Mid-life is a time of change. Especially for women. There are the physical and emotional changes associated with peri menopause and menopause itself. These bring an array of (unpleasant) symptoms for us to deal with including hot flushes, night sweats, weight gain, anxiety/depression, lack of sex drive, thinning hair and sleep problems. Plus, many women report having less energy and being generally less able to take things in their stride.
Add to that the environmental changes that many of us also face at this point in our lives. Obviously, these vary from woman to woman, but may include:
- Teenage hormones – as if we don’t have enough with our own!
- Children leaving home – a huge adjustment.
- Parents needing more support or care.
- Work changes – perhaps reduced hours (through choice or not) and feeling less necessary.
- Moving house – many people downsize in mid-life or move to a new area.
- Relationship changes – with so much else happening, it’s perhaps not surprising that 45-49 is the most common age for both men and women to divorce, according to the Office For National Statistics.
Talking from experience
I’ve been a midlife personal trainer and wellness coach for 10 years. I help women through peri menopause, menopause and into older age. I work with them to help maintain their cardiovascular, bone, muscle and cognitive health. All vital as we age.
But that doesn’t make me exempt from the midlife issues outlined above. I became a carer for my Mum also around 10 years ago. Those of you with experience of this will know how all-consuming that responsibility can be. But I’ve managed to balance it with running my business and working with lots of fabulous women on their fitness, nutrition and general mid-life issues.
Unfortunately, when lockdown hit my careful balance was destroyed. Any outside assistance for Mum stopped and she became totally reliant on me. Her health deteriorated and it became apparent that we needed to move so she could live downstairs full time. Plus, I could suddenly no longer train or advise clients face to face so had to quickly get to grips with Zoom. Like many, I was knocked sideways. So, despite all the advice I give and the nutritional knowledge I have, I took my eye off the ball on that front. Life was stressful and there wasn’t much to look forward to…except a nice meal and maybe a glass (or two) of something at the end of the day! And the pounds crept on!
Sadly, things got worse before they got better. Just before we exchanged contracts on our new home, Mum died unexpectedly. And clearing a house, while organising her affairs and finalising the house move was STRESSFUL!!
Taking my own medicine
What did I do? Well first I took a great big dollop of my own advice. I was dealing with lots of things outside my control. So, I took a deep breath and just accepted those.
But I was also unhappy with how I looked and felt. And that was something I could change. For me, that meant some small and manageable tweaks over a period of weeks:
- saving wine time for the weekend!
- implementing limited time eating (I eat within an 8 hour window – usually 11 – 7 – giving my body the chance to focus on rest and repair for the remaining 16).
- Refocussing on portion size!
- Reorganising so I don’t work on Fridays.
And now I’m a stone lighter, sleeping better and benefitting from extra time for R&R (and exploring the area near our new home in Hever) on my three-day weekends.
Horses for courses
Of course, these were the changes that addressed the things affecting my happiness. For you they may be different. But the key is to be prepared to put yourself first.
As we’ve already explored, the pressures during mid-life are many and varied. But we’re no good to those around us if we’re running on empty and unhappy ourselves.
It can seem selfish to prioritise your own exercise or me-time when there’s so much going on. Or to make your husband eat all his food between 11 and 7 (!) But sometimes we all need to take a step back and refocus. Even PTs!
A final thought
When was the last time you gave proper consideration to what you eat (and how much) and how you move your body?
As we hit mid-life, I’m afraid that nutrition and exercise are a little like make up – what works in your 20s and 30s isn’t necessarily right for your 40s and 50s!
So, I have a special offer for you – I’m offering a FREE 30-minute review to see what you could be doing to help improve your midlife. But this offer is only for April 2021. Get in touch to book.
And the moral of the story? When life gives you lemons you can suck on them and look bitter, or you can make lemonade. Or you can slice them for your G&T (but maybe just at the weekend?!).