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Mid life weight gain: a menopause issue or a feminist issue?

menopause symptoms

menopause weight gain,

I recently met a lady who told me a  weight gain story that is – sadly – not uncommon. First of all, this lady is a health care professional herself. OK, that doesn’t necessarily mean she is doing ‘everything’ right – but she is really  taking care of her physical needs by eating well (avoiding overeating, sugary and refined foods and lately, alcohol) and exercising adequately.

 

She noticed (well, how could she miss it?) a roll of fat appearing around her belly area and try as she might, it would not shift. It worried her. It puzzled her. It made her feel uncomfortable in her clothes and embarrassed in her work situation. So she went to her doctor. He did not ask her any questions (intelligent, or otherwise): he did not even dignify the conversation by noticing that she was upset about this change – over which she seemingly had no control.

 

He simply said “Eat less and exercise more”. She was crushed. She left that surgery feeling like an idiot and also with no support or answers. If he had questioned her properly, he would have developed a  picture of her healthy lifestyle, she might even have shared with him some more factors (which she shared with me) that would shout out to all and sundry, that the lady was suffering from too much stress. She had developed a ‘cortisol’ belly. She was having nightmares – not ‘just’ nightmares, but the kinds of dreams that are SO vivid, that they appear real for hours after waking.

menopause anxiety, weight gain, menopause and grief,

Menopause is SO much more than a physical change. Yet, it is vital to keep the body as well as it can be. The stability of the body helps everything else to settle and transform, over time. Doctors in general practice really don’t have any training or much focus on this key passage in a woman’s life so we must measure our expectations against that knowledge. Let’s face it, most biology books  don’t mention a woman’s body, after the onset of  fertility and child birthing. So, it’s up to us, we  women who are in transition, to find those that can help us, want to help us and have taken time to understand menopause and hand on that wisdom.

 

Weight and weight gain,  is and has been a ‘feminist’ issue for aeons. “Fat” women are seen as being lazy, stupid and out of control. Not to mention ‘not very feminine’. The Rudd Center for Food Policy &  Obesity at Yale University highlighted this in a report as far back as 2008. (“Fat bias worse for women”).

And the trend continues. Women are more likely to be dismissed, demoted and just ignored in the work place if they are perceived as ‘fat’

 

ttps://www.theguardian.com/inequality/2017/aug/30/demoted-dismissed-weight-size-ceiling-work-discrimination

No wonder it’s hard for most women to deal with weight gain and I salute those brave souls who embrace a larger body (larger than what, or who, I wonder?!) and live without apology in it.

 

menopause weight gain

Challenge your health care professional to explain to you the link between stress and the belly jelly roll. If they can’t, then go find someone who can. And as you know, excess weight also increases risk of heart disease, joint pain and stress, and related issues – some big tummies can be as a result of internal changes, for instance, ovarian cancer. Weight gain is not always about personal irresponsibility.

 

So IF you know you are taking healthy steps and nothing is changing, do not be fobbed off with a simplistic and sometimes, offensive answer. (One other friend was told by her GP (who was wolfing down a packet of biscuits while he spoke to her) to “pick a number and let’s see if we can get you to that age”). I shiver, I really do.

 

perimenopause, weight gain,pelvic floor,

 

 

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