Until we actually live through something, it’s difficult to imagine what the experience is like. When I was young but nearing menopause, I became interested in how the physiques of menopausal women began to change. Women come in all shapes and sizes, but I noticed that even the waistlines of smaller women weren’t as proportionately small as their slight frames suggested. I was certain the dreaded middle-age spread would not apply to me, and I referred to it as circumference expansion.
As we approach the early stages of menopause, estrogen begins to cozy up to our midriffs. Then, when we reach menopause, our depleted estrogen is replaced by cortisol-induced fat cells. Cortisol compensates for estrogen loss and loves to store fat cells around the belly. Thanks again, estrogen, for abandoning us and leaving us with an unfair trade-off of fat as your substitute! This is certainly a cruel punishment for those of us who worked so diligently to stay on top of our weight issues.
As a woman who had spent most of her young life on diets and lived fearfully by the scale, I was sure this phase would spare me. I thought it was simple: If we let ourselves get out of control and eat too much, of course we’ll gain weight. I believed that if I was disciplined in my diet and exercise regime, I wouldn’t have a problem with my waistline expanding.
My waist used to be my smallest feature, compared to my curvy hips. As a petite woman with a short waist-to-hip ratio, I was obsessed with keeping my weight down. Granted, as I approached my thirties and forties, my body weight began to shift. I had to accept that my twenty-six-inch waist had grown to twenty-nine inches all on its own. I did my best to maintain what I had left after I went through The Change. I noticed, without any change in my diet or exercise, that those little muffin tops or love handles, as they are so affectionately named, had somehow attached themselves to my body. Whoever had given them such sweet names was either deranged or male, I decided.
My body seemed to take on a new life. Don’t get me wrong, I can still fit into my pants, but somehow they don’t look quite as good with the outline of a muffin top through my shirt. Oddly enough, my hips and thighs have managed to remain the same size, albeit not as firm. But meno muffin had taken up residence in my midsection. My body had definitely been re-proportioned. Getting dressed became a completely new experience. Gone now were the wool sweaters and turtlenecks of the past, as were my nice fitted tops.
When I was younger, if I gained weight, it went directly to my hips and thighs. The new targets were my waist, arms, and back. No longer was I only plagued by my fear of an expanding waistline—I had discovered fatback. I’m sure many of you are well acquainted with this dragon. This is a fat attack on the upper body, love handles that stick out of the bra line when you wear a fitted top. I have yet to learn of any invention with the ability to camouflage this. Can we even liposuction this? I’ve gotten into the habit of buying my tops one size up to try to combat this occurrence. Hey, whatever works. It doesn’t eliminate the problem, but at least it doesn’t accentuate my overage.
Listen: We can exercise, starve, self-tan, buy bigger clothes, wear Spanx, or put on a happy shade of lipstick. Whatever it takes to make us feel better about ourselves, I say we should go for it. The bottom line is that we all reach a stage where we have to accept ourselves. We can highlight our best features, we can laugh and make light, and we should always just be grateful that we are still on the right side of the green.
D. G. Kaye
Please feel free to visit and follow me at:
My website: www.dgkayewriter.com
My Amazon author page: www.amazon.com/author/dgkaye7
My Goodreads page: www.goodreads.com/dgkaye
Check out my books and read first chapters: