'I had to step into the unknown and trust my body to get better. I had to know that my body would support me. And she did.'

August 4 2020


Words by

Rebekah Brown


Posted

04/08/2020

Pamela Windle is a woman on a mission to reframe midlife and menopause. A trained women’s health coach, hypnotherapist, hypnobirthing practitioner,  personal trainer and with a degree in psychology and sports science, she is driven by the fundamental belief - and personal proof- of the body’s innate ability to heal. And that by taking control of your hormonal health, you can feel amazing at every life stage.

Smarter Change offers a body and mind approach to wellness underpinned by robust data and diagnostics.

We loved learning about Pamela’s journey to creating her business - her determination to support all women, regardless of income in transitioning well - and her moving reflections on her own life lessons. We know you’ll enjoy the read too.

With love, the MPowder Team.

First, tell us a little bit about you. What motivated you to start your business?

My journey to setting up Smarter Change started in 2014. I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome. My sister had hot sweats. And my father had died. In the organisation of the funeral, grief and coping I heard about the menopause. And it was something to dread. I had already started reading about nutrition to try and heal myself. I had been told, with my own health ‘this is as good as it will get’. The doctors looked at my hormones. Everything seemed well. I was eating ‘well’. As a PT, I was training women myself. They were getting better. But I wasn’t.

I felt so ill. And then I found Dr Drummond, founder of The Integrative Women’s Health Institute. I became a patient first. She undertook multiple tests. She kept analysing, She undertook the DUTCH test, stool samples, organic acid tests. By this point my brain fog was incredible. And I was exhausted. I could hardly sit up. And, in the end it was a private blood test that revealed the issue and a programme of treatment that incorporated supplements and fasting to suppress the virus, that changed everything. I remember Dr Drummond saying to me; ‘after day 16 you should start to feel dramatically different’. And my first thought was not excitement but fear.

‘What will be the reason for my business not succeeding if I’m ‘better’? What will be holding me back if I’m well? And who will I be?’

Recognising that fear of transition made me think about the menopause transition. The women who try everything at this point and don’t feel better. When nothings works;

'My experience became my driving force. Our bodies are always capable of healing. Even when our hormones are fluctuating, there is always something we can do.'

So I went from being a patient to being a student. And I started learning about the diagnostic tools that had opened up a new understanding of my body and the female body for me. I learned more and more about how we can influence our hormones with food, nutrient, supplements and lifestyle. That was a real wow moment for me. I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to make real change happen in women’s lives.

Smarter Change is driven by the desire to help as many women as possible and the recognition that I have to have the commercial structure to achieve it. I can’t look after others from a place of empty. I offer fee based tailored 121 support for women who can afford the investment. But I also support women who don’t have the funds to pay for my time. I use my skills to lift them up too.

How has your own menopause transition influenced your outlook towards work and life?

I’m 54 now. I’ve always looked ahead. At 39 I looked at the PT industry and questioned whether it would always be right for me. As a single mum, I looked at my daughter and thought ‘What will I do next with my life?’.

I have always loved learning. So, I decided to go and become a full time student. I went back to college. And then on to university.

'Returning to college gave me such pride and pleasure. I was always told at school; ‘Pamela can’t’. I’m dyslexic. But I didn’t know it when I was young.'

When I applied for my college course, I found out later that the interviewers debated whether I would be able to keep up with the course work. One teacher said ‘There is just something about her. Let’s see how she gets on in the first week’. They gave me a week! (I’ve move this here)

I’m so proud I got into university. And I made it. To get through, I also had to work a bar on Friday and Saturday nights. And my daughter finished her a-levels as I was graduating!

What correlation, if any, do you see between age and ambition?

I think my ambition has stayed constant. I have always wanted to help. I’ve always wanted people to feel good. I'm a helper and a nurturer. It has taken different forms in my life. From working as a hairdresser, then a PT and now, with Smarter Change, I start from the inside.

What are your aspirations for your business over the next 24 months?

I want to go deeper supporting the generation below us so they know more when they get to our age. So they are not in a mess.

'I feel like women have been let down for generations. In childbirth. In the menopause. In medical research. In understanding nutrition and diet. There is so little understanding of the menstrual cycle.'

The next generation need the education. My aspiration is to start a charitable body to begin that education process.

What do you wish your younger self had known about:

Life: Oh, life. Well, I wish I knew that one day both my parents would leave this earth and that we'd say our last goodbyes. Of course, I knew but didn't really understand it. Holding space for both my parents (six years apart) as they took their final breaths was something incredible to experience.

As they both were transitioning into an unknown afterlife - I thought about who might have been present at their births, my grandmothers, maybe great-grandmothers, a great auntie or a woman in the village where they were born.

And here I was, their child, witnessing, watching, present as they left this world, what an honour to be there for my parents in this way.

