A personal trainer who said she often let her own health slide has revealed how she got into the “best shape of my life” in her 50s.
British woman Cecilia Harris has been a personal trainer for almost two decades, helping some of the UK’s biggest stars with their fitness journeys.
But the 52-year-old has revealed it was only when she began experiencing perimenopausal symptoms at 49 that she became determined to “take back control of her body.”
“I think you always have choices in life, and with age you either embrace and work with it, or you fight it and get depressed about it,” she told The Sun.
“I fully embraced turning 50 and to be honest. It was a huge motivator for me.
“When you get older you need to take care of your body even more – and when I started doing that, my body started responding in the most positive way.”
Cecilia, who is the co-owner of popular wellness platform RWL, explained she hadn’t always been into fitness after gaining weight when she welcomed her son aged 30.
“I was a size 16 and had no idea how to improve my mood and my life and I never considered it was partly down to my diet and lack of movement,” she told the publication.
But after discovering a personal trainer who helped her “fall in love with exercise”, Cecilia embraced a lifestyle of movement and balanced meals.
By her late thirties, Cecilia was a size 12, and decided she wanted to turn her new-found passion for exercise into a form of income.
Despite her success training others, Cecilia said she often let her own diet slide, and as she approached her 50s she began to experience symptoms of perimenopause.
“I was happy and enjoying life – and food and wine – but it wasn’t until early signs of the menopause began when I was 49, that I realised I needed to take my lifestyle more seriously,” she said.
Many women opt to seek help from medical professionals who can prescribe hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to help ease common symptoms, including mood swings, hot flushes and a change to sex drive.
But Cecilia said she wanted to use her expertise in fitness before turning to prescription drugs.
“I know circumstances and cases can be different, but I know that diet, exercise and lifestyle have been the key to unlocking my health problems,” she said.
“Conversations around HRT are really important, but so are conversations around moving more, changing your diet and prioritising your sleep hygiene.
“So when the start of the menopause hit me, I knew I needed to step things up again.”
After conducting lots of research around the menopause, Cecilia said it was “a huge learning curve”, and decided to make a string of changes.
In posts shared to her social media account, Cecilia revealed she ditched processed foods in favour of lean proteins, lots of veggies and wholegrain foods.
“I swapped toast in the morning for an omelette, lunch would be salmon and fresh salad and dinner would be something like chicken, roast vegetables and brown rice,” she told The Sun.
“I still had coffee and the occasional glass of red wine, but I always made sure I stayed hydrated.”
Cecilia also made changes to her workout routines. She ditched the hardcore cardio workouts she’d been doing since her thirties and instead began working out using dumbbells at home five times a week.
Within two months, she had gone from a size 10 to a size 6, stating for the first time in her life she had “visible abs”.
As a result, she decided to set up her Instagram account, and gained thousands of followers.
She also created an entire new section in her app to help menopausal women find a diet and exercise plan specifically suited to them.
“I’m more body confident now, as a 52-year-old going through the menopause, than I’ve ever been in my life,” she told The Sun.
“If you would have told my 20-year-old self that I’d be posing in a bikini on Instagram in front of thousands of people, I wouldn’t have ever believed you.
“I feel so in tune with myself, I’m in touch with my thoughts, my mind and I don’t care about judgment.”