Former model Lisa Snowdon, 47, is on a mission. Having teamed up with FemTech clothing brand Become, she wants us all to be more open about the menopause because, let’s face it, it’s something we women will all have to go through at some point in our lives. So, with World Menopause Day coming up on the 18th October, we thought it was a great time to sit down with the self-proclaimed girl’s girl to discuss everything from yoga to night sweats – here, in a refreshingly honest interview, Lisa reveals all…
The perimenopause has affected my life in different ways... but it’s not every single day. It’s almost if you imagine your PMT symptoms – some months, weeks or days are harder than others, and it’s exactly like that with perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms. Your periods are all over the place, they could be really light, really heavy or really painful, and I get these crazy flushes. Everyone’s different though, as I found out when I spoke to lots of my friends who are all at various stages of going through it. Some suffer from night sweats like me, some don’t. Some get hot flushes like me, some don’t. And, some people’s periods stop altogether, and they don’t have an erratic cycle, like I’ve been having – everyone’s very different, but I seem to have had all of the symptoms! You don’t recognise yourself; it’s like when you’re getting your period and you’ve got that out-of-body experience, where you look in the mirror and think that nothing works when you put clothes on – it’s almost like that feeling, but times one hundred.
I feel more anxious at certain times of the month. I can feel really confused, like I can’t focus; I can get very tired, and I have these fiery rages where I just become quite angry every now and then. The temperature is what is completely out of control though, because these flushes just come from nowhere, and that’s what’s probably the most telling symptom, because everything else you can keep under wraps – if you’re having a crappy day, you can grin and bear it, like us women have to do, because we’re so used to having to deal with periods, pain and not feeling 100 percent and just getting on with it. But sometimes, when you’ve got the sweats, you feel very self-conscious that other people will notice.
I think it’s important to talk about the menopause… because it hasn’t been spoken about enough, in my opinion. I didn’t really know what was happening to me. It was only after talking to a girlfriend and comparing notes that we could help each other. I’m a girl’s girl, and I’ve always spoken about what I like, eat, wear and try, because I think it’s good to share things, so everyone can find out more – knowledge is power, after all. I’ve always been like that and I’ll continue to be – if I’m going through something, I think it’s useful to be open and share it.
I’ve teamed up with Become… I wanted to let women know that there’s this amazing range from a company using great technology that can really help, and is a game-changer if you’re suffering with night sweats or hot flushes. This collection will work with the rest of your wardrobe; it doesn’t have anything that’s too radical, it’s just basic, quality staples.
Exercise helps my symptoms… but my routine depends on what I’m doing week-to-week. I love going to reformer Pilates a couple of times a week, and I do a little bit of running every now and then. I walk pretty much everywhere, I get the Tube when I’m coming into London for appointments so I can try to get my 10,000 steps in a day; I really feel the difference in my body when I do that, plus it’s good cardio, but is gentle on your joints. I also use free weights at home or at the gym. When I can fit it in, I go to Define London [define.london] – it’s like barre but it’s not really ballet, and the teacher’s really inspirational. I like to take part in classes because it’s sociable, and you can’t leave – with a run, I can set myself a 30-minute goal and then do 25 minutes and head to the sauna, but with a class, I have to see it through.
I’m motivated by… feeling good mentally, sleeping well and staying strong and positive. The hardest part is putting your gym kit on and getting out the door, but just know that once you’ve done it, you’ll feel so much better. For example, I notice a difference in how I manage stress when I’m exercising. Try thinking about the bigger picture; put on some music or a podcast, get into your gym kit and head to the gym, go for a walk in the forest or a park or get a bicycle and just know that getting outside and moving your body will make you feel so much better and more motivated.
Whenever I’m feeling a bit stressed, tired or angry… I spray some Moon Mist that my friend Paolo makes [£30, paoloreflex. co.uk]. It’s an aura spray that he creates every month during the full moon. He charges crystals in vats of purified water, adds it to little bottles and makes a bespoke blend of oils. It lifts your spirits and makes you feel really good. I’m a bit of a hippy at heart – I’ve also got angel cards, I like crystals, aromatherapy and lighting candles and incense; all these grounding rituals that I’ve done forever – I like to do these if I’ve had a bad day.
I love the whole ethos of yoga… I think it’s really lovely to have that hour just for you where you can concentrate on your breath and you’re not thinking of anything else. I don’t always get to the classes I’d like to, but I feel so amazing afterwards. I like Yin Yoga; you stay in the same position for five minutes and then move to another position using bolsters and blocks to open up areas of your body. It’s very calming and soothing, but at the same time it can also be energising too, because you’ve spent an hour concentrating on your breath and you’re recharging your brain and invigorating your body by just putting your phone down and not thinking about anything else. I like to meditate as well, I listen to Headspace [free, itunes. co.uk] and sometimes Deepak Chopra [deepakchopra.com] when I go to bed – I play it from my phone, pop it on the floor and either meditate or wind down with it playing in the background.
You need to know what makes you feel good… whether it’s just running a bath and using a really relaxing oil and lighting some candles, or putting on a TED Talk [ted.com] to watch some really inspirational videos from people that have come up with these incredible inventions, or those who have had the most amazing journeys. I quite like being in the bath and watching a talk; I think it’s really grounding to watch others and what they’ve been through – it can be quite emotional and enlightening. Or, I’ll book in to see a girlfriend and have a glass of wine!
Behind the camera
Lisa on… food
I eat three meals a day, and I try not to snack at all. In the morning, I’ll have either salmon with some avocado and watercress, or I’ll have yoghurt with flaxseed, sunflower and pumpkin seeds – I take it with me to work in a little Tupperware and that will see me through until lunchtime, when I’ll have some more protein. I don’t eat meat any more, just fish, so if I haven’t had salmon for breakfast, I’ll have it for lunch with salad, or just some vegetables and some cheese. It’s always really healthy and nutritious.
Lisa on… body confidence
Invest in good underwear and workout gear, plus a great pair of jeans. Also, exercise because it makes you hold yourself differently; you walk taller and you feel more positive thanks to the endorphins going around your brain.
Lisa on… fitting exercise into her schedule
I take my fit kit with me when I’m travelling and I always check that there’s a gym where I’m going. If not, I swim if there’s a pool available. I just have to keep moving because I’ve noticed a big difference in my body when I try to walk a lot, swim or run. Most hotels have classes that you can jump in on, too.