Blog Posts, Menopausal Mutterings

Use it or lose it!

Out of my comfort zone

Photo by Jan Antonsen on

It’s funny what a short break in my routine does to my body. Nearly every day I made time to practice a little yoga. But the run up to Christmas 2019 was somewhat fraught with challenges to my normal day. For a start, it was Christmas, with all that extra stuff going on. And then to add to the packed diary, both my parents were in hospital at the same time, resulting in me decamping to Scotland to tend to both and give my long-suffering sister a hand. No time for yoga and my normal eating plan. Both were replaced by pacing the hospital corridors and eating takeaway.

Crisis over, now back to normal… or not?

When Dad was discharged home and I was satisfied he was on the mend I returned home to pick up the threads of Christmas prep as best I could. What I didn’t pick up was the yoga routine or the healthy eating. I felt too drained and too busy to do either of those key self-care things. So I ignored these needs and got on with the festive season. Not that I minded a daily gin but I knew I couldn’t keep this up forever, well not without consequences.

Friend or foe?

Days became weeks. The weight crept on and I developed aches and joint stiffness. Getting back to my food routine after Christmas was a blessed relief. I don’t know about anyone else, but by the end of the festive season I was starting to crave simple foods like beans on toast. I didn’t want to see another roast meat for the foreseeable future. The daily gin and tonic had to go too (boo) but it was all for a great cause… the extra pounds soon fell off. Nice. So my joints should be happier.

Urgh! Pass me the oil can!

Wrong! It’s like the ascent of Man, watching me get out of bed. I slowly uncurl as the minutes pass. I’m only in my mid-fifties. What will I be like in a decade? Time to shake thing up. Looking though my yoga journal I can see a plan at the beginning of each week, great intentions, but by Monday lunchtime it’s derailed. In essence I have deprioritised me.

This week is different. I’m tired of feeling stiff, anxious and jittery. I’m reprioritising me. I realise that virtually all the things that got in the way were not urgent or important. They can wait. It’s all very well to say to myself ‘I’m going to do x, y and z for me today’… I realise I need to say this out loud… set my agenda out for all to see.

Testing the theory

Monday morning dawned bright and sunny. To all and sundry, including the dog, I declared the time after work to be my yoga time. I declared the office off-limits when I have the door closed. This means I am either in a business call or meditating! I was surprised at the response… or lack of it. Nobody batted an eyelid. It seems I put the barriers in place!

This week’s yoga sessions have shown me how much emotional baggage I’m carrying in my lumbar spine and hips. It will take time and daily practice to regain flexibility. I’m not doing the same program every day. I’m shaking up the routine. As I have membership to a well-known on-line Yoga site, I have a wealth of styles and teachers to choose from, keeping my brain engaged as it follows each new program.

Shake it up

Photo by Artem Beliaikin on

Speaking of shaking it up, I’m making a conscious effort to wear as many different outfits as I can instead of the usual skinny jeans and default top. As my lovely Granny and Great Granny left me a treasure trove of jewellery, now considered antiques, I’m wearing their earrings, broaches, necklaces and rings to add to my outfits, giving me a reason to remember those wonderful women.

Let’s not become trapped in the age cage. Let’s use what we have and shake up the old routines.

Blog Posts, Menopausal Mutterings

Tales from the other side… a weighty issue!

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.

Cath xx