Fat Club

So I joined Slimming World earlier this week. The menopausal midriff is starting to really get me down so I had to do something.

I swore I would never ever ever attend another ‘Fat Club’ after Weight Watchers a couple of years ago when my first meeting was spent listening to someone called Big Mags crying her eyes out as she had ‘stuck to the plan completely apart from 2 Jaffa Cakes when she was watching Coronation Street on Wednesday’ and still managed to gain 4lbs which has pushed her back over 20 stones. I suspected she was lying. And I suspected the leader knew she was lying but we all colluded to make her believe it was maybe just a wee gland issue or something. The next week I had to endure some skinny kid waffle on about how she couldn’t believe she had lost 3lbs after she had got drunk all weekend, had 2 kebabs and a chinese takeaway. It was my first week and I had stuck to it all week and lost one pound. ONE POUND!! And I was starving and mad so stopped for a fish supper, a black forest gateaux and a bottle of wine on they way home and that was the end of that!

But the summer is coming and I cannot bear another summer of the dreaded chub rub under my summer dresses. And I am so over shopping in Evans! And people keep telling me you can stuff your face on Slimming World and still lose weight. So seemed to suit me to the ground.

So off I went – after one last splurge on takeaway, wine, crisps and a huge bag of cadburys chocolate eclairs. Sort of like a last hoorah before joining the slimming mafia.

And god it was boring. The big long talk for newbies on A choices/B choices/syns/free foods/speed foods that none of us really listened to as we were desperately trying to find the page that told us how much chocolate, cake and wine we could have in a day.

Then everyone individually said what had led them to gain or lose weight the previous week. There wasn’t much variation on the theme of eating too much/eating what you were supposed to. A huge round of applause followed each person and my head was really hurting because of the wine. I had a stone in my shoe and it was annoying me but I kept pressing down on it enjoying the release from the boredom the pain gave me.

A discussion of how we could all do better next week then ensued. One of the older ladies shared her tip of getting her husband to hide her false teeth at 5pm so she couldn’t eat anything else that night. I almost spat out my hifi bar (slimming world product that costs a fortune but apparently will curb your chocolate cravings. This turned out to be a lie – but more on that later) laughing. But I was the only one – everyone else was nodding earnestly. I swear a couple were thinking of having their teeth removed so they could do the same.

Then it was the dreaded weigh in. Another newbie was just before me and dressed in heavy jeans and a heavy sweater. She was dripping with sweat and I thought aha a fellow hot flusher! But no….she told me that she also had two t shirts under the jumper because wearing really heavy clothes the first week then lighter ones the next week means you lose much more weight that week. Hmmm – she seemed quite bright as well but appearances can be deceptive.

I had to set a target weight – I was going to go for my weight before this menopausal madness all started. That means a loss of around 40lb. That seemed like an awful lot so I decide to keep 10lbs as a kind of souvenir so that brings it down to 30 which seems a bit more manageable.

Finally my turn for the weight in. Oh God. I pull my trainers off and get on the scales – that bloody stone is now stuck to my sock. I reach down to brush it away. But it isn’t a stone. It is a Cadburys chocolate eclair! The weigher in person looks at me in what I can only say is disgust as I peel it off my sock. I can’t see a bin and my diet hasn’t officially started yet and I am quite stressed – so i just pop it into my mouth. I don’t know why I did that really – just a reflex action to a sweetie I suspect. But it is an embarrassment I can ponder when I can’t sleep at 3am as I have to spend now being totally mortified at the figure on the scale. Then totally shocked that the woman doesn’t say ‘oh you don’t seem that big’ and just calmly writes the colossal figure down. Surely she can see that I must have heavy bones and make some kind of comment. But nope. Sometimes i wonder if I have reverse body dysmorphia – I can look at my body and think ‘oh not too bad’ til the number flashes up in neon lights on the scales as indisputable evidence.

