This World Menopause Day, we’re discussing heart health (and lots more) with some of our QVC presenters. Let’s find out their easy hacks to support their wellbeing as they go through perimenopause and menopause.
One of the things I’ve seen make a huge difference over the past few years has been taking a high dose collagen supplement daily. We talk a lot in beauty shows about how the depletion of collagen levels speeds up in midlife, and I’ve noticed the supplement really helping my skin and hair. And exercise is vital for me. I’ve been a runner for nearly 20 years, but I run longer distances than ever now, and I lift weights too. Feeling strong and fit is so important in later life and exercise is also great for my mental health – it makes me happy!
The first half of the year was very challenging for me due to caring for a family member who was very unwell. During that time I allowed my own health to slide in terms of fast food, takeaways, more units of wine a week than is healthy and no exercise. I realised this was impacting my mental health, too, as I piled on the pounds and felt more and more sluggish.
At the end of April I made a conscious decision to make some major changes which included cutting out alcohol and eating more fresh, unprocessed foods. I also incorporated short daily yoga (even 10 minutes a day on my busier days helps and is worth setting the alarm 10 minutes earlier for).
Now, four months later, I am feeling better than ever and have lost three stone in weight. It was never the plan to keep on going, I just thought I’d do a ‘reset’, but now I feel so good that I’ve made the aforementioned changes my normal routine. I never thought I’d be teetotal! It was only meant to be for a few weeks but the benefits are exponentially outweighing the drawbacks. My life is still full of challenges but I’m so happy I’ve been able to take control of my health and wellbeing. I now feel far better equipped to take on whatever the day throws at me. At 51, now feels a significant time in my life to start truly caring for myself as well as others.
Now that I’ve hit the perimenopause window, there are a few things I have done to try and balance how I feel. Other than the obvious, thank you HRT, I have also looked at my diet to make sure that I am eating a lot more whole foods and avoid ultra processed.
One of the most helpful tweaks I have made regarding food, however, is to eat earlier. For me, it means a better night’s sleep and also it helps combat the peri menopause weight gain and bloat. I don’t like to eat any later than 7pm or I just feel sluggish and uncomfortable. Before 6pm is even better! Moving more is essential, walking is my favourite way to get some exercise. I keep track of my pace with the Fit Bit app to make sure I’m getting the most out of the walk.
My GP’s advice was ‘walk fast enough that you could still manage a conversation, but you couldn’t sing’. I’m lucky to live by the coast so the fresh sea air is an added bonus to the walk.
I have to say menopause has come at me like one of those long cross country American trains – it just keeps coming! It started about seven years ago and has been one symptom after another. I started HRT about three years ago and that has been a huge help, so I’m grateful for that. But I’m also doing things to manage the changes. I’m eating much healthier I think than I did ten years ago, I’ve never been a big drinker, but now try to only have a glass of wine one or two evenings each week, and I’ve also upped my intention when it comes to fitness.
Just being active doesn’t seem to cut it any longer. I tried the gym for a few months but quickly got bored. I much prefer the motivation of a group environment, so have started playing squash and doing circuit training, both of which feel great for my physical and heart health.
The next challenge is to remember to take some additional supplements, I think there are great benefits to be had there. It’s such a huge life change isn’t it? Right at the time when kids are off to university and parents need additional support too. There’s lots to balance, but we can do it!
I’ve always made a conscious effort to supplement my diet with vitamins and minerals since becoming vegetarian in 1986, but since menopause I’ve added a probiotic to my morning cocktail as I was experiencing some gut issues. The other key thing for me is exercise, which in my case is Pilates.
Not only does it keep my body supple and strong it is good for mental well-being. If I’m stressed or upset, I head to the cabin at the bottom of my garden for a workout and nine times out of ten emerge feeling refreshed and restored both mentally and physically.
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