Apres La Holiday Willpower and Menopausal Weight Gain


My daughter Laura, the school psychologist,  gave me this treat-eating holiday advice, based on recent psychological studies:

When you use self-control to resist treats, you reinforce your ability to use willpower.  So each time you make a healthy choice, you increase your chances of exercising self-control in the future.

I tried this when I baked cheese straws. Worked pretty well.  When a cheese straw called to me, I resisted. Not easy, but I did it.  Each time I resisted, I felt empowered.

I used it  when I baked sugar cookies and bourbon balls too. I allowed myself one cookie, at the end, before I packed them away. More empowerment!

I lost it on Christmas Eve, when Laura brought out the peanut butter buckeyes.

Curses!  But my goal is to get it back. The empowered feeling. The I-have-willpower feeling.

“This is the wedding year,” Laura reminds me.

Not just any old wedding year.

HER wedding year.

Mother of the Bride dress here I come.

So I’m going to keep trying this technique, since Naked Church from last year was a failure. I knew I’d wimp out when the church bell rang.

Menopause weight gain continues to fluster me. Recent studies suggest menopausal women burn less calories metabolically.  Ha!  So menopausal weight gain isn’t  just menopausal ladies eating too much and exercising less.

What about you?  Do you think The Great Pause has done nasty things to your weight or are cookies just hard to resist?

Cartoon: I found this on Facebook. We never learn the names of the artists, but hats off to  the world’s clever, creative people.

22 thoughts on “Apres La Holiday Willpower and Menopausal Weight Gain”

  1. The holiday week has left a huge dirigible around my waist. I have to make myself go to the exercise classes I hate like abs and spin to burn more calories than I normally do in plain ole yoga.
    Winter weight is tough to lose.


  2. Menopause weight gain is real but I also fight the battle of self control with sweets. I track my weight on the first of every month and it was good to look back at the graph of the last 5 years. At my son’s engagement party in 2008 I decided that I could be fabulous or frumpy for his wedding and I was going to be fabulous. I lost 16 pounds from that time to wedding day and have kept it within 5 pounds of that for the last 5 years. That does not mean that I quit counting calories or watching what I eat. I try to abide by the one serving hot out of the oven for homemade treats and then I tell myself that those cookies, brownies, pie are never as good the next day.


  3. and you make me want cookies……. 🙂
    it is a tough battle. I always feel so much better at a certain weight so that is some of my encouragement….to feel better.


  4. The old menopause/metabolism/willpower thing, eh? The sad truth is, at least in my experience, the problem is all three. My metabolism started slowing down just about the time my cravings started kicking into full gear, during the peri-menopause days. Since menopause hit, I can now control my cravings a lot better.

    I love what your daughter Laura had to share, and I completely agree with her. I know when I resist an urge to splurge I get a feeling (maybe not right away!) of pride or accomplishment or something on that order. I also know that if you allow yourself a few goodies (like you did), the cravings subside.

    Great topic, Barbara. And I know you’ll do fine with the MOB dress. Oh, and the Naked Church thing has left disturbing images burned forever into the recesses of my mind of my hometown Church Ladies… [[sigh]]


    1. I just resisted the snack mix at a favorite restaurant bar. Spent all day telling myself I could resist. The first five minutes at the bar were hard, but it got easier. Came home feeling very proud. Of course, every day there’s something else to resist…


  5. It is a combo for me, but it can’t be a coincidence that I had my hysterectomy in August and started this new year at a record high weight for myself (not counting pregnancy). I am not happy about it at all, but at least am super motivated now to lose. My husband started a basic low carb plan in October so he’s ahead of me now (losing almost 20 lbs). He looks great but would love to get to his college weight so now is the perfect time for us to do this together. I will stick with my Zumba classes though, while he is out on his 10-12 mile runs!


    1. Wow. Twenty pounds! The men sure have luck with weight loss. Yes, stick with Zumba. I don’t have a Zumba class near me, but women sure adore it, Glad the surgery is behind you. Thank you again for your wonderful guest posts!


  6. Nice to meet you! Menopause is just plain not nice. Not only do you get those lbs that refuse to come off no matter how many hours you spend trying, but you get the rest of it as well. Big sigh… You should come visit my new site I just started. I would love to have you gust post there. I am on a mission to prove grandmothers are not ‘old’ people. We are GRAND! 🙂 Found you via Twitter.


    1. Hi Cheryl,

      Thanks for your comment and your offer to do a guest post (I sent you a message on Twitter but not sure it really got sent.) I’m not doing any unpaid guest posts at the moment due to a novel I need to get hopping on for my agent, but I’d love to have you write one for Friend for the Ride if you’ve got some time in the next few months. Shoot me an email:


  7. I think it’s totally true that cookies are simply hard to resist. Especially over the holidays where there are so many of them – compounded by the problem of the kitchen always smelling like fresh baked goods! But I cannot blame the proliferation of cookies – it is my lack of will power that contributes. So thank you, thank you for these words of encouragement – adn empowerment!


  8. It’s been said that every decade we require 100 fewer calories a day to maintain our weight. That’s a nasty trick but I believe it’s true. By the time I’m 80 I’ll either be a blimp or be eating only “air and wind sauce” – the choice is mine but I already know which way it’ll go. : )


  9. Oh yes, this menopausal, hormonal, thing absolutely changes stuff. I’ve been prone to gaining weight since I was about 25, after my second child was born BUT, this meopause thing is different. I went into peri menopause this past year and bam, just like that all this weight started coming on my middle. No matter how much I exercised, this stomach fat that I was putting on, wouldn’t budge. (I’ve always been more of a hip and thigh gainer til menopause hit). Its like I have zero metabolism and everything I eat is just stored! Ugg. I’m seeing a homeopathic doctor this week to learn more about bio identical hormones to see if that’s an avenue I want to try. Thanks for the resisting info, I’m definitely gonna practice that!


    1. Me too. The pounds just started coming on. We get warnings on the websites, but somehow, I’m never quite convinced it will happen to me! Work on the resisting though. It’s definitely helping me some. Let me know how it goes!


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