Home » How I Improved My Menopause Story

How I Improved My Menopause Story

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Today’s blog is a bit different… I’ve talked about my story here and there throughout the years on my podcast, but I have never really given you my whole soup-to-nuts story! So today I am going to tell you how it started, how I began this journey and what I learned along the way.  I think it’s so important for you to hear where I came from and what I learned because I know that I am not the ONLY person in the world going through this.  
I know I am not the only woman struggling with gaining weight and not knowing why.  
I know I am not the only woman who has experienced hormonal imbalances and a body that just said EF YOU! I am fighting back. 

It started probably about 10-12 years ago; around the time I stopped doing fitness competitions..  And I had noticed that I just couldn’t get my legs as lean as they used to be able to get. I figured I needed to be more consistent with my food and up weights in the off-season. This is where my headspace was, go harder and do more! November this all started and come January is when I usually start thinking about the year ahead. This is when I got my body fat tested and it came up that I had a little belly fat, which I never had. 

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From that point instead of saying, “oh it’s my hormones, I am in my late 30s now”, but instead I thought that this just means that I have to go harder, I have to start crushing it more.

Within the same year, I went to my gynecologist, and they noticed I had some fibroids which we took as why my stomach was distended.  I thought ok, yes, I have the answer now!  But instead, the answer they gave me was I had to have a traditional hysterectomy.  I would have to be out of work for 8-12 weeks and at the time I was just starting my own personal training business. I couldn’t go that long without getting paid. At the time it was casually mentioned that it could be done laparoscopically which would only have me out of work for 30 days. This was a much better option for!

During this time when we were trying to figure out my surgery, the doctors wanted to put me on a hormone medication, Lupron, and I was told that it could cause me to gain up to 30 pounds.  Guys, I was 35, I did NOT know what menopause was, I knew nothing about it, and I also knew NOTHING about this drug they wanted me to go on. After being my own advocate I finally found a doctor that agreed to do the surgery laparoscopically.

I thought that this would solve ALL my problems.  Three months later I still had a belly.
So, my belly wasn’t just fibroids, it was my hormones!  During that 4 weeks I couldn’t work and workout, it caused me to do some reflection.  This caused me to sit back and look at where I was spending all my time and how stressed out, I was.  In my post operative checkup, I shared with my doctor that I was still feeling bloated and said I am still 10 pounds heavier.

She told me to stop eating sandwiches. Ladies… I knew this wasn’t it because I ate clean, I didn’t eat sandwiches…  So, I doubled down at the gym and got even stricter with my food, and 12 months later I was now up, 20 pounds. Something was wrong. I couldn’t eat cleaner or workout harder. What the HELL was going on with my body and why was this happening to me? There had to be something more, I wasn’t about to begin gaining 10 pounds every year and be okay with that!

I did research and found some good mentors. It wasn’t about my nutrition, or my exercise.  Part of the reason I was gaining weight was that I wasn’t sleeping. (I slept maybe 6 hours.) I was stressed, I was building a business and I wanted it to be successful overnight! I couldn’t work out the way I used to! I had to say that I can’t work out any harder, I have to figure out how to work SMARTER!

Again, I dove into the research and the research showed it wasn’t about the duration of the workout.  If I want something different, I have to do different things. My 2-hour workouts were driving my hunger and my cravings.  Trying to squeeze them into my already hectic schedule led to complete and utter BURN OUT. I didn’t like the gym anymore.

I had to think of a way to use my metabolism to change my body composition. How can I use my hormones to work with me, not against me!

My workouts went from 2 hours to 30-45 minutes max. (If I do a 2-hour workout, it’s because I was messing around on my phone or running my mouth! LOL!) If you are making this change, go from 2 hours to [1:45], then 90 minutes. Break it down by 15-minute increments.  Then you can start to say it’s the INTENSITY that creates the workout not the DURATION.

