I loved reading all of your stories of menopause – the good, the bad, the anticipatory. Even though many of my friends are going through this too or have gone through it, it helps to share how your body/moods/hormones are pawed through and thrown into the middle of the room in an unrecognizable pile.
Background (briefly). How did I get here and what am I doing in my “I’m not taking this lying down with a poochy belly” new frame of mind? I entered peri-menopause in my mid-40s, right after I quit smoking. My weight has fluctuated through my life, but losing weight has never been a problem.Up until I quit smoking, I was never super-unhappy with my weight, just annoyed from time to time that I wasn’t being careful with what I was shoving in my mouth and had gotten pluffy (plump and fluffy).
While I ate my way through a year post-smoking (yummy cinnamon bears were great at making me feel less deprived), 40 pounds crawled on my frame. Confident that I could lose that, I tried all the normal things that always worked before. Nothing worked, and more of the Big 40’s friends moved in. A lot of time passed, with no lasting success, then my period stopped in early 2008. Aha!!! Menopause!
Nine months of no period, then on a trip to Paris, my period showed up. Not just one, but all nine of them I had missed showed up in one horrific mess. I won’t get graphic here, but it was the worst period of my life, and I’ve never suffered from periods beyond just an annoyance nod. Sporadic periods and Menopause pregnancies (the no period for 9 months, then a Paris Period Horror Repeat) until 2013. I don’t have a lot of other symptoms except weight gain and hot flashes that come and go.
Current Mess I’m In. As of now, 2014, I’m officially not in Menopause, just cruising around the neighborhood, backfiring and stalling. All through this time of peri, since 2008, I’ve not been able to lose that smoking weight and its friends that showed up. I’ve lost some, done a ton of yoga and walking, went vegan for a while, hired a vegan chef for a couple of years to cook for me. What I do lose is so slow and takes so long and comes back almost instantly if I don’t keep up constant vigilance – talking about daily, not just weekly or monthly oversight. I do know the bouncing up and down is making it even harder and slower and need a plan I can do and adapt and just stay on from here on out.
Everyone tells me this is just how it is, I can never hope to get any kind of body back like I had before. I call bullshit. I’ll accept the age part of it, things just won’t ever look the same, but won’t accept that I am a rectangle (square?) with no waist for the rest of my life.
What have I decided to do? I’ve decided to do something a little more structured, austere and regimented to get shit moving and my metabolism revved up, and it will adapt as I get my weight to where I want it and go into maintenance. I don’t believe in starvation and won’t sign on to that, so don’t get worried! I’m going to use a nutritional superfood cleanse product because I know people who use it and have had great success with weight loss and energy improvement and sustained it. You can follow the link to get more information, and I’d love to answer those in comments, e-mail or via phone. This is what I chose to give me a regimented way to try to rein in this menopause roller coaster that’s become annoying and unhealthy and make sure I get all the nutrients and support I can while I take serious aim at The 40 and Friends Is it working? OMG, yes (details below!).
How my nutritional cleanse works – during the 30-day cleanse part, I have two shakes a day and a sensible 400-600 calorie meal that’s lean protein, greens, fruits. I can add 1-6 cleanse days of the month, if I choose, and those days are just the cleansing drink, water and a couple of snack things full of supporting supplements. Calories per day on the normal cleanse (not the focused cleanse days) will run about 1200-1500, which is a good region for me that’s not starvation but restricted enough to make sustained loss. I’ll tinker as needed. Major goal is to get energy and feel amazing. Minor goal is to look good in clothes again. Minor goal is more fun and potentially budget busting when I’m ready for new clothes. I’ll deal with budget when it happens.
One thing I know, menopause help is not One Size Fits All. What will work for me isn’t the solution for many people. What many of you have found works won’t work for me, but I’m open to any and all ideas for evaluation and experimenting. So please share those in comments!
