(k)erimenopause

One broad's reluctant journey to the dark side of womanhood.

Time to Dump the Mental Garbage January 24, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — kerimenopause @ 2:53 pm

According to that highly reliable source – Wikipedia – The Miller Analogies Test (MAT) is a standardized test used primarily for graduate school admissions in the USA. The test aims to measure an individual’s logical and analytical reasoning through the use of partial analogies. It can look something like this:

CLUMSY : BOTCH

A. WICKED : INSINUATE
B. STRICT : PAMPER
C. WILLFUL : HEED
D. CLEVER : ERADICATE
E. LAZY : SHIRK

FUGITIVE : FLEE

A. PARASITE : FOSTER
B. BRAGGART : BOAST
C. SAGE : STIFLE
D. BYSTANDER : PROCURE
E. FIREBRAND : QUIBBLE

You read it: Clumsy is to botch, like __________ is to ______________. Pick the best answer.

The other day I had a thought about things that bog me down. My MAT would look like this:

GUILT: MENTAL WEIGHT

A.  BIG GUT: LOW SELF-ESTEEM

B.  FAT THIGHS: FAILURE

C.  EXTRA POUNDS: ACCEPTANCE

D.  CHIPS: WIDE ASS

Although all of the above are true for me, ‘D’ is the proper answer for this quiz. Let me explain: Guilt weighs you down mentally to the point of incapacitation. Eat enough chips and your wide ass ain’t goin’ no where.

How many of us let the mental weight of guilt keep you from really succeeding on weight loss mission? How many of us have gym memberships we never use? How many of us have protein shakes in the cupboard we never open? How many of us have a weigh-loss pharmacy, only to have started/stopped each but never finished any? OK. Maybe none of you. But for me, again, all of the above.

After really thinking about the guilt issue and the connection it has to my repeated failure in my lifetime quest for thinner thighs, I realized that life is too short to feel guilty about what I’m NOT doing and start celebrating what I AM doing.  Love this quote:

Banquet-for-your-mind-140921

My mind is eating from a landfill of mental garbage! So…. this week, I decided to throw out some trash.

For the past two years I have been a member of Fitness 19. I got a screaming deal when I signed up… $12 a month! Well, once I did the math, not such a great deal. I’ve been no more than 5 times. That is about $60 a session. For me that isn’t the worst of the problem, however. A day has not gone by in the past two years that I have not beat myself up for not going there to work out. I’ve made elaborate plans. I bought nice work out clothes. Still, something just kept me away over and over. The result: nagging guilt and the belief that I suck.

A couple of days ago, I went to Fitness 19. I didn’t work out. I cancelled my membership. And, it felt amazing! My contract doesn’t run out until April 15. Which means, if I WANTED to, I could work out any time in the next three months completely guilt free of not taking advantage of what I’m paying for. I’ll probably end up there every day! When I walked out of the gym after my cancellation, I felt the lightest I ever have leaving there.

I signed up for a weight-loss program in December – promising amazing results.  True to form, I let this and that get in the way.  Well, that, and I realized I can’t eat a chicken breast and a leaf of lettuce every day.  It included all sorts of cremes, and drops, and shakes, and some kind of supposedly revolutionary fat zapper.  In thirty days, I lost 6 pounds. I can’t bring myself to tell you how much I spent on it.  On top of the program itself, I was required to drive about 30 miles one way twice a week.  If you aren’t from the Seattle area then you probably don’t think that is much.  From my home to the East side:  2 hours in brutal traffic.  If I was five minutes late, I lost my spot.  Yesterday, I called them and said I’ll use up the stuff but I’m pretty sure I could lose six pounds in a month without the stress of driving and the guilt of not doing it perfectly.

That decision inspired me to look at other areas that were weighing me down. I got home pulled out every weigh-loss regimen in my cupboards and drawers. Then I wrote down what each was for and how to use it. I devised a daily schedule to use them all up (after I made sure none of them would be a problem if used together). When they are gone, they are gone. Will I be thinner? Who knows but I won’t be weighed down by the constant dread of something else I didn’t finish.

My next step was to gather all the journals and workbooks and guides – I have a lot of them! I’ve got them all organized and I’m going to work through every last one of them so I can ditch them once and for all.

Will I be at a reasonable (to me, not you) weight when I’m done with all of this? Who knows? I certainly won’t be any worse than I am right now. And, I will surely be mentally lighter which may just be all I need to get physically lighter.  If you learn anything from this, I hope it is to empty your garbage, let go of the guilt that is weighing you down, and accept the fact that eating less and moving more is really the only solution.

guilt

        And, please, in the spirit of the most over-sung song of this

        century…

let it go, let it go, let it go!

 

5 Pissy Problems of Perimenopause January 21, 2015

Filed under: Normal Not Hormonal — kerimenopause @ 7:52 pm
Tags: , , , ,

#1  I don’t want a period, period.