Love: I wish I knew that being single isn't a sign of failure. I was 20 when I married Nicole's Dad and meant every word I said, until death due us part, but that wasn't the case we divorced after 12 years of marriage. Back then, there seemed to be a lot of shame around failed marriages and becoming a single mum. I probably hid for a few years indoors, not knowing who I was, caring for Nicole age 5, making sure all her needs were met, trying to navigate around being the primary carer, cook, decorator, gardener, and work.

It was a struggle.

But those years where there was the just the two of us were the best.

We are best friends today. Nicole is age 29; we run our women-only retreats together. We have a unique bond, and I honestly believe its because for most of her childhood there was just the two of us.

I had the odd relationship over the years, but nothing serious. I felt there was so much pressure to be in a relationship, and if I wasn't, there was something wrong with me. The men I met never seemed good enough to interrupt mine and Nicole's home life.

It wasn't until Nicole had finally left home to go to University that I met Michael, who I'd consider my life long partner. He's my confidant, lover and friend. He makes me laugh, which is something I love about him.  

Health: I wish I knew the importance of what it meant to be a woman, and how important it is to honour my body differently than we've been socially conditioned to do so, which would have allowed me to take care of her more deeply and profoundly.

I wish I had know how to honour each period I had, each time I said yes to someone else needs, and no to my own, each time I felt hurt, I wish I'd allowed myself to be, rather than suppressing my emotions. I wish I knew acceptance isn't a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength and courage and allows me to flow, and move on.

And understand that my body is healthy when all of me is in balance, mind, body and spirit regardless of outward expression, as health isn't just a physical thing. It’s everything. 

Work: I wish I knew that I was smart, intelligent and being dyslexic wasn't a disadvantage, but something that makes me unique in my thinking.

I wish I hadn't listened to those, i.e. teachers who said I wasn't capable of learning. But saying that, I wouldn't be where I am today without that back story.

Going to University at age 39 has been one of my highlights. I’m so glad I did it. It was fun! I didn't party like the 19-year-olds but met some great older students, and I haven't stopped learning since. I love it.  

I don't think there's a time in a person life when it's too late. I love what I do now—helping women feel amazing again by learning to connect and trust their bodies, and intuition often for the first time.

What would be your key advice to women transitioning through menopause today? What practical steps could they take to better support their bodies and minds?

1// Start early in understanding your cycle.

 

  • Begin with your basal body temperature. Get a digital thermometer. Keep it by the bed. Be as still as possible. And take a reading at the same time each day. Commit to taking at least 3 months of readings. It can be simply jotted down on paper. You don’t need an app. Learn when you ovulate. Learn whether you’re still ovulating. Gather the insight.

 

  • Monitor your sleep. Aim to get at least 7 hours a night. But track how you feel against your cycle.
  • Monitor energy and mood. Look at how ovulation impacts on your energy and mood. Track your body at the end of a cycle. Note your PMS symptoms, your gut, your bowels.
  • Then, after 3 months look for the patterns. Start to plan for your cycle rather than fight it. Think about how you support yourself. Look at your workload at different points in your cycle.
  • See this understanding as a route to empowerment. You are in control of your own health. Trust that there will be a solution through insight. Know you can be well again.

2// Build strength.

  • This is about more than physical. It’s also about inner strength and the strength required to ask for help.

3// Rest.

  • At this life-stage women are often told to eat less and move more. But sometimes what women need is to eat more, and move less. Learn to sit in silence. Learn to claim rest when you need it.

4// Nourish yourself.

  • Look at how you nourish yourself. Mentally and physically. What or who do you listen to? What stories or narratives do you carry?

5// Sex.

  • Orgasm is really important in the menopause. How you maintain a healthy sex life?

It’s so important to address all 5 pillars. You’re as strong as your weakest link. How you see these areas of your life, impacts everything.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with the MPowder community about our second spring?

Our second spring is a time to get up close and personal, uniquely understanding our bodies, our thought patterns and how we move our bodies. Take time to care for our needs and be kind to ourselves, know that is ok, to ask for help. 

Finally, we're living through unprecedented times. What counsel are you giving to your clients about managing their health during this period ?

For my clients, I've increased my online stress management resources- NLP tools that help detach or lessen the emotions, worrying thoughts and  images. Also, how to set an anchor that they can use anytime they feel worried or anxious, which immediately brings a feeling of calm, and hypnotic recordings to help readjusting to going out doors, so they feel calm.

We know stress impacts the immune system which heightens risk of infection. So I've also empowered them to take control of their immune system using nutrition and lifestyle to help reduce the severity of COVID infection.

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To find out more about Pamela’s work, head to Smarter Change. You can also find her pearls of wisdom and perspective here in Insta-land.

 

 


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