The first two decades were spent pretty much in transit. As a doctor’s daughter we were on the move a fair bit to wherever the next hospital placement would be.  From America to Wales and onto South London, my friendships were often short lived in those early years.

I tried to avoid getting too close to too many people, as in the back of my mind I knew that at some point I may have to say goodbye.

So instead I chose to invest all of my time and energy into one or two BEST friends and perhaps two or three other really GOOD friends. 

They were the ones who I giggled with at school, passed notes across the desk to, practiced dance and make up routines with at home, went shopping with, cried on their shoulders over various failed relationships and told all my inner secrets to. They provided the fun, the laughter and the drama which most of us I’m sure will have experienced along the way. 

Now I’m sure I have mentioned in some of my previous blogs, that I unfortunately lost one of these really good friends, in our last year of university. The effect of that sudden loss, has haunted me to this day.   

It further compounded my cautious nature. I constantly avoided becoming too close to people, because the fear of losing someone else or having to yet again say goodbye, was too much to bear.

Thankfully, not long after that, I met my husband, who became my best friend too and slowly through 26 years of marriage, he has helped heal a lot of my wounds and given me the security and the courage to branch out, reconnect and trust in my female friendships again. 

I grew to understand that saying goodbye and losing people dear to us was sadly just part of life. Something that didn’t just affect me obviously, but anyone and everyone.

In my married life and through our children I have been fortunate to make some really wonderful girlfriends along the way. 

I still have my inner insecurities providing a voice in one ear warning me not to get too close, but I have become a lot better at trying to ignore that voice and live in the here and now.  After all, none of us have the luxury of knowing how long a friendship or indeed a life will last.

The power of female friendship cannot be underestimated. Girlfriends come in all shapes and sizes, and we choose to have them in our life to compliment our own personalities – like little missing pieces of a not quite finished jigsaw puzzle.  

There will usually be a few fairly obvious stereotypes in each group; The confident, popular, pretty, outgoing one who will always be first on the dance floor and never without a boyfriend. The shy, quiet, understated, sensible one we all go to for advice.  The comedienne whose job it is to entertain, leaving us permanently in fits of giggles, the gym bunny whose figure you can only ever dream of and makes you feel guilty every time you reach for that slice of cake and the one who is full of insecurities, and lacking in self confidence, who slots in somewhere in between them all!

So often we hear the phrase ‘friends are the family we choose for ourselves’.  But for me, if I’ve learnt one thing along my journey into midlife, it is that there are friends, there is family and then there are friends that become family. 

The latter are exceptionally rare to come by. And when they do, hold onto them tight and never let them go.  These are the ones that know you inside and out, warts and all, through thick and thin. They will forever support you, lift you up, go to the ends of the earth to be there for you and will always have your back.

I will never forget the opening line of my father’s speech on my wedding day.  He told a packed room full of friends and family that he was a very wealthy man – there was an audible gasp in the room at his arrogant opening statement. Thankfully, once they allowed him to get to the end of his sentence, they soon realised they had been too quick to judge.

‘My wealth’, he said, ‘is like a tightly-woven tapestry. It can be measured by the intricately intertwined patterns that represent a life full of good friends and family.’  

It took me a few minutes to understand where he was going with that opener, but now, when I look back at my own life so far, I can totally relate to where he was coming from. 

The only difference for me is that I like to look at my tapestry as a shawl that has similarly beautiful patterns woven within it. 

Some may be faded and in places gone for good. But I know they were there.

And the ones that remain I will take with me and continue to wrap myself in, as I step into the next chapter of my life. 

So ladies, forget about diamonds being a girl's best friend. As far as I’m concerned, best friends are more precious than any gemstone that may come your way!

I also have decided to announce some breaking news..... after 40 years i’ve finally braved wearing a bikini!.

Sadly I’m not on holiday on some tropical island, but never the less, It’s totally liberating and it’s something I’ve always wanted to do but never had the body confidence to do it, I’m ashamed to say (don’t tell me off!).