Week 1 (Friday May 9-16, 2014). I’m still in a state of shock. Even on my best diets and very unhealthy ones, I have not lost as much weight in one week as I did. 10 pounds gone and 9 inches – 2 from my chest, 3 from my waist (it’s actually 3.5 this morning, another .5 disappeared yesterday), 1 from my hips, 1 from upper leg, .5 from arm and 1.5 from my obviously chubby calf. Yes, that’s right, I proofread this part over and over to make sure I didn’t make mistakes. My belly, full of stubborn menopausal weight where everything seems to have been accumulating and won’t go down but fractions when I’ve done other diets, went down 3.5 inches. Wait, I want to type that one more time. My waist is 3.5 inches smaller in a week.
I know some is water weight, but I had done a green smoothie cleanse before I started this, so I’m not buying that it’s all that. I do have minor concerns if weight loss continues at too high of a pace. I’m okay with a big loss the first week or two, pretty normal, especially if I’m releasing a lot of water. I’ve ordered some BCAA to help keep muscle mass and prevent a catabolic state where I’m eating muscle instead of fat.
Nobody freak out, I’m not a person looking to dump a shittonne of weight super-fast by starving and ruin my health – and this cleanse isn’t like that.
How about energy, my major goal? I have more energy than I’ve had in months/years. Menopause/peri the last year has been devastating – lethargy abounds and is running out my ears. I felt so sluggish and reclusive, which has been awful for a person who generally is pretty sunny, outgoing and happy. I spent a few weeks at my worst this year just re-running Mad Men – yes, all the seasons – because that’s just all I could manage beyond the stuff I had to do daily.
So far this last week – have cleaned out weeds from garden, cleaned up the backyard for summer, started planting everything that’s come in, have hauled crap out of basement, have cleaned out two kitchen cabinets, fixed umbrella that broke in freak May snowstorm and redid upstairs balcony, planted dahlias, reorganizing closets, and I’ve felt amazingly great even on the hard core cleanse days. I bounce out of bed with energy to burn, and it lasts all day. I don’t feel burned out by the end of the day, I sleep better than I have, no waking in the middle of the night, but pretty much do my 5 a.m. wake-up like I used to, which is okay for summer. Gives me time to get an espresso and sit outside on the balcony and watch the sun come up. This is an old me, but better.
I avoided exercise this week because I lost 6 pounds in four days and became concerned about rapid weight loss and exercising on top of that and eating muscle. With BCAA and what seems a more normal pace of loss the last two days, I did go ahead and run sprints on the treadmill for 10 minutes this morning as well as some kettle bell work. I feel great, no exhaustion or bonking at all. I did do two cleanse/fast days on Monday and Tuesday. I’m thinking they weren’t even necessary, and I may re-evaluate on whether I want to do two a week or just one, depending on my energy levels and rate of weight loss. If I’m losing too much, I’ll cut it to no days. Wow, what a weird problem to have given my experience – worrying about losing too much weight too quickly (!). I like having that problem, but I swear I’m not even worrying one second about disappearing inches from my waist, those things go begone and never ever come back. .
Will this all continue? Heck if I know! I hope so, but tune in next week to see what Week 2 brings. The real test of anything is if you can stay on it and feel great and then continue it and maintain it after you reach a goal for body composition.
You will get the added benefit of getting my sister’s menopause weight be-gone! story too. She started on the same thing a little less than a week after me and lost 6 pounds in two days. I hate her, she always loses faster than me. I told her to get BCAA and roll in some extra calories if that continues to slow her roll. Again, a crazy problem to have after years of stubborn menopausal fat visitors that won’t move out.
I need to warn you the withdrawal during the break-in phase of any plan that removes all the processed food carbs and sugar and splenda and crap from your diet is just brutal. I didn’t have it with this because I’d already gone through it on the green smoothie cleanse from two weeks earlier. You can count on 3-4 days of no energy, headaches, etc., if you are coming from a heavy carb diet and coffee and sugar, etc. You’ve been warned. BUT!!! misery is followed by so much energy and happy joyful mood switch that I gladly suffer through the beginning part to get to the other side. You can avoid some of that by slowly taking those out of your diet over a week or two before doing any kind of cleanse. Doing something slowly doesn’t work for me. I quit smoking the same way, just done and never looked back.