Hey ho – off I went with the books and a determination to get thin. I had so many tips from the leader – it all seemed too good to be true. Because it was!! I have listed some of the SW tips I received on losing weight and compared them to the cold reality:

SW Tip:
Lovely hifi bars – great when you crave a bit of chocolate – just have one and your cravings will be gone. The leader actually said they were ‘the answer to her prayers’. Though she maybe just meant the amount of commission she got on them – they are not cheap!
Reality:
I can talk with great authority on this as I ate the entire boxful on the first night. They do not take away your cravings – they taste weird. And make your tummy cramp if you eat too many. I am going back to Galaxys. (just as an aside if my prayers were answered they would not in any way involve a box of hifi bars – so God if you are listening – a nice car, house by the sea, and most importantly to be able to fit my arse into a pair of size 14 jeans. World peace and all the rest too would be good – but whatever – don’t forget about the jeans thing)

SW Tip:
Put grapes in the freezer and when you take them out they taste like boiled sweeties
Reality:
No they don’t – they taste like frozen grapes

SW Tip:
You can go to the chippie with the family so you won’t feel left out
Reality:
Yes – but when you read the small print you can have a fish supper but with no chips and only if you peel all the batter off! Aye right!!! Coz peeling batter off your fish and not having any chips while everyone else gets tucked in to their beer battered fish and huge portions of fries really makes you feel part of it!

SW Tip:
Chop up a butternut squash, spray with fry light and stick in the oven for 20 mins – they come out just like chips from the chippie.
Reality:
A butternut squash is not squashy and has the texture of a rock rather than butter! Trying to chop it will bring on a menopausal rage of immense proportions. Once you have spent 20 mins peeling trying to chop and scooping out the seeds you won’t give a feck what it tastes like. Which is just as well – coz they are nothing like chippie chips. They taste of a rock hard vegetable – coz that is what they are!

SW Tip:
If you crave crisps, just sprinkle salt on some kale, blast with some fry light (have slimming world got shares in Fry Light? It is recommended for everything!!) and put in the oven
Reality:
Again I beg to feckin differ – nothing like a packet of Walkers Cheese and Onion.. Nothing at all

I could go on – but basically in order to have a weight loss next week I have to eat more healthy food, less unhealthy food and take more exercise.

And perhaps wear lighter clothes…..

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Back to School

So it was back to school for me today. My old school is being knocked down and to ‘celebrate’ they held a big open day with free cake and tea.

I wasn’t going to go on account of being fat and also hating every minute when I was forced to go – so not seeing the point today when I actually had a choice.

But to be honest they had me at ‘free cake’. And after seeing some facebook pictures of other pupils that were fatter than me. And good old FOMO kicked in (fear of missing out). And I wanted to have good facebook posts with me and my friends sitting at school desks. And I really wanted to draw on the chalkboards (I had originally wrote BlackBoard but my pals teacher daughter said that was now racist so it is a chalk board. I am a little confused as it is black and it is a board…. But I keep quiet because I got into trouble a little while ago at work for talking about brain-storming which is apparently offensive to epileptics and I was to use ‘thought shower’ in future. And I am trying to avoid turning into one of those people who are ignorant and offensive without meaning to be. Coz god knows my hormonal rages make me offensive enough as it is!),

I went to my mums first to make ‘going to school’ as realistic as possible. First shock of the day – thought I was looking pretty passible til I went to my Mum’s loo. She has had a new magnifying mirror put into the bathroom. The bathroom that faces directly into the sunlight. A cursory look turned to a shocked stare as I realised I had turned into Desperate Dan. Ten minutes with the tweezers had me looking relatively ok again – but it was a near miss!!! I remember how we used to slag Mrs Beardy Bain from Maths – feckin Karma!! Another parallel – though 32 years ago I would have been in front of the mirror squeezing spot after spot then dabbing the latest clearasil product on them before carefully arranging my hair to cover as much of my face as possible before heading to school.

Then my old school pals came over clutching some Buckfast to make things as realistic as possible. Which got me wondering if maybe the school will have organised any real life events to make us really feel like we were back there. The Nimmo brothers waiting with eggs to pelt us with? Fights set up so we could all gather round shouting FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT? Semolina in the canteen?

We tried the Buckfast and much as we wanted to recreate the experience it tasted so disgusting we just couldn’t. My mum reminded kindly that when we were 15 we had decades to enjoy good wine but now our lives are too short for crap wine. She then gave us 4 bottles of excellent Chablis then decided to leave us to it due to the ever increasing volume of Simple Minds which we decided we MUST play before we went.

COME IN COME OUT OF THE RAIN we yelled dancing around. I remember dancing at the school disco – I was just a wee blank dancing canvas so pretty much tried to copy the moves of the most popular girls there. But now I have my own style which has been described as ‘unique and energetic’. But I am not offended as it is totally my style. Well – tbh – maybe modelled a bit on Beyonce but what woman hasn’t played Single Ladies over and over on UTube til they had the moves down pat?