However the phrase; ‘this life is not a dress rehearsal’, popped into my head about half an hour ago and it suddenly dawned on me, if not now, when?!

So here I am aged 51, lying in all my glory, scars from 4 c-sections, 1 hysterectomy, a gallbladder and hernia op mostly hidden away, not caring what anyone else thinks I look like - well only the dog can see me right now, so all is good!

But tell me.....Is this the first step towards turning into one of those sweary, rebellious oaps who have no filter perhaps? (I do hope so!).

Meanwhile if anyone else is looking for some flattering 40/50 yr old plus swimwear, I have finally found two companies, who make fab bikinis cut for us midlife women, that don’t make us look like we are trying to fish out some dental floss from our nether regions!: Thankyou Pour Moi & Fig Leaves.

Enjoy the sunshine all!

But do you find yourself thinking more about your long term health, wishing you had more energy and vitality, that you could get back your skin’s dewy glow and that your digestive system would sort itself out?

I want to let you know that the food you eat matters more than you think. Eating the right diet for you along with lifestyle focus on improving sleep, stress and exercise, will help you feel like a new you.

There’s no reason that you cannot feel fabulous at any age, if you take the right actions, and it’s my job as a nutritionist and coach to motivate and support my clients to do just that. Of course, working one-to-one means I can create a nutrition and lifestyle strategy built around your exact needs. I’m going to share some of the most common things that come up for my clients, and how you can use the immense power of good nutrition to lead a long and healthy life.

Feel more energised

There are so many reasons that you might be feeling more sluggish than you’d like and pinpointing what’s behind your lack of energy is something we’d need to discuss in person. But what I’m going to share with you is a simple strategy that can make a big difference.

Balancing blood sugar levels is one of the key things I help my clients with. Eating in a way that provides a constant supply of energy through the day will help you avoid dips in blood sugar than can leave you feeling tired, grumpy and craving the ‘wrong’ kinds of foods.

Very simply, you’d want to have a little protein at every meal and snack. This includes meat, fish, eggs, and vegetarian protein sources like tofu, lentils, beans, chickpeas and quinoa. You also need plenty of non-starchy veg (starchy veg includes potatoes, parsnips, sweet potatoes, corn) and smaller portions than you may be used to of starchy carbs like potatoes, rice, bread and pasta.

Unfortunately, the staple diet for many people involves cereal, sandwiches and pasta – often several servings in the same day – and this can contribute to blood sugar highs and subsequent crashes.

Fix your digestion

As you get older, some very important changes take place that can alter the way you digest your food.

With age, the body produces less stomach acid. This acid is needed to break down protein in your food. Low stomach acid production is linked to a variety of gastrointestinal problems, including Helicobacter pylori infection, dysbiosis, food allergies and intolerance, rheumatoid arthritis, acne rosacea, asthma, and decreased secretion of intrinsic factor, a chemical required for vitamin B12 absorption.

Heartburn and indigestion become more common as we age. Contrary to public belief this – in the majority of cases – is a result of too little stomach acid, not too much. Because of that, many people take over-the-counter meds to neutralise stomach acid or are even prescribed a proton pump inhibitor (PPI), medication that blocks stomach acid production. As a result, vitamin B12 deficiency is common, especially in older people, and unfortunately it can be the single underlying reason for anxiety and depression. If you have been prescribed a PPI, do not stop the medication without your doctor’s help and support. Stopping the drug can result in ‘rebound reflux’ – heartburn that is much worse than before – so you must come off it in a controlled way. If you are found to be deficient in vitamin B12, but you have a condition that requires you to remain on PPI long term, your doctor may be able to support you with regular B12 injections.

The stomach and intestines secrete enzymes that help break down the food further. These enzymes reduce as you age, too – not least because enzyme secretion depends on adequate stomach acid levels.  The rest of one or both of the above can be bloating, belching or flatulence after meals, undigested food in the stool, indigestion, and diarrhoea or constipation. The good news is that targeted supplements are available that can improve symptoms of both, but these should be recommended by an experienced nutrition practitioner.

