Keeping fires burning, Emmy-award-winning anchor Tamsen Fadal ditches city news to focus on her next chapter, midlife, women's health, and a new book.
Possessing an indomitable spirit, Fadal shows up for women experiencing menopause symptoms and other life changes. Preferred Health Magazine spoke to the dynamo about her newfound freedom and future endeavors.
PHM: So, I was surprised to learn that you retired from Pix11 News right before this interview!
I know you'll be delving deeper into your other media and podcast platforms, but what made you decide that now is the time to move on from TV?
Yeah, you know, I have spent a lot of time talking to women and being a part of a conversation about midlife menopause and changing this narrative on aging. I realized that what interests me is storytelling and storytelling in this particular group I'm a part of. And I also realized the need in the space concerning menopause. We have a billion women who are going into menopause in 2025. There are a lot of women who do not know what's going on, including me.
I did not know what was happening, and it was important for me to be able to talk to these women. So, I started doing it on TikTok and then went onto Instagram. And it just kind of took off from there. So, I have a book in the works, and I'm excited about this new chapter, navigating two subjects that I think are really important for women to talk about.
PHM: Venturing into something new at this age is challenging, especially because some people are apprehensive about making changes. Did you deal with any apprehension about making this decision to leave?
TF: Yeah, tons of it. You know, it wasn't a quick decision. It wasn't something that I took lightly. It was something I spent a lot of time talking about and trying to figure out. And, you know, there are still days that I'm a little bit scared of, you know, what I chose to do. But I know deep down it's the right decision, and I didn't have any questions when I signed off that the next thing is where I want to be. I was spending a lot of time before work, every day, working on this. So, it wasn't something I just came to do at the last minute. But I understand the apprehension because I think that traditionally, at this age in our society, we seem to feel invisible. We seem to feel insignificant. We seem to feel like we're on this next chapter, you know, going on to retirement. That's not how I feel.
I feel like I'm moving into this next part. I don't necessarily call it reinvention. I call it shifting into this next space, and that's what I feel like I'm doing. I don't feel like I'm starting over again. I feel like I'm taking all of the wisdom and the education, and the things I've learned along the way in relationships and hopefully moving them into this next chapter to help somebody else and serve with purpose.
We use the word purpose often, and I don't know that I ever really understood it until now. What I do every day, I feel like I wake up with purpose and real purpose. That's important. It's the same feeling that I had at the beginning of my career in the news, and I always did that job because of purpose. And now I feel like this is a different type of purpose.
PHM: I understand "purpose" and heading into the field of journalism. Also, transitioning into something that may be more ideal for who you are today. Is that that feeling?
TF: Yeah, it is. It's just different. Like you know, who am I today? I'm a 52-year-old, about to be a 53-year-old woman. I got remarried at the age of 50, after a pretty public divorce; it was difficult. Some heartbreak went into that. I feel like this is another one of those transitions, and I think the most important thing to me is to have some freedom to spend it with family and those who are important to me. Also, to take this platform and make it even bigger in terms of having interviews and podcasts and a book that's coming.
PHM: Yes, we are so excited about your new book. Can you share what it's all about and when we can get a copy?
TF: It will come out in 2025, and it's available for pre-order in the middle of next year (2024); we are doing a documentary on this topic. So, I feel like I'm excited about freedom to tell the type of stories that I think are important and that I would have wanted to hear. You know, one of the big things I hear about most on Instagram in particular, because it's just an incredible social community that I just couldn't be more grateful for, but one of the big things I hear is, gosh, I wish I had known that at 30 or 35 or 40 and I feel like that now.
There are things I am going to say that I wish I knew 52 years ago. So, I just think that we are of service to help those next generations, and I think that makes me feel good. I get up in the morning, I don't question.
PHM: Again, a fierce advocate for middle-aged women going through menopause. I wanted to talk about your personal experience with it. What did you go through at the beginning of your "changes." How old were you when it started?
