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.

Menopause, Menopause Symptoms, Perimenopause, Skin

Ten Tips from the Menopause Owl

“WHOO!  WHOO,” says the Wise Ms. Menopause Owl. “I have ten tips for you!”


I tricked you, so you would read my post.  I don’t know if there really IS a Menopause Owl, but until she makes her apprearance, I’ll post these tips myself.

I researched the reasons why owls are revered for their wisdom.  One is they can see in the dark.  How cool if we could see our way through the sometimes darkness of menopause with special eyes.

I sure couldn’t.  But here are some tips I would give a younger me right before the Great Pause hooted my way.

1. Speak up-about moodiness, physical symptoms, all of it. Don’t suffer in silence.

2. Don’t make a stranger of your doctor. Visit. Email. Call. Ask. And if after a visit or so, your doctor still feels like a stranger, find another doctor.

3. Don’t expect menopause to necessarily be a quick process. For me, one symptom would go away but another would appear. This is still happening!

4. Be watchful of  what you eat. I found all the menopause weight gain stories to be true.  The weight flies on. I wish I had been more careful.

5. If doctors, therapists, and buddies are suggesting you are depressed and need medication, explore the possibility that this is the Great Pause first.  (Guest post on this topic to come.)

6. Lotions and creams are your magic potions: moisturizer, sunscreen, conditioners, and lubricants. Estrogen cream may rescue you from vaginal dryness, which can cause not only pain but intense pressure.

7. If you find yourself tossing in bed for more than a half hour or so, sometimes it’s best to just get up for a while. This wiggles my brain around and puts it back into a sleep mode.  I let myself get wide awake, contrary to the advice in most articles. I write, do dishes, straighten drawers, answer email, whatever.

8. Exercise does everything it promises to. Big bad hormones hate exercise . It scares them away, making you feel better, sometimes within the first ten minutes or so.

9. Make changes. As you feel  yourself changing, make some.  Small changes, larger ones. Good ones.  Change helps us climb out of ruts and feel like we’re the boss, which in many ways we are!

10. Appreciate the sisterhood of the ages.  Women have gone through menopause for centuries. Let their spirits bolster yours.

Photo: The owl above lives on the first outfit I bought for my grandson-to-be. More funky than classic, I found the decorated onesie at an arts festival in Durham. I hope my grandson will have wise eyes and steady wings and lots of fun as he flaps and soars through life.

Diet, Fitness, Menopause, Menopause Symptoms

Thanks, Menopause: The Marshmallow Stomach

I’d read about it for years:  Weight gain around the middle is common in menopause.

And in recent years, I’ve read more and more:  Weight gain around the middle is dangerous, especially in menopausal women.

Dangerous not just for wearing a bathing suit when you finally get to visit Hawaii.

Dangerous for your health.


I’ve never had a great stomach.

Well, let me clarify.

It’s great for eating cake with buttercream frosting and burritos lathered in sour cream.

It’s just not so great for looking svelte in knit dresses or bathing suits of the one or two piece variety.

The Menopause Goddess (who we all know is Ms. Qurikypants Do As She Pleases) has not been gracious to me in this area: the area of my marshmallow stomach.

Or is this not menopause at all?  Is this just me eating too much and paying oh so NO attention to that distasteful word:  MY CORE.

Not the core of my being.  I like working on that.

The core of my body.

Menopause or sloppiness or a bit of both, I’m going to try to have some of  my marshmallow melt away by summer.  My friend for this ride is going to be My Fitness  Since this program means I get to spend more time online, I’m having fun with it so far.

May I have a few volunteers to promise to question me about my success (0r failure) come the First of July?

Photo: In lieu of a photo of my menopausal stomach, I offer this old Campfire Marshmallow tin.  It’s a good thing the tin isn’t filled with marshmallows anymore.  A few weeks on My Fitness Pal, and I might  be ready to woof down five pounds of marshmallows in nothing flat.

P.S . For those of you who remember my Naked Church post at the start of the new year, the visualizing, bad as it was, wasn’t scary enough.  Hence, the new plan.

P.P.S:  The winner of the tube of Valera has been notified.  Thanks to all who entered the giveaway.

Diet, Menopause

Menopausal Pounds (Yuck) and Pound Cake (Yum!)

Anybody remember the Mary Tyler Moore episode in which Rhoda is contemplating eating a piece of chocolate?  She says, in that wonderful Rhoda tone, “I don’t know why I’m putting this in my mouth.  I should just apply it directly to my hips.” An older Rhoda might say, “And my stomach and my upper arms and my rear and my thighs, and for jolly good measure, my chin.”

We can talk more about weight gain on Friend for the Ride, but for now, I just want to say that I wish I had believed the rumor:  Weight gain and menopause are like cake and icing.  They’re buddies.

I should have been more careful while on the Wild Roller Coaster.   If you’re comfortable with some weight gain, of course you can relax a bit.  But if you want to watch gaining weight, approach The Great Pause with some gastronomic caution.  You’re not in Kansas anymore.

That said, we still need to eat cake!  Just not as much.  The cakes on display at the NC State Fair this week reminded me of my mom’s easy pound cake recipe.  Bake one up, have a modest but delicious slice, and share the rest:

 Mom’s  Easy Pound Cake

2 sticks of butter, softened

2 cups sugar,

2 cups flour

5 eggs

Mix all ingredients.  Flavor with two teaspoons vanilla, 4 tablespoons of brandy or bourbon, or any other flavoring you choose.  Bake at 350 degrees in a greased tube pan for 50-60 minutes until a knife comes out clean.  This freezes well.  Note:  I haven’t ever baked the pound cake in a loaf pan.  I think it would probably work, but if it looks too high, try two smaller loaf pans.

Photo:   This lucky pound cake was a Blue Ribbon Winner at the North Carolina State Fair.  Nothing could be finer than pound cake in Carolina (or Minnesota or California or Australia or Guam or wherever you live!)

Giveaway Winner!  This first giveaway broke my heart because I wanted to send each of you who entered a book. Thank you for your interest in Purple Mountain Majesties.   The winner is Cathy,and her book will soon be in the mail.