Weight gain around the middle during the menopause

My feelings about weight gain in the menopause

Weight gain around the middle

Like many women of my age weight gain around the middle has caused me to hate the shape my body has taken on in recent years. I have become the stereotypical middle aged, menopausal apple shape and I detest it with a passion.
I hate weight gain around the middle

I am only 4 foot 10 inches and have been petite most of my adult life. I felt that things started to change in my 40’s for me when I stopped working shifts and became a full time University student to study for my Masters Degree in Health Sciences. It was a great 2 years, studying at home sat in front of the computer for hours not having to dress smart. I could slob about in track suit bottoms. Then I would travel to the University every week along with my colleague. We were sponsored by our employer to attend and retrain. We were staying in a hotel every Wednesday night, eating in the pub, regular breaks in the University refectory. Within 3 months I had gained a stone and a half. No running up and down a busy Neonatal Unit burning calories. From that time onwards I was never able to lose this weight and despite taking up running, going to the gym and paying a Personal Trainer it stayed and I have continued to gain weight. It got worse again when I returned to shift work at 50, again for my role. I then returned to nights, days, 13 hour long shifts, short 7.5 hour shifts. Sometimes working nights and day shifts in the same week. This I feel totally knocked my metabolism off kilter. This coincided with the menopause.  Weight gain around the middle has blighted me and nothing helped me shift this. I can lose 7lbs and then  plateau. I have tried Slimming World, Weight watchers and an Extremely low calorie diet, living on liquid replacement drinks of 450 calories a day. This did help me lose 1.5 stone, but it didn’t stay off too long after my husband came out of work and took over the cooking. His Desperate Dan portions contributed to more weight gain around the middle.

What I have done to try and lose the weight

18 months ago my GP advised me that I had to try and lose weight due to a medical problem. She had great empathy and prescribed me Orlistat, a fat binding tablet to help me. She and other medical colleagues have all said that due to my hormonal state and irregular shift patterns I could not maintain a steady Cortisol level and this was inhibiting my chances of losing the weight. I was informed by my GP that in some people these tablets do not work. Well yes, you guessed it I was one of the people they did not work for. I lost my usual 7lbs and that was it. If you’re not familiar with these tablets they bind to fat and help you excrete 25% of your fat intake in your stools. (Sorry for those of you with weak stomachs!). It also involves eating a low fat diet or the side effects are very unpleasant!


So here I am half a stone lighter but stuck! I feel I need a miracle worker. I am surrounded by colleagues who are losing weight for fun on slimming world and I’m not.

I am very interested in clothes and fashion. I regularly get compliments on my appearance. I have to say I work hard at buying clothes that disguise my weight gain around the middle. However they are not the clothes I wish to wear. I long to wear the lovely body con dresses worn by Lorraine or Ruth Langford. Sadly it’s not to be, to add insult to injury I also have big boobs! Fitted jackets are also problematic.

This week I decided to go shopping to buy some dresses for summer and a couple of social events I have been invited to. This was an unmitigated disaster on the whole. Changing room mirrors are brutal as we all know. I came away with nothing that I really wanted, no smart dresses, just a couple of casual tops for my summer holiday overseas. I came home feeling very low indeed.

But I am a very positive person – my cup is always half full, and I found some positives. I went to a charity ball this week and wore a cocktail dress that I have had in my wardrobe for a couple of years it had only had one previous outing. I admit it was tighter than when I last wore it, but overall I was happy with how I looked in it.
Dressing to disguise weight gain around the middle

I then thought about where I had got this from. It was from a design brand called So Fabulous, I have a few of their pieces that I buy online from Fashion World. Reflecting on this I realised that all my favourite dresses were purchased from that website. Other brands I have purchased from Fashion World that suit my shape are Joanna Hope and Closet.  This provoked me to have a browse and sure enough I found several that I liked. I ordered them and when they arrived I was delighted with them. There is light at the end of the tunnel – hallelujah! Thank you for this fabulous company.

They are a mixture of dressy and casual and are fabulous. They were a pick me up and made me happy about myself again. My best dresses tend to be A line and I have accepted, that although this shape is not top of the fashion charts at the moment, they suit me and can make me look OK and disguise weight gain around the middle. The message is find a style that suits and stick to it. It’s no point squeezing myself into a body con dress just because I want one if it’s going to accentuate my middle! My pet hate is ill fitting clothes.

There are other fashion brands that I can always turn to such as Wallis and the wonder that is Pepperberry, by Bravissimo for ladies with big boobs. Their clothes are worthy of a blog post of their own.

