Women’s Health and Hormones

Sharon Juniper
Written by Sharon Juniper

My Journey from Teenager to Perimenopause

Photo by Meg Boulden on Unsplash

Due to my own rollercoaster experiences from an early age, I decided a few years ago to study and work on women’s health and hormones. Being able to go into schools and chat to young women about hormones and health is my passion, as it has a knock-on effect for young girls, families, and relationships.

I never revealed my true self as I had zero confidence and didn’t understand what was going on with my body from the age of about 15.

Back then there wasn’t as much knowledge at our fingertips like there is today. I really didn’t like myself much.

I used to be a people pleaser, as I had a low self-esteem and was just grateful to have friends or to be liked. This led me to taking medication (that I didn’t need) and not eating properly.

So, about seven years ago, I started to do my own research as I had hit perimenopause overnight through a trauma. Perimenopause and menopause can develop gradually or immediately (depending on circumstances). I thought I was too young at 47 but I had all the symptoms that led me to believe that I was in fact heading towards menopause.

At this point, I had no idea what was ahead of me, but I knew that I didn’t want to stay where I was. Having three children, I wanted them to be proud of me. I didn’t want them worrying about me. I had gained 3 stone when I’d always been small framed – the self-hatred was too much!

The journey wasn’t linear and took consistency and dedication, but I wanted it so much it became easy.

Having enough of living in despair, I decided to make some changes. I started with my mindset, as I knew that was the most important. 

I began with giving up alcohol. I’d never really enjoyed drinking but used it for confidence and to mask pain. Quitting alcohol was the easy part, as I hated how it was stealing my life. 

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What really astounded me was what happened three months after giving it up.

I was craving sugar like crazy, getting up in the middle of the night, raiding my children’s drawers for any chocolate or sweets-anything sweet that I could get my hands on. This became a massive red flag and I realised… I wasn’t addicted to alcohol – I was addicted to sugar! 

Photo by Denny Müller on Unsplash

So along with my own manic research, learning how sugar is one of the most addictive drugs and by following the right influencers, I removed it totally from my diet. Sugar is often hidden under different names.

The withdrawals were the hardest part. It took three weeks-but I’ve never looked back! My tastebuds have changed completely, and I only have sugar on odd occasions, such as when I go out to eat at a restaurant. What I have noticed is that when I do have sugary food from a restaurant I go into a sort of ‘food coma’, it makes me feel absolutely exhausted. 

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Learning about sugar, led me to discover more about processed food and how it can negatively affect the body. Processed food can make the body feel sluggish and left wanting more.

My best analogy for this (which I use with my children) is… “Would you sit all night watching the telly and grazing on dried spinach or a box of chocolates/packet of crisps?” 

When I say this to my children, they look at me like I have two heads, but then I explain to them that there are 34 different chemicals in some brands of crisps and the additives leave us wanting more. This results in making us feel guilt and shame-which we should never feel!

My aim is to help young girls avoid this point. Helping others gives me purpose and a sense of worth. I want to share my knowledge from what I have learnt on my own life’s journey so far.

I don’t exercise much. I do online Pilates at home, so I don’t have to waste an hour in the car. I love to do things fast-even putting myself into an ice shower only takes two minutes! I’ve attended six Wim Hof courses for my mental health. These courses were fun and the health benefits-incredible! 

My day starts with breakfast to ensure that first thing in the morning I am feeding my brain the right nutrients. I believe it is important not to starve it. (It’s like trying to grow plants, they will wilt if they are not watered daily). Feeding my brain sets up the day for great functioning.

I don’t like to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. I want food to be prepared quickly…and it can be-when you know the hacks. I eat A LOT but I eat the RIGHT food.

Main – Photo by Myriam Zilles on Unsplash