Thoughts & Things

Marriage, Midterms, & Menopause

The trifecta hit me all at once. I got married for the first time at 47, went back to school to get my bachelor’s degree at 48, and then went into full blown menopause at 49. Needless to say the day I turned 50, I was tired, bone tired, like I have never been in my life. I was working full time, going to school part time, and navigating married life, to which we both struggled to get used to. And to top it off, I started gaining weight. Something I never struggled with in my life. Luckily, I have a husband who loves me unconditionally and constantly reassures me that my weight gain does not matter to him. But it matters to me. I have struggled with self-image issues my entire life. So, needless to say, my confidence suffered dramatically.

Much of the weight loss advice out there for older women tells us it is hormonal and so, I felt like I needed to get on hormones. I thought that would solve all my problems: low energy, weight gain, and mood swings. I went to the doctor and received a cocktail of hormones in a cream that I was to rub on my ever growing thighs. I did not see a difference in my energy levels and I was continuing to gain weight. My logical brain asked, why do I have to take hormones when this is a natural progression of aging for a woman? So, I stopped putting the hormonal chemicals in my body and started figuring out ways to handle the stress I deal with in the work/life/school balance. Oh and I did mention I am a writer too? My life is full. And everyone tells me that being a fur mom counts too. Honestly, I don’t know how those real moms do it.

For me personally, I discovered the core issue was stress and not getting enough sleep. Yes, getting older, menopause, and having a desk job did slow down my metabolism and lower my energy levels. However, learning how to manage the stress, getting the sleep I need, and making an effort to exercise is what makes the difference in my overall health, physically and mentally.

Now I am not here to tell you about another “diet” program or how to lose weight. There are plenty of people out there who can help you with that, and let’s face it, we all know how to lose weight. The problem is doing it. Getting starting is the hardest part and you have to have the discipline to stick to the lifestyle change if you want to be healthy and happy.

And who says you have to do one diet or another? Why not a combination? Decide what works for you and utilize all the options at your disposal. Personally, I find that when I “diet,” all I think about is food. Trying to figure out recipes, how much to eat, and what I can and can’t eat only sets me up for failure, and measuring and weighing food makes me want to eat more. For me, it is a mindset, a determination that inspires me to success.

So, to offer my two cents. Figure out what works for you and do that. Get on a routine, one that works for you. If you drink coffee first thing in the morning and don’t want to eat until noon. Then have your coffee and eat at noon. If you like to eat in the evening after your day is done, then do that. The main thing is to get a routine going so that you will not impulsively eat. You know when your next meal or snack will be. And if that time comes and you are not hungry, don’t eat. There is something to the fasting thing that is benefical to the body in many ways. Over time, you will figure out what foods you can eat and what foods to avoid while you are losing weight. But we all know that most breads, sugar, and processed foods are a problem. But I don’t think giving up those is the answer, well maybe processed foods, but not bread and sugar. Just choose a healthier version of them. Honey is a great substitute for sugar, and there are unprocessed or less processed sugars that are much healthier for you. And ancient grain breads are a good choice when you just want to eat a sandwich.

Another important thing is to move your body. Find time to exercise in some capacity, whether it be walking, bike riding, or Crossfit, just move your body. That is after you have had a good night’s sleep.

What works for you?

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