Putting our minds and bodies first

Welcome to the June edition of the Phoenix Wellness Coaching blog. If this is your first visit, it is good to have you here; if you have been following us for some time again it’s great to have you here, and I hope you enjoy reading this month’s instalment. Throughout June on our social media, we are looking at health eating and how to better support our minds and bodies through and beyond menopause.
We all know that eating healthy is so important, regardless of our age or stage of life, but when we reach perimenopause, this becomes even more of a top priority for us. What we do now will dictate the kind of post menopause life we are likely to have. I am sure you all want to be fit and healthy well into your midlife and beyond; who doesn’t want to be able to play and chase their grandchildren around; who doesn’t want to feel good in their skin and probably most important of all look after the way their brain ages?

Me and my story

So, think back two years to March 2020 and the start of the pandemic. At this moment in time, and I know I’ve spoken about this before but bear with me, I was working in a job I disliked, doing something I didn’t feel valued for, and which was leaving me feeling completely purposeless and unfulfilled. I was also battling through a tough stage in my own menopause journey that wasn’t helping my self-confidence and self-esteem. I hated the way I looked as I had put on weight and was feeling old and frumpy, and all of this was adding to my sense of feeling lost!
But I didn’t just take the status quo at face value. I made a commitment to myself to get fit and health. I found a person trainer and I followed an exercise and healthy eating plan. Within 8 weeks I’d lost 28lb which was amazing. But the story doesn’t end there, and much like my previous weight loss story, I stopped tracking my food and slowed down on my exercise. Without my PT as my accountability partner, I soon fell back into old habits. Till we come to the reality of right now.

Reality of now

Things are not good. I’ve been forced to change my old exercise routine for something more sedate due to injury and back issues. For almost three moths I couldn’t do any exercise at all, not even moderate walking which took its toll on my mood and motivation. Whilst in pain and feeling sorry for myself, I turned to my usual comfort – food. I hold my hands up I am a comfort eater. I’ve always had a difficult relationship with food and when my anxiety kicks in I turn to food and start binge eating. Sadly, I know I do this, but I’ve not been able to cut the habit – probably because I’ve not had a deep enough why or understood the relationship I have with food.
That aside, I am now back to my state of self-loathing as I’ve put on weight – all that I lost and more so classic yoyo dieting pattern again. I’m sad and feel that I’ve let myself down and am not treating my body well.

What can we do to change this pattern?

This month I am teaching all about healthy eating so that we fuel our bodies and minds to give them the best chance of performing well and having longevity. I’m not sitting back and doing the whole “do as I say not as I do”, but I recognise that I too need to take myself in hand and start practicing what I am preaching. None of this is rocket science, and you will see if you follow us, that even the smallest and simplest of changes can make a difference. But for me it is the mindset that needs to change, so what are the top tips I will share with you and that I will follow myself:

  • Find your why – that burning thought deep inside you that you just cannot afford to ignore and have to commit to. For me it is that I need to eat healthy, exercise and follow a healthy lifestyle to support my body. I want to lose weight to take the pressure off my injured back and hip so that I am giving my body the best chance to heal itself and perform long after menopause.
  • Food is fuel and nothing more – this is harder to crack. But I am going to journal on my thoughts about food. I will keep a diary of when I eat, what I eat and more importantly my feelings at the time.
  • Use positive affirmations – I am going to work through the Old Me versus New Me exercise and develop 5 positive affirmations that keep me focused. These will include the healthier relationship I want to develop with food and will remind me that food is just fuel for my body and nothing more.
  • Learn to love my body – this is all about seeing my body in a different light and stopping myself from focusing on the superficial i.e., how my body looks. I want to start to look at the good things that my body can and does for me every single day and start to celebrate those.
  • Stop beating myself up – this is one that we can all learn and use in many different parts of our lives. So, when I choose not to exercise or take eat that cake, I am not going to tell myself off. I am going to be intentional around why I chose to do that or not, and just accept it. When we beat ourselves up all the time, it makes it harder to stay on the path we want as our egos tell us that we can’t do it and so we fail.

More help

I hope sharing my story helps you to see that there are simple things we can do to change our lifestyle and the way we eat to give ourselves the best chance of a long and healthy life. Menopause can me we put on weight, but we can do something about it and our social media posts are all about that – if you don’t follow us already then go to https://www.facebook.com/groups/2795782627318675/ to join our private Facebook group.