TF: Yeah, you know, I wouldn't be able to tell you how old I was when perimenopause started because honestly, as I look back at it right now, I think I thought I was going through my divorce and it was the anxiety and the frustration and the hair falling out and the weight gain. So, that's actually what I thought I was going through, and I realized I didn't know the word perimenopause at the time. But you know, when I hit, it was 2019, April, the pandemic, and I was in the middle of the newscast, and I wound up having a hot flash, heart racing out of control, not sure what was going to happen next moment. I got off the set, went to the bathroom, and went down on the floor. Two guys helped me, and I was like, I just have to cool off before I pass out.
I don't know what's happening to my heart is like out of my chest. I can hear my heart in my ears, you know. I remember it. And then I was okay, and I went home and thought, what in the world was that? I had no clue what that was. And so I've had other symptoms, but all of them, I kind of gave a different excuse for why I was feeling anxious or being too stressed out. I was gaining weight because maybe I wasn't eating right or not working out the same way, even though nothing had changed. I had brain fog, but that could be because I'm getting older. So, I gave everything its own little bucket and never put them all together.
I lost my mom at an early age. She never talked about menopause, and she went through surgical menopause and breast cancer. Now, I have since understood.
So, I went to the doctor the following week, and I remember I got blood tests, and tests came back, and they said, "In menopause," any questions? I'm like, "Wait, what? What are you talking about?" And little by little, I started to do my own research, and that's what I've always done.
And I know how to do that. That part is easy for me. Feeling crappy is not easy. Doing my research is easy. When I realized what was going on, I said, "Oh my gosh, there's not just one symptom of menopause; there's 34 plus and counting."
And then I found this community. I started talking about it. I went online. I read the symptoms. I literally read them. I'm not a doctor. I didn't know. And I just got immersed in this world and in this question, how can there be one billion women that are going to be in menopause by 2025? How is half the population going to be in this? How is that part of the population still obviously working longer than ever before and going into these next new chapters and all feeling like crap, and most of them not knowing what's going on? And so I thought this was the story of the century; this is unbelievable. Look what we've uncovered.
But the the truth is that there's a lot of hurt that came with it, a lot of confusion, and many women feeling not heard and not validated and not knowing where to go for help. And for me, that was the most crucial part. That's what I did as a journalist: help people who didn't have a voice. I helped people who didn't have answers, helped people who didn't know where to turn, and I think I'm taking that skill set and moving it into another place. A place that I feel is really, really important.
PHM: Yeah, you're right about that. Like, who do we ask? Nowadays, I'm looking for female doctors who can relate to what I'm feeling and what I am going through.
TF: I'm grateful for a lot of the telemedicine companies that have popped up because I think that that's helping women be able to access information. I believe there are many areas where there might not be somebody who is in tune with what is going on, or not comfortable treating women that are menopausal. And if you're going into a doctor's office and don't feel 1. Heard; 2. validated by what they're hearing; 3. Walking out of there without any answers, and 4. having to go back to Google and figure out what's going on is not okay in this day and age.
And so that's what I want to fight for, as well as the workplace. You know what happened to me in the workplace. There's nothing that they could have done about it. But the truth is that it is a place where we spend a lot of our time. It is a place that has to have an understanding of what's going on with women's health and make it a priority, especially if you want to hold on to talented women. You want to hold on to women you know are of this age and are still in a place where they want to be there much longer.
PHM: What are your hopes for your new podcasting career?
TF: What's most important to me is to reach as many people as possible with these messages. So, first, people know they're not alone. That is how I felt; many people said the same things back to me.
I felt alone during this time or thought I was the only one. And that's not okay, too. I want to provide education and information, and to your point, there needs to be a place where people feel like they can go to get that. I want to ensure that people know they have a place to go and get that. I want to make that a platform to bring in experts, more doctors, thought leaders, conversations, and real women. It's really important and why I love social media so much. I love this digital space. I can talk with people, not at them. That's important to me.