Now I have decided on my personal style that doesn’t mean I am going to give up the quest for weight loss. I have a new strategy, after much soul searching I realised that I was probably consuming more wine and beer that I cared to admit. If I put my hand on my heart I was not counting these empty calories in my diets. I was probably consuming the equivalent of a day and a half’s extra calories per week. This is one of the pleasures and vices of my retirement. Lots of lunches with friends plus lazy evenings in front of the TV without the worry of an early start for work.


So I am abstaining from alcohol for the next 4 weeks before my holiday and following a slimming world diet. Watch this space and see if there is anything to report on this front. Onwards and Upwards.

Have you got any tips for weight loss in the menopause?
Or is there a go to fashion style you favour for your body shape?

I’d be interested to hear from you



Are trainers acceptable footwear for women over 50?

Comfortable shoes are a must over 50 - trainers can look fabulous depending on how they are worn

Comfortable footwear is essential for most women over 50

Comfortable footwear is an essential for many women over 50. Years of heels and working as a nurse takes it toll on feet. Trainers provide the most comfort  so my question is what makes trainers acceptable footwear. On the face of it the answer to that question is a resounding NO!

Is this because the statement conjours up images of slovenly women wearing shell suits and dirty trainers with unwashed, untidy hair.

This is a subject I’ve thought about a lot in the past 12 months and  think I have come to the conclusion that trainers are acceptable footwear for this age group of women.

When I was younger I was very fit and active, regularly going to the gym and walking a lot. Even having a spell of running ompleting the Manchester 10K road race in 2007. My one and only race at this distance at the grand age of 47! I was very proud of that achievement, however since then I have been less active for various reasons and ashamed to say that I carry a few more pounds than I’d like to.

Many reasons for this include I developed a chronic back problem, an occupational injury, I received physio and medical advice, encouraging me to continue to be active apart from running. At work my role and hours changed, crippling shifts had a negative impact on my lifestyle – a contributing factor for taking Early Retirement. I also developed Plantar Fasciitis – an extremely painful foot condition. After a Podiatry assessment the advice was to wear trainers, specifically running trainers,  at work due to spending the whole of my 13 hour shift on my feet. A prescribed reason to make trainers acceptable footwear

Are trainers acceptable footwear

Uniform policy dictated that they must be plain black or white with no obvious logo – a difficult task. They were a godsend providing so much more comfortable at work. I then bought a second pair to wear at home. After all when I fretired my aim was to be more active

Whilst purchasing my trainers I saw that there were so many attractively coloured designs available this got me thinking what makes trainers acceptable footwear for a woman of 55.

I don’t think I’ve mentioned in any of my posts that I am a shoeaholic -probably owning around 70 pairs at any one time. So thinking about footwear is something I do a lot! I have a vast array of comfortable smart shoes . Increasing age increases the need for comfortable shoes.  Could trainers look smart or stylish.

However I began to look at what women of my age were wearing on their feet. On trips to London and The Lake District I noticed more and more that trainers were being worn. What finally clinched it for me and finally made me decide that they are suitable was our recent winter holiday to Fuerteventura in January.

Its not the type of footwear but how they are worn that make trainers acceptable footwear

So what decided it for me was how trainers were worn, by that  what they were worn with. Spanish women over 50 wear trainers, brightly coloured ones too. I noted that mature women from other European countries wear them with style and panache. One particular lady, who looked in her 60’s daily came for a coffee at our hotel coffee shop with her husband.  Wearing bright yellow trainers bordering on fluorescent she looked fabulous. She had grey hair cut in a shapely bob, each day she wore a light mac or a loose black and white tunic with a chic scarf and large sunglasses. Also wearing black cropped trousers. I was envious of how stylish she looked  bright trainers enhanced her look and style. It was this stylish mature lady that convinced me  I could go ahead and buy more trainers colourful ones too!

Bright colourful trainers on holiday make Trainers acceptable footwear

Trainers acceptable footwear for this over 50

So ladies over 50 the key is what you wear your trainers with rather than the trainers dictating the style – bin the baggy tracksuit pants. Wear them with style and pride and most importantly with COMFORT! In conclusion this makes Trainers acceptable footwear.

I bought my trainers on holiday and luckily had a pair of black cropped leggings and a loose black tunic t shirt. I wore them one day and think I looked alright! and I am my biggest, harshest critic. I’ve included a photo for you to make your own judgement. More importantly I had no pain or discomfort in my feet and really enjoyed my daily walk around the resort and along the sea front.
 Trainers acceptable footwear with the right clothes

I would be interested to know your thoughts or opinions on my blog. Comments are very welcome and I will try to reply to each one.

Alternatively if you wish to email me

I am always happy to review any product that you feel is appropriate for the over 50’s women or the retiree.