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Food Fabulous

Notes from midlife

Here's what Dry January taught me about hot flushes, menopause & alcohol

Ditching wine o'clock is epic for hot flushes, anxiety, irritability and menopause weight gain. This is great news for anyone doing dry January. This will be my first ever Dry January and I say, give it a go if you are interested in reducing any of your annoying menopausal symptoms.

When you have menopausal weight gain, low energy, poor sleep, anxiety, or absolutely any symptoms of perimenopause/ menopause at all, giving up alcohol for a while will definitely 100% help you feel amazing. You might not be 100% ready to hear this yet and that's OK but I'd love for you to read what I have to say and file it away for (possible) future use even if you have no intention of doing this Dry Jan business. 

As I write, I've now been a little over 110 days AF (always amuses me when the sober community writes AF as I always thought it stood for "as f**k", lols). I ditched it initially as part of an exercise programme I was d

two glasses of chilled white wine

oing and it was pretty much the best thing I have ever done for my health and my happiness - even though friends and family are a bit perplexed and are waiting for me to 'get back to normal'. 

These 100+ days have given me plenty of time to ponder not just my relationship with alcohol but that of my clients. It's incredibly common for midlife women to lean a little bit too much into the weekday evening wines. For me, wine seemed like the best (and quickest) way to wind down after a stressful day. And, I have to tell you, the 100 days shot past after the first few weeks to the extent I didn't even clock I'd passed the 100 mark, which initially felt like it was a bit of a let down but on reflection, was a celebration of how far I'd come. I was simply too busy living my life!

It's super easy to end up having two or three glasses a night and, since no-one in the world pours small measures, that could be approaching a bottle and (scary statistic alert), those three glasses of wine put you well into what the government defines as binge drinking. I know, right???

And drinking actually creates more of the feelings you were trying to avoid anyway. But, look, I'm not doing to bore you with any more of this. If you fancy giving up for a month to see how you feel, I think that's a great idea. You won't know how good you can feel unless you do it.

And it is possible to enjoy celebrations, go out, have Christmas (obviously this has gone for this year), birthdays, parties, dance at said parties and so on without a glass in hand. 

This week, I'll celebrate my first dry birthday. In previous years, birthday celebrations without at least a couple of glasses of champagne were unthinkable. Now I know different.

One of the big things I learned is it's easier with a coach... As always.

Every January, there are always clients who are doing a Dry January and part of my job is to support them in this, which I love because quitting or at least reducing is an excellent way to fix your midlife metabolism. Find out more about my Midlife Method here and you can see what feeling fabulous might look like for you.

If you're anything like me, hearing someone tell you it's a good idea might not have much sway, so I'm going to let you sit with it for a while.

Wine is not your friend in menopause.

She’s supercharging your hot flushes.

And killing your creativity.

Gifting you brain fog (and foggy mornings thanks to hangovers).

She’s dialling up your anxiety (it’s called hangxiety).

She’s making it impossible (yes, that’s right, it’s really that bad) to get a good night’s sleep.

And she’s one of the reasons the weight is hanging around your midlife middle.

And yet she seems your friend…

If you need a coach to work on this whole menopause mess, you know where I am.

Now I want to tell you another thing that helped me. You can dip your toe in the waters with this and see how you feel.

It's easier if you also surround yourself with 'quit lit' or podcasts to support you. These are some of the ones I have enjoyed, and you will find on Amazon or in the library.

Tired of thinking about drinking by Belle Robertson is a super easy read. She didn't have a Problem. She wasn't morning drinking or anything, but... 

The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober by Catherine Gray is lovely to read and has been a huge, ginormous bestseller. Now, she did have more of a problem but don't dismiss this if it's not you. There is a little bit of her story of course but there are plenty of tips for navigating life without booze.

Alcohol Explained by William Porter is a real eye opener. If you want to know how and why the booze is sabotaging your health, this is a good read. Well laid out and not like a textbook, I promise. Amazon tells me it is one of the most gifted books. Not sure I'd have liked that gift but discovering it on my own, yes...

Drink! The new science of alcohol and your health by Professor David Nutt is a great if you're the sort who wants all the science, but in a digestible way. He used to be in charge of the Government's drugs programme and believes he was sacked for saying that alcohol is hands-down the biggest drug problem we have - far bigger than any of the illegal ones. 



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