I tried a 4-week perimenopause hormone reset programme, here’s how I got on
11th Feb 2022
Read time: 6 minutes
Night sweats, weight gain, broken sleep, mood swings and increased anxiety, all while living through a pandemic. Lizzie Gore-Grimes on getting her perimenopause hormones under control.
I laugh-cry every time that sauna blanket ad pops up on my Instagram feed. If, like me, you’re 45 or over, you may already feel like every night is Sauna Night – and not in a good way. Even with my 2.5 tog summer-light duvet, I’m waking up in a sweat in the depths of winter.
With hormones and moods clearly swinging all over the place, I was more than ready to make a proper effort to get this perimenopause under control. Cue, nutritionist Annemarie Byrne’s 28-day hormone reset programme. I’m a big fan of yoga teacher Lou Horgan and Annemarie is Lou’s sister so I knew I’d be in good hands.
What is it?
Annemarie Byrne, a qualified fitness instructor since 2002 and Nutritional Therapist and Health Coach since 2016, has devised this programme for women aged 40+ to prepare them for Perimenopause. She believes firmly that women should try and support this journey at least a decade before symptoms appear if possible.
“In our modern world, women are expected to be superheroes,” says Annemarie. “Often having to juggle so much – children, partners, parents, careers. So it is not surprising that by the time women arrive at the door of menopause they feel exhausted, out of balance, out of shape and totally unprepared.
"Menopause is a natural transition in every woman's life, it is not a disease. It is a journey that requires support and a little extra TLC.”
To begin, Annmarie sent me a series of detailed questionnaires to fill in to assess my general health, mental wellbeing, gut health and habits. A 90-minute consultation (over Zoom) followed which I found really therapeutic even in itself. Problem issues we identified for me were night sweats, weight gain around the middle, broken sleep and increased feelings of anxiety (although hard to remove Covid from the equation there).
A few days later a big box arrived in the post containing my personalised diet plan, a sheaf of recipes and the supplements.
For the next 28 days the main goals for me were:
- To stick to three solid, nutritious meals a day with no grazing or snacking in between – except for herbal tea and vegetable juices
- Eat within a restricted 8-10hr window (so if I had breakfast at 10am I had to eat nothing after 8pm at the latest)
- Drink plenty of water
- Avoid alcohol
- Avoid gluten (small amount of good quality sourdough bread allowed)
- Include high-quality protein and healthy fats in every meal (oily fish, nuts, seeds, avocado etc)
- Take three different supplements a day
The supplements Annemarie suggested were: MegaMag PeriMeno Plus, EstroLibrium and Glutathione Plus.
MegaMag PeriMeno Plus is a magnesium powder enriched with vitamins and a herbal blend of rhodiola, ashwagandha, sage, shatavari and red clover. It provides support for excessive sweating, fatigue, poor memory and brain fog as well as a reduction in tiredness, anxiety and low mood. EstroLibrium is a powerful high-strength powder formula designed to support hormone balance and healthy oestrogen metabolism. and finally, Glutathione Plus protects the body from oxidative stress, as well as facilitating the detoxification of toxins and carcinogens.
The hardest bit?
No alcohol. Without a doubt, this was the biggest challenge for me, as I had slipped into a really bad habit of a glass of wine (or three) every evening. Thankfully, I had already decided that I was fed up with the negative effect of low-level, perma-boozing so had started reading This Naked Mind – Control Alcohol by Annie Grace and found it an absolute game-changer. Armed with that I felt able to quit it completely for the four weeks.
The restricted eating window/intermittent fasting I actually found a lot less challenging than expected.
Starting with a cup of boiled water and lemon first thing, about 7am, then a cup of tea and then a cup of coffee or veg juice to tide me over until 10am, it was more than manageable, and it was surprisingly pleasant to remember what it felt like to be properly hungry before eating.
No snacking wasn’t easy but the meal plan Annemarie suggested was full of legumes, leafy veg, nuts and seeds so my meals were filling. Making an effort to eat three proper meals rather than grab stuff on the go also made a big difference.
The powdered supplements are a bit gick but not too awful. I mixed them in a jam jar with ice so that I could really shake them well and found them more palatable chilled.
The best bit?
No alcohol! Having no alcohol whatsoever for four weeks really helped me realise how much it was bringing me down – by waking me up at 3am, adding to the night sweats and extra weight and just generally making me (even more of) a grumpy cow.
Coupled with the regulated eating, reduction in crappy carbs and increased intake of water and healthy vegetables, it’s no wonder I felt significantly better after one week, and really revived after four.
I came away 8 pounds lighter on the scales but much more importantly properly motivated to be more mindful about the effect all that extra sugar from alcohol and crap carbs was having on my mood, skin and sleep.
What I enjoyed most about the programme was the emphasis on adding more beneficial foods into your diet, rather than a depressing deprivation thing.
While on the programme, in a bid to eat more healthy fats, and (probiotic) fermented foods I treated myself to bottles of Lilliput Trading Koroneiki olive oil, Shines Irish tuna, gluten-free seeded toasts by The Foods of Athenry, Kim Chi by The Cultured Food Co in Cork and lots of other delicious, nutrition-packed foods that are now staples in my weekly shop and I’m feeling decidedly better for it.
Annemarie Byrne’s 28-day hormone reset programme costs €355. The next programme starts on March 1 and another on April 12 with limited places available on each. Check out the website for more info or email Annemarie at [email protected]