We then have a great idea – why don’t we dress up as school girls and recreate Hit Me One More Time by Britney down one of the corridors. We think this is a great idea and quickly text our HWABG (Husbands Wives And Boyfriends and Girlfriends) to see if they could get us some uniforms for lardy chicks. But then we debate – perhaps this is not really politically correct. So we decide to just do the dance and text all the HWABG to tell them not to bother – Dave is gutted as he was half way to Primark to pick them up – but they will just have to live with it. We film ourselves doing the dance and send it to them as a kind of consolation. Though having watched the video and reflected – a large amount of viagra would be required to turn anyone on after watching that!!

We are getting a bit tired with the dancing so it’s time to slow it down with DON’T YOU FORGET ABOUT ME? Which made us sad but happy that we hadn’t forgotten about each other. So we had to hug a lot apart from Fee who was having a hot flush and told us all to fuck off. Then we had to cry for a wee while too while we tried to remember all the pupils we had forgotten about despite promising at the school disco we would never ever forget them. Like EVER! Then we remembered the ones at school who didn’t make it to this day. And we cry a bit more.

Slight panic then ensued as we realised the open day was going to finish in half an hour. So we all launched ourselves down to the school. Running late as always – but not quite as fit as we were and too pissed to drive so we were pretty knackered and sweaty when we got there.

And in we went with so many more parallels from our younger years. We were a mass of hormones there – and here we are again, slave to those strange things called hormones that control us like we are puppets on strings sometimes
.
We met Sad Sandy first who was always miserable at school. He attached himself to us and wandered around woefully talking about how he hated it here. We wandered from classroom to classroom sharing memories. We remembered the belt – and all felt it unbelievable that in our lifetimes it was perfectly legal for a 6 foot powerful man to take a tiny child and belt them pretty much on whim. Sandy shook his head sadly – ‘Mr Fletcher was the worst’ he said ‘I wish I could meet him now’.

“Would you punch him in the face?’ I asked. Sandy looked at me ‘No – it’s just that I am really into S&M now’. I am never sure if Sad Sandy is making a joke or not as he never smiles so I make a noise that is a cross between understanding and laughing. Thankfully Katy decides we should now run through the corridors the wrong way as there are no prefects to yell at us to go the right way and to WALK! We actually only run a few steps because we are knackered and starting to feel the effects of the wine in our legs. Then we go the right way because we are really quite sensible and are getting in peoples way (and slightly afraid that someone might give us a detention).

I am impressed with my ability to remember almost all my teachers names. Especially considering brain fog means I can’t remember what I had for breakfast and nowadays I forget the name of just about everyone I meet within 5 mins of meeting them!

We go to the PE Changing rooms which resemble something from Train Spotting so we make a hasty departure but fondly recall Rough as Feck Rachel piercing Softie Sophie’s ear with a bit of potato and a needle in their and her parents having to come and pick her up after she fainted. They took her to the Chemist in town to get the other one done – and tbh no one could tell which was which such was Rough as Feck Rachel’s skill with her ear piercing tools.

And finally we get to the cake stall. Or at least what was the cake stall!!!! We were too late – all cakes were gone!! Such was our devastation that two of the teachers who were running the tours gave us some celebration chocolates which helped a bit.

We were going to go on and get really pissed in the pubs we used to frequent with our fake ID when we were younger but tbh we were pretty exhausted after the excitement of the day and we all decided to go to our respective homes to watch Saturday Night Take Away with Ant and Dec after picking an Indian up on the way home. Just like our parents used to do……

SCHOOLS OUT FOREVER!!!

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Sleepless…

3.16am. I am so sick of seeing those numbers on my clock. I used to see them often in my early 20s when i tumbled back from a nightclub and took a certain sense of pride at rocking home after 3am.

Now those numbers mock me – smugly telling me that once again I will have a sleepless night. And it is ironic that most of the day I suffer brain fog and forgetfulness. But for some reason between 3 and 4.30am I can recall with total clarity every single mistake I have ever made in my life. And however tired I was when I went to bed – I will now be 100% wide awake.

