Meet today's guest:
After failing to find any medical help for her health issues herself in her early 40’s, Nicki Williams discovered that she could turn things around using diet, lifestyle and natural supplements. She is now an award winning nutritionist, author, speaker and a leading expert in women’s health and hormones. She is the founder of Happy Hormones for Life, helping women in their 40’s and 50’s to feel better than they did in their 30’s! www.happyhormonesforlife.com
Being a woman can be tough work.
We get called emotional for sharing our feelings and suggesting people respect them; hysterical for being frustrated when people tell us nothing is wrong; and are often ignored when we suggest we intuitively know something is up.
On top of that our bodies are programed to lose precious blood every month and pretty much stop being ours during the childbirth years.
To me, understanding our bodies and emotions as best we can and then deciding what we’re going to do with that information is a critical part of our journey.
My guest this week (and next!) has specialized in understanding women’s hormones, especially as they affect us during that 35 to 52-year-old phase referred to as peri-menopause and eventual menopause.
Getting clear on and helping others with hormone imbalance wasn’t always Nicki’s career plan.
I was a high-flying career girl. I worked in corporate up until I had my kids. I went back after the first one but then the second one came along and GOSH life was hard after that. It was a real struggle. Obviously with two young kids I had more to juggle, but the stress – I couldn’t cope with the stress very well. I was exhausted all day long. I had a tire around my belly which I couldn’t get rid of with my usual fad diets.
… the biggest problem that I had was that I was incredibly snappy and grumpy… and it was a time when I had young kids and I was very aware that I wasn’t getting the joy that I should be getting from having a young family.
Nicki noticed that this problem wasn’t specific to her, but seemed to be a common scenario for many of the 30 – 40 year old women around her. Although she recognizes now, that this would have been a good time to go for help, she was simply too busy and exhausted to do anything about it.
It wasn’t until my daughter came home from school one day and I was washing up at the kitchen sink. I was exhausted from my day at work. My boss had asked me to do a report for the next day and I was thinking, oh my God…when am I going to do this thing? My brains not working and it’s late, I just want to go to sleep. And she comes running in with a picture in her hand – “Mommy, mommy, look what I’ve done at school!”
Instead of turning around and appreciating her daughter’s excitement along with the fact that the picture included a giraffe, Nicki’s favorite animal, she snapped at her daughter that now wasn’t a good time.
She looked at me with feisty eyes and said, “Mommy, why are you always so grumpy?” …I just melted and realized that I had turned into this person that I never ever wanted to be. I never had kids to be this grumpy mom – I wanted to be a fun mom and that fun had really just gone from my life.
So, Nicki went to a doctor and after ten minutes of sharing her symptoms was handed a prescription for Prozac, told she must be depressed and was all but pushed out of his office. She didn’t think she was depressed, but the doctor had planted a seed of doubt and she wasn’t sure what to do.
Luckily her dad is an MD who is very much into nutrition and natural solutions. Prior to this, she would not have turned to him for guidance on something like this, but she felt so confused and uncertain she gave him a call.
He calmly told her about peri-menopause which generally starts around 35 years of age and gave her simple things to change which would help her rebalance her hormones. Nicki was shocked and a little incredulous but decided to go along with him.
So, he had me tested and everything came back all over the place …and at that moment I thought – okay this is real…it’s not just in my head. At the time I was thinking, what is this? This is crazy….is this what’s happening to everyone?
Within a few weeks Nicki was losing weight, had a clearer head, more energy, “and I was a much nicer person to be around. So, I realized that there was some real power in this. That’s when I decided to give up my corporate world and retrain.”
Nicki and I discussed the general hormone journey most women face;
When we get to around 35 …that’s when our hormones start to change. Our ovarian reserve is declining – our eggs are running out – we’re not ovulating every single month necessarily…our hormones start to change, fluctuate and decline.
So, we’re looking at potentially around 17 years of hormonal changes which is a big part of a woman’s life. You can ruin a lot of relationships in that time and it’s not all about the relationship, it’s often about these hormonal issues because they can put a real strain on it.
The many issues that can arise and be overlooked, misdiagnosed or ignored because of their connection to hormones isn’t always obvious:
- …weight gain – where the doctor might turn around and just say, eat less…
- fatigue … psychological issues like brain fog, anxiety and mood swings which can often be misdiagnosed as mental health issues…
- PMS is another one that often women don’t put down to menopause because they think menopause is about no periods…
- your periods can get very, very heavy and painful - erratic and irregular…
- …there’s a ton more …and the doctor can easily misdiagnose because unless you say you’ve got hot flashes and night sweats they aren’t really thinking menopause
Libido is a terrible one and usually quite easy to correct. It’s often the last thing that comes out in conversation, but it’s a really big one for affecting relationships as well as how the woman feels about herself.
The Feisty Four are critical to understanding what’s going on in your body during this time;
… my Feisty four hormones are the hormones that most affect how we look, feel, think and behave after 40 (not just then, but they really come out after 40) and these are the ones that can be problematic.
Listen to the podcast for all the goods and then come back next week for ideas on what you can do to get things working in harmony again.