Vitamin D is important for digestive function and affects all organs involved in the digestive process, including making stomach acid. The older you get, the more you are likely to be deficient in vitamin D, simply because you lose some of your body’s natural ability to make it. That extra holiday in the sunshine is important, along with supplementation (and finding the right dosage for you based on functional testing is key).

As the digestion starts to slow down, constipation can become a problem. Some types of medications may include constipation as a side effect. These include calcium channel blockers for high blood pressure and narcotic painkillers. Increased inactivity also plays a part.

SIMPLE TIPS TO BOOST DIGESTION

Look your best

For many, one of the most bothersome things about the ageing process are wrinkles and the dullness your skin can take on. Although it’s not possible to turn back the clock, there are a number of things you can do to bring back that feeling of radiance.

The ageing process is due to inflammation of one sort or another. I know you’ll get that in relation to joint pain, but did you know that what you eat has a big impact on how your skin ages?

Eating too much sugar and processed carbohydrates (like pasta, bread, and baked goods such as cakes and biscuits) can lead to damage in your skin's collagen, which keeps your skin elastic and resists wrinkles.  Alcohol and caffeine can also have a negative effect on the appearance of your skin.

On a more positive note, you should bring more of the healthy fats into your diet. Essential fats found in fish, avocados, nuts and seeds keep cell membranes soft and smooth – they’re nature’s perfect skin plumpers.

You’ll likely have read about how some skin care ingredients fight age-accelerating particles called free radicals. The magic ingredients in this case are antioxidants, and they’re in plentiful supply in fruit and vegetables of all colours. Eating as many different colours over the course of a week is helpful.

As a very general rule, each different colour group contains a different set of plant chemicals. Scientists now know that bringing a variety of different antioxidants into your diet has a synergistic effect, which means the combined result is more powerful than the individual parts.

An invitation to you

There’s no question that you are not the same person you were 20 years ago. But at the same time, there’s no denying that there are challenges that come with advancing years. And there’s no time like now to prioritise your health and rid yourself of any niggles or concerns about any aspect of your well-being that you might have been putting off.

I work with people just like you who are ready to say ‘yes’ to transforming their health. I warmly invite you to book a free call with me to discuss how making small changes to your diet and lifestyle can help you create the best-ever version of yourself.

Contact me on email@marcellerosenutrition.co.uk or 07961 166582 To arrange a complementary call with me I would love to help.

 

Blog originally published here:

http://marcellerosenutrition.co.uk/blog/2019/7/11/how-to-eat-to-turn-back-the-clock-simple-tips-to-stay-healthy-for-longer

Either way if you have been working out, not just for life, but to feel more confident on holiday, don’t let all that hard work go to waste! You can continue to exercise even on holiday and if you don’t want to do the gym, here’s a way of doing a workout from the comfort of your hotel bedroom!

An extremely effective way to do that is to pull a stretchy bit of elastic in several directions.

Resistance bands are cheap and effective for a variety of workouts – probably far more effective than you might think. Resistance bands are also the most portable form of fitness equipment. Pack them in your luggage and you can slip in a workout in a hotel room just as easily as you would in your own front room.

So grab a band and follow these moves

1) Biceps curl

Sets 1 Reps 12-15 each side

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart with both feet on the resistance band. Grasp the band with one hand and hold it with your arm down at your side, palm facing forwards. Bend at the elbow and lift your arm toward your shoulders until you get a good biceps contraction. Then lower slowly back to the start. Do all your reps on one arm, then switch.

2) Flye

Sets 1 Reps 12-15

Hold the resistance band in both hands, arms stretched straight out to the sides at chest height, with the band going behind your back. Press the band straight out in front of you, bringing your hands together with your arms fully extended, keeping your elbows up throughout and squeezing your chest muscles as you press. Slowly return to the starting position.

3) Squat

Sets 1 Reps 8-15

Stand on the resistance band with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, and bring the top of the band up to rest on the front of your shoulders. Lower into a squat, with your chest up and your knees over your toes. Then push up to the starting position.

