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All the things I dreaded

on July 6, 2015

When I made the decision that I wasn’t going down the HRT road, I knew that there were big issues I was going to have to face head on.  Hot flushes and mood swings being the main two that worried me.  On top of that you read about changes in hair and skin, weight gain and bone issues due to lack of calcium. At now over one year in to the menopause I’ve come too far now to change my mind and go on to HRT.  The main reason I managed to avoid it was that I seemed to completely miss the mood swing part of this.  As I work in a male dominated office, I know all too well the moans and complaints and the treading on egg-shells that goes on around someone who doesn’t know their mood is up and down.  I went through this with my own mother, who was quite honestly hell on earth until she discovered HRT. Treading on egg-shells didn’t even begin to cover how we had to approach that one.  It was lucky for us that when the first HRT tablets didn’t work, my sister was the one brave enough to approach her and tell her to try again.

The hot flushes are now part of my daily life. I can live with those.  Wearing layers or using a scarf that you can put on and take off work perfectly well for me. Just enough to be able to drop my body temperature enough to stop them getting to me.  At night I have a fan on me all night long. Yes there are times when they wake me up and I have to wait to cool down enough to go back to sleep, but again it seems you eventually learn to live with that too.

My next non-live altering concern was hair.  I read that your hair can thin or you can lose it during menopause.  I didn’t have a lot to begin with.  Family trait.  Half the women have the most gorgeous thick hair that they cannot do anything with as there is far too much of it, and the other half have next to no hair and one sunny day will burn your scalp.  I’m in the scalp-burning category.  I didn’t have any hair I could afford to thin down.  I was at my hairdressers last week having my hair done and she said that in all the years she’s been doing my hair, she has never seen it in such great condition.  It hasn’t dried out or shrivelled up or thinned out any more than usual.  I am very, very, very relieved!

Skin – again I was dreading that drying out or changing drastically as my body changes its hormone levels.  My skin is probably easier to control now than ever before. I haven’t had the usual breakouts I used to get during hormone level changes. It’s not as dry as it used to be either, which is quite strange.  I can go without applying moisturiser and not be itching like mad all day long.

Finally the dreaded weight gain. There is no way I can blame that on the menopause. That is entirely due to me, chocolate and crisps.  With double surgery and a prolonged recovery time, I basically ate my way through my recovery period at home, and with even less exercise than usual (does going to the fridge for more chocolate count as exercise?), I managed to pile on far more weight than I ever have in my life so far.  I finally got to the point where I was mentally ready to tackle this. The weight loss programme started a couple of weeks ago and is off to an OK start as I have lost 8lb so far.  Sadly I still have around 2.5 stone (35lb) to go.

With one year now behind me, my biggest lesson is that no matter what you do through the menopause, the first thing you really need to do is ensure you exercise more.  Walk somewhere, go for a bike ride, take up cycling or yoga.  Your body needs to start doing more, not only from a weight point of view, but for your own well-being.  It needs to have strengthening exercises (walking, jogging, etc) to help with the lower calcium levels it is now dealing with.

I finally got there, better late than never as they say.  I have chosen swimming to begin with as  I have joint issues which are completely unrelated to the menopause, and entirely related to a massive weight gain in a short period of time.  It is a low impact form of exercise.

My aim is to get my weight down but not to maintain my weight through diet, as I know from past experience that never works for me, but to maintain it through exercise. The people I know who look and feel healthy don’t look that way because they watch what they eat, they look that way because they lead active lifestyles and make themselves do the bike rides, the jogging, the swimming, a few times a week.  And because of the exercise that they do that keeps them that way, they don’t have to watch what they eat, so a dinner out with a lovely pudding or a bottle of wine is no big deal for them.

My focus for the next year is to look at my life in a different way and to make my life an active one.  If I plan to age disgracefully dancing away on cruise ships (lottery win pending) with all the young men working on them, and drinking cocktails into retirement, then I need to be fit to achieve that goal. Yes I know, and the lottery win!


One response to “All the things I dreaded

  1. Nice post! Inspirational, but not over the top and above all honest. I think I’ve been doing way too much snacking and eating “bad” things after my hysterectomy. Not sure why I’ve been doing this and somehow I need to get back into exercise. Maybe you can write a post about WHAT inspired you to get exercising again? 🙂

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