“Welcome to Menopause. Deal with it.”

I was sitting in my doctor’s office, looking for advice and information about a series of telltale symptoms that had really started to bother me. My libido had started going way down, even though I had always thought of myself as a highly sexual person, and suddenly I wasn’t as interested in sex with my partner as I was before. Meanwhile, my weight had shot way up and it felt like I had put on 12 pounds overnight, even though I was exercising all the time. My stomach started getting soft and mushy (that’s what happens when you start losing estrogen) and none of my clothes fit me anymore.

All of MY fears about getting older, combined with the hormones wreaking havoc on my body – THEY all came to a head when I heard my doctor’s words. I knew menopause was a natural part of life, but I never thought it would happen to me, not like this. Yet here I was, staring it straight in the face. And so, like any mature woman, this was my response to my doctor:

“Hell No! Do you know who you’re talking to?”

And so I started to do research. And I started to fight. I fought and fought and I fought like crazy to get my body back. I wasn’t going to accept that life as I knew it ended, just like that, once menopause came into the picture!

But it was a lonely road at first. Nobody was talking about how common hormonal imbalances are, and how your body just goes nuts when the levels are off, even by a tiny bit. (I learned that I was far from alone, since hormone imbalances aren’t just limited to women going through menopause, they can also happen during pregnancy, or during life changes or can even be affected on any given day by our cleaning products or the hormones in our food).

At first, I was too afraid to talk about it with my loving, supportive partner, even though he kept asking me what was going on. I wasn’t prepared to tell him the real reason for my dwindling interest in sex, because I thought the word menopause would scare him (it certainly scared me!). But because I wasn’t talking to him about the real reason, he started to believe that I just wasn’t attracted to him anymore.

I knew that my life, my relationship, was too important to me to just “deal with” my menopause symptoms. I knew that I had had to find a way to fix this.

So I looked into bio-identical hormone replacement therapy and found that the specific hormones made all the difference in working with my changing body.

In fact, one of the reasons I chose to have a medical doctor (who’s well versed in alternative medicine and western medicine) on my Pure Joy Wellness team is that before any of us start a health or fitness program, we really need to know what’s going on in our bodies. Unless we know that, we’re just shooting in the dark!

So many of the women I have worked with at all stages of life have difficulty losing weight and blame themselves when they can’t drop those stubborn last pounds. But, a lot of them just need a small tweak in their hormonal balance, which can make a world of difference.

My body is better now than it was before menopause. I fought to get my libido back to have a loving, caring relationship with my partner, because that’s important. And I worked hard to come to terms with my emotions about what it meant to reach menopause and be over 50 and to face the fear of “this means I’m old!”

The process has made me stronger, and even more determined to start talking openly about a subject most of us would rather lock up in a silent box of shame and fear.  What I’ve discovered, going through menopause, is that it doesn’t have to be the end of our identities as young, healthy and sexy.

With the right information, attitude and support, it can be just the beginning of a new chapter.

Are YOU ready to write yours?