I email back as many people as possible who send emails to my inbox, give them information, or do whatever I can. There's a real person on the other side of this, you know, it's not like a machine doing it. It's me! It's important that people know that there's somebody who cares.
PHM: I want to discuss your third book, The New Single: Finding Things, Falling Back In Love With Yourself." I love that sentiment. I always feel that you're speaking from the heart. After your first marriage ended, you talked about empowering oneself. Why is that so important? And do you find that women lack that confidence more so than men?
TF: I do. You know, it's not because we don't have that confidence. I think we don't take much time to give that back to ourselves. I think we're giving it to other people. We give it to our kids, we give it to our husbands, partners, you know, we give it to parents, aging parents. We give it to our workplace friends and workers, but I don't know if we ever give it back to ourselves.
And I should have been confident. Right. I'm on the air every day. I'm talking about what's going on in the world, what's going on in New York. But I lacked a lot of that. And it wasn't until I got a little quiet with myself that I realized I needed it. I realized that the only way I could serve other people was if I had it myself, could listen to what I was talking about, and could understand what I needed. I don't have all the answers, that's for sure. But I know that we learn from each other's experiences. That's the only way.
If I can impart something to somebody younger than me or somebody who's going through what I'm going through and it helps in any way, that makes all the difference in the world.
I don't think people will come to me to seek medical advice. You know I'm not a therapist, but I am a woman who's going through a lot of these things at a time that I think is a frightening time of change and an empowering time. If you understand some of the tools it takes to do that, you can thrive instead of dreading these years. I don't want to dread the second half.
PHM: What would you say some of those tools were what? What's working for you?
TF: You know, I've had to take a lot more time to be quiet with myself instead of filling my head with noise. I used to think that if I could take in as much information as possible, listen to this podcast, read this book, multitask, social media. You know, I had to be quiet.
I get out every morning and try to see the light, even if it's a gloomy day.
I try to get outside and walk, and that's where a lot of my creative thinking comes from and where a lot of my confidence comes from, quite frankly, because I can remember who I am and think about that.
Relationships, real relationships, have made a huge difference as of late. Before my mom died, she said, "If you have five good friends in your life, consider yourself blessed."
And I always remember that. I'm like, "Do I have five good friends?"
I have about 1,000,000 friends (on social media). But it's those core people in your life that you can turn to even if you haven't talked to them for two months, six months, whatever it is, who are important to me.
And I realize that time is necessary. There's been a lot more self-care - and not self-care where I have to make a "to-do" list; that's not self-care anymore, right?
I take that moment if I'm putting on my face cream, as mundane as that is, or making sure I go to my doctor's appointments, get my mammogram every year, and do things that matter to my life.
I grew up with a mother who was sick starting at the age of 44 years old. I know what it's like not having your health. And so, for me, that has to be a priority.
PHM: I agree, our health is essential and must come first, but what keeps those fires burning? You mentioned how you used to be the one who wanted to get everything done.
TF: Totally, I still want to do them; they just don't all have to happen today, you know. And that's what's important. I've had to learn; that's a big learning curve. I used to be like, I don't sleep, I'm a multitasker, I only need three hours of sleep, and yeah, I can do it all! I just can't anymore, and it's not age, it's experience, you know. Experience has taught me that.
I hope those fires never go away. I hope that I always have that curiosity. I look at my father, who's 83; he's going to be 84 years old, and he's just amazing. You know, he's taking guitar lessons. He works out three times a week with a trainer, cooks, and is always learning new recipes because he's trying to eat a lot healthier. He'll call me and ask, "Is this almond milk okay?" I'm like, "No, not that one. It's got sugar."
I went back to school in my last year at WPIX to the Integrative Institute of Nutrition to get my degree as a health coach and to understand what I and many other women were going through.
Maybe it's a hereditary fire, I don't know, but I sure do love it.