4) Side hip abduction

Reps 10-12 each side

Lie on your side with your hips and knees bent at 90° and the resistance band looped just above your knees. Raise the upper leg to pull your knees apart while contracting your glutes for two to three seconds, then slowly return to the starting position. Do all your reps on one side, then switch.

5) Bridge

Sets 1 Reps 10-15

Loop the resistance band just above your knees and lie on your back with your feet on the floor and your knees bent at 90°. Lift your toes off the floor, then raise your hips until you form a straight line from your knees to your shoulders, contracting your glutes throughout the entire movement. As you raise your hips open your knees slightly to press against the resistance band

6)Splitter

Sets 1 Reps 8-10

Stand with your knees slightly bent and your feet shoulder-width apart. Grip a shoulder-width section of the resistance band with both hands in front of you at shoulder height. Keeping your arms straight, pull the band out and back until your shoulder blades contract. Slowly return to starting position.

7) Side walk
 Sets 1 Reps 8-10 steps in each direction

Loop one resistance band just above your knees and another around your ankles. Drop into a half squat position with your feet shoulder-width apart to create tension in the bands. Then take a small step to the side, keeping tension in the bands as you move. Do all the steps in one direction, then switch.

8)Press up

Sets 1 Reps 5-15

Get in a plank position, draping the resistance band across your upper back and holding the ends under your hands. Drop your chest down towards the floor, then contract your glutes and abs and push straight up until your arms are fully extended.

Happy hols!

Joining Liz and Katie after, for a panel discussion and q & a’s, were the CEO of The Eve Appeal, Athena Lamnisos, along with some of The Latte Lounge website advisors and bloggers:

Menopause GP, Dr Louise Newson, Founder of The Menopause Support Network – Diane Danzebrink, Director of Jo Divine – Samantha Evans and Author of My Menopausal Vagina – Jane Lewis.

The morning was very well attended by members of The Latte Lounge Facebook Group as well as being streamed via Facebook Live to over 16,000 women.

Guests enjoyed a delicious breakfast at The Grove Hotel and won some amazing raffle prizes too. Liz ended the mornings proceedings with a book signing and all guests were given a copy of The Liz Earle Well-being Yearbook, Volume 2 to take home. In the afternoon, everyone was able to enjoy the luxurious Grove Hotel Spa facilities and relaxed in the tranquil countryside setting.

Commenting on this LATTE LOUNGE LIVE, Katie Taylor said:

“We were so thrilled to be holding our Live Latte Lounge with Liz Earle, who is someone I have always admired for many years.  I am so grateful to her (and to all of our speakers) for giving up her time to come and help us celebrate our 3rd birthday and raise money for The Eve Appeal too.

Thanks also to The Grove Hotel and our other sponsors Sylk, TENA and Become for enabling us to host this event in such a stunning venue.

Last year we held our inaugural Live Lounge, hosted by Andrea McLane, to celebrate our 2nd birthday and to launch our website.  I can’t believe how much we have achieved in such a short space of time.

Like Andrea and myself, Liz has also shared a very similar journey, when it came to being slightly taken by surprise with what we all know now were peri menopause symptoms.  So I was absolutely delighted when she agreed to come along and help me host this very special day, knowing how much she could relate to everything we are all striving to do to support women through midlife and beyond.

Our Facebook Group grown from strength to strength in this past year, with over 16,000 members now.  And also our year old website has also become an incredibly useful and much loved landing page and stand alone resource for all midlife women both on and off our Facebook Group.

In this past year, we also launched, what is now, a very successful Instagram account, a monthly Latte Lounge Podcast on Radio Gorgeous, and a regular monthly members newsletter.  We really feel we have become a 360 degree platform supporting so many women in so many different ways.

This could not be possible without my incredible team of admins,

our brilliant medical and legal advisors and our wellbeing bloggers and experts who all support the website and our members day in day out.”

Liz Earle said:

“I am delighted to be able to support this Latte Lounge event in aid of The Eve Appeal, The UK's Gynaecological Cancer Research Charity. From mid-life wellbeing and gut health to happier hormones and the menopause, and am look forward to sharing the wisest ways I have found to look good and feel better than ever.”

