We’re thrilled to announce another TOTM Period Powerful Pioneer, Angelique Panagos. Angelique is a Registered Nutritional Therapist and guru when it comes to boosting hormonal health and finding balance. Here, Angelique tells us about her own health journey and why this led her to write popular book, The Balance Plan.
Hormones have a huge impact on our health and wellbeing. Nobody knows this more than our Period Powerful Pioneer, Angelique. Find out more about Angelique and discover why we’re thrilled to have her in our Period Pioneer Squad!
Your hormones and your life story
“I feel we all have a story to tell, especially when it comes to female health and periods. Whether it’s your first period (traumatic for some, exciting for others!), your monthly cycle, falling pregnant with your child, suffering a miscarriage or having difficulty conceiving. It could also be the all-too crippling journey of conditions such as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), Endometriosis or Fibroids. Chances are, your hormones have formed part of your life story.”
Tell us a bit about yourself, your story and your health journey:
“I’ve had all the rollercoaster ups, downs and in between that can be thrown at us ladies! In fact, what fuelled my passion for nutrition and led to me specialising in the areas of female health, hormones, stress, digestion and weight management, were, in fact, my own health issues. This also led me to become a qualified nutritional therapist! You see, my journey into nutrition and where I am now wasn’t one of having been super healthy my whole life. On the contrary, it’s been a journey of self-sabotage, healing and discovery.
Although I was brought up by my amazing mum to appreciate good, nourishing food, it all went a little (a lot!) pear-shaped throughout my teens and early 20s. I ate badly, drank way too much, hardly slept and put on a lot of weight. My periods, which had never been regular, became really out of whack.
Unfortunately, I have an under-active thyroid autoimmune condition (Hashimotos) and PCOS (although this wasn’t diagnosed until much later – when it was finally realised that what I was experiencing wasn’t ’normal’!). I also have Adenomyosis aka uterine Endometriosis, which was only discovered around 4 years ago. These added to my struggle with my weight and I often had crashing moods to boot. So began a long and painful journey of anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder and disordered eating.”
How did you take control of your health?
“Eventually – after trying what seemed like everything to get my symptoms under control – I found myself at a Nutritional Therapist’s clinic. This fuelled my passion. I knew what I wanted to do and I never looked back.
I made a commitment to myself to completely change my lifestyle and put 100% into my nutrition studies, really diving into female health and hormones. Happily, it all paid off! Through dietary changes, moderate exercise, and some sheer grit and determination, I shed the weight. I’ve have managed to keep this weight off and I even have a regular cycle! My periods (which were always super painful, nauseating and downright miserable) have completely changed. I’m able to function on my ‘on days’. I did, unfortunately, suffer two miscarriages. This is something that is quite common with conditions like Hypothyroidism and PCOS. But the highlight of my journey was last year when I gave birth to my beautiful baby girl, Isabella. We are totally besotted.”
Do you have any advice for anyone who might be suffering from these conditions or any of the above?
“For anyone who recognises themselves in this story, or finds that they have abnormal periods, excess weight gain, swinging moods, bloating, difficulty falling pregnant, excess facial hair, acne or thinning hair, please know you’re not alone. Support is out there for you, and you don’t have to continue like this. You can find your new normal and live a healthy, happy life with your condition under control.”
Tell us about your book, The Balance Plan. What led you to create the book? What is it all about?
“My own experience led me to write my first book, The Balance Plan, which is an achievable diet and lifestyle approach to balancing hormones. As someone who has suffered from tearaway, haywire hormones, I wanted to be able to help others through my experiences and research – and that’s what inspired the book!
I think all women can relate to hormonal issues – most of us have experienced them at some time or other! I wanted this book to be a helping hand in enabling us ladies to overcome problems with our health, especially those which can easily be controlled.
Throughout the book, I explain all about our hormones and give advice and tips on restoring that internal balance. There are also explanations on how toxins affect our hormones and how to reduce that toxic load (using organic sanitary wear is a start!). I do this through my six pillars to hormonal health – nourish, balance, nurture, cleanse move and restore.”