So how has your week gone? Hanging in there? Has anyone else noticed cheaper heating bills this winter? Mine dropped about in half because I’m plenty comfy at 60-65 degrees now. For the longest time, I thought my mom’s house was a meat locker. Now it feels perfection. She’s 80, so I’m thinking this energy savings is a feature, not a bug, yes? Summer last year was miserable with hot flashes, so if those abate even a little over this summer, I’ll be grateful. It wasn’t pretty having a menopausal woman whose shape had become square running around her house almost naked because of hot flashes.
Go Patty!!! Those are amazing results, particularly the inches! Hmmm I might need to look into this. My weight on the scale doesn’t bother me so much as where the fat is distributed (flabby upper arms and cellulite in places I never had it before meno). I’m not sure how thin I’d have to get to rid myself of the cellulite, and I’ve seriously considered surgery for my upper arms (so limiting what I can wear in the summer, and I always have to have a cardigan of some sort for my arms; thankfully I am still cold-blooded and not having hot flashes (yet anyway!).
Have you done one of those menopause type quiz things online? I came out as Type 2, low testosterone. I’m not sure I agree with that, but I am definitely geting overly dry and frail. Testosterone therapy really scares me. No telling what could happen there. 🙂 Sooo, before I do anything drastic, I am going to try to correct it with diet and gentle exercise (emphasis on gentle because I have the aching joint thing going). Maybe I skipped meno and went right into geriatric lol. 🙂
I hope things continue to go well, and I look forward to hearing more updates! I don’t think I would have even thought to measure my calf (mine are normally quite chubby as well). The weather has cooled down quite a bit in my parts, so hopefully it’s staying coolish where you are, too!
Whoo-hoo, Patty! That is so great — very happy for you! Keep up the good work; you are inspiring me (and all of us).
I’m so glad to hear I’m not the only one barely making it energy wise! That’s been the biggest bummer for me, really. Sounds like things are going great for you with your diet and lifestyle changes!! Bravo!! I’m inspired!! My folks quit all bread, white potatoes, sugar, and processed foods after my dad had cancer. They had already quit caffeine and alcohol. Dad has also quit dairy. Let’s just say they look amazing and have energy to burn. I hope to follow more of that as soon as my kids are gone. it’s tough with two teens and two people working stressful jobs, but we try. Looking forward to more on your progress!
Wow, Patty, I’m a regular reader and don’t comment here very often, but that is awesome! I have a friend who just did the same cleanse. She was having tons of stomach problems, and many other kinds of health problems, and decided to wean a lot of things out of her diet and heard good things about this cleanse. She said the same thing, that she has never felt better or had so much energy. It sounds like you are doing it the right way and that it’s working for you!
I was wondering how you quit smoking. Cold turkey? I’m trying now, but it’s really a half-hearted effort, even though I REALLY don’t want to smoke anymore. I can feel it in my lungs and I’m only 25 (wahh, 26 on Tuesday!), so I’d like to stop sooner rather than later. Any tips?
How cool for your friend! I’m never a cheerleader for products, and I feel a little weird that I’m quickly turning into one for this one. Normally I steer clear of all of this kind of thing. It was sheer desperation that made me try it, hoping that what happend for other people I knew would happen for me.
Smoking. That is such a dumb story. I never intended to quit smoking! My friend was starting her 12th quit in like 5 years, and I thought Oh, heck, I might as well try at least ONCE to quit, so I scheduled it. She sent me to some websites that had awful pictures of lung cancer victims. My grandfather died of emphysema. My uncle died of lung cancer. I just never really processed it because ignoring it let me keep on smoking happily. I LOVED the habit. When it turns summer and I take a glass of wine out in the back yard, all I want is a cigarette. But that’s about the only time I miss it now, summer outdoor drinking smoking. 🙂
so I read the stuff, and I know myself pretty well. I knew I’d never be one of those people that would quit more than once. I’d hate the process and never want to face it again. I was getting back into perfume then and hated the smell of smoke on my clothes, on my breath, and I really hated paying that much in stoopid taxes on my stoopid habit. 🙂 I think they had just hiked taxes again like $1 a pack when I quit. so I set my quit date and somewhere in between in the two weeks leading up to it, I was ready and knew I’d only do it once.
