Menopause Workshop Review

23 November (12:00-15:00) @ MyHotel Brighton Review by Beth Dantas @Bethdantasfit50 ( Instagram)

With a definite focus on Menopausal issues, all attendees and presenters at this workshop were women. The atmosphere was professional but also warm and friendly. There were very interesting goodies (food, fashion and health products) to try on the tables at the back…


The speaker lineup started with Dr Emma Sloan, an expert in the treatment of menopausal symptoms. She offered an evidence-based overview of what causes the symptoms linked to the menopause as well as the available treatments to deal with the effects of the menopause. It was the best presentation I’ve seen on these issues in all the menopause workshops I’ve attended…and I’ve attended several given my age (49) and my increasing frustration with the paucity of menopause specialists in the NHS. The main takeaway for me was that HRT is usually provided in three levels: low, medium and high. You should always start with the ‘lowest dosage that manages your symptoms’ and then adjust up or even down according to how you’re feeling and in consultation with your doctor. She used the latest evidence and studies to reassure us of the relative safety of HRT compared with other cancer risk factors such as obesity and drinking. In summary, if HRT is what you need (or want) to go on, provided that you don’t have a history of cancer or other conditions HRT is probably quite safe to take for 5-7 years to manage your symptoms and regain your quality of life, which in my case would mean getting rid of the brain fog, recover my calmness and stop having hot flushes at night that don’t let me sleep! Dr Sloan confirmed everything that my NHS specialist had told me a few days ago so I was confident she’s at the forefront of her field.


Joanne Morrison (a health coach based in Brighton) followed with a well-structured presentation about the mental barriers we all put up when starting a new health plan. She also showed ways in which we can overcome those barriers and used examples from her own successful battles against cancer and the menopausal symptoms brought about by the treatment. She also used examples from her work with her stroke clients and others whom she was supported in their journeys to increased health, independence, mobility and in the case of women’s health: Amazing weight loss of over 4 stone with a client who also became a champion bodybuilder. Very inspiring! If you need to unpick your self-sabotaging techniques, Jo is the coach you need to do so with kindness but persistence.


Then we heard from Camilla Akerstrom, a Swedish fitness enthusiast and natural Elite Bodybuilder from Sweden who told us about her fantastic journey to build body confidence: From not being able to don a bikini at the beach (to avoid external judgement), to competing in high heels and a very shiny (and tiny) creation on stage in September at the UFE European Championships in London, where she earned a medal in her category and earned Elite status to compete at the UFE World Championships in Toronto, this November. She explained how she overcame her fears, her health challenges and how the support of her coach Livia Francis with a bespoke food, training and posing plan took her to own that stage and achieve her goals, making her now want to set even more ambitious goals for 2020. Her confidence has soared and she wants other women to have similar journeys even if they never set foot on stage. She left us with the message that if someone as reluctant as she was to compete in public can do it, then any of us can conquer our fears and do whatever we are able to dream of!


For me Michelle Black was the revelation of the day: She could easily prepare a TED Talk that would change the way we view the management of chronic pain and the goal of every woman to live her life to the fullest, including during the menopause and even when living with pain day in and day out, having surgical operations that are not optional but necessary to ensure her independence and mobility. Michelle has several conditions that mean she’s often in constant pain. Her life could have been completely blighted by it, but she has chosen to use all means at her disposal: Nutrition, exercise and meditation (amongst others) to diminish her symptoms and help others do the same. She’s a coach that helps others with the natural management of their painful conditions. Her optimism, knowledge of her subject and confidence were impressive. Her warmth and compassion also shone through. I’d definitely speak to Michele about my symptoms any time. I’m sure she’ll have a tip or two to tackle them head on!


Livia Francis: What to say about my nutrition, fitness and menopause coach that I haven’t said before? Well, Livia from @Livfitfreedom (Instagram) pretty much ensured that no aspect of the menopause was left unexplored during the workshop. Her focus was on nutrition and training programmes that have helped dozens of women (including me) to lose weight, change our body composition (less fat, more toned muscles) and improve our menopause symptoms. However, she also spoke about the psychological aspects of the menopause (anxiety, loss of confidence, mood swings) and how creating networks of supportive women going through the same time of life can make this transition easier. She also spoke about the need to involve younger women in these networks and workshops so a) we start helping them prepare for the future and also b) we help remove the stigma associated with this very natural stage in our lives. Livia also showed examples of the menopausal women she has coached from being obese to being on stage winning medals in natural bodybuilding competitions. I never tire of hearing those examples about normal women setting a health goal or a body transformation goal that seems out of this world and then achieving it. I never tire of hearing how achieving these goals helped these women diminish their menopausal symptoms and improve other health conditions that they never thought they could get rid of. I’m one of those women and I want there to be more of us because there’s no reason to suffer and not be healthy during the menopause if we can do something about it and there’s so much knowledge out there to help us. These Menopause workshops by are a great way to access this knowledge!


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