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.