The Grove Spa Director, Jamie Pagan said:

“We are pleased to support such a vibrant Facebook Group on what is their third anniversary. The panel of guest speakers attending on the day, including Liz Earle, will provide specialist wellbeing advice enriching the lives of all fortunate enough to attend the event. We look forward to hosting which will be a great day.”

Sylk Natural UK said:

"Only a third of menopausal women will seek medical help for vaginal dryness. There's still a stigma around women using lubricants and it's time we change that. Events like this shine a spotlight on the Menopause Journey and encourage open and honest conversation around the symptoms which can be hugely debilitating for some. Well done to The Latte Lounge for championing the Mid-Life Woman.”

Become said:

“We are absolutely thrilled to be working with the Latte Lounge and supporting The Eve Appeal. With over 10 million women struggling with menopause symptoms (including hot flushes and night sweats) at any one time in the UK, we believe it is crucial to transform how modern women talk about, think about and take on their menopause. Events like this absolutely support these goals.”

The event was very generously sponsored by:

The Grove Hotel and Country Club, Sylk Natural UK, Tena Lady and Become.

Raffle & Goody Bag prizes/gifts had been kindly donated by:

Liz Earle MBE, Sylk Natural UK, TENA, Become, Healthspan, Erica Harel, hhdesigns, abacus foods and Philip Kingsley Hair.

ABOUT OUR SPEAKERS:

KATIE TAYLOR & THE LATTE LOUNGE

Katie is the CEO & Founder of The Latte Lounge. She set up this online midlife platform for Women Over 40 after suffering from debilitating peri-menopause symptoms at the age of 45 and is now passionate about supporting, signposting and celebrating all women in midlife by providing them with a forum that offers easy to understand, helpful, professional and trustworthy information.

Email: Katie@lattelounge.co.uk

ATHENA LAMNISOS & THE EVE APPEAL

Athena Lamnisos is the Chief Executive of The Eve Appeal - The only UK national charity raising awareness and funding research into the five gynaecological cancers – womb, ovarian, cervical, vulval and vaginal.

For further information, please Tel: 020 7605 0151

or Email: athena.lamnisos@eveappeal.org.uk

LIZ EARLE MBE

Liz Earle MBE is a wellbeing entrepreneur, TV presenter and the number one bestselling author of over 35 books on a range of health, beauty and wellbeing topics.  These include her latest bestsellers The Good Menopause Guide and The Good Gut Guide. A global brand pioneer, Liz co-founded (but is no longer connected to) the multi-award winning Liz Earle Beauty Co., before moving on to launch Liz Earle Wellbeing. She is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Liz Earle Wellbeing magazine (published internationally by Hearst), Founder of Liz Earle Fair and Fine, an award-winning range of Fairtrade gold botanical jewellery and the host of the popular Wellness with Liz Earle weekly podcast.

Please note: Liz Earle MBE Photo credit: Georgia Glynn Smith

DR LOUISE NEWSON

Louise is a GP, menopause specialist and director of the Newson Health Menopause and Wellbeing Centre in Stratford-upon-Avon. She is also passionate about improving knowledge about safe prescribing of HRT.

DIANE DANZEBRINK

Diane Danzebrink is a Menopause Counsellor, psychotherapist & wellbeing consultant with professional nurse training in menopause. She created the #MakeMenopauseMatter campaign calling for mandatory GP education in menopause which has 25k signatures to date.

SAMANTHA EVANS

Samantha Evans is co-founder of online sex toy retailer Jo Divine https://www.jodivine.com/. As a former nurse, sexual health and pleasure expert and menopausal woman, she has written extensively about sex and the menopause and advises women and their partners about practical ways to enjoy sexual intimacy and pleasure.

JANE LEWIS

Jane Lewis, who is 52, suffers with vaginal atrophy ( the hush hush of menopause), admins a support group & has co-written “Me & My Menopausal Vagina “ with her daughter Penny.