Marlene Dietrech said it was the friends you can call at 4am that count. And this is potentially true. And I have a few that I probably could call at 4am. But only for emergencies – possibly of the kind involving something more critical than wanting to mull over the time that I took my trousers to the dry cleaners and when the man behind the counter shook them my pants with the pictures of kittens on them flew out of one of the legs and if maybe enough time has passed for me to go in again without being recognised . Or wanting to discuss the email I sent to the wrong person at work. Or any of the other mistakes I have made over the decades.

Without sleep I transform from a grumpy menopausal woman to an very tall demonic toddler ready to let the world know I AM NOT HAPPY. And this is becoming an increasing problem lately due to changes at work. I can work from home a couple of days a week and so used to be able to fall back asleep at around 5am and sleep til 8.50am then dash to my laptop and log on and join any conference calls from 9am. This helped a lot – as opposed to alternative of falling asleep at 5.30am then having to get up at half six to get ready for work and travel in.

I’d look a total mess but as only my Sweet Dog saw me (and she adores me and thinks I am the most beautiful person in the entire world even when I have fallen out of bed looking like a burst couch) it didn’t really matter too much. I can sit with my hair matted and my old pajamas and it is absolutely fine.

But then some feckin TechnoGeek at work discovered a way for us all to install cameras on our laptops and in the office – so we can ‘see each other’ when we are in different locations. And it was “virtually free so no real cost”. The other TechnoGeeks were chuffed to bits about this and quickly set about installing the software. I, and other menopausal women along with other women that take more than 5 mins to be able to be seen without scaring small children, were what you would call ‘late adopters’ of this technology. But then the three line whip came out – “you MUST have it installed – it is all lovely when we can all see each other”

Well I beg to feckin differ!. It is crap. In order to look presentable on the camera I must get up and look presentable in real life – from the waist up anyway. This takes at least 45 minutes – so forty five minutes taken off my sleep is a LOT. It is also impossible to put the phone on speaker and mute and wander around putting washing on; dusting; doing a few situps in an effort to be fit; flicking through a magazine; do your nails (and on one memorable day full of long conference calls repaint the entire hall) etc while you listen just enough to be able to make a sensible comment if your name is mentioned. AND you have to tidy up all the area around you as the camera captures that too and people judge… even if they say they don’t… they DO! Jane thought it was funny to put a comment up on the screen about the chocolate wrappers on the dresser behind me but it so wasn’t. Especially on four hours sleep. TBH nothing much was funny that day.

My friends daughter was trying to get some sympathy for her current sleepless nights with her new son – but it became a bit of a one upmanship on who got the fewest hours sleep in a night. ‘But I don’t see how the menopause can be worse than a screaming baby in terms of keeping you awake’ she said – genuinely confused (her time will come!!!!)

So I explained what she had to look forward to. Hot flushes – they wake you up!! Having to go to the loo several times a night isn’t great for a good nights kip (once I woke up with my face crushed against the wall where I had fallen asleep on the loo). Anxiety reaches its peak around 3.30am and it is necessary to worry about many things such as did you switch the cooker off. And then you have to get up to check it – just in case. Then you get there and forget why you went downstairs. So you give the dog a biscuit and head back upstairs only to remember the bloody cooker again. So back down again. Which means another biscuit for the dog and possibly a chocolate hobnob for yourself. Then you are wide awake.

Low testosterone is also a cause of poor sleep. I used to think testosterone was a man thing til I read a Health magazine that told me women actually produce more testosterone than estrogen pre menopause. And as levels decline when we hit the menopause, your sleep, your mood and your sex drive may also start to fall. Reduced levels of progestorone can also cause frequent waking and difficulty getting back to sleep.

And the days I have to go into work make this worse. Just as I am deep deep into the most wonderful sleep ever my alarm goes off (bloomin James Blunt – ‘you’re beautiful’ wakes me up – was good for first few times but not I am sick of it and can’t get it off my programmable alarm which cost a fortune so I just keep waiting til I can find someone to help me fix it and replace it with a bit of Ed Sheeran). I have a short internal debate and decide my hair isn’t too bad – so decide to snooze for 20 mins as I’ve saved that time. Then it goes off again and I decide that I can just have a roll and sausage at work rather than make my porridge and fruit dish – so another 10 min snooze. Then I decide probably I can do my make up in the car at the traffic lights (not 100% sure if this is legal – Highway code says something about phones but make up application they are less clear on) so another 10 mins. Then finally I leap out of bed and go for it – and will be half way to work before I realise I have forgotten my make up and my hair tie so am therefore looking like someone who hasn’t slept and has made no effort. Which is in effect true. And can work to my advantage sometimes – have been sent home sick more than once when wearing no make up due to the awful pallor and dark eye bags I display without my Clarins Cover all Mega Thick foundation.

