mistake of assuming that motivation alone would see you through.

I’ve got some news for you.  It won’t!

But, you’re thinking to yourself, other people seem to manage to stay motivated so it MUST be my fault, my failing, my flaw.

Nope, wrong again.

No one reaches their goal in the long term simply by relying on motivation.  It just doesn’t happen.

So what about scenario number 2, how come you didn’t even get off the starting blocks.

Well, here you’d already convinced yourself you would fail so why even bother starting.

You’ve recalled all the times in the past when things didn’t work out.  Maybe you’ve tried scenario one a dozen times before and it always ends the same way, so what’s the point.

You’ve created stories in your head based on past experiences that you somehow believe are true.  They must be true because that’s what you believe, and all the evidence is just further proof that it’s true!

Wrong again.

You’re basing your beliefs on flawed information and erroneous evidence.

You see there’s a couple of things happening here.

Firstly, let’s understand the motivation issue.  If you can’t rely on motivation to keep you going, and will power is finite, how do you make the changes necessary to reach your goal.

How do you get out for a run when it’s cold and raining outside?

How do you stop yourself from reaching for the wine to help you ease your stresses each night?

How do you stop yourself from binge watching box sets on Netflix?

How do you keep going when every fibre of your being is telling you to give up and give in?

Well, first off, you stop trying to be so damned perfect!

You’re human and by nature of being human you’re imperfect.  You’re flawed.  You’re normal!  You’re not super woman (or man!) and no one except you expects you to be.

Second, you’re trying to change too much at once.  It’s overwhelming.  The mind can’t cope with all this change.  It’s scared and it wants to protect you from the unknown.

Third, you’re over thinking it.  You’re giving your mind time to consider what it wants you to do.   And believe me the mind wants you to do what is easiest.  That way it doesn’t have to work so hard.

The human brain is amazingly efficient.  It finds ways to automate and take the easy route for pretty much everything.  And that’s a good thing.  Imagine if you had to consciously think about every single little decision you made every day!

Imagine if you had to consciously think about remembering to breath, to blink, to digest your food…

You’d be exhausted.  So the brain does a great job of taking the pressure off your conscious mind by automating a huge chunk of your decision making processes – we have a name for these unconscious decisions, we call them habits.

So your mind is constantly looking at ways to automate its processes, building habits that keep your primal brain feeling safe – doesn’t matter if it’s what you want or not.  Your brain defaults to the security of what it knows and trusts.

So how do you overcome inertia, mind blocks and inaction?

You have to make the unconscious conscious.

You have to override your unconscious mind and start making conscious decisions.

You have to accept that motivation is not the answer and fight through all the self-imposed barriers that your mind is putting up.

You have to TRICK the mind into action.

Mel Robbins, in her book The 5 Second Rule, has a very simple tool for tricking the mind into action.

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Here’s what she says you should do.

As soon as you get the intuition to do something towards your goal you count backwards from 5 to 1 then physically move!

That’s it.

Try it, it works.

She backs this simple little life hack up with some pretty solid science.  Explaining that in doing this you’re engaging the pre-frontal cortex, the part of your brain you engage when you take action and change your behaviour.

You see what you have to rely on are small decisions.  Decisions that keep you moving forward, one step at a time.

There is no magic in hitting a goal.  It’s not that some people are more gifted at sticking to their goals than anyone else.  It’s not that some people are smarter, more committed or more genetically wired for success than anyone else.  It’s simply that they have found the way to power through their mind blocks.

They’ve learned to override their subconscious objections.  Their inner resistance.  Their inner fears.

And it takes effort and again, as Mel Robbins says in her book, it takes ‘courage’!

Let me tell you about a goal I set for myself and I how I felt about the outcome.

A couple of weeks back I drove down to London to attend a seminar.  I knew that one my favourite podcasters was going to be speaking there and I set myself a goal to speak to him and ask if he’d be a guest on my own podcast.

This guy is like the number one health and fitness podcaster in the UK – I have a tiny little podcast and I’ve only been doing it for a couple of months so this was a BIG KICK ASS goal I’d set myself.

I had a 2 and a half hour drive down to London, and all the while I was driving I was thinking about what I was going to say to him.   The mind chatter went something along the lines of ‘YESS! I’m going to be brave and just go up and introduce myself and say hi, and ask him outright if he’d be a guest’.  The immediately my monkey brain kicked in ‘don’t be ridiculous you’ll make a complete fool of yourself, he’ll never say yes to you’.

Then again I’d push forward with some positive self talk ‘don’t be stupid, he’s only another human being, what’s the worst that can happen, he says no, so what!’.

