It seems like we’ve been talking about food a lot lately. It’s hard to escape though, isn’t it? It’s everywhere, all the time, and when it’s not, it’s easy to get our hands on. Thing is, when we do partake, if we’re not cognizant, we end up reaping results our bodies don’t agree with.
I remember when I was young, and it seemed like I could eat anything I wanted in copious amounts, and it never effected how I felt or looked. The idea of carbs and sugars sticking to me and causing bloating that didn’t melt away immediately was such a distant concept.
I also remember women who were wiser in age and maturity telling me to “enjoy it now” because “one day” the food would stick to me like silly putty to carpet and I wouldn’t be able to get rid of the excess so easily. I would just laugh or smirk and signal, “okay sure” because truly I didn’t understand.
And then it happened.
Menopause began rearing her ugly head and amid all the tears, confusion, and uncertainty of what was going on in my mind and body I remembered the words spoken years ago.
Oh, how I wished to will myself back in time and truly enjoy it then because surely, I wasn’t enjoying it now.
You may recall in my third blog how I discussed my struggles with weight gain during my menopausal journey. I adjusted my diet, stepped up my exercise regimen and was seeing great results in how I felt and looked – more energy, a clearer mind, and even the decrease in the number on the scale.
Talk about a win!
But, against my better judgment, I made an appointment with a doctor who prescribed hormone replacement therapy and the better judgment I should’ve listened to but ignored said, “I told you so.”
The biggest setback was that it caused weight gain causing me to slip back into a place I’d worked so hard to escape – depression and living as a recluse because the thought of people seeing my “failure” front and center was simply too unbearable.
Now let’s fast forward …
During the research for my book, “It’s Time for a PAUSE” I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with and helping many women along their menopausal journey’s and in each of them, I’ve seen pieces of me. Two women in particular are Lisa and Angelica.
Lisa began rapidly gaining weight during the beginning of her menopause journey, which was accompanied by mood changes and depression. It had gotten to the point where Lisa stopped going out and even described her emotions as “unbearable.”
Desperate to lose weight, Lisa bought over-the-counter weight-loss pills and was prescribed Synthroid from a doctor, who also suggested the Synthroid would ‘most likely help’ her lose weight. Well, neither option produced the results Lisa was looking for; the over-the-counter pills caused heart palpitations and the Synthroid had a reverse effect – it caused her to gain even more weight!
Talk about a double whammy.
Then there was Angelica, who like Lisa also experienced drastic mood changes and weight-gain. During our first session, Angelica said she wanted to take her life back and never again feel so helpless. My first piece of advice to her was to focus on little goals in order to achieve her ultimate goal – even now I’m reminded of Desmond Tutu’s response to life and situations that seem daunting, overwhelming and maybe even impossible, “there’s only one way to eat an elephant: a bite at a time.”
I’ve been able to help both women eliminate foods that were the culprits of their symptoms, add healthy food choices to their daily diets, and adapt a healthier lifestyle through exercise. They’ve both reported having more energy, reaching their ideal body weight and the relief of feeling “alive again.”
It was in those raw moments of truth that Lisa and Angelica realized the only way they would fail and never achieve their goals was to give up. Both women overcame the emotional menopausal roller coaster of weight gain and are now living their lives to the fullest capacity.
So, while none of us are literally tasked with eating an elephant (or so I suppose), it must be said, healthy eating MATTERS. Be mindful that if you really want to reach your ultimate goal, you must be cognizant about what it is you put in your body – it can and WILL happen, even if it’s just one bite at a time.