So from the day I quit, every time I wanted a cigarette, I thought “why would you do that? You’re a nonsmoker.” Whatever it was worked, but mostly it was me deciding I was done and never let smoking be an option again.
Now, I have had a few drunken moments where I’ve been with friends and we bought a pack of American Spirits and drunk and smoked our way through a couple of bottles of wine. I tuck the pack in my purse, thinking they’ll be there for the next drinking round, and I find them at the bottom of my purse months and months later beccause I never think of them again. But I didn’t attempt that at all until probably 4-5 years after I was fully quit with NO relapses. I know people that have quit for a couple of years and found themselves back smoking regularly with some stress. My sister! She finally quit a year ago by using the E-cig thingie. She’s been pretty happy with that.
Good luck!!! you can, trust me. I’m weak-willed and have an addictive personality. So if I can quit, anyone can.
Thanks, Patty! That is very good to know. I’m in the same boat. I just love smoking. I have my coffee and tea in the morning on the porch, I want a cigarette! I walk everywhere here too and it’s so much fun to walk and smoke on my way to work; it’s a nice little break from the day. Ugh. I would like to just go cold turkey but it’s pretty tough. I’ve had one today, but perhaps I will just have to come to a point where I am fed up with smoking. I like the idea of making it not an option though. It’s funny, because when I visit my parents I don’t smoke, and it’s so easy. I can go a week without a cigarette and not have any cravings because it just feels like it’s not an option anymore. I need to figure out a way to do that at my house!
I’m sitting here half in tears, half hopeful. I’d barely been maintaining my rather roundish shape when peri or meno or whatever the doctors call it when you don’t have a period for months and then three in a row, set in. Then I got a stress fracture running with the DH and I haven’t been able to do my usual things (running, riding horses, rowing) since December. I’ve now added another 15. Which doesn’t sound bad until you consider how short I am. I’ve always run warm (I used to ice skate in Tshirts), but with the hot flashes I find myself standing with the freezer door open. The DH likes it warm in the house, especially at night for sleep. Ugh. I’ve become so lethargic that picking up has gone by the wayside and I’m starting to feel that if my house gets any messier they’ll send in the hoarding police. When I read the paragraph that starts “So far this week” describing all that you’ve accomplished, I knew this is what I have to try. Thanks for giving me some hope.
Tatiana, sweetie, there is hope. I felt as hopeless as you did just two weeks ago. I had sorta resigned myself to this was my life – no energy, a buddha belly, and increasing lethargy about all the things that used to matter to me. I’d gotten used to a lot of things that I didn’t even notice were so bad until they are now better.
I’m not saying that this is the magic bullet, but so far it is working for me, and I’m going to keep going and reporting here. If it doesn’t work or it retracts the gains at some point, I’ll report it and then I’m going to find something else. From listening to other people that have used this system to balance their body internally into something more livable, I think right now that this will sustain, but I’m a dubious person that won’t believe it until I experience it over a sustained period. One thing I would say, I wouldn’t do this particular cleanse unless you were all in and fully committed. I am thinking that it was because I was so desperate that I would do anything that I have been following this down to the smallest detail so far. Every time I’m thinking a cupcake sounds really yummy, I remind myself what I’m trying to do and giving myself the choice all over again – go forward and try to make this better or go ahead and go back to feeling like absolute crap.
Reading from other people, I do believe some of the menopause symptoms will eventually get a LOT better on their own. I’m just not prepared to wait it out with my body for the next 1-7 years while it makes up its mind on what stage of life I’m in!
Feel free to e-mail me if you need anything else or just want to chat patty at perfumeposse dawtcawm.
Patty, I’m in the early 40s now and you kinda scared the hell out of me… Made me think about what’s coming towards me!
