Kaha Mna

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My Personal Journey

When I talk at seminars, I always say about how reaching our menopausal years is a privilege and about the incredible changes that can occur when we make some different lifestyle choices. So, I wanted to take this opportunity to share some of my personal journey with you to enable you to understand me and my why, a little better. This is my story about why I am so passionate about healthy living and making the necessary lifestyle changes, ( and I still enjoy a gin and some chocolate!). 

During my teenage years, I struggled with my periods, they were heavy and irregular. Whilst most of my friends seemed to breeze through there’s, I spent most of the time with a hot water bottle strapped to my tummy!! This was the cure for everything on the West Coast of Ireland!!

Fast forward to my Child Bearing years and these weren’t easy either. I had two miscarriages before having our daughter and then another miscarriage and an Ectopic pregnancy before having our son.  

Hormones have never really been my friend!!  At the time when I had my daughter, I also lost my Dad, which was a big shock. How do you cope with the joy of a new baby, raging hormones and the loss of a parent all at the same time!  During this time, I struggled with depression and was on anti-depressants to help me through.
When we had our son we were obviously overjoyed and even more so because my best friend, who was also my sister-in-law, we grew up together, had also had a son, they already had three girls. Times were good and a few years passed by. Unfortunately my best friend passed away, leaving my brother and her young kids. Emotions and hormones were getting the better of me again. More dark times followed. But life goes on and so do we. 

Jumping forward to my Menopause years; when I first started to realise that changes were happening to my body (and mind), I went to talk to my GP, who told me that I was depressed and prescribed anti-depressants.  Well, I had been on that journey previously and I was pretty confident that I wasn’t depressed, so I put the tablets in my drawer and started to do some research! 

Guess what? I was Peri-Menopausal!!  For the next little while I really struggled with things like:
My body changing shape
Extremely Heavy Periods
Mood swings
Brain Fog 
and a whole host of other symptoms. 

I come from a family of mixed medical issues, my Mum was Type 1 diabetic, my Dad died from Leukaemia, all my Dads side of the family had passed from different cancers, my brother had cancer and there was also a history of Cardiovascular issues!  I had not been offered HRT or anything else other than ant-depressants. I did look into HRT, but at that time, there were still questions over its side effects and given my family history, I decided that I wanted to try and stay away from it. Oh and did I mention that I am Coeliac and had also previously been diagnosed with minor Lupus issues. I should point out that I now talk to my Clients about the benefits of HRT and point them in the right direction to talk to a Menopause GP if we feel that is what they need. 

During the worst of my Peri-menopausal years, I had my own business, which was a Health and Fitness Studio, thankfully I had a great team and they made up for my inability to function a lot of the time!!

I decided that I needed to look at my lifestyle and started to make some changes to both my diet and the way I exercised. 

When I sold the business and we moved to New Zealand, I was lucky enough to find Dr Wendy Sweet and so, the next phase began. I started to learn more about lifestyle changes and how they can help. I understood that my Liver and Gut played a big part and that there was a gut/brain connection. I learned that although exercise is good for us, it needs to be the right type. All of what I had been previously researching, suddenly started to make sense and I wanted to know more, so I did my Practitioner training through Wendy. 

Unfortunately, not long after our move to New Zealand, I lost my brother and my mother a year apart from each other. This was during our Covid lockdowns, which meant that I couldn’t be there for either of them. It was a very difficult time for me and I started to ignore those lifestyle changes that I had been making. I was eating the wrong food, over exercising and definitely drinking too much, which of course led to poor sleep.

It was when I saw a photo of myself that I decided that I needed to pull my neck in and refocus on my health. I was so completely bloated and struggling badly with inflammation. This was from my menopause journey but also from my poor lifestyle choices. 

By making those small lifestyle changes and focusing on what my body needed, my menopausal symptoms pretty mush disappeared, my inflammation and bloating went and I was starting to feel like me again.  If you have a look at my social media, you will see the photos of me when I was inflamed and bloated compared to how I am today. 

My family history makes me passionate about healthy lifestyles and nourishing our bodies with the good stuff. 

During my Mum’s early years as a diabetic, they didn’t have the knowledge and information that we have today about healthy eating and lifestyles. My Mum’s kidneys failed her in the end. 

I want us all to have healthier lifestyles, I want us all to accept and embrace menopause. Yes it can be hard and yes we moan about it, but I would give anything to be able to sit with my sister in law, my best friend, and be able to moan to her about it. 

Life is a journey and menopause is just another part of that journey, the same way Puberty and Pregnancy were (and we survived those!). 

Be healthy and happy my friends and grab this life with both hands and embrace it, menopause and all. 

Don’t suffer in silence, just the smallest of changes can make the biggest difference. If my story has resonated with you at all or if you want some guidance on turning your life around, either due to menopause or other life stressors, please reach out to me, I’m here to help. 

Is mise le meas,
Anne x