I’m a middle-aged menopausal woman who has put on a fair few inches around the midriff over the last couple of years. “Thickening” is the official term for it. It’s another of the many crap things that Mother Nature decides to throw at us as a reward for surviving decades of periods. It’s much worse in summer when I drown in the Menopausal Beach Body Blues!
Now, I exercise daily, I don’t smoke, rarely drink and I eat healthily, bar the weekend when I do allow myself a cake or pudding. Well you’ve got to have some vices, haven’t you? “Everything in moderation.” “A little of what you fancy.” Yep they’re my mantras. “Life’s too short not to eat cake!”
I think I have the right balance, but I cannot shift this tummy or the fluid retention or the cottage cheese effect that is the cellulite on my legs. I hate it! However, I do not let it rule my day to day life because I don’t often choose to look in a full-length mirror. I try to put it to the back of my mind but there are times in your life when you just can’t avoid it. Summer is one of those times!
Every year my friends and I join thousands of like-minded music lovers for a beach-based festival. Every January I am determined to get a beach body. Every June I acknowledge that it’s not going to happen and feel like I’ve totally failed.
Then, of course, I start trying on the clothes that I think I’m going to take. Urghh further despondency! Nothing looks nice, I wonder if that dress might work if I buy really big knickers, and so many things just don’t fit anymore!
During the approach to summer, I saw that many of my female friends, and friends of friends, young and old, slim and larger, were all facing the same struggles, having the same negative thoughts, and some were even contemplating not going (yes that was me on one occasion too).
It’s not attention seeking, it is a very real phenomenon. The responses to their Facebook posts, from male and female alike, were all positive. It seems we are able to appreciate the beauty in others, but not in our ourselves.
When will us ladies give ourselves a break? I look back at photos of my younger self and think “wow I was actually quite slim then”! Of course, at the time I thought I was “fat”. Do you think that when we are 75 we are going to look back at our 50s and think ” well you actually weren’t bad for a middle-aged woman“?
I think we probably will. I think that when we are 75, we will wonder why on earth we wasted so many years worrying about the outside of a body when it’s really the inside that matters.
Men don’t seem to have these hang-ups, do they? I’m trying to think like my husband. The one upshot of getting bigger is that at aged 50, I finally got boobs! So every cloud does indeed have a silver lining. Learn to focus on the bits you love not the bits you hate.
So I’ve put those dresses that don’t fit away and if they don’t fit next year then I will get rid. I’m not going to torture myself anymore. I’m going to look forward to a wonderful time in the sun with my husband and my friends. People who love me for me. It’s about time we focus on the good things ladies. We really do need to love ourselves now.
UPDATE POST FESTIVAL: Well we all went and had a jolly nice time. Did we cover up? Were we worried about what we looked like? No, because we were all having such a nice time, surrounded by people who love us for who were are.
And if there were people out there criticising our bodies, well then they’re not the sort of people we want to know anyway. It seems it’s only when we are on our own that we beat ourselves up.
So the moral of this story – get out there and be with friends and family, you’ll be enjoying yourself too much to worry about a bit of fat or cellulite!
If you need a bit of comfort food then check out some of my yummy cake recipes below.
But if you’re determined to get on the healthier track then read a guest post from Diary of a Detour about Running for the Soul.
Maybe menopause is affecting you in a different way or anxiety is taking on a stronger hold. I’ve just written about how I quit my job due to menopause related anxiety so do click on the text links if you want to read more.
What are your thoughts on putting on extra weight and changing shape due to the menopause?
Do you take it in your stride and accept it?
Does it stop you going out?
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.