So regular readers may remember my post a while back about the menopause. I have just checked and I published it 4 years ago in 2018, when the world was a different place. The Change is still one of my most read blogs of all time. So I thought it time to revisit it.
So here is my first observation…. I wrote that blog 4 years ago. And here I still am waiting for the actual menopause to happen. For those not in the know to be classed as ‘through the menopause’ one has to stay period free for 12 months.
So in my case I have, a couple of times, reached the 9 or 10 month mark and then, well you guessed it, an emergency trip to the feminine hygiene aisle. Well actually that’s not true because a while back (about a month before my first nine month stint) I invested an horrendous amount of money in pairs of period pants. A relatively new invention which are truly life changing. And landfill saving. Well they would be if I had used them more than thrice.
Sorry I digress. So I still haven’t made it through. The clock restarted again for me last December. Its all rather annoying. If by annoying I mean fucking irritating.
I haven’t gone down the HRT route. Mainly because I can’t face trying to get a GP appointment. That’s a whole other blog but I have during the pandemic just rolled on ‘as nature intended’ or not…as I am redundant evolutionarily speaking and if nature was truly taking its course and doing what was intended I would be pushing up daisies. Well again not actually as I want to be cremated. Good cliche though.
Since the pandemic (or rather since we started ignoring the pandemic) primary care hasn’t got all that much easier to deal with so I have not yet summoned the requisite emotional energy to try to sort it out. That’s an ongoing symptom a lack of emotional energy. Or indeed energy.
Combine that with 3 teenagers, none of whom have yet learned to drive, and I just can’t seem to fit it in. And yes I know I should ‘prioritise my self care’. Prioritising self care is just another way to make people feel bad about their apathy… or maybe that’s just me.
Anyway what are my other new observations 4 years on?
In my last blog my main issues were cyclical. Not now. Now they are constant. Hot flushes, irritability, tiredness and yet also insomnia, cognitive decline (or ‘going upstairs to get something and standing at the top of the stairs at a complete loss after the 30 seconds it took you to get up the stairs’), lack of emotional energy, weepiness or extreme rage, much more swearing.
However the main change since last time has come as a quite horrific shock to me. For my entire life until about a year ago if I put on weight I did so on my hips and arse. In a reassuringly heart friendly way. And I was able to channel my inner Monroe until I could be bothered to reduce my kettle chip intake.
Over the last year, and due to a combination of pandemic, some tough issues we faced with Youngest, being peri menopausal and just generally not ‘prioritising my self care’ I have put on weight.
I am not alone in this… we are a nation slightly plumper as we dealt with all the deprivations of lockdown in that time honoured way of comfort eating. I guess some people got thinner, due to a combination of Joe Wicks and making the most of that one permitted walk a day, but my guess (and I have done absolutely no research here) is probably not many.
In times gone by (for instance in my first year at Uni, horribly home sick and with a bakery serving the best vanilla slice I have ever eaten on my route home to halls for lunch) any extra weight was easily dispatched by a double pronged attack of aerobics and sensible eating.
And even at my heaviest (that year at Uni is still it remarkably) my stomach was flat and my waist trim. A fortuitous accident of genes I imagine. I always dressed for my waist.
And now as I hover dangerously close to that weight again I can tell you people that I no longer have a flat stomach or a trim waist.
Recently I read that the NHS may change how they measure fatness from BMI to waist to height ratio. I can guarantee you that any woman through or approaching menopause will fail. Unless they are that ‘haggard thin’ some women keep into old age.
No worries, I thought, I’ll go back on the Weight Watchers app and lose the excess. (Other diet apps are available. If you can find one with a more complicated ‘points system’ I’ll be amazed. My depleted cognitive function struggles I can tell you). And I’ll also do some exercise DVDs and stop pretending that a bit of light housework daily ‘counts’.
So I have. And let me tell you that stuff does not want to shift. I have stuck religiously to the diet. And almost killed myself 4 times a week and lost 1lb. Over 3 weeks. One measly pound. And none of it as far as I can tell from my waist.
So it’s depressing. I’ll be eating plain chicken and salad forever. Or I’ll be unhealthy. Take your pick.
Anyway I am soldiering on against all the odds. Until my weight, wherever it lands on the old bod, is at least comfortably in ‘normal’ BMI range although my waist to height may never get there, unless I grow, which seem unlikely.
So I have bought boot cut jeans and loose shirts and floaty cardigans. For the first time ever.