Last July I had a period, short and forgettable. September I had another. Then, blissfully nothing. I was delighted to be done, done, done. Then I had lunch with a friend who was complaining about her heavy periods. I was a little arrogant about my 2 periods in six months. She looked me straight in the eye and said, ‘Oh, you’ll have another.’ Bitch. She was right. She ordained my period to return. She summoned up the bloody goddess of menstruation. It started the very next day. It has now lasted for six days so far – that’s two days longer than the longest period I have ever had. I don’t want to have my period any more. I have always considered them a pain in the ass (and the uterus) and a huge inconvenience. Well, except for the time or six when I was single and I really, really, really wanted that period to start. Truth is, not only is a period bothersome, I absolutely hate the smell of menstruation. It is vile. It’s what I imagine how rotting waste in the streets of some third world country smell. I don’t want to smell that again, ever.

#2  The sharp moments of mental clarity are great until I can’t remember the name of the person I’m talking about to my best girlfriend.

I pride myself on remembering pretty much everything. Ask my friends from 40 years ago. I can quote them from 6th grade. I can remember high school minutia including who lost their virginity, when, and the names of the deflowering boy. I can remember the near exact words of co-workers who effed me over. I can’t quote movies or remember song lyrics but I can reiterate the exact words my husband used when we broke up back when we were dating, and the words he used to get me back. But, lately, I can be having a conversation and suddenly can’t remember the name of my dentist, or the star of a movie I just saw – even if I’ve lusted over him for years. There’s a very scary early Alzheimer’s thing that happens when your brain turns to mush because your body has decided to mature.

#3  The creative high is amazing. The fall afterwards, sucks.

With or without a period, I’ve noticed for the past two or three years that I have the most amazing creative ideas about a week before when my period is supposed to start. It is rapid fire. I am exploding with enthusiasm and conviction that my ideas are not only great but are going to turn into something otherworldly. Fortunately, I now know to take a lot of notes (see #3). And just as soon as bleeding starts ( or what should be the start of my period) the creativity slowly drains out. With every tampon change, I am literally flushing away all that glitters and was gold. Within a day or two, I am so low that getting off the couch is the equivalent of climbing Mount Everest. I put on a happy face to get my kid to school and my husband out the door. Then I sink into the couch and into a mini depression. I’m only allotted six to eight hours because I need to pretend to be amazing and on it when son/husband return from their day of mind challenges and social interaction. It’s during this time that I start to question my worth as a woman, a person, a mom, a wife, a friend, a functioning part of normal society. It’s when I start surfing the internet for a ‘real job’ because producing/writing is sporadic at best and I have a big credit card to pay, and a kid to send to college, and dogs that need to go to doggy daycare. What I usually discover very quickly: I’m not really qualified for anything else. At least not anything that will fit into my schedule so I can drive my kid to school, have coffee with a friend, not work out, go to the dog park. Sinking. Further. Into. Perimenopause. Abyss.

#4  These hips don’t lie.

This will be brief. I’ve always had an ass. One I have been proud of. One that has been admired by more than my husband back in the day. What I didn’t have is the flop that rides above my jeans. I wasn’t always stacked like one of those old Fisher Price stacking toys. You know the one that has all the different color rings and you stack them by size. That’s what I see now, only when I’m dressed. Naked, it is more like a weeble. Yes, the ones that wobble but they don’t fall down.

#5  Night sweats vs freezing extremities.

Truth is I hate to be cold. I have hypothyroidism (since 6th grade) so I’ve dealt with the cold fingers, toes and the end of my nose for a long time. Unfortunately it has gotten worse. Even worse than when I was pregnant and I’d sleep in sweats with a scarf wrapped around my head like I just got in from the mid-east. Now I sometimes go to bed wearing yoga pants, a top that wicks away sweat and a hoody… covered with extra blankets that stay tight because I make my corgis snuggle in for the extra body heat. On a good night, the cat sleeps on my head. Sometime in the middle of the night, the dogs are kicked out of bed. The blankets are tossed in a heap between my husband and my overheating body. The yoga pants are stripped off. In the course of a good 8 hours, my husband can experience heat fluctuations that are like traveling from the Arctic to the equator.

Anthropologist Margaret Mead once said, “There is no more creative force in the world than a menopausal woman with zest.” I suppose that is true. But no more true than, there is no more frightening woman than one who sees you as the only thing standing between her and the last Oreo. No more true than, the woman who still bleeds is excited to be participating in this personal gift of womanhood. Seriously, and I speak only for myself and the multitude of voices that live in my head, I/we think forty years of a monthly bleed-fest is enough. It sucks. And… it stinks.

