THE menopause can seem like a devastating prison sentence for many women, a world of tears and despair. But 12 Yorkshire lasses have set themselves free and, with huge smiles on their faces, stripped off for the camera to give hope and encouragement to everyone.
To mark Menopause Awareness Day on Tuesday (October 18) they’ve created The Menopause Calendar – and Slimpod is very proud to be supporting their wonderful campaign.
You can click on this link to buy a calendar for just £10 and help this very important cause.
Four of the 12 menopause models are Slimpodders and they all credit Slimpod for giving them the confidence to get their clothes off and pose for posterity. You can read their stories in this blog.
All the pictures on the calendar are very tasteful and there are gynae guidelines each month with a large area for a diary to log appointments plus links to helpful websites and information contacts.
The calendar was the brainchild of Helen King, the head of support services at Newby and Scalby council’s wellbeing hub in Scarborough, North Yorkshire. In March, with the help of colleague Tina Boden, she had set up an officially-funded menopause meet-up group and with the help of a gynaecology consultant this provided both knowledge and friendship for local ladies.
Halfway through the 10-session programme, Helen saw a performance of The Calendar Girls at York Theatre Royal and had a lightbulb moment – what a fantastic way that would be to raise awareness and funds to offer wider menopause support.
When she shared her idea with them at the next meet-up the girls, as Helen affectionately calls them, laughed hysterically – until they realised she was serious! So they set out to hire a female photographer.
Says Helen: “The most important items on our programme were reflection, information sharing and updates as these enabled the ladies to ask questions not only from me but from each other and this is where the ‘magic’ happened.
“We had 12 ladies, many of whom in the first week were ‘broken’. They spent some sessions crying and then realised that they were not alone and that by talking to other women in the same situation they could empower and support each other.”
The four Slimpod Calendar Girls have given permission for me to tell their Slimpod stories because they want to inspire and give hope to others going through such an important time in their lives.
Menopause awareness: Helen's Slimpod story
January: Helen. “I now have confidence by the bucketful”
Helen King says: “During the early weeks of this group, and the constant supply of Easter eggs, I was desperate for help with my weight issues having dealt with bingeing and secret eating most of my life along with a lack of confidence making me a constant ‘yes’ person.
“Having scanned the internet for what I thought would be a sugar detox, I came across Slimpod. Little did I know that signing up for my free 10 days and the support of Slimpod would change my life forever.
“Logging my three wins a day and listening to Trevor on my podcast each night left me with no desire whatsoever to binge or even to look at a chocolate. My relationship with food has changed in every way.
“I eat exactly what I want in front of whoever without guilt! I have gone down a dress size with what feels like no effort and who knew that I could develop and run a group to support women through the toughest times of their lives!!!!
“Well, that was me – and I now have confidence by the bucketful. So much that I too stripped off for the calendar.
”I still say yes, but yes to the fact I am worthy, worthy of my self-care and worthy of the knowledge that there is a light at the end of the tunnel – all you need is Slimpod, Sandra and the lovely Trevor!”
Menopause awareness: Louise's Slimpod story
Outdoors in June: Sarah Marton and Louise Smith
Louise Smith says: “We went on holiday in May and I felt utterly miserable. I’m a keen swimmer, but I was so self-conscious I refused to get into the pool. Instead I read a book that started to make me think about my eating habits, yo-yo dieting and self-sabotage.
“I thought about how, when I got home, I was going to make some changes. A couple of weeks later at the menopause group, Helen spoke to us about Slimpod. That first evening, everything just clicked.
“I chatted to my husband and he was really supportive. I listened to Trevor and the following morning I literally did not want anything unhealthy to eat.
”I decided to ditch my car and walk to and from work and in my lunch I walk to Sainsbury’s to pick fresh food up for tea.
“We have a holiday for the Maldives booked and that was also my motivation, to imagine being comfortable in a bikini on the beach and have my photo taken without feeling embarrassed.
“Move more, eat less and choose better became my mantra. I love takeaways, but now I cook healthy food, reduce my plate size and make sure I hit at least 15k steps a day.
“I am six months In and this is now the new me! I don’t weigh very often, just skip through photos since May to see the difference. My body shape has totally changed through exercise and I am nearly back to a size 12.
“I feel so much happier in myself and finally feel that I am in control of my eating habits. I don’t over-indulge anymore and will have a smaller portion of sweet foods.
“When the time came for the calendar, even though I felt conscious about my tummy, I put those thoughts to one side. We are all women hoping to support each other and stripping off was OK because I had the full support of these amazing women and a new confidence thanks to believing in Slimpod!”
Menopause awareness: Lynne's Slimpod story
April: Lynne Smith, centre, with Joanne Thornton and Sheila Earp
Lynne Smith says: “When Helen mentioned her upcoming menopause meetings I was so excited to join! I had felt in a very dark place with my low mood, anxiety, loss of confidence, itchy dry skin in very delicate places, hot flushes and the dreaded weight gain just to mention a few of my symptoms.
“I truly felt alone and pretty emotional and uneducated on this subject. After a few weeks in, things we’re starting to feel much better! Helen mentioned to the group how she had stumbled across Slimpod and how wonderful she was feeling with minimal effort really compared with other diets that we’ve all tried over the past 30 years or so.
“Mmm, I thought! Hell, why not give it a go, it’s just another attempt at trying to get rid of some fat. Wow!! What a game changer Slimpod has been!!!
“My self-esteem has improved vastly along with my confidence including my body confidence, my exercise regime and WEIGHT LOSS! I have lost two dress sizes along with 20lbs!!
“The menopause calendar was mentioned and to my total surprise (and everyone else’s) 🤣 I couldn’t get my kit off quick enough! Little Miss Prude? Not anymore! Lol 😝 Thank you Helen King and Sandra Roycroft-Davis for finding the real me.”
Menopause awareness: Sarah's Slimpod story
Blooming in September: Carol, Wendy, Louise and Joanne
Sarah Marton says: “When I joined the menopause group in March I was feeling anxious, low and very emotional! My body confidence was poor, I was struggling and my emotional eating was out of control!!
“Whilst at the group making friends and learning all about the menopause I was introduced to Slimpod, and wow immediately I started to feel better.
“I love the positivity about Slimpod, recognising wins and the fact it isn’t a diet (my life has been one long diet). I no longer jump on the scales every morning, my eating habits are so much better and I love a long walk with my dog.
“If you told me at the beginning of 2022 I would be doing a calendar with lots of my body on display I would probably have cried and it would have been NO CHANCE!!!
”I believe Slimpod has made me look at and feel things differently, I still have a long way to go but my new attitude is ‘I can do this’. Going through the menopause has been tough but I have had so many wins!!!”
How to buy the Menopause Calendar
The Menopause Calendar 2023 costs just £10. You can buy it by clicking here.
And you can follow the Calendar Girls on Instagram: @themenopausecalendar
Please leave a comment below to congratulate Helen and the Calendar Girls. All comments are monitored by the Slimpod team, so yours make take a short while to appear.
Remember to follow me on Instagram for daily weight loss tips: @sandraroycroftdavis