weight loss is possible in menopause and i’m proving it

It creeped on over the years until I thought I was stuck. I couldn’t move down, just up. In weight, that is. Then I said to myself, “Self,” I said, “if not now, when?” Oh, wait, that’s what Oprah says in the ad for this weight-loss program.

But she’s right.

If not now, when? When you’ve put on more weight? When you’ve had to buy yet another, even larger pair of pants? When your lower back starts to ache from walking because of the strain your bulging midsection is putting on it? When your doctor prescribes a half-dozen different pills to thwart a heart attack? If not now, when?

I took the bait and off I ran. And you know what, it’s working!

I started reducing my food intake and exercising more on April 6. It’s now May 18 and I’ve dropped 3.5 pounds. I wasn’t huge to start with, but I definitely was starting to see a woman in the mirror I had never seen before and barely recognized. Every angle was now rounder. Every body part was now looser or wider or just plain bigger. My BMI was embarrassing. I shouldn’t have been in the high 140s at all. I should barely be in the high 130s even. But every year, eating basically the same diet as forever, the pounds kept adding up and were miserable to get off.

This losing pounds and getting more fit and healthy is still a work in progress, but I’ve read that it takes twenty-one days for an activity to become a habit. I’ve surpassed that time and I’m now in a routine of watching what I put in my mouth and upping the minutes on the treadmill or in walking the dog. I’ve increased my pace too. And on days when I don’t think I can fit another walk in, I’ll jump on the tradmill for ten fast minutes while the water for the pasta is boiling for the night’s supper. Or I’ll stick my feet under the wing chair in the living room and do twenty-five sit-ups.

I haven’t added up the calories I’m taking in, but I’d say it’s about 1,500 or 1,600. I stick to my basic toast and coffee  and sometimes an egg for breakfast. I eat a light frozen-food lunch and a cup of my favorite Greek yogurt and fruit. And dinner is my usual stirfry or pasta or whatever I make for the family. And there are always veggies. I’ve just cut back on quantity, especially of carbs, including my number-one favorite item: white Jasmine rice.

Thinking about what goes into your piehole prevents you from, say, shoveling in another slice of banana cream or piling in chips one after the other. It makes you reach for a mandarin orange instead of a cookie. And when you do treat yourself–and that’s perfectly fine–you’ll probably not want a double serving of ice cream or a generously sized piece of chocolate cake. You’ll savor that cookie or that cake and actually taste your food.

I plan to keep this up until I reach my goal and then stick with it as best I can. I don’t ever want to get to the high 140s again, because just around the corner are the 150s, and they’re waving me on.



the austerity program, day one

After many months of ups and downs in his current job, my husband found out two days ago–and let me in on the joyous noise just yesterday–that he will be without a job in thirty days. That’s two more paychecks away.

I work, but what I bring in is less than one-fifth of what he makes and what he makes pays all the bills, with a little left over, usually, to save. The maximum that unemployment insurance will pay out in this state is $1,800 a month, which to some may seem like a lot, but for us will only cover our mortgage and real estate taxes on a quite modest home. In other words, we’re screwed.

When he was in school and we had one baby and then another and nothing but part-time jobs, we were able to live off what little we made plus the student loans he got for attending school. But that was when we had no mortgage, had one car, had no other debt, and were young and stupid. Now, we have four offspring, a mortgage, four vehicles (the newest being seven years old, the oldest being twenty-one), a gas-and-electric bill, a water bill, a basic cable bill, a golden retriever, an overweight tabby cat, homeowner’s insurance, health insurance (which costs over $1,100 a month alone), auto insurance, and life insurance, plus expenses for the newspaper, gasoline, food, church donations, doctor’s visits, etc., etc. That’s a lot more than we had to manage, even with two babies, back in the late ’80s. What to do?

First of all, my husband has to not only look for (which he’s been doing for the past twenty months), but now find a job. And I have to go full force into an austerity program to try to stretch the minimal amount of dollars we will have coming in until his next paycheck.

So, I am setting in motion a full-on Austerity Program, the likes of which haven’t been seen since the Great Depression, World War II, or modern-day England, whichever is worst.

Austerity Program, Day 1. What did I do to  make or save money so far?

I grabbed the last few purchases I made and looked at what, if anything, I could return. I was able to gather three tops from Target (one at $9, two each at $5) and a pair of shoes I’d bought over a month ago for a special occasion, but that never fit quite right, and returned them to Target and Payless (another $18.30 returned to my MasterCard). I have another T-shirt to go back to a sporting goods store that I didn’t have time to get to today. I also drove the twenty-one-year-old non-air-conditioned car, which I will continue to use as long as possible to avoid putting gas into the family-sized vehicle.

We have two birthdays coming up in the next few days: my husband’s and our youngest child’s. My son needs some clothes, so while at the mall, I ran into JCPenney, because I know their Arizona shorts fit him well, and “purchased” a pair of those shorts, using a gift card I had received for Christmas. (Fortunately, I’m not much of a clothes horse–as can be witnessed by the above-mentioned clothes and shoes I’d recently purchased–nor am I much of a shopper in general. Therefore, I still have from Christmas or my birthday another JCPenney gift card, a few small ones from Target, one from Macy’s and one from a movie theater, which I will probably use on my son’s birthday, so I can treat him to a little something special.)

My next step is using up all the food in the house before buying anything else at the grocery store, save vegetables, milk, butter, and other perishables that will need restocking. Tonight, I plan to take inventory of what I have and what I can do with it.

I’ve gone through austerity measures in the past, and I can do it again. If the queen of England can freeze her salary for the sake of the kingdom, then I too can do my part to save. I just wish I were saving what the queen makes.