But then off I’d go again, my ego getting in the way ‘But if he says no, which he probably will, you’ll be so embarrassed and EVERYONE will know you messed up’.

I’m not sure how I thought EVERYONE was even going to know but that’s the monkey brain for you.

Anyway we got to the first break at the seminar and I got the opportunity to say hi and introduce myself.

I had a choice, give in to my fear of rejection, or dive in and see what happens.

In a split second I had to make a decision.

I’ve never been good at putting myself forward in situations like this.  I’m not the sort of person who can walk into a room full of people and just go up and join in a conversation.  It terrifies me.

My hands were clammy and my heart was pounding in my chest.

But I did something in that moment.  I made a decision to act.

I didn’t allow myself enough time to talk myself out of it.  I smiled, said hello, introduced myself and you can listen to the podcast I recorded with Ben Coomber here.

You see, he said yes.  All my fears were for nothing.  And you know, even if he had said no, no one would know.  No one would even have cared.  But if I’d not overcome the inertia of not making a quick decision I’d have missed the opportunity to get one of my favourite podcasters as a guest on my own podcast.

What is it they say, you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take!

Without realising it at the time, I’d applied Mel Robbins’ 5 Second Rule and it worked.

I also applied her rule earlier today when I sat looking at a long list of organisations I wanted to contact to see if they might be interested in hiring me to do some training for them.  I hate making cold calls.  I fear rejection.  It literally fills me with dread.  I’ve been putting it off for weeks.

But I know that if I don’t make the calls I will never get any business and I will never make a sale.  And if I can’t make a sale I can’t stay in business.  And if I can’t stay in business I have to find a job.  And that means all my goals, my dreams, go out the window!

So I made a decision to contact a minimum of 5 organisations today.  I set a timer on my phone and gave myself an hour to do it.  The timer ticking down meant I was under pressure to take action.  I made the calls.

Guess what?

I didn’t die.  It wasn’t as bad as I thought.  I got to do what I love doing most – talking to people.  What’s so scary about that?  It’s what I do in my coaching practice all the time.

But I bet you, when I set the clock tomorrow morning and contact the next 5, I will still feel the fear, I’ll still want to avoid doing it, but it’ll be just a tiny bit easier than last time.

So that’s it – how do you overcome inertia and get out of your own way?

Just make the decision and do it.

You can listen to this Blog read as a Podcast by visiting my Podcast on iTunes and Podbean

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Bev Thorogood is owner and founder of Floresco Health and Lifestyle Coaching .  She’s a PN1 Certified Nutrition and Lifestyle Coach, a personal trainer, exercise instructor, wife, mum and Nan!

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I work with clients to help them make the health and lifestyle changes necessary to thrive, rather than simply survive, through midlife and beyond.

I’d love to invite you to book a FREE 50 minute breakthrough call with me to see how I can help you to achieve your health and lifestyle goals.

You can book directly using the link below.  You’ll be under no obligation and the call is absolutely free.

If you’re ready RIGHT NOW to take back control of your midlife, book you call today

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Dealing with the Embarrassment of Menopause in the Workplace

Migraine

 

The date is 14 August 2017.  I’m sat in the rather uninspiring Squadron tea bar in the Section where I work for the RAF, eating my lunch; a healthy homemade salad of rice and peppers with chicken.  I’m chatting with a male colleague who’s asking me what culinary delight I have in my tupperware box.

My daily food choices had become something of a talking point since I’d refined and changed my diet the year before!

As I attempted to answer his questions, I found myself unable to recall simple words.  For example rice or peppers!  I knew what they were – I was staring at them in front of me – but for some reason I simply could not make the words come out of my mouth.

I tried to make light of it, trying desperately to disguise the embarrassment and rising fear that was building inside of me.

About an hour earlier I’d had an ocular migraine.  I’d suffered from these painless visual disturbances for about the last 5 years.  They occurred roughly every 12 to 18 months and lasted about 20-30 minutes at a time.

But losing my words?  This was totally new to me, and very frightening.

My colleague picked up that something wasn’t right, but as I tried to explain to him that I’d not long since had a ……….. nope, I couldn’t remember the word for headache, or migraine, or the name of my friend and work colleague whom I’d been with when the episode had occurred an hour earlier.

I was frantically trying to explain to him that these migraines were a bit like that creature, you know the one in that film, you know the one called, you know…….. but I just couldn’t remember the name of the film – despite having used the same metaphor less than an hour earlier.  I was trying to say Predator, but the word just wouldn’t come!

I felt myself welling up, then tears rolling down my cheeks.

I felt mortified.  I hurriedly put the lid back on my half eaten lunch and virtually sprinted out of the tea bar to full on cry in the ladies’ loos.

