My Menopausal Middle: Menopausal Weight Gain

The following is from a humorous article I wrote about menopausal weight gain – more specifically menopausal belly fat – for Hot Flash Daily. The article was inspired by a photo my hubby posted on Facebook of me.

Body FatMind you, normally I try to avoid things that make me plump like mirrors, shop windows, other people’s sunglasses, large puddles, aluminum foil, or any other reflective surface.

Then, hubby posted that darn photo without my Facebook approval.

Don’t you love it when you see a picture and don’t recognize yourself?

I mean, how did I get SO wide? And what’s with that huge bulge around my waist? As the joke goes, my muffin top became a pound cake. When did that happen?”

Oh, I pretend to be puzzled but maybe I do know how it happened. Read, “Confessions of a Menopausal Chocoholic Crack Head” and you get the idea. 

But wait a minute, I take that back. Of course, I don’t accept those as the REAL reasons for this newly acquired belly fat. Like everything that goes wrong in my life, I blame menopause.

Which isn’t all malarkey, you know. Science actually agrees with me. Get ready for some real technical, fancy, savvy language to explain why I can’t lose this pooch.

According to the American Chemical Society, “estrogen receptors…serve as a master switch.” When estrogen levels in the brain dip during menopause, this master switch increases hunger, slows metabolism, and encourages fat gain around the waist.

Oh, great! In non-technical lingo, that means I’m so hungry I’d steal the chip from a monk, my metabolism called it quits, and all that extra fat now makes a beeline to my menopausal middle.

OverwieghtWhew, this menopausal belly fat SO isn’t my fault. But, after the Facebook incident, I decided it was time to face the music anyway.

I reluctantly decided to give up “mirror fasting.” Have you heard of this marvelous trend? People are refusing to look at their reflections for days, weeks, months, or even years so they can quit focusing on their looks and concentrate on more important stuff.

I wholeheartedly embraced this fabulous idea as soon as menopause gifted me with this Buddha belly.

I mean, look what happened to Narcissus who fell in love with his reflection and stared at it until he died. Yes, died! And who wants to be like the evil queen in Snow White who was a compulsive mirror gazer? Or what about the evil magic mirror in Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen that distorted the good and beautiful aspects of people and magnified their bad and ugly qualities? People just couldn’t quit looking at it. The evil mirror eventually broke into a million pieces; the fragments got into people’s eyes and turned hearts cold like a lump of ice.

There’s clearly a pattern here.

So, I quickly abandoned mirrors and felt very self-righteous about the whole thing.

But now things were different. Since hubby went and destroyed my blissful ignorance with the photo, I took a deep breath and looked in the mirror. Just for one second, but the damage was done. Then, I knew it was true: “Middle age is when your age starts to show around your middle.” No denying it. Depressing, but I survived it.

Okay. Next step. I thought about a measuring tape, but couldn’t find one (okay, I didn’t even look, leave me alone!) So, It was time for that scornful scale I broke up with long ago.

I waited for the morning, peed, and removed every item of clothing and jewelry – even my wedding ring. Then I plucked my eyebrows, shaved my legs, removed my nail polish, cleaned my ears, blew my nose, clipped my toenails, and checked for lint in my navel. Heck, I would have temporarily donated a kidney if I knew how.

And still…the scales read a whopping 167. By far, the most I’ve ever weighed in my life – even counting pregnancy. Deep sigh. It was like that poem, “When what to my wondering eyes should appear, but ten extra pounds on hips, thighs, and rear.”

So once again, I’m on a diet which stands for Did I Eat That? Time to play Hunger Games. Which is the sure ticket to failure, by the way, but I’m desperate.

Before I got started, the experts say to throw out all your junk food. Since I paid a lot of money for all those goodies, some pre-action was in order. So I diligently ate all the chips and chocolate chip cookies so they wouldn’t tempt me anymore. I worked day and night on this project as I pondered on the universal wisdom of the joke, if we’re not supposed to have midnight snacks, why is there a light in the refrigerator that makes it so easy?

Now I needed to lose 20 pounds instead of 15. Did I mention that menopause makes you extra hungry?

As you can tell, the whole dieting thing wasn’t going so well. After one week, I was obsessively examining myself in the mirror (I forgot all about Narcissus) to see if I looked any thinner. Yup, the low fat diet was working. My fat was definitely hanging lower.

If only losing weight was as easy as losing my menopausal temper!

On second thought, maybe it’d just be simpler to bake some cookies for my menopausal lady friends and look thinner by comparison.

Yup, that’s my plan. I’m forbidding any more pictures of me from my waist down on Facebook, breaking up with my bathroom scales once again, and I’m definitely going back to mirror fasting!

Image courtesy of jk1991 and AKARAKINGDOMS at Be sure and check out Hot Flash Daily for more informative and fun articles on menopause.


Julie A. Gorges is the author of two young adult novels, Just Call Me Goody Two Shoes and Time to Cast Away and co-author of Residential Steel Design and Construction published by McGraw Hill. In addition, hundreds of her articles and short stories have been published in national and regional magazines, and she received three journalism awards from the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association while working as a newspaper reporter. Julie currently lives in southern California with her husband, Scott, and has two grown children and three grandchildren.

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3 Responses

  1. Cat Michaels says:

    Fuuny look at a not so fun fact of life. I find swimming and weight training help, but boy, it sure is harder to keep that weight off, belly down. Thanks for you honesty and humor.

  1. June 2, 2016

    […] shared my struggles with losing weight in previous blogs like My Menopausal Middle. In my 50′s as a post-menopausal woman, the weight just wouldn’t quit creeping up on my […]

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