“Losing 9st reduced my hot flushes and night sweats”
Sue Sykes, 56, from Bournemouth, says losing weight with Slimming World helped her manage her menopause symptoms
Sue’s experience backs up the findings of a survey[i] which shows that women going through the menopause can successfully lose weight by making healthy lifestyle changes following Slimming World’s programme. Over three quarters (79%) of the members questioned who were going through the perimenopause or had experienced the menopause said they had successfully lost weight with Slimming World. Members currently experiencing the perimenopause who responded to the survey reported the top three most common symptoms as feeling tired or lacking in energy (51%), difficulty concentrating (38%), and difficulty sleeping (37%).
Sue says: “Seven years ago, in October 2016 I made a decision that would change the rest of my life. Aged 49 and weighing over 20st, I was starting to go through the menopause and experiencing between 15 and 20 hot flushes a day. They would come on so quickly, starting in my chest and rising upwards until I felt as if sweat was dripping off my head. I don’t think my weight helped as I would overheat so quickly, and I would get night sweats. I started to experience mood swings and I always felt sluggish too – every afternoon I’d feel like I needed a sugar fix. I was on medication for my blood pressure and as well as being checked out for heart issues, I was advised that I was at a high risk of type 2 diabetes.”
Although Sue started to experience the perimenopause at 49 and the average age that women reach the menopause in the UK is 51, this can vary and for some women it can be much earlier. For women experiencing symptoms, it can have a big impact on relationships, work and it can be especially challenging if you’re trying to lose weight. The findings of the survey revealed 85% of women said that in their experience, weight loss is more challenging during the perimenopause and after the menopause.
"I’d known for a long time I needed to do something – when I went to see my doctor she indicated if I lost weight that a lot of the menopause symptoms I was experiencing might lessen. She also said she couldn’t prescribe me hormone replacement therapy (HRT) tablets until I lost some weight. I was mortified at being told this so directly, on reflection though it was the kick start that I needed.”
Sue says: “Although I’d tried losing weight before, this time I was determined to make a change. I found a Slimming World group locally that worked for me, and I lost 9lbs in the first week. That was a lightbulb moment for me,” says Sue who works as a placement co-ordinator at the business school of Bournemouth University.
“A year later, I’d lost 4st 8lbs and the hot flushes became less frequent. I feel so proud of what I’ve achieved. If I think back to what I ate before joining Slimming World, I know I made a lot of unhealthy choices and would regularly eat junk food. Now, I cook from scratch – I find with Slimming World’s healthy eating plan, I can eat all the foods I love and I’m never hungry.”
Sue says: “Before joining Slimming World, I was barely active at all. I heard about Slimming World’s physical activity support programme and decided to try paddleboarding. I loved it! Getting out on the water locally has become an important part of my weekly routine and I’ve met a whole new group of friends. My three Scottish terriers are loving the new, more active me too. Before I lost weight, I’d take them on the quickest and shortest walk possible. Now I love taking them on long walks along the beach – in all weathers!”
Every woman’s experience of the menopause is unique. Some women might encounter new challenges to their weight loss during the perimenopause and after the menopause, such as hormone changes and stress which can make the idea of losing weight seem impossible. Reassuringly, evidence shows that eating a healthy, balanced diet and maintaining an active lifestyle can help manage symptoms and support weight loss for women at this time in their life, just as Sue’s found. For Slimming World members who are going through the menopause, support and advice is available to help members stay on track with their weight loss while managing their symptoms.
Sue says: “I wasted so much time while I was overweight and after losing both my parents in recent years, I’m aware how short and precious life is. I still have the occasional hot flush however since losing weight my menopause symptoms have reduced so much. I’ve so much more energy, I’m loving life and my main ambition now is to enjoy life and embrace the new me!”
Sadie Kerslake-Smith runs the Moordown Slimming World group in Bournemouth and is Sue’s Consultant. She says: “Sue is such an inspiration in group to me and the other members – even though she’s achieved her dream weight, she still comes along to group every week to share her hints and tips. Knowing that Sue’s lost 9st while going through the menopause is so inspiring and I know it reassures other members who are approaching this stage in their lives. Sue’s smile says it all, she radiates happiness and I feel blessed to have had a small part in making her shine that little bit brighter.”
For more information or to find your nearest group, visit slimmingworld.co.uk.
Photo Credit (pics in Bournemouth October 2023): Slimming World/Richard Crease
Slimming World was founded by Margaret Miles-Bramwell OBE in Derbyshire in 1969 and has become the UK and Ireland’s leading weight loss organisation with more people choosing to attend a Slimming World group each week than any other weight loss programme. We support hundreds of thousands of people, both in our groups and online, to lose weight and to adopt new habits to stay slim for life.
Over the years our founding principles haven’t changed:
· Our unique programme is based on a powerfully motivating support system called IMAGE (Individual Motivation and Group Experience) Therapy. Underpinned by a deep understanding of the psychology of overweight people, and incorporating the most effective sustainable behaviour change techniques, IMAGE Therapy is designed to inspire and motivate slimmers to make positive changes and to develop new, healthier habits around food and activity.
· Food Optimising is our healthy eating plan, based on the liberating concept of Free Food. We encourage our members to fill up on those foods that are naturally lower in energy density (calories per gram) and also highly satisfying while limiting foods that are highest in fat and sugar and are less satisfying, so they lose weight without ever feeling hungry or deprived and without having to weigh, measure or count everything they eat.
· Our activity support programme, Body Magic helps members to overcome any barriers around exercise. Members choose when to start and they set the pace, finding activities they genuinely enjoy, until regular physical activity becomes an intrinsic part of their daily routine.
At the heart of everything we do lies our passion for treating every member with genuine care, empathy and respect.
We’re proud to work with the NHS, the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID), The Royal College of Midwives and others to help shape the future of weight management in the UK and Ireland.
For more information about Slimming World’s approach visit slimmingworld.co.uk or slimmingworld.ie
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