If I had one thing to go back and change, it would be to have done something about this much more serious than I did ten years ago. I knew I had lost some energy the last few years, but they put me on adderall for a couple of years, which masked, I think, the symptoms. when I ditched the adderall, I’ve been enjoying the full brunt of my lousy mood for the last year plus. I didn’t think I was that down until I finaly feel better. I had gotten to where my whole life was feeling like an unending series of chores. It may not be the same for you or anyone else, and probably will be different in small or big ways, but just pay attention. It sneaks up on you.:)
Thanks for writing about this and sharing your experiences so far! It helps to make this stage less of a secret misery, and hopefully will make it easier for other women to talk about, too.
Interestingly, I just signed up for the same program. I was supposed to start the same time you did, but postponed it all and am planning to start Monday. I’ll let you now how it works for me. It has been successful for the fiend of mine who signed me up, and I did something similar in the ’90s and lost about 100 lbs in 7 months (yes, I know, I was a young’un back then). Since I started my current job none year ago, I gained a bunch of weight to the point where I am at a place I never wanted to be.. So I am curious how this will all work.
My biggest concern is giving up caffeine, and I may just ignore that part of the cleanse. When I lost all the weight the last time, I drank caffeine all day long and still was able to lose. I didn’t do a whole lot of exercise the first three months I did it but after that started to religiously walk three hours a day. It’s good to hear about all of your energy!
I usually lose a lot of weight the first week on any diet. Like you said, a lot is usually water weight. I’m a lot larger than you are, so it may be around 10 lbs for me anyway. Because of this, I’m not even going to weigh myself until I am a week in, and will measure everything from that point on.
I know my situation is not the same as yours, but it may be interesting to see how this works on a man and compare notes. I just better not postpone it more!
Yes, I’m thinking of keeping the AM cup of Joe too. I can’t function without it and would be a danger to myself and others. Glad to hear I’m not alone!
I kept my morning shot of espresso, and it’s not been a problem so far. If I need to axe it down the line because weight loss stalls or I don’t feel balanced or energetic, I’ll try giving it up too or cutting it to half a shot and slowly phase it out. I just LIKE it, I don’t really need it. It’s one of my favorite habits. 🙂 Are you doing the cleanse too?
Wow, that is a coincidence. I’ve been pretty thrilled with the results so far, but a week isn’t enough time to really know it’s going to work for me long-term, but I’m really encouraged so far by what I’ve gotten and knowing other people who have don great on it and then maintained it, which is the big deal for me
I’ve found it pretty easy, other than the first three days. My sister reminded me constantly during her first three days how miserable she was. 🙂 She’s feeling better and getting that energy bounce now.
I didn’t completely take out the caffeine. I often ignore that part. I’ve limited it to one shot of espresso daily, and sometimes not even the one. So I’m not doing a ton of caffeine. I find the energy I’m getting from the shakes, my meal and the vitamins have been excellent. I hope you get the same! I feel pretty confident you will, just be patient for the carb/sugar stuff to subside.
I hope you’ll pop in weekly and let me know in comments how the week went for you. I’m not sure how old you are, but I think changes in the body with aging are different for men and women in the specifics, but a lot the same. If you want to compare notes by e-mail, I think you have mine patty at perfumeposse dawtcawm. So excited for you!
I think the beginning of any diet is tough the first couple of days. I don’t have the habit of eating at work, so that may be difficult to adjust, since there seem to be things I have to do all day long. I’ll figure it out. I’m glad you are doing the BCAA supplement. I may do that as well. Losing weight can be addictive…. I lost too much weight the last time and, as a result, lost muscle. I’d love to compare notes by email if you want. I’m at furriner at gmail dot com. I’m 55 this year, by the way.
Furriner, I haven’t found it to be too awfully busy having to do things throughout the day. I think they give you some guidelines for those that are watching the clock, and that fulfills some psychological void for snackers like me. 🙂 Now that I’ve got the system down pretty well, it’s really just grab a pill or something on my way through to get more water. WAter, Water, water, water! I’m 54, so about the same age! Absolutely, e-mail me once you start, I don’t want to bug you if you wind up not starting when you think and let me know how it goes! I’m excited for you and hope you get the same result I’m getting so far. I don’t know why I keep saying that. I don’t have any reason to believe that my energy will go away if it just keeps getting stronger as the days by.