That was a mouthful.
It's what I want to talk about, though. In fact, this blog is going to start appearing more as a women's journal so that I have a place to connect better with all of you, unload some of my old baggage that has weighed me down - literally, and to help myself and those of you who read to find a little inner peace through shared stories.
I thought I would start with my own journey into fitness and nutrition, share my own struggles and epiphanies, and hopefully we can get some momentum going in the comments to gather ideas and insights into what works...and doesn't. Today, I'm focusing on perimenopause in particular because I am deep in it. It has struck early and I've noticed many of my women friends are experiencing it earlier than expected, too. So, we may as well talk about it.
In a word, perimenopause is a menace. A total jerk. It's just a real pain. It causes trouble, wreaks havoc and is a general disaster in terms of hormonal balance. I thought it was hard to keep my diet controlled and my muscles toned before, but now that I am in my later forties, perimenopause is laughing at me. She is downright hysterical. Like, "try it, Lady. I can top that."
Like, when you wake up and find five more pounds have taken up residence around your middle while you were doing nothing at all but sleeping!
And then there's the mood swings....
My hormones called. They said they wanted to set an appointment to to rip your head off.
The struggle didn't start in my forties, though.
When I was in my teens, I quickly realized I would always have to watch my weight. I watched my friends eat whatever they wanted and not gain an ounce. I remember the resentment that brought forth.
I also remember when it started. I had just turned 15 and spent a summer in Spain on the Island of Menorca with a German family friend where I ate cakes, these delicious frozen ices served in big lemons and oranges, almonds and ---well, everything. I remember coming home to a few more pounds on the scale and I didn't notice it really until I returned to high school sophomore year and started that dangerous comparison dance.
It was the first time I was every really conscious of what I weighed. It was the first time I considered that maybe my body should look different. Like, why do I not have skinny legs or a bigger chest? Why don't I have muscular arms? Why......It just cycles.
It began this spiral of disordered eating that lasted well into my early twenties, until it eventually landed me in an eating disorder treatment center. I don't ever talk about this, but it seems like a good time to start, so I am. It helped me, that center did. it really did. I was able to live with my body image after that because I at least had some tools to work with, though it never really went away - the self talk, the negative body image, but at least it was no longer destructive.
I got married, got my education with a few degrees and had the three boys I had always dreamed of having. The struggle was always whispering silently, the need to be fit, to look and feel a 'certain way' always still eluding me, but I always persevered. Life happened--it was okay. I brushed off thoughts and tried all the diets again. Like we do.
To date, I feel like I have spent most of my years trying new diets (WW, Atkins, Southbeach, The Cabbage Soup Diet -- really?) I mean, you name it and I tried it. I also tried all the new fitness routines, taking up new habits and...still struggling. I'm sure many of you can relate to this. But when perimenopause struck, and it has been a few years of it now, it made it even more difficult to maintain or lose a pound. My body composition even changed. Since when did I not have a small waist? Why was I gaining weight in my stomach?
I tried Keto and all the things. What I have found to work, finally, is a combination of intermittent fasting (also for health/cleansing in addition to the added benefit of weight loss) and a regular fitness routine.
These days, I practice intermittent fasting and hit the treadmill or woods to run 3 days a week, while the other 3 days are spent working with weights. This has freed my mind as well as toned my body. I love this new routine and it is working...slowly. I'm okay with slowly because my mind is settled and my body feels pretty good. What's more, I feel like the signs of aging aren't as extreme these days, so I must be doing something right.
It's hard to be a woman sometimes, isn't it? We look at others and think we want what they have, whether it be a simpler lifestyle or the perfect body and we don't look at ourselves with the gratitude and admiration that we should. And we should look at ourselves that way, because we are given these bodies to make them the best they can be. I don't intent to waste another day on negative thinking--I wasted too many of my days with that nonsense. No, these days I am counting my blessings that I can run, that I have access to healthy food and that I have the ability to make choices and be responsible for them. I am feeling free and I hope you can feel free, too.
It's never too late to change your mind so you can change your life.
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