Oh my Menopause.....What I've tried, what's worked and what I wouldn't waste time with!
Just so you get the picture I founded The Canni Family in 2018, I am in my 40's (pushing 50) have a muffin top, think i'm a size 12 top/14 bottom but in reality i'm a size 16 and feel tired all the time. I have a very active 7 year old son, because I spent my 30's living in London like I was in my 20's and left it all a bit late. I am currently peri-menopausal and I found myself with an ill fitting wardrobe, chicken neck, a bag full makeup i've owned since the 00's - completely stuck in a well outdated version of myself!
So here's a list of what i've tried and what I found that works for me (and perhaps for you!)
1. Exercise and Mental Health
Jogging - haha yeah right with my knees, no chance, and all that wobbly flesh in lycra no thanks!
Wild Swimming - Yes, I am one of these mad Dry Robe, Bobble hat wearing loons that love a cold water swim but after two years of taking regular dips the main benefits I would say are finding the group I swim with, that community and laughter has helped me more than any Menopause Miracle cure. I've also found that if i'm feeling hormonal a quick dip (or blast with the shower) kicks me up the arse and resets my mood. In fact a friend literally just sent me this article as I was typing from the Guardian - Cold-water swimming eases menopause and menstrual symptoms (so it must be true!)
Weight Training - I did join a swanky gym and did personal training classes for a year. Whilst I did feel better in myself, stronger and fitter and admittedly I was counting calories at the time, it made little difference to the persistent pouch! Turns out the bodies stress response to this sort of work out, when your post 40, is to hang onto essential fat stores (Ahhhhhhhh!)
Face Yoga I really had high hope for this, I thought it made sense - exercise the face muscles = tighter skin....not so much! I did it for a month and apart from feeling clearer headed, as it drains the lymphatics, I saw little or no difference but it was hilarious!
Yoga and meditation - I use the Yoga-Go app and find this to be convenient and easy to follow. I am hyper mobile so I have to watch over stretching (love a bit of competitive yoga but I think that defeats the point!) but if you believe, as I do, that we hold stress and emotion in the body, this becomes harder to shift when you're over 40. We have a lot of stored stress and this causes the body to hang on to 'important' fat reserves so my aim is to try and reduce the amount of toxins from food, relationships and the environment (and hopefully my mum bulge)
2. Make-up for mature skin!
I found myself either wearing no makeup, so I looked like i'd been dug up for the school run, or wearing products that sat in every line, leaving a dry cakey complexion. Think Mrs Haversham on a good day!
As luck would have it one of my 'oldest' (she wont thank me for that) friends launched a range of make-up for more mature woman and it's only taken her a decade to convince me to wear anything! (I've had the same hairstyle for well over 20 years so she did well) However I wish I had done this sooner, in 3-5mins i've put on something that lifts my face and mood, reduces fine lines and it comes in shades that suit me as I am now (not how I wish I looked!).
Check out their award winning Vegan and Cruelty Free product range at CODEBeautiful, oh and they have agreed to a 20% discount for all our customers and a 14 day no quibble return. Use the code CANNI 20 at the checkout!
I have written about my experiences on Evorel patches in my blog HRT and Me and the 10 things I wish i’d known about the Peri-menopause as an ‘older mum’! (you are not losing your mind!) my opinion after two years on the patches is that they work for me. No brain fog, irritability or hot flushes and I still have periods so technically I am peri but I was definitely leaving my phone in the fridge and thankfully that has stopped.
Happy Mammouth - 'Get your old self back naturally' or so the the social media ads claimed so I thought OK i'll give it a go! So I came off HRT and tried 'Hormone Harmony' for 30 days - the result for me was stomach cramps, dashing to the loo and weirdly terrible vertigo so back to HRT I went..... at least they refunded me so not a total loss!
Collagen - been there done that tried loads and spent a fair amount on it and my feeling (for what its worth) is that i'm now just using a decent moisturiser from Beauty Pie for more mature skin and drinking loads of water.
Medicinal Mushrooms - I am a huge fan of these supplements every since we spoke after the UKs leading expert in this field Martin Powell at a conference, they are scientifically proven to help with everything from ADHD, Cancer fighting properties to the Menopause. I take four of the 'AntiOxi 8' capsules as they provide a preventative dose and boost the immune system. Please use the code The-Canni-Family for a 10% discount.
CBD - well of course we are going to recommend this and whilst there hasn't been extensive research into this (when do they ever research things that only affect women!) many of our customers say it helps with menopausal symtoms like anxiety and hot flushes.....you can read more about CBD and the Menopause here. If you'd like to try anything please use the code CDB20 at the checkout for 20% off or refer a friend and both get 30% off!
5. The Dreaded Diet
A a wise woman once said (my mum) 'What worked for you in your 20 and 30's is a lost cause when your over 40'. I can honestly say i've tried them all but here are the more recent ways i've tried to lose my muffin top and, as its still there, i've yet to find anything that really works for me.
I find endless calorie counting and specific menus depressing and unsustainable, I've done dry January which has left me richer and realising I don't really miss it (but not an inch has been lost!) I tried the Svelte plan, designed as an over 40's anti-inflammatory approach, which is all about eating the right combinations of 'super' foods. This worked for a while, I didn't get as much joint pain etc but there are only so many Avocados and Goji berries a girl can stomach!
That brings me on to fasting, I find this is the best way for me to minimise calorie intake with the least amount of effort. I have no appetite in the mornings as I am rushing around trying to get my son our the door so this has been easy and manageable. I have a BulletProof coffee first thing (which is just manageable) and I prefer the 16:8 plan as the 5:2 was just too hard having two days of only 500 calories.
Oh and for god sake chuck your scales out the the window, turns out you can fluctuate by more than a pound just by eating salty goods, its temporary weight gain but depressing none the less. I go for how do the clothes I love feel on and to make sure I am not deluding myself I measure my stomach, bum and thighs once a week. That was I know if progress is being made!
The Harsh Truth - So what really works?
1. Accepting the size I really am, I found myself wearing the same 4 uninspired outfits over and over again so I sold or donated the clothes I realised I would never wear again, due to their ill fitting size or the fact that I really looked a bugger in them. I got myself a serous Vinted addiction......admittedly it is out of control but since I made a few age appropriate purchases and put colour back in to my wardrobe i've had lots of lovely compliments. Turns out I have an ounce of fashion sense, who knew!
2. Revitalising my look has made me feel fab, wear make up that works for the skin you're now in!
3. I'm giving up on diets and hard cord exercise I'm now doing gentle exercise like cycling and yoga plus some meditation to reduce and release stress, fasting helps the body to repair and reduces inflammation and its sustainable so i'll keep up with that. Wild swimming is a love of mine, its good for me as I always have a laugh (especially when your gear blows up the beach!) and a sense of support and friendship. Oh and some health benefits!
4. Being kinder to myself - Yes CBD and Mushrooms will help me fend off any unwanted problems, but ageing is something I now try and accept rather than being stuck in an old version of me. Me-Un-Pause!