How a 1% tweak  changed my menopause experience for the better!

I used to be very impatient. I wanted things done yesterday. Unless I was stressed and working to burn out, I didn’t think I would get the changes I wanted – I  wanted results and quickly. As  full-time teacher, I was used to working at full speed with my mind in a spin. If I […]

Woman embracing change!

I used to be very impatient. I wanted things done yesterday. Unless I was stressed and working to burn out, I didn’t think I would get the changes I wanted – I  wanted results and quickly. As  full-time teacher, I was used to working at full speed with my mind in a spin. If I wanted to make a change, I had to do it there and then, there was no slow build up . Overtime, with hypnotherapy, I have learned to take a step back and focus on my wellbeing. I thought I had that pretty much sorted until I started going into menopause around eight years ago. At first, I ignored things like sleepless nights, weight gain and brain fog. Then I tried to ‘fix it’!

Quick Fix

I have tried lots of different ‘quick fixes’ over the years from taking HRT to running and eating less. I have followed advice from scientist, nutritionists and doctors, some good, some not so helpful. I really thought if I made fast and radical changes, my body would just respond and work through the ‘problem’. Turned out that didn’t work, I knew that I had to think very differently about this new transition because as I discovered, you can just ‘do’ menopause in a few months! I had to find a way to manage the changes that were happening.

A few years ago. I read about a bloke called Dave Brailsford (a renowned British cycling coach), and his approach to winning the Gold Cup. Dave Brailsford is known for his innovative approach to achieving success through marginal gains. His philosophy centres on the idea that by focusing on making many small improvements, often imperceptible individually, such changes can lead to remarkable results. I was curious.  Could this approach also work for menopause?

Marginal Gains

The 1% change principle, championed by figures like Brailsford, focuses on the transformative power of making small, consistent adjustments in various aspects of life to achieve significant results over time.

Brailsford’s methods revolutionized British cycling and led to unprecedented success, including multiple gold medals at the Olympics and Tour de France victories Although Brailsford’s philosophy of the 1% change is exemplified in the pursuit of winning the gold cup, it was clear that instead of making sweeping changes to his rider’s nutrition and routines, it was the smallest changes that had the greatest impact over time.

What is the 1% improvement theory?

Brailsford said, “The whole principle came from the idea that if you broke down everything you could think of that goes into riding a bike, and then improve it by 1 percent, you will get a significant increase when you put them all together.”

Brailsford and his coaches began by making small adjustments: they redesigned the bike seats to make them more comfortable and rubbed alcohol on the tires for a better grip. They changed the type of shorts the cyclists wore to include heated over shorts which warmed muscles whilst riding. They used biofeedback sensors to check how each athlete responded to a specific workout. Even the fabric in the suits the cyclist team wore were tested in a wind tunnel to see which were the most aerodynamic and tweaked to improve this.

Cycle of change

Brailsford and his team continued to find 1 percent improvements in  unexpected areas. They tested different types of massage gels to see which one led to the fastest muscle recovery. They even looked at the type of pillow and mattresses the riders used to improve their sleep quality and muscle recovery . There were other changes too, small tweaks here and there from hand washing to even reducing dust particles!

In fact, during the ten-year span from 2007 to 2017, British cyclists won 178 world championships and 66 Olympic or Paralympic gold medals and captured 5 Tour de France victories in what is widely regarded as the most successful run in cycling history.

Athletes who aspire to reach the pinnacle of their sport understand that success is not the result of dramatic transformations but rather the culmination of countless incremental improvements. By adopting Brailsford’s approach, athletes commit to refining their technique, perfecting their nutrition, and honing their mental resilience through consistent, deliberate practice. Imagine an athlete training relentlessly for a prestigious gold cup event. Instead of fixating on monumental changes, they embrace Brailsford’s philosophy of marginal gains. They focus on enhancing their performance by making small, manageable adjustments in their training routine, diet, and mental preparation.

Menopause and change

I decided that Brailsford’s philosophy of the 1% change can also be applied to the journey through menopause too. Three years ago, I started to make small changes myself.

I read up on hormones (fifteen minutes a day) and added a small supplement to my daily diet. I changed my routine in the gym very slightly to increase weights by 1%. I added a little more protein to my food and increased the number of steps I took each day (just an extra 10 minutes at first) . I started my morning routine 10 minutes earlier too. I changed slowly from drinking coffee all day  to drinking  herbal tea when I woke up. I started going to bed slightly earlier and had a cut off time when I would finish work.  I also phased out alcohol to a bare minimum and then stopped drinking completely.  I started to look at intermittent fasting for gut health and started slowly by just missing breakfast and changing my eating window.  I found an App which helped me to track each change and my moods, even how I was responding to food intake. I kept notes and journals on my weight and my exercise routine. I took my time and invested in myself and my mindset.

The smallest thing.

Just like in meditation where we learn to slow down and focus on the small things like breathing, I learned to focus on the small things I could change without causing stress or overwhelm.  I just focused on each day and what was possible for me. Sometimes, thinking about larger or wholescale changes can feel daunting. This is why folk don’t stick to difficult or huge changes that happen all at once. Like I said, I’m impatient but I recognised that I could make changes on my terms, slowly and still get results.   These small, sustainable changes have built up over time and resulted in less brain fog, less fatigue, improved digestion, sleep focus and clarity of thought.

My weight has stabilised, and I can now fast for up to 24 hours at a time when I want to give my system a rest without feeling hungry. The most important thing I have learned is that focusing on aspects of my wellbeing in small ways have led to the best changes. There is also an excellent website here that you may like to look at for menopause health Newsom Health

If you are thinking of making a change and need help, get in touch with me [email protected]