Peri-Menopausal Pity Party

Are you a women in your 50s? Are you approaching menopause, wading through menopause, or still suffering post-menopausal effects many years after the fact? Have you put on a few pounds? Are those pounds located around your middle? If so, you are invited to join my pity party. (If not, you are still welcome, but you will have to endure hostility and dirty looks.)

I'm thinking menopause must be right around the corner, but my ovaries haven't received the memo. They keep pumping out eggs at the usual rate; my cycle continues unabated. I rarely have a hot flash, and my mood is mostly positive. But let me tell you about the stubborn belly fat!

Yes, it's that time again, folks. Time for a bit of a whine and a moan. If you have a flat belly and sexy, six-pack abs and can still rock a bikini, please punish yourself severely while I continue my bellyaching.

If I had my druthers, I'd happily accept a slew of hot flashes. I'd go for dizziness, memory loss, weepiness, acne, backaches, front-aches, headaches, you name it. Anything but the dreaded belly fat. I have worked my proverbial ass off most of my life as a dance/yoga/fitness instructor, prancing about in leotards, unitards, sports bras, and leggings, all in the name of NO BELLY FAT. No matter how many hours per week it took, I'd put those hours in. Now I do all the work but it makes no difference.

I used to eat whatever I pleased. Cake? Sure. Chocolate chips cookies? My favorite. These days, I'm lucky if I can have a tiny square of dark chocolate without bloating up like a blue whale. Bread? Better not. Pasta? Never.

I'd love to lose about ten pounds. That would be amazing. But there is absolutely no way. I'm already teaching fitness classes 4 days per week, plus walking the dogs, working in the garden, vacuuming up all the dog hair, cooking my meals from scratch, eating copious amounts of raw power greens (that takes a lot of chewing, people!), practicing holistic stuff like yoga and qi gong, foam rolling, and writing this blog. Even if I wanted to exercise more, I really couldn't. My limbs would probably fall right off.

And I have cut my food consumption to the bare minimum. I no longer eat breakfast. Admittedly, this was not a huge savings in calories, but still! I usually have a huge salad for lunch, and some kind of soup for dinner. In the evening, always before 8 pm, I have my last snack--often a grain-free homemade treat of some kind. Low sugar, of course. (See my recipe for Grain-free Pistachio Mug Cake!) I've cut way back on the alcohol, only sipping a glass of wine occasionally. Maybe once or twice in the past month!

You'd think I'd look better than Madonna at this rate. But you'd be wrong!

Of course, when I go on vacation, I throw caution to the wind, drink like the devil, and eat fried foods with abandon. I then end up puffy and soft, like an under-cooked dumpling. This is when I force myself to step on the scale, feel rightly ashamed, and climb back on the wagon. To struggle like Sisyphus up the mountain once again.

Are you feeling me? Who is with me?

I wish I had the answers. Right now, I only have questions. Will this hideous phase ever end? Will there come a time when I can eat more than a mouse? Will I ever fit into those skinny jeans again? Should I just purchase a collection of caftans and be done with it?

If anyone knows, please leave a comment.