ABOUT OUR SPONSORS:

THE GROVE HOTEL

Set in 300 acres of stunning Hertfordshire countryside, The Grove is the ultimate five star retreat. Lovingly restored, the former home of the Earls of Clarendon is situated just 18 miles from London, and is home to an award winning spa, championship golf course and mouth-watering restaurants.

SYLK

Sylk is an intimate, plant-based moisturising lubricant that provides immediate relief from vaginal dryness. A water-soluble, pH friendly lubricating gel, Sylk’s female-friendly formula is kind and gentle to sensitive tissues.

TENA

TENA provides incontinence products to people of all ages to enable them to continue to live an active life. Trusted by millions TENA is the global leader in the incontinence market.  Offering products that help manage urinary incontinence throughout the day and night. For over 60 years TENA has been creating discreet and effective solutions for this surprisingly common, yet infrequently talked about, condition

The TENA range for women includes:

Lights by TENA

Discreet Liners that lock away moisture through its 5 in 1 freshness™.

TENA Woman

A range of liners, pads, pants and incontinence underwear that are discreet with a comfortable fit and built in triple protection™ against leak odours and moisture.

BECOME

Female led, FemTech Company Become™ is an innovative brand working to break barriers surrounding the menopause. We provide groundbreaking solutions to alleviate hot flushes and night sweats through our patent-pending Anti-Flush Technology™.

Our research, feedback and reviews prove we are helping to change the lives of women around the world with our range of intelligent, every day apparel.

Our product works in four unique ways:

It cools the skin - The soft, lightweight fabric is made with a flat thread and knitted on a cross section to maximise surface area to transfer warmth away from the body. Tiny channels in the material drive away heat and encourage cooling.
It wicks moisture - The fabric has two innovative coatings. The first works in much the same way as skin. As body heat begins to rise, it works hard to bring the temperature down by evaporating moisture away.

It releases heat back: The second fabric coating absorbs and stores the heat from the surface of the skin during a hot flush or night sweat, then releases it back during the chill that follows. This helps maintain a stable body temperature and lessens fluctuation.
It reduces odour: Our hi-tech fabric also controls odour. Traditionally used for extreme sportswear, an anti-microbial finish creates a barrier between the bacteria and the fabric, immobilising the odour source and locking it in.

www.webecome.co.uk


Hi Liz, Thanks so much for agreeing to share some of your top tips, for living well, during midlife.
So, I wondered firstly if you could tell us a little bit about you? How old are you and how many children do you have?

I am 55 and I have five children ranging in age from 28 to 8.

Could you tell us about your early career and life and what you are doing now?

My career in beauty began more than thirty years ago when I moved from working for Molton Brown (then a small, niche hairdressing salon with a few naturally inspired hair products) into the world of writing for magazines.

I had always had an interest and passion in wellbeing and the natural world even as a child – inspired by my gardening aficionado father – so starting my working life in the wellbeing industry was an obvious choice. From the magazine world, I moved onto writing books and presenting on TV, before co-founding the Liz Earle Beauty Co. (which I am no longer connected to in any way).

Right now, I’m the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Liz Earle Wellbeing magazine (published internationally by Hearst), Founder of Liz Earle Fair and Fine, a lovely range of Fairtrade gold botanical jewellery and I also host the Wellness with Liz Earle weekly podcast – which I love recording! I’ve also written a handful of bestsellers over the years on various health, beauty and wellbeing topics, including most recently The Good Menopause Guide and The Good Gut Guide.

What was your own peri-menopause/menopause experience like?

Like most women, I had no real concept of what the menopause would be like until I started to consider my own personal journey and I found it baffling that there was so little information available to me and the millions of others who were at a similar stage of life. Advice was muddled, contradictory and very often failed to explain what was happening which was what prompted me to write The Good Menopause Guide.

How did you/have you, coped with your symptoms?

For me pretty much my only symptom was sleep disturbance and that was the one that sent me booking the doctor’s appointment. As a busy working mother of five, I can handle most of what life throws at me – but only if I get a good night’s sleep! When that started to go, I sought professional help.

