New and Improved Change of Life — Now With Less Wine!

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Down 37 pounds

So I finally have the nerve to put up my current “before” and “during” pictures. The first picture is from January 1st of this year. The second one was taken yesterday. I still have a long way to go. Of course I picked my “worst” before picture. Actually, I really had a hard time finding a before picture at all that showed anything but my face. I generally hide from the camera, but if there is a picture I can tolerate I go to town with the cropping tool. You’ll notice in the first picture I must have tried to crop out some of my back fat under the delusion that would trick people into thinking I was svelte. OK, enough about that.

Here is what I really want to talk about: I really had a hard time with menopause. I was (extra) anxious, moody, angry, and forgetful. I couldn’t sleep. I really felt crazy from time to time. Some women seem to deal with the change much better than I did. I imagine some turn to yoga or running, some turn to hormones, antidepressants, or prayer, and some just struggle through unaided. I turned to chardonnay. And chocolate. I am not proud of that, and I can tell you that it wasn’t effective.

I know that stuffing myself with food, and worse, pouring a couple of glasses of wine every night wasn’t the solution; let’s face it, it was part of the problem. But I really didn’t know what else to do. Scratch that; I wasn’t willing to do much else.

I had a rough few years, but then, almost as if by magic I got to the other side. And for me, it really is magical. I assumed that when I got to the other side of menopause it would all be downhill but I am pleased to report I was wrong. I feel a lot more joy and have a lot more energy. My cravings have diminished. Is that because the raging storm of my hormones has calmed? Or because I drink less, much less, and eat less recreational carbs?  Is it because I exercise regularly now? It is all of that. I know that for the most part, I am in charge of my health and moods now.

I wish I had taken better care of myself in every way when I was going through the worst. I am almost certain I could have started losing weight sooner. The biggest downside, for me, of losing weight after menopause is that it seems to take soooooo much longer. But I can’t undo the past, I can just keep moving forward, and that is good enough.

I got help with the wine, by the way. I talked to my friends Sue and Karen, who were non-judgmental and very supportive. I got coaching from Heather at HalfSizeMe.com to see if I could still incorporate wine into my life, but drink less and with more accountability to myself. Here is what I did. I took account of how many glasses I had during a typical week, and committed to cutting back by a few glasses the next week. That’s it. At the end of the week I was able to see that I kept my commitment to myself and I felt empowered. I still had wine on the weekend and during a dinner out. The next week I challenged myself to make another small, sustainable change in the amount that I was drinking. It worked again, and I didn’t feel deprived. I checked in with Heather every night, but I could see that I was really being accountable to myself. I did this week after week. Now I drink much less. I didn’t do it all at once, I didn’t make myself a promise I wouldn’t keep, and it worked.

I still have wine, just like I still have chocolate. But I feel the need less and less to overindulge with either. I find I am approaching other goals in my life in a more measured way, not taking an all-or-nothing approach. I have done 54 years of research and am zeroing in on what works for me. I like this change. I feel more even-tempered and focused on my goals. I sleep better and it is easier to get up and go to the gym or Jazzercise in the morning. Did I mention I feel so much better?

I shared with my husband this morning that my mood has been a lot more stable in the last few months. His eyebrows shot up and he fired back: “Oh, really?” My husband is a very funny guy. I am pretty sure he is joking.

P.S. If you are interested I have updated what I wrote about Jazzercise—I hope you’ll take a peek.

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