Need to find a cure…

Sweet Dog says NO NO NO – she likes her biscuits in the night..

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Ironic – An Ode to the Menopausal Woman

So I mentioned Alanis Morrisettes song Ironic in my last blog. And today I was wondering how old it was. Want to guess?

Answer: It is 22 years old!!!!! What happens to time? It drags until you are about 25 then its like you have skidded on some of the remaining snow (which I did this morning and was so pissed off I stamped on the slippy bit twice which I think will definitely teach it a lesson!) and can’t stop yourself hurtling towards old age.

While I was Googling it, I discovered Alanis is now hitting her late 40s so may well be perimenopausal herself! Further Googling found some potential evidence. She apparently ‘rewrote’ the lyrics of Ironic to support gay marriage. I had to read the revised lyrics twice to find the ‘rewrite’. Basically she had changed the line ‘It’s like meeting the man of your dreams then meeting his beautiful wife’ to ‘it’s like meeting the man of your dreams then meeting his beautiful husband’. Not exactly a huge effort put in there – so perhaps she was suffering menopausal brain fog and fatigue and thought ‘Fuck it – It will do!’ which is an approach to work that I am also becoming increasingly aligned to.

Then I discovered a more witty rewrite she did with James Cordon (though given evidence above I feel James may have done most of it while she picked out a woolly hat to wear on his show – potentially to hide the thinning hair that also accompanies ‘the change’). Lines such as ‘it’s like swiping left on your future soulmate’ and ‘it’s a snapchat that you wish you had saved’ bring it bang up to date. Further googling revealed massive debate of whether or not the situations she wrote about really were ironic – but it was too hard to follow and I didn’t really care that much so I found Ironic on Spotify and had another wee listen.

Then I got to thinking – maybe she could rewrite it to reflect the irony of the menopause. I was mulling this over then my effin train ground to a halt and a twenty minute delay was announced – so I thought Feck It – I am going to write it for her. So I did. Here goes…(you may want to listen to the song again to get the tune if you want to sing along):

Ironic – An Ode to the Menopause By Me

A Middle Aged Woman turned 51
Started the menopause and cried the next day
It’s an empty fridge when all you want is some pinot
It’s a big fat belly when you used to wear skinnies
Isn’t it ironic – don’t you think?

Chorus
It’s like chin bristles when you’ve lost your tweezers
It’s the brain fog when you are really quite bright
And who would have thought you’d ever get this old

Ms Menopause thought her periods had stopped
She kissed her towels and tampons all goodbye
She waited her whole damn life to save some dosh on ‘sanitary protection’
And as she noticed the blood on the toilet roll she thought
Well isn’t this nice
And isn’t it ironic? Don’t you think?

Well menopause has a funny way of sneaking up on you
Just when you think everything is OK and everything is going right
And the menopause has a funny way of fucking you up
And everything goes wrong and everything blows up in a rage

A hot flush when you used to be cool
An uncontrollable temper and intense irritability
It’s like 10,000 moods when all you need is some gin
It’s meeting the man of your dreams and then realising your libido has gone
And isn’t it ironic, don’t you think?
A little too ironic, yes I really do think!

Repeat Chorus

Well menopause has a funny way of sneaking up on you
But friends and a sense of humour (and possibly HRT according to my poll) have a funny way of helping you out… helping you out…(fade to close)

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And isn’t it Ironic?

So I mentioned Alanis Morrisettes song Ironic in my last blog. And today I was wondering how old it was. Want to guess?

Answer: It is 22 years old!!!!! What happens to time? It drags until you are about 25 then its like you have skidded on some of the remaining snow (which I did this morning and was so pissed off I stamped on the slippy bit twice which I think will definitely teach it a lesson!) and can’t stop yourself hurtling towards old age.

While I was Googling it, I discovered Alanis is now hitting her late 40s so may well be perimenopausal herself! Further Googling found some potential evidence. She apparently ‘rewrote’ the lyrics of Ironic to support gay marriage. I had to read the revised lyrics twice to find the ‘rewrite’. Basically she had changed the line ‘It’s like meeting the man of your dreams then meeting his beautiful wife’ to ‘it’s like meeting the man of your dreams then meeting his beautiful husband’. Not exactly a huge effort put in there – so perhaps she was suffering menopausal brain fog and fatigue and thought ‘Fuck it – It will do!’ which is an approach to work that I am also becoming increasingly aligned to.

