It’s seems to me that everything you read about menopause and weight points towards the inevitability of untameable waistlines. I believed it too. Then I met a fellow menopause warrior on holiday a couple of years ago. She looked amazing! I have to admit, the green-eyed monster call jealousy poked its head up. How could this lovely woman, who admitted to having battled the bulge in her pre-menopausal years, come out the other side looking fitter and more shapely? And why did I look like the Mitchelin Man in spite of all my attempts to shrink my middle? I swear an army of imps had got loose in my wardrobe, stitching up the seams and waistbands on everything!
As the holiday progressed we got to know each other well enough to chat about how she achieved her healthy look. And more to the point, how she was staying in her zone. We were on an all-inclusive holiday which usually sounds the death-knell for any healthy eating plans. I was amazed at what she could freely eat and but not what needed to be moderated. No surprise about bread, cakes and alcohol, but big surprises about indulging in pasta, potatoes and rice. Wholegrain being the option to keep you going without feeling hungry.
Needless to say I joined the same club as soon as I returned home. I envisaged eating a variety of new, tasty and filling foods while watching the pound drop off. But they didn’t. Quite the opposite. Typical! Weekly weigh-ins showed nothing but gains. By Christmas time I had put on seven pounds. Not the result I was hoping for. In a fit of pique I cancelled my membership and sulked. It obviously wasn’t for me. I was doomed to have an ever-expanding waistline.
By mid-June the following year I was pouring over photos from our family holiday, trying to find any I felt proud to share, but couldn’t. I never forgot how healthy my holiday friend looked, so armed with grit, determination and family assistance, I restarted the plan. The key word here is ‘plan’. I needed to plan the meals a week ahead and shop to the list! I also needed a goal – not an easy one, but achievable and challenging.
My daughter, lovingly referred to as Cost Center 1, bought me a recipe book to go with the slimming club eating plan. We planned the menus together, picking the recipes most likely to appeal to Mr D and Cost Center 2 (my son). I filled the fridge and freezer with everything I needed to stop me from raiding cakes and biscuits.
The biggest change I had to make was inside. What did I really believe I could achieve? Could I lose a whole 14 lb in 4 months? Could I run a 5km charity run in under 30 minutes? Lightbulb moment! The reason I failed last time was lack of self-belief. I was following the same plan but my mindset was different.
To help motivate myself during testing times ( especially with my mother’s cancer diagnosis), I drew up a reward planner. Little fun things for every pound lost, and luxury items at key milestones. Most weeks showed a pound or two falling off nice and steadily. Not only that, but my running times shortened to the point where I was sure I could run the race under my target time. And so I did. I reached my weight target the week before the race and ran my fastest ever 5k!
Six months down the line, and I’m more or less still at target weight. I know what motivates me. I don’t think I can, I know I can, and that’s what helps my healthy body stay fit. Don’t believe the hype about menopausal weight-gain being inevitable. It most certainly isn’t. What’s worked for you?
Wishing you all a healthy and happy day.