I think it’s fair to say that the perimenopause takes most of us by surprise – we may feel fabulous and in the peak of good health, only to become aware of niggling troublesome changes, which when pieced together like a jigsaw puzzle suddenly make sense! I’ve been taking HRT for the past couple of years now and looking back, I can see that other health niggles that bothered me then were actually the result of falling estrogen levels.

Everyone thinks of the menopause as all hot flushes, insomnia and forgetfulness, but issues such as tinnitus, dry skin, low mood, headaches – all these vague symptoms I used to have I now realise bother me no more, so presumably my topped-up levels of estrogen have sent them packing!

What are some of your top tips in terms of looking after our own health and wellbeing during your 40s/50s and beyond?

A good tip would be to look at what you’re eating – how we fuel ourselves impacts on our wellbeing as a whole and it’s important to recognise this. I’m a great believer in feel-good food so I always try to embrace seasonal, local, organic produce wherever possible as the mainstay of my meals. My advice would be, try not to eat too many things that come out of a packet, always aim for lots of fresh veg and wherever possible go local and organic!

Do consider HRT if you have any of the 45+ symptoms of menopause or peri-menopause (usually in our mid-forties whilst we’re still having periods). HRT has had a bad press due to misrepresented studies linking it to an increased risk of break cancer, which were simply wrong.

I write a lot about this in my Good Menopause Guide and am also quite vocal on Instagram (@LizEarleMe) as I feel so strongly that mid-life women the world over are being let down by uninformed medics dishing out-dated advice. The latest NICE menopause HMS guidelines are very clear – benefits outweight the risks for the vast majority. I would also highly recommend following Dr Louise Newson’s work online and on Instagram (@menopause_doctor).

What about beauty tips for us midlife women?

The secret to glowing skin is to feed it with the right nutrients as well as apply vitamins and antioxidants topically. One of my favourite skin food tips is to drink kefir, a super-yoghurt drink, made when kefir grains (a type of fermentation starter) are added to milk or similar liquids. I make my own kefir at home using kefir grains and cow’s milk, although you can use coconut milk, coconut water or any other nut milks.

Also, don’t forget we need collagen to keep our skin strong and supple and this needs estrogen to create it! Yet another reason to consider HRT with the body-identical estrogen available on the NHS from your GP in the form of a gel (Estrogel) or patch (transdermal estrogen is always body identical and comes from wild yams, so it is botanically derived).

I’m astounded how many women lose confidence and suffer from anxiety at this stage in their lives – do you have any advice on how to tackle this? 

Too many peri-menopausal women lose confidence as anxiety levels increase as estrogen dips. Without wishing to sound like a broken record here, this is another benefit of HRT! Too many mid-life women are being prescribed anti-depressants when simple estrogen is what is really needed to solve issues such as anxiety, loss of confidence, low mood and brain fog. We have estrogen receptors in our brain which simply need to be topped up. Once you have your brain back you can accomplish so much more both at home and in the workplace.

Also, always trust your gut instinct! As I discovered when writing The Good Gut Guide, our gut is linked to our brain via the largest nerve in the body (the vagus nerve) and those inner feelings we get when we instinctively know something to be true is so often proved right.

And lastly, any other pearls of wisdom you could give to our readers/members? After all juggling so many things, be it our kids, our parents, our work and our home, finding time for ourselves is really tough! 

Build some quiet time for yourself into every day – even if it’s just ten minutes of sitting in the garden with a book. Taking a moment to stretch or do a few minutes of yoga poses can be very beneficial.

I recently travelled through Sardinia and Greece for a mini-series for This Morning on Blue Zones (special regions where people share a common lifestyle, whose exceptional longevity has been properly verified). One of the key learnings that have stayed with me is the importance of weaving ‘pockets of still’ into your day. In the Blue Zones, people do this in a variety of ways such as meditation or relaxing walks – a large part of longevity is shedding the stress that is so often associated with busy modern lives.

Like most working mothers I feel as though I’m on the go the whole time, but since learning more about Blue Zones I make more of an effort to book myself in for a small dose of quiet ‘down time’ into each day.

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