Then I discovered a more witty rewrite she did with James Cordon (though given evidence above I feel James may have done most of it while she picked out a woolly hat to wear on his show – potentially to hide the thinning hair that also accompanies ‘the change’). Lines such as ‘it’s like swiping left on your future soulmate’ and ‘it’s a snapchat that you wish you had saved’ bring it bang up to date. Further googling revealed massive debate of whether or not the situations she wrote about really were ironic – but it was too hard to follow and I didn’t really care that much so I found Ironic on Spotify and had another wee listen.

Then I got to thinking – maybe she could rewrite it to reflect the irony of the menopause. I was mulling this over then my effin train ground to a halt and a twenty minute delay was announced – so I thought Feck It – I am going to write it for her. So I did. Here goes…(you may want to listen to the song again to get the tune if you want to sing along):

Ironic – An Ode to the Menopause By Me

A Middle Aged Woman turned 51
Started the menopause and cried the next day
It’s an empty fridge when all you want is some pinot
It’s a big fat belly when you used to wear skinnies
Isn’t it ironic – don’t you think?

Chorus
It’s like chin bristles when you’ve lost your tweezers
It’s the brain fog when you are really quite bright
And who would have thought you’d ever get this old

Ms Menopause thought her periods had stopped
She kissed her towels and tampons all goodbye
She waited her whole damn life to save some dosh on ‘sanitary protection’
And as she noticed the blood on the toilet roll she thought
Well isn’t this nice
And isn’t it ironic? Don’t you think?

Well menopause has a funny way of sneaking up on you
Just when you think everything is OK and everything is going right
And the menopause has a funny way of fucking you up
And everything goes wrong and everything blows up in a rage

A fat girth when you used to be slim
An uncontrollable temper and intense irritability
It’s like 10,000 moods when all you need is some gin
It’s meeting the man of your dreams and then realising your libido has gone
And isn’t it ironic, don’t you think?
A little too ironic, yes I really do think!

Repeat Chorus

Well menopause has a funny way of sneaking up on you
But friends and a sense of humour (and possibly HRT according to my poll) have a funny way of helping you out… helping you out…(fade to close)

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The Curse

I was supposed to go swimming today. The one exercise I actually enjoy. But I am not going! Not because I am a lazy person (thought tbh I am).

And not because I am barred. Though I nearly was!!! I had a nightmare swim last week when 10 zillion school kids descended on the pool meaning us adults were all corralled into two lanes and the guy behind me was so far up my arse he may as well have been my gynaecologist. I had to kick frantically to go faster and unfortunately ‘accidently’ kicked him in the face.

This in itself might have been enough to get me barred as it is possible his nose may never be the same again. But he did not grass me up so I left the pool rather relieved as Google has advised me on the numerous times I have checked that the menopause is not a justifiable defence for Actual Bodily Harm in court.

I was almost barred again as I enquired at reception for the times the school children came in to use the pool. The receptionist looked appalled and asked why I wanted to know. Snotty cow I thought. But realisation dawned just before she called social services and I frantically explained I wanted to AVOID the children so I could swim in peace.

So nope – not barred. The reason I am not going is because my friend has come unexpectedly. Do you know what I mean? I have the painters in. I’m on the rag! It is star week! I have ‘womens trouble’.

There are so many ways of describing your period. Germany calls it Erdeberwoche which means strawberry week. I particularly like Finlands description of Hallum Lechman Tauti which translates to Mad Cows Disease. This is most appropriate as I am as mad as hell. Four feckin months with nothing – NADA – and I had been lulled into a false sense of security.