When I’d finally composed myself and at last remembered the word rice, I dried my eyes, splashed my face with cold water and made my way out of the safety and solitude of the ladies’ toilets.

As I stepped from the loos into the corridor, my lunch colleague was waiting for me.  Looking lost and completely out of his depth, but with an obviously caring nature, he was keen to know how he could help.

I didn’t know what was happening myself and wasn’t in the right frame of mind to discuss it in the corridor.  Poor man, I think I must have been rather abrupt as I told him quite curtly ‘I’m fine!’.

Once back in my office I telephoned my husband Mark, who insisted I call and make an appointment to see my doctor.

I did as I was told, and was advised that a doctor would call me back imminently.

The next thing I knew I had a severe pain in my head and felt physically sick.  My memory for words seemed to have recovered but my head felt ‘cloudy’.  That’s the only way I can really describe it.

The doctor called me back as I was being driven home early from work.  He told me to come straight to the surgery.

On arrival about 30 minutes later, a health practitioner carried out a number of tests which, I began to realise, were to check for signs of a stroke.

I was given an appointment to attend the stroke clinic at Peterborough City Hospital first thing the next day.

I was given a CT scan, an ultrasound on my carotid artery and various tests which, thankfully, showed no evidence of a stroke.

As a belt and braces measure I was asked to come back in for an MRI scan and told not to drive.

Thankfully the MRI came back clear and by mid October I had the all clear to drive again.

I can honestly say this was one of the most frightening experiences I’ve ever had.

Interestingly, at no point was menopause mentioned as a potential contributing factor, despite the fact that the ocular migraines had only started since I’d reached the age of about 45.

Now, I don’t share this experience as an opportunity to berate the doctors of medical staff that treated me.  In fact, their swift action in getting me tested was laudable and testament to the amazing work done by our wonderful NHS (it may have its shortfalls but I believe we are so lucky to have it!).

No, my reason for sharing is to highlight that menopause can be a contributing cause of so many symptoms, way beyond the more commonplace hot flushes and mood swings.

Apparently there are over 140 symptoms directly attributable to peri-menopause.

Hormonal fluctuations, as occur during peri-menopause, are a major factor in migraines, although for some women who may have suffered migraines throughout their menstrual cycle, the onset of menopause may actually reduce them.

You may be surprised by some of these other, less obvious, symptoms of peri-menopause:

  • Poor or impaired spacial awareness
  • Acne, eczema and psoriasis
  • Itchy skin – often felt as like ants crawling
  • Bleeding gums
  • Panic attacks
  • Burning tongue
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Dry eye syndrome
  • Body odour changes
  • Electric shock sensatations

Whilst it would appear that menopause is responsible for more symptoms that we may realise, I would also stress that it is important to get any episodes that worry you checked out by a GP and don’t assume it is simply the menopause.

I was relieved to discover my incident was migraine and through my own research I’m fairly convinced that it was menopause related.  But, it could have been a TIA (mild stroke) or a full stroke.

In fact, if I’m honest, at the time I even wondered if it was early onset Altzheimers!

The other point I wanted to make was that I believe had I realised at the time that it was a menopause related issue, I may have been less frightened and more willing to talk about it openly with colleagues.

This may seem to run counter to current research which suggests that menopause is a ‘taboo’ subject in the workplace.   Certainly, research I have done through surveys of menopausal/midlife women suggests that this is the case.

However, my experience is, thankfully, more positive.  When I worked for the MOD, I found I was quite comfortable speaking about menopause, despite working in a predominantly male environment.

I appreciate this is not the case for every woman, but I believe that it is imperative that we, as midlife women, lead the way on opening up the dialogue around how menopause is affecting us.

Let’s face it, if we ourselves are embarrassed to talk about it, can we really expect those colleagues who aren’t going through it, either by dint of age or gender, to feel comfortable broaching the subject?

It’s time to make menopause mainstream and we can help to start this process immediately – simply by talking openly about it.

Bev x

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Bev Thorogood is owner and founder of Floresco Health and Lifestyle Coaching .  She’s a PN1 Certified Nutrition and Lifestyle Coach, a personal trainer, exercise instructor, wife, mum and Nan!

You know, you don’t have to suffer through menopause.  I work with clients to help them make the health and lifestyle changes necessary to thrive, rather than simply survive, their menopause.

I’d love to invite you to book a FREE 50 minute menopause breakthrough call with me to see how I can help you to take full control of your menopause and get you back to feeling like you again.

You can book directly using the link below.  You’ll be under no obligation and the call is absolutely free.

If you’re ready RIGHT NOW to take back control of your midlife, make that call xx

Book My Menopause Breakthrough Call

 

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