I hated my body so much after menopause I was suicidal — here’s how I survived

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An Australian woman is sharing how she learned to love herself again after her experience going through menopause left her considering suicide.

Billie Steele, 51, had gained some weight during her second pregnancy when she was 35 years old, putting on 70 pounds in nine months and leaving her weighing in at 191 pounds.

She worked hard to shed the weight and, a few years later when she was 46, she had lost 66 pounds. But when she was 48, Steele went through menopause and gained it back, leaving her feeling “insecure, worthless and unlovable.”

The effects of menopause and the changes to her body caused her to become depressed, and she went through an extremely challenging time in her life.

“I had planned to take my own life several years ago, and I had gotten very close to executing that plan,” Steele told South West News Service.

“I made a very harrowing phone call to a rehabilitation center in Sydney and begged them to take me because I literally did not know how to move forward with my life,” she recalled.


Billie Steele, 51, faced a hard time in her life after she went through menopause.
Billie Steele, 51, faced a hard time in her life after she went through menopause.
Billie King / SWNS

She had gained back much of the weight that she had lost after pregnancy.
She had gained back much of the weight that she had lost after pregnancy.
Billie King / SWNS

After making some changes to her diet and exercise routine, she is feeling like a new person.
After making some changes to her diet and exercise routine, she is feeling like a new person.
Billie King / SWNS

She was admitted to the facility, where she was treated for 21 days for depression, as well as adult and childhood trauma and anxiety.

Steele explained that she had been taking medication for the mental challenges for “some time” and didn’t want to be on them for the rest of her life.

“So I started to wonder if I could manage my mental health issues with a lifestyle change — and that’s when a tentative plan for change began to percolate,” she explained to SWNS.

Menopause is a time when women no longer have menstrual periods, according to the Cleveland Clinic, and it is diagnosed when you have gone more than 12 consecutive months without a period.

Some of the uncomfortable symptoms it can bring include hot flashes, vaginal dryness and difficulty sleeping — many of which are attributed to changes in hormones.


She decided to make a change by joining a challenge at her local gym.
She decided to make a change by joining a challenge at her local gym.
Billie King / SWNS

Steele put on 70 pounds during her second pregnancy.
Steele put on 70 pounds during her second pregnancy.
Billie King / SWNS

In December 2019, she left the rehab facility, and that May, she decided to join her local gym, which was holding a 12-week challenge — a decision that would end up changing her life for the better.

Steele recalled feeling “nervous” and “self-conscious” before going. During the first visit to the gym, she didn’t stay for very long because she was so uncomfortable.

But, still, she decided to power through.

“Then I kept going back, I got more confident using the equipment, I was getting stronger mentally and physically and my mood started to change,” she said.

“I started to feel hopeful, instead of feeling kind of ‘meh’ all the time,” the mom-of-two continued. “I was starting to feel like my old self.”


"I had planned to take my own life several years ago and I had gotten very close to executing that plan," Steele told South West News Service.
“I had planned to take my own life several years ago, and I had gotten very close to executing that plan,” Steele told South West News Service.
Billie King / SWNS

She revealed that her mental health began to improve as she exercised more, and she decided to change some of her eating habits as well, which included removing processed food and sugar from her diet.

Recently, she even decided to get sober and stop drinking alcohol.

“Every choice I have made to improve my health has come from a burgeoning love of self,” Steele said. “As cheesy as it sounds, I had to fall in love with myself.”


As she kept going to the gym, things began to change.
As she kept going to the gym, things began to change.
Billie King / SWNS

"I started to feel hopeful, instead of feeling kind of 'meh' all the time," the mom-of-two said. "I was starting to feel like my old self."
“I started to feel hopeful, instead of feeling kind of ‘meh’ all the time,” the mom-of-two said. “I was starting to feel like my old self.”
Billie King / SWNS

Steele is 51-years-old.
Steele is 51 years old.
Billie King / SWNS

According to SWNS, Steele revealed that her secret to weight loss was realizing that she only had one life to live and didn’t want to waste it being in “unnecessary” pain.

The 51-year-old hopes to inspire others — particularly women who may be feeling like she did a few years ago — to do the same and start on their own health journey.

“My advice to women would be, ‘Just start,’” Steele said.

“Even if it’s walking around the house 10 times,” she explained. “Then the next day, walk around the house 11 times.”


She said that she has learned so much about herself over the past two years.
She said that she has learned so much about herself over the past two years.
Billie King / SWNS

"Every choice I have made to improve my health has come from a burgeoning love of self," Steele said. "As cheesy as it sounds I had to fall in love with myself."
“Every choice I have made to improve my health has come from a burgeoning love of self,” Steele said. “As cheesy as it sounds I had to fall in love with myself.”
Billie King / SWNS

She even used the example of herself, claiming that she started doing burpees — a squat thrust exercise — in the house one month before she started going to the gym.

“You don’t need a gym membership,” she urged. “You don’t need a personal trainer. You don’t need anything but a genuine desire to change your life and the belief that you can.

“If you want something bad enough you will get it,” she continued. “It’s as simple as that.”

There have been other unexpected benefits that she’s experienced on her journey so far: Steele said that her quality of sleep is better, as well as her mobility, strength and even mental health.

She said that the health benefits are some of the most rewarding things that have come out of the experience.

“The last two years have been so much more than just a fitness journey,” Steele said.

“I have learned more about myself in the last two years than I have in the last 50.”

If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts or are experiencing a mental health crisis and live in New York City, you can call 1-888-NYC-WELL for free and confidential crisis counseling. If you live outside the five boroughs, you can dial the 24/7 National Suicide Prevention hotline at 988 or go to SuicidePreventionLifeline.org.

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