I still think fondly about my cameo appearance on “Keeping Up With The Kardashians” (Watch me on KUWTK ). It was an incredible afternoon in the Jenner household, I will tell you that (another blog idea!). I first met Kris Jenner when she was hosting on the “The Home Show” when I was there to do a fitness segment. Years later, when we realized we lived in the same neighborhood, she booked some workouts with me. She would arrive at my “garage” gym at 5:45 in the morning. You wouldn’t believe her dedication and commitment to her workouts, especially at a time when all her kids lived at home and she was managing Bruce’s (Caitlyn’s) motivational speaking career. She always said, “If I don’t do my workout first thing in the morning, it won’t happen.” Speaking of workouts, there were two in particular that I will never forget. One was when Kris picked up her phone while pedaling away on the stationary bike and was briefed about the leak of Kim’s sex tape! (and another blog!!) The other workout was the morning she came in the door with tears streaming down her face. She dragged herself onto the bike and threw her hands up in the air, “I went to bed a size 8 and woke up a 14! Menopause sucks!” Little did I know I was on the same menopause roller coaster from hell Kris was on.
So what does happen? Overnight weight gain? Clearly it happens to some women, me included. Mood swings, hair loss, dry skin, dry vagina… WHAT??? Yes, it can happen, and it happened to me. Let’s clarify a few things about menopause first. Plain and simple, you are in it if you haven’t bled for 12 months. However, these lovely symptoms can rear their ugly heads both before and during those 12 consecutive months – this is called “peri-menopause.” The best advice I can give you is if you have vaginal changes, lower sex drive, changes in your mood, disrupted sleep, and occasional hot flashes, you are well on your way to “the change” and you need to embrace it. Ha! I tried to fight it and ignore it, but it’s here to stay. Nothing is wrong with you. Menopause is the natural aging progression for women. It happens to all of us and everyone’s journey through it is quite unique.
Personally, my menopause has not been a fun trip. My husband could probably start his own blog about “husbands dealing with their wives’ menopause” (for those men reading this, check out A Man’s Guide to Menopause). Some days, I didn’t even want to get out of bed. In fact, over the last eight years I have spent a lot of time hating my body. Yes me, the one who encourages and motivates others, was having the battle of all battles in my head about my body.
So what can one do? I tried a lot of things and I will share with you what worked and what didn’t:
1. Hormone replacement therapy drug; I felt worse, had leg pain, freaked myself out, took the drugs back to my doctor.
2. Did absolutely nothing; I felt bad, heightened anxiety, sex felt like doing it with a shard of glass, belly-freakin-fat, and bigger boobs! Not one bra fit, not to mention my shirts were all too small.
Some photos that even my husband said “are you sure you want to share these?”:
3. Au-natural; I drank Black Cohosh tea, St. John’s wart, vitamin D, omega 3’s, limited alcohol ( I don’t want to put down the wwwwwhine!)
4. Bio-identical hormones; I felt better, sex was way better, hair started to come back, lost a little weight, slave to the creams am and pm – was on them for two years, messed up one month, started to bleed, back and forth to the gyno.
As of November 2014, I went cold turkey and I have let my body be. I totally get how one minute you feel like you are in your body and not the next. The overnight size difference that Kris was referring to still bothers me on a regular basis. It’s like those hormones – up and down. Thankfully through this, I have finally found a place where I am accepting my body and treating it with as much love as I possibly can. With my hip issues, I haven’t been able to do what I truly believe to be the saving grace for many women: exercise. Get your heart rate up and pump the iron to keep your muscles strong and your metabolism charged. Period! (pun intended)
Today, I work at doing the best I can do with what I eat, how I move, and how I rest. I also have recited something that I learned from a friend of mine, Dr. Christiane Northrup, MD: “I accept myself unconditionally right now.” I have my personal online clients (you can actually set up a FREE call right now by clicking here) write this on sticky notes and post it on their mirror, their computer, their fridge, and their dashboards. This is a powerful statement that our bodies and minds need to hear you read it out loud. It is also important to fill yourself with as much knowledge about your health as you can. Although menopause still remains a relatively silent topic, you simply must know this stuff. Check out the article entitled Escape the Horror Hormones.
Ultimately, according to Northrup, “The most important thing to keep in mind is that no woman has to suffer with hormone horrors at any stage in her life. There are answers for every woman at every stage.”
Glad I know this now.