Like many women of my age I 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 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. Nothing has helped me shift weight. I can lose 7lbs and then I 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.
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 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.
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. 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