Could you please tell us more about the six pillars?
“The idea is simple – if we follow these six pillars, then we can finally enjoy healthy, happy hormones. We can say goodbye to those dreaded symptoms: PMS, bloating, weight gain, thinning hair, acne or dry skin, menstrual cramps and mood swings. None of us has to accept that these things should be part of our lives. The book will show you one of two things. By following the plan, you will either soothe and correct your symptoms and imbalances, or it will show you that you need further assessments. If it’s the later, by completing the programme you will have set up the environment to better respond to treatment. It’s a win-win really!
For much of my teens and my 20s, I had no idea about hormones and how they work. Don’t get me wrong, I’d heard of the sex hormones of course (oestrogen, testosterone, progesterone). But I had no idea about what they did, how they worked, and how they could affect our bodies.
In fact, hormones (our body’s clever little chemical messengers) are at work constantly. They are supporting our bodies 24/7 in all sorts of ways. There’s a hormone for everything – sleep, growth, reproduction, hunger and appetite control, stress…I could go on!”
What can women expect to gain from following The Balance Plan?
“The Balance Plan is my way of giving women back that power. Helping them to understand and know what these hormones mean. Understanding what our symptoms mean, can help to put us on the path to perfect health. We all want glowing skin, rocketing energy, no muffin top and happy, balanced moods. This book gives ladies the framework to help them find that!
I always like to say that calm, balanced hormones are like a beautiful waltz. When they work together, our bodies are in synergy. Calm, healthy and collected. However, when hormones are haywire, it’s like a backwards cha-cha-cha or an upside-down tango. That’s when things start to go wrong!
Hormonal imbalances can affect our bodies in all kinds of ways and are behind so many of those symptoms which we work so desperately to eradicate: bloating, PMS, cramping, poor sleep, pimples, irritability, low libido, hot flushes. You name it, and our tearaway hormones can trigger it!”
Could you tell us a bit about your beautiful daughter and the journey to having her?
“My beautiful rainbow baby girl, Isabella, was born last year. I have never known such love as when she was first placed in my arms. It was such an overwhelming experience and the end of a long, heart-breaking journey.
Unfortunately, given my background, it was a grief-stricken battle before we first held Isabella. She arrived after two miscarriages and fertility problems. I sometimes thought that she would never happen. However, I hope that my own experience is one of hope for others going through similar things.
Along with battling eating disorders, I suffer from many hormonal conditions. As I mentioned previously, I battled PCOS and hypothyroidism, as well as having low progesterone and Adenomyosis (aka uterine Endometriosis). On top of all that, my fertility journey was interesting from the start, as I never knew when my period was going to come!”
Not giving up…
“I actually almost gave up after miscarriage number two. I was distraught and was really hard on myself, I thought I was never going to ‘get it right’’. But I am so pleased we didn’t give up, that I worked hard on balancing my hormones and we kept trying. I am so grateful for it all because our beautiful perfect warrior princess Isabella joined us, and life will forever be better.”
So, you’ve started a new journey as a new mum?
“I am now on another journey, one of navigating my way through my new mum-life plus the postpartum hormonal storm. I am still breastfeeding at the moment, so my hormones have not settled yet. Unsurprisingly, I am not getting enough sleep, which also affects hormonal health. All of this has a knock-on effect on mood, energy, cravings and of course periods. I will keep you posted on how I get on. In the meantime, if any of this resonates with you or if you need some TLC or support, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch – I’d love to welcome you to my tribe!”
With Angelique as one of our pioneers you can expect lots of expert tips/insights, updates on ways to learn more from Angelique and plenty more to come! You can find out more about Angelique by following her Instagram or checking out her website. For a Q&A with another TOTM Period Powerful Pioneer, catch up with Saschan’s story here.
Photo Cred: Sidey Clark Photography