Interview with menopause expert Emma Bardwell

Read our interview with Emma Bardwell, specialist menopause nutritionist, author of The Perimenopause Solution and founder of the M Collective.

How did you get into nutrition, and why did you decide to specialise in menopause? 

I worked as a copywriter until my mid thirties, but after having my first daughter in 2007, I recognised the world of advertising simply wasn’t working for me. An unexpected redundancy, just 12 months into a new job at a boutique agency, forced me to take some time out to re-think my options. 

I’d previously completed a few short nutrition courses because the subject had always fascinated me. The redundancy was my cue to to switch careers and re-train. It felt like a punch in the face at the time, but looking back it was incredibly fortuitous and gave me the kick up the arse I needed to change tack. 

Although initially I was reticent about the thought of starting over, I really haven’t looked back. I was in my early forties by the time I’d finished my training and got my accreditation but it’s been worth it and I think my life experience makes me a better practitioner. A reminder that it’s never too late to do a career about turn.

I chose to specialise in the menopause transition because at the time it wasn’t talked about very much and there was a dearth of evidence based information on the subject. Since then the conversation around menopause has skyrocketed, which is great, but there’s still a lot of pseudoscience bandied around, especially on social media.

I created my platform to cut through all the noise and misinformation around menopause and to provide solid, robust nutrition and lifestyle advice that gets results but which also fits effortlessly into busy women’s lives.

What does a typical day look like for you?

I can honestly say no two days are the same. I might be speaking at a brand event for a new product launch, recording a webinar for The M Collective (my membership platform) or checking in with one of my one-to-one clients. It’s not all about creating meal plans, although that certainly does come into play.

Why do women tend to reach out to you?

The number one reason women get in touch is because they feel they’ve lost sense of themselves. This might be down to changes in body composition or the fact that symptoms are starting to negatively impact their lives in some way. 

Usually women have struggled on their own for a number of years before finally deciding to do something about their situation.

I really hope this will change in the future and that women will pre-empt the impact that menopause can have on their health and wellbeing, seeking solutions and education before symptoms strike. This was the premise behind my book, The Perimenopause Solution, which is very much aimed at younger women taking control of their hormones before their hormones start taking control of them. 

What has been your proudest moment so far?

Publishing my book, without a doubt. I wrote it over lockdown after the death of my brother. It was a terribly bleak experience if I’m honest and nearly broke me. But the sense of achievement when I finally got to hold the finished manuscript in my hands was worth the late nights.

Annoyingly, lockdown meant it didn’t get the fanfare that it would’ve got it was released today, but  despite the lack of promotion, the reviews and feedback have been incredible.

Any tips for wannabe writers?

Spend time writing a strong proposal and then start approaching agents to represent you. Take your time finding a decent one, someone who genuinely backs you and who really believes in your idea – don’t be afraid to shop around.

And don’t be scared to push back if publishers and/or editors try to change something you believe strongly in. It’s your book, your idea and it’s your voice that needs to come through the pages loud and clear. Once those words are in print, there’s no going back.

Who inspires you?

I have a great network of women who work in the industry who are incredibly supportive. My clients are also a constant source of inspiration. There’s a beauty in working with midlife women. They’ve been around the block, they’re switched on, intuitive and, very often, are funny as f**k. 

What’s next for you?

I can’t believe I’m writing this but I have plans for a second book (eek!). I’m also about to start a Masters in clinical nutrition. 

Tell us a bit about your membership programme

Life is busy and menopause can be overwhelming, so I created a place that cuts though the confusion and brings women together. The M Collective is a menopause sanctuary where women can get access to specialists, jump into enlightening conversations and share their experiences.

It provides evidence based, unbiased nutrition and lifestyle advice, deep dive masterclasses, live Q&As, guest experts, a community forum and more. 

What would you like women to know about the menopause transition?

Menopause isn’t a disease, it’s a totally normal part of a woman’s life. Not only can it be a positive experience, it can be an incredibly powerful time of life. 

Find out more about The M Collective here.