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Days 1-25: My quest to release my inner Kerri before my 54th birthday January 14, 2015

Filed under: And so it begins,Losing Ground — kerimenopause @ 6:07 pm
Tags: , ,

It started out how it always does: Great hope, great anticipation, great intention, great conviction. I suppose the bigger question is how I got here in the first place. I’d like to think I am unique some how and by some crazy twist of evil fate pounds packed on my ass. My thighs grew. And, don’t get me started on these damn boobs. But alas, that is not the case. The truth is the lure of food filing some void I was feeling superseded every desire to not gain any more weight.

For the sake of perspective, I’ll give you the Cliff notes on how I got wide, depressed, wider, more depressed, and finally ready (again) to find the skinny girl trapped in multiple layers of fat. First of all I’ve been very aware of my weight my whole life. I’m the youngest of four sisters. My mom, now 83, has been on a diet my entire life. Her mother criticized her weight every chance she got, including in front of us four. Actually, I was the ‘fattest’ sister when I finally graduated high school. I was 130 pounds at 5’6″ – yes, in my family that was fat.

I went to college and gained the obligatory 15-20 pounds my first year. But then I got it off, got really hot, and wavered between 130-140 for the next twelve or fifteen years until I was 35. That’s the year I got married. That’s the year I quit my very demanding, high pressure TV job to freelance. That’s the year I spent a lot of time alone during the days fretting about how I’d blown my career. That’s the year I confided in Wavy Lays and Vanilla lattes. I put on 5, then 10, and then 15. Then I got pregnant at 36. And then I ballooned into scary land.

I remember crying in the dressing room the day I had to buy double digit pants – who cared that I was creating a whole human in my body. I refused to get out of bed for two days when I looked down and couldn’t see my feet any longer. The day I went in to deliver our son, on one hand I was praying for a healthy body but, and I hate to admit, I was also praying for that immediate weight loss people talk about from breast feeding. Yeah, that didn’t happen.

For the next several years, I went down… then up… then down… oh, yeah, the up plus. Around the time my son was in 5th grade, I got super motivated and dropped down a lot. Partly because my husband was in Haiti two days after the earthquake. No contact for 2 weeks. I just worried and worked out. When he came home, I looked amazing! Then life kicked in again and our son’s move to Middle School was not as easy as I expected. I stress ate for the next 3 years. Tied in knots over his grades, his social status, his everything – while in his mind everything was perfectly fine. I misjudge his state of mind… or I guess I can admit I allow my state of mind about him form my neurosis. Now he’s in 10th grade and 25 days ago I weighed more than I have in 16 years. I can’t blame the baby weight any more. Sure, sure, I’m peri-menopausal. I have hypothyroidism. I”m sure my metabolism is shot due to the yo-yo dieting. I’m 53 (until May). None of that even registers for me.

Here is my truth: I am fat and that is all.

Just over 3 weeks ago I embarked on a new program for me. I decided after getting down to two pair of pants I can squeeze my Kim Kardashian-ass into;  it was now or never.  The ‘never’ in that statement is not an option.   I am not one of those really evolved women who is comfortable in her own skin, no matter what the weight.

As a sidebar, I feel very compelled to mention that anyone who feels they need to advise me on self-acceptance, or for those who know me who want to assure me that I’m great, beautiful, whatever, please don’t. I know those things. I actually believe them. I do think I’m amazing, beautiful, dynamic, smart, etc. I just want to present all of that to the world in a much smaller package.

I’ve listed all the million diets I’ve done before and won’t do it here. The reason I’ve decided to write in this format (sadly 25 days after I started) is so I can just puke up all the crap in my head that I don’t want swirling around as I try to stick to a program and get rid of my ass and ridiculous boobs. So let’s just get to what’s happened since I started…

First week – great. Easy to follow. The typical quick weight loss the first couple of days. Then, the ‘I know better voice started.’ Then, ‘just one ___________ won’t hurt.’ I actually not through the holidays and our son’s birthday without any weight gain. But you know what happened next… you’ve been there… we all have. The plateau. And here is where I’ve sat, on the plateau, for several days. you know how self defeating that is. So, what’s a glass of wine going to hurt?

Here I am now… 25 days from the day I started. I’m less than Day 1 – finally started losing again as of this morning. And then the greatest thing happened:  I went to the clinic where my program is monitored and had a long talk with Tara. Tara is beautiful, blonde, a size 4, about 5’11” – you know the kind of girl you don’t want to like. She opened her heart to me. She used to weigh 215 pounds. She’s lost 80 pounds and is raising two kids by herself. Suddenly she was just like me… an overweight mom, who just wants her health and her body back. Then she told me about her mom who has lost 100 pounds on the same program. *I won’t be sharing the name of the program here – unless they want to pay me for blogging about my success.

I’ve come full circle. I’m convicted. I’m committed. I’m hopeful. I can see the ‘other’ Kerri clearly and she is ready to come out of the layers of whatever. To that end, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to be accountable to myself via this blog. I promise to be funnier as we go along. But, hey, I’m 25 days behind so I’m just trying to get caught up!

 

 
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