Listen to your body. Green day, red day, yellow day.  What does your body feel like for that day? My non-negotiable is 3 days a week of 30 minutes of activity. I try to prioritize strength training, and this all depends on how I am feeling that day. Mobility work? A walk? Strength training? It all depends on that day and how my body is feeling.

The next place I looked was my food.  I needed to hire someone because clearly a coach is their own worst coach. We don’t see our blind spots. Changing my food was one of the hardest things I did.  My hormones were a hot mess at this point. (Hindsight 20/20 my hormones have been knocking on the door for decades!) My doctor wasn’t helping me at this point, so I looked into a functional medicine doctor.  She knew my body needed to recover and rest. It takes time and I knew that I had done this to my body for SO long that it was going to take a while to change working with this doctor.

I couldn’t expect a light switch to go on – it was more of a dimmer switch.  I also couldn’t supplement myself out of this, and I couldn’t prescribe my lifestyle. I needed to look at my lifestyle and make lifestyle changes!

I had to change my lifestyle and really look at it and what I was doing.
●      I had to get better sleep.
●      I had to stop being a stress ball! – I really had to change my mindset to manage my stress.
●      I had to stop and say, I can only control what I can control.
●      I whittled down my to-do list
●      I gave myself small mini goals and stopped trying to do ALL the things.
●      I had to work on healing my gut, it was such a mess!
●      Then we worked on balancing my blood sugar. I was insulin resistant from all of the yo-yo dieting throughout the years.
●      I worked on moderation.
●      I had to stop being so rigid and resistant as to how things had to look and work.
●      I looked at how I was managing my time.
●      I looked at the roadblocks I was setting for myself and how I could break through them.
●      I had to start letting things go and not hold on to everything!
●      I had to create boundaries.
●      I just had to release something.. I had to say that this can be easy, it won’t be fast but it can be easier than I am making it to be.

The 2 biggest things I had to work on in that list that was the biggest challenge was sleep and being less stressed.   At this point I was so burnt… LITERALLY burnt to a crisp. I just wanted this to be over and done with. This was a process… over several years of working through.

I am still working on my blood sugar; I am still finding the right balance of food for me. I went away from eating 5 meals a day that was too much.  I started pushing back meals until I was actually hungry. I had to stop eating by the clock. I had to expand on opening up my diet and have more fasting throughout the day.

Through this process, I knew where I could short circuit and where it happened.
1. We are going to look at your gut.
2. What do your choices look like?
3. What does your exercise look like?
4. What does your commitment look like to your nutrition?
5. Are you a stress ball? Are you sleeping?
6. You have to answer these things. I call it the 3 C’s
a. You have to understand your choices nutritionally & workout wise.
b. Then you have to come up with a code of conduct that you are going to hold yourself too. Not some diet that tells you to do AB&C.
c. What can you do, what are you willing to do to be consistent?
I knew I had to make a change, I couldn’t continue to eat like I was, workout like I was, stress like I was! If I wanted change, I HAD to make changes, I couldn’t sit back and wait for it to naturally happen.

I wanted to share this with you, so you knew where I was coming from and what I was doing.  One of the hallmarks for my changes was that I went on a vacation, and I didn’t want to be that girl worrying about everything! So, I did a little experiment.  For 30 days I was only working out 3 days a week, 30 minutes or less.  I focused on just making sure I added vegetables and protein but didn’t go crazy! And I focused on SLEEPING! After the 30 days I was ONLY up 2 pounds and I honestly think that was just bloating from flying and poop! LOL

Ladies, I was an idiot thinking it was go big or go home for so many years! Let me be the first to tell you that go big or go home is going to bury you. You are going to keep looking in the mirror say IF ONLY. If I only did this…  If you only make 1 change… If you are sick and tired of being sick and tired, something has to change!! You can make that change ladies; I know you have it in you! If I was able to do it, then I know that anyone can!

LINKS

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https://www.facebook.com/kimbarnesjeffersoncoach

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https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/fit-girl-magic-healthy-living-for-women-over-40/id1476883661

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https://www.fitgirlmagic.com/crackingbfc_fall22/

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