#ExcerptWeek – MenoWhat? by D. G. Kaye


Excerpt –MenoWhat? A Memoir by D.G. Kaye

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.

Wrong again.

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 Author
D. G. Kaye

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44 thoughts on “#ExcerptWeek – MenoWhat? by D. G. Kaye

  1. Great excerpt, Debby. I remember the first time I became aware of my ‘fatback’. I was in a fitting room trying on a new bra and saw those squidgy bits oozing under the bra. The assistant said: “Don’t worry about it, lots of women have this…” She didn’t say aloud but I’m sure she was mentally adding “when they reach a certain age.” Yay for loose tops!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Lol Mary. I can so identify! And yes, thank goodness for loose tops. I don’t remember the last century I ever tucked one in, lol. PS I thought I’d responded to all comments here but when I came to visit I didn’t see my replies on some of the comments. Either I’m losing my mind or wordpress is playing shenanigans again. 🙂


  2. Ah well, due to the fact I had ‘funny cells’ at the age of thirty and had a hysterectomy I don’t think I had a menopause until I had breast cancer at the age of fifty and, after surgery, went on Tamoxifen – when I went through the whole gamut of strange symptoms. So… eventually … I identify with this. Thanks, Debby. Don’t care about ‘fatback’ – do care that my ‘muffin top’ is now a ‘cottage loaf’ top. Hey ho!! Jx.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. As we age, our feminine bodies begin to betray us. I don’t have “fatback, but my waist and hips have melded, giving me that “dumpy look.” I was always tall and thin. Now, I’m 1/2 inch shorter, 10 pounds heavier, and…well, not the girl I used to be. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing, Deb. Menopausal women, unite!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: #ExcerptWeek – MenoWhat? by D. J. Kaye | Sue Vincent – Daily Echo

  5. What a great article! I’ve been in menopause for seven years, and the changes are not fun. I too use to have a smallish waist, rocking the 10 inch waist to hip ratio. I’m tall so the weight gain didn’t seem too bad. Not anymore, It’s tiresome always sucking my gut in all the time, and shape wear is too darn uncomfortable for me. I’ve just upped my exercise game, and am hoping for the best. I still have good legs, so that’s always a plus. LOL

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Loved this excerpt, Debbie! Oh, how we women suffer the fat of our lives! LOL! I am like you short waisted and I struggle too with the extra of me that seems to keep sprouting out like a sprinker on a lawn no matter what I do. I aim to beat it, maybe one day. Will check out your book soon. Blessings & hugs! 😘

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks, Debby! I’m going through it now (well, for the last two years) and I’m also somebody who has always struggled to keep weight under control. At some point, from being bigger on top than at the bottom I flipped, but now despite the exercising and all, I’ve discovered some of the foods that helped me before don’t seem to do so now. And of course, recovering from exercising takes a bit longer, but hey, mosquitoes still love me! 🙂


  8. I always thought those extra pounds and that merge at the center of women’s bodies was because they let themselves go. Well, that’s what I thought until I reached that point in my life. It is a constant battle. Diet and exercise just aren’t powerful enough.


  9. Hi Marcia,
    I am a good friend of Debby’s which you may already know.
    I read her book about menopause on my summer vacation. I wrote a wonderful review on Amazon, and I meant every word. The book gave me a much needed peace of mind. It is nice if you to give her book promotion.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Janice! Nice to meet you. Deb has been a great contributor to this blog for some time, and I’m always happy to share news, promos, and excerpts for the good folks who make up our community. (Besides, I’d be scared Deb would come after me with a pointy stick if I didn’t. 😀 😀 😀 )

      Glad you stopped by and hope you’ll visit often! Have a great day!

      Liked by 1 person

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