Retro Calories! (And Some Encouraging Words on Menopausal Weight Gain)


A blast from the calorie past!

Cliff found this calorie list among my mother-in-law Vivian’s papers.The doctor’s name is at the top, and in Vivian’s handwriting are the words “For Al.”

So did the doctor want Cliff’s dad on a diet or did Vivian? Not sure, but it’s fun to see the foods listed on the sheet. The names Boston brown bread, Brown Betty, and prune whip have a particular fifties flair.

Menopause and weight gain go together like ice cream and apple pie. Here’s a good article from one of my favorite health sites, the Mayo Clinic, about gaining weight during the Change of Life.

My daughter Kath, a registered dietitian, was the second food diarist on the Internet. For five years, she took photos of everything she ate. Her website,, has thousands of readers (proud mom here), but I know from her experience that writing about weight gain and calories can rub some the wrong way. So here’s my experience, but please skip this if you’re not in the mood for weight or calorie talk.

I had horrible food cravings during the worst of the roller coaster ride; I’ve got a huge sweet tooth; and I love to eat, especially in restaurants, at parties, and on vacation. But I got serious about taking off some pounds around the time of my cancer diagnosis. I wondered if I could really do it now that I am entrenched in menopause. I could. I did. I paid attention to calories and upped my exercise, and it worked*

But I still look at Vivian’s calorie sheet and sigh. It’s not easy to resist desserts and other high calorie foods. And I bet my father-in-law, who loved desserts as much as I do, wasn’t so happy to see his name on the top of that sheet!

Prune whip, anyone?


Actually, prune whip looks better than it sounds, and it’s not too hard to make. I found the recipe and photo on a cool site, Vintage Recipe

*Maintenance is a kicker though. Exercise seems to be the key.

14 thoughts on “Retro Calories! (And Some Encouraging Words on Menopausal Weight Gain)”

  1. Prune Whip? Nooooo Waaaaay! Although at a local Farmers’ market I tasted some dried prunes that were wonderful but I still don’t want to whip them up but snack.


      1. Interesting, I did see that article. It seemed more about red wine. I had a bottle of white wine that I thought was aggravating the hot flashes – so, I contacted a friend of ours who is a wine educator and he told me sulfite levels are highest and more common in lower end mass produced corked wines. (screw on topped bottles have less sulfites) Exactly what I had. Tried the wine again with same result, poured rest down the drain!


      2. My daughter gets wine headaches sometimes and does much better with the wines made elsewhere. She went to Argentina and could drink all the wine she wanted. Loved visiting the vineyards there.


  2. I have found that adding whipped cream, to just about anything, makes it a sweet treat 🙂 And, with very few calories in the whipped cream ~ It’s a sweet cheat! LOL


  3. I’m so curious since I read Kath’s blog too to read that she was the second food diarist on the internet. I didn’t know that! Do you know who was the first?


  4. She’s pretty sure she was the second. The first was named Kirsten and she did a blogthrough Self Magazine called Eat Like Me. Kath doesn’t photograph all her food anymore. It got too hard after her baby was born three years ago.


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