I know this is normal – I know that fluctuating hormones interrupt the ovulation cycle. But this doesn’t make it any easier to to back to the start of the countdown to the magical year of no periods when I can officially declare myself post menopausal. It is a bit like when I spent 7 weeks losing half a bloody stone at Slimming World only to regain it all back on one all inclusive week in Tenerife and so it was right back to the start. FFS. Some women dread this moment – a realisation that they are no longer fertile (though my pal who smugly hit 12 months with no such incidents was less smug when she discovered the last four of those months she had actually been pregnant – her baby girl is beautiful and will celebrate her 3rd birthday at the same time as my friend celebrates her 50th, Turns out fertility does not disappear neatly with the onset of perimenopause as she had originally thought. Her 16 & 18 year olds are great babysitters though) But I cannot feckin wait to be shot of my periods. No more spending money on sanitary products instead of gin. No more paying VAT because someone somewhere declared them a luxury. No more wondering when it will appear from nowhere. Bring it on.

Except my body keeps playing tricks on me. Months pass with nothing and I think i am almost there. Then Mother Nature sends her guest down and pisses herself laughing at my distress. Especially today – when I have my best knickers on (£8.99 from Autograph!).

And of course I have nothing with me – no sanitary protection at all. Good news though – our forward thinking employer has installed a machine in the toilet where for 50p I can have a nice sanitary towel.

I wrestle with the machine and finally manage to get one of the most massive bulky towels I have ever seen out of a very tiny tray. But needs must. I think of Alanis Morrisette’s song ‘It’s like ten thousand knives when all you need is a spoon’. Well this is like ten thousand pads when all I want is a tampon. Though it is possible my fanny might have closed up due to lack of action – with my current bedroom fantasy is listening to Desert Island Discs on catch up while eating a galaxy. I had a scone once but the crumbs went everywhere so it was straight back to Galaxy.

The bloomin pad is huge – and has no wings to keep it in place. I walk gingerly around with this monstrosity balancing in my lovely knickers with the lace edges that are not designed to keep towels safely locked in. For the first time, I am glad to have pudsey thighs rather than a thigh gap coz there is less chance of it falling out. I don’t get embarrassed easily now. I used to – in second year at school Mark Nimmo saw a tampon in my school bag and took it out and threw it across the classroom, I thought I would have to leave school and never return, such was my mortification. But over the years I have been significantly more embarrassed by a number of events and so nowadays very little embarrases me – but even I might be somewhat abashed if I am queueing up at the canteen for a galaxy and the towel was to fall down my trouser leg onto the floor!

I remember the days I looked forward to my period coming – proof that all was in working order and i was most definitely not pregnant. Now I just want shot of them for good.

Isn’t it ironic?

Don’t you think?

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Menopausal Shopping

March!!! How did that happen? January lasted for ten zillion years…. then February lasted about as long as a Family Sized Galaxy in the possession of a menopausal woman.

I decide to consult my weight loss spreadsheet I set up 6 weeks ago when I decided to lose 44lbs so I could be classed as overweight rather than obese. After various calculations it turns out I now have 50lbs to go!. I am good at sums but even if you aren’t – you can tell this is not exactly a success story. Oprah won’t be coming knocking asking me to be a poster girl for Weight Watchers. My underactive thyroid diagnosis with the related medication was supposed to spur on my weight loss – but despite monitoring things closely by jumping on the scales six or seven times a day – nothing! Nada!!. Am fecking raging – and a little concerned as have googled more on an underactive thyroid and it appears it is not simply a cause for celebration and weight loss as I had originally thought.

More googling tells me that it is the Menopausal Monster who has some responsibility for stealing my figure as well as my sanity (it is possible my addiction to wine and chocolate has also contributed – but lets face it, if losing weight was as simple as giving those things up then we’d all be bloody doing it!). Apparently lower estrogen levels make gaining weight much more likely – and also changes the distribution of weight as the fat all gathers round your belly in the menopausal years. Well I could be the feckin perfect case study for that!!! I was blessed (and I could cry with how much I took it for granted) by being fairly slim til I hit my forties. I did get fat once for a few months when I was much younger after a particularly pleasurable 6 months in the States living off pizza and ice cream. I came home with a pot belly and was so upset about it (despite the fact I was still three stone lighter than I am now) but one benefit was that so many people would gave up their seat for me on trains and buses believing I was pregnant. On one memorable occasion I got upgraded to first class on a mobbed train as the guard said he could not leave someone in ‘my condition’ sitting on the floor. It was slightly marred by the fact I could not take advantage of the free alcohol being served as I feared disapproving looks when I was younger (don’t give a shit now though- in fact I almost revel in them). But now I am way beyond child bearing age and my this combined with my invisibility as a middle aged woman means I don’t even get this benefit.

I am further thwarted by this bloomin snow. Can’t get to