For the last ten to fifteen years I have been praying for menopause. I should say begging for menopause. I am done having kids, so who wants to deal with having a period, not me. Finally, in the last two years, I have noticed changes in my body. I started to think I was going through reverse puberty, more commonly known as menopause.
I call it reverse puberty because just like when you were a thirteen year old kid going through puberty, your body begins to change in ways that sometimes turn your world upside down for awhile. You feel out of sorts, sometimes downright wacky. It can feel like your body is turning on you.
Like puberty, hormones are going wild. Like puberty, your appetite increases and you start to gain weight. Like puberty, your emotional state is compromised by your insane hormones. Like puberty, sometimes you’re horny like crazy or you don’t want to be touched. Like puberty, you want to sleep more or you hardly sleep at all. Crazy!
Suddenly, I realized that three years ago when I began to put some of my weight back on, when I went through a huge emotional upheaval in my life, when my sleep patterns changed drastically, and when I experienced bouts of on again off again depression is when I started peri-menopause. I was a pre-teen in the menopausal world.
As much as I talk about being an emotional eater, I should really say I am an internal emotional eater. Meaning, I internalize my emotions instead of confronting them, which leads me to eat. Then I remembered bits of conversations with my friends and my female cousins going through menopause. The pieces were coming together.
It dawned on me yesterday, which is what prompted me to write this blog and research this topic, the weight gained in these last few years may be in part contributed to by menopause. Yay! I am not a complete loser (should I say gainer)!
Remember when you were going through menopause? Weren’t you overly emotional? Didn’t feel like you wanted to eat everything in sight? Didn’t you sleep too much or hardly sleep at all? Didn’t you start growing hair in places you never had hair before?
Now, you as you watch your thick hair become thinner you are plucking hair from a place where most men grow a beard. Reverse puberty! Weight gain and hairy faces! Could we get any uglier?
So what do we do about it you ask? The battle strategy to fight against your body’s attack on your youth is the same as when you were a teen. Proper diet and exercise. There I said it.
When you were a teenager you were told by your parents, your doctors, and every teen magazine your read to eat right, exercise, and get plenty of good sleep. Teens who ate too many fattening foods developed acne, got fat, moved slow, and slept poorly.
Same for us menopausal women. We have to eat right, exercise, and get proper rest. Menopause is not an excuse for getting fat and not taking care of us. It might sneak up on us. We may not realize we are going through menopause until periods start becoming erratic. By that point, we may already be exhibiting symptoms of menopause such as weight gain, mood swings, difficult sleep patterns.
Knowledge is power. Be aware that you may be approaching the time of your life where you are beginning to move toward menopause. Know this ahead of time, and you can use this awareness to combat the symptoms before your hormones take over. This way, long before you enter into menopause, you have already developed the habits of eating properly, exercising regularly, and sleeping well.
If you develop healthy habits before you go through reverse puberty, chances are you will sail through the emotional muck and changes your body goes through.
If you are like me, late to the party when it comes to taking care of my health, remember it is never too late to change your habits. It is harder than for those who have always done it right when it came to their health. But it is never too late to redirect your body toward a healthier lifestyle. Menopausal weight gain is a natural expectation. Keeping it to a minimum is our responsibility towards our health.
Our bodies might be getting older, hence reverse puberty aka menopause, but we will look and feel younger if we establish and practice healthy eating habits, and if we exercise regularly. We are the only ones that can take charge of our health. No excuses!
Until we meet again, this is Linda Misleh Wagner, Future Former Fatty.