Menopause: time to take care of yourself

This morning I discovered a brilliant outfit: a Majestic Filatures t-shirt (by the way Saks Fifth Avenue has a few of these onsale online); Lululemon align tights (softest); Ugg boots to keep my feet warm and a Repetto pullover sweater (bought that online at a discount through Repetto).

Of course I’m happy with myself that physically I am fit — gone is the middle-age paunch and all the other areas where extra weight had gathered to slow me down (around the knees, for example).

And how did I get here? From years of being 20-30-40-50 pounds overweight? I certainly did not follow a diet. I certainly didn’t lose 1-2 pounds a week. I certainly did not write down a plan and follow it. I will say it was a combination of many things — including acceptance, perseverance, and getting help — that were beyond my control.

First, I want to say that I was always trying — I walked and tried to be healthy. But taking care of children, driving children around LA, going through perimenopause in my 40s (while raising children!) well I finally resigned myself at 50 to just be grateful for having a healthy body at whatever size I was — in other words, just be grateful. And then somewhere around then my dad was diagnosed with dementia and somehow we were surprised (and heartbroken) but here was my selfish takeaway: my grandmother had it, my dad got it, and me? Well, how much time do I have to really be me, to be productive, to work, to write? And so I slowly started taking care of myself — writing more (I did three drafts of my novel); going to ballet class; seeing a Tibetan healer; yoga; quit drinking alcohol; added back caffeine; increased my thyroid; practiced yoga, Pilates; joined a tennis team and trained more. I just decided — and the decision was helped by me having less stress and more time when my teenagers got their driver’s licenses and could drive themselves to school and all their activities — that being grateful, being happy, being healthy and productive was a lifestyle that I could not put off. Well, gradually — “piano, piano” (slowly, slowly) things changed and I progressed — resorting to prayer when I really hit a wall, even when I did not believe in prayer — from there to here.

But this is what I say to women, my friends who have complimented me and witnessed the changes, to the women 5, 10, years younger — Menopause — when your menstrual cycle finally ceases — and the stage leading up to it are all about taking care of yourself, making time to exercise as if it was a prescription administered by the doctor — and doing whatever else you have to do for acceptance and — that really crazy concept — being happy. I have paid huge costs and felt many disappointments but all I can say is that today I am happy with the person I see in the mirror. At the same time I work hard to be better and to improve at everything — including chasing my impossible dreams — because apparently that’s also who I am. So, who are you?


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