Menopause Bulge: What Used to Work Doesn’t Anymore

The battle of the bulge crept up on me. My excellent method for maintaining my weight and health while still enjoying all the treats at Christmas worked for years. Until it didn’t.

I blame menopause. In this case, the onset of perimenopause.

So much for eating cake and ice cream without guilt and consequences.

First, the waistband of my favorite pants pinched. Then I couldn’t button a skirt I’d worn for years. The dress hanging in my closet for special occasions didn’t zip.

Must be time to go shopping.

Except I like the clothes in my closet. I don’t want to get a larger size if it means I can’t wear the things I own.

What Worked for Years

I mentioned in the last post that working out for 45 minutes five days per week was all it took for me to maintain my weight. For years.

Yes, there were times the weight crept up. Generally between Thanksgiving (yes, I’ll have another helping of dressing and gravy, please) and Christmas (when fudge makes its annual appearance in my home). Which meant for most years, January became a time I watched what I ate and worked out six days per week.

And the weight returned to my optimal range which was below the mid-line of the healthy weight for my age and height.

Until my baseline weight suddenly crept to the middle of the range. And then hung out at the top of the range no matter how many salads I ate (ugh!) and workouts I did (I worked out twice a day for a time).

Creeping Change

The medical fact of it is that our bodies change as we age. Things that used to always run like clockwork get fouled up. Hormones go wacky.

And for me, as is true with a large percentage of women once estrogen levels drop and cortisone skyrockets, fat crept to my midsection. My middle wouldn’t trim down. It didn’t matter how many core workouts I did. I couldn’t even see the definition of my abdominal muscles anymore.

So I’d work harder and jump on the next dieting fad. South Beach. Slim Fast. You name it, I tried it in the 2010s. That was my decade of denial.

The Dieting Yo-Yo

I already told you I don’t diet. Well, I gave up that mentality when my body began to bulge. Studies proved that weight loss depended mostly on what you ate.

And apparently cookies, cake, pizza and nachos weren’t considered optimal for maintaining a trim waistline.

So I lost weight and trimmed down. At my twenty-five year class reunion, I looked good. No one could believe I was in my forties. So five years later, I made sure to starve myself and work out seven days per week so I could look good for the thirty-year reunion.

Can I say I’m a bit thankful that a pandemic canceled the thirty-five year plan for this past summer? Because I had hit the wall and the dieting yo-yo unraveled. My weight plateaued and nothing I did mattered.

My body said, “I don’t care how much you restrict my calories, I’m not going to let this weight go.”

It was the ultimate rude gesture from a body that had served me well for nearly fifty years. It happened in the wake of my first surgery that sidelined me from working out for six weeks and a change in medication for my chronic depression.

The discovery of essential oils sent me to a naturopath. Next week I’ll talk about her recommendations, and how I “gave up” a food group (something I strongly object) to see the needle on the scale finally budge.

What routines do you keep to maintain your health?

5 thoughts on “Menopause Bulge: What Used to Work Doesn’t Anymore”

  1. Fighting menobelly here, too. I hear you.
    I use essential oils to combat anxiety which can add to the belly-measurement and, as you know, I do intermittent fasting (which I really enjoy doing). I think I am seeing some improvement, but I don’t even diet.

    Many kudos to you on your dedication to health! 🙂

    1. Sandi –
      Which oils do you use for anxiety? DoTERRA recently released a blend called Adaptiv that works wonders for my anxious moments. And, no, I don’t think I realized the oils might be adding to my muffin top. Why can’t one thing work?
      Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts. My post on IF is coming November 2. I look forward to hearing your specific input on that, too.

  2. I figure as long as one is eating well, sleeping well, and keeping active, one should just let one’s body be the size and shape it naturally takes. But that can be annoying if one’s clothes are close-fitting styles and not designed to be adjustable.

    1. Deborah-
      The more I struggle to stay in the size I’ve worn for years, the more I agree with this thought. I am slowly convincing myself that I should clear out my closet and purchase the next size up. I mean, who doesn’t want to get a bunch of new clothes? Except that voice in my head that says I should fight a bit longer. I haven’t really changed anything about my lifestyle, and that’s why this sudden bulge at my middle that makes nothing fit is so depressing.
      Thanks for weighing in. People in the US are too conscious of size labels I think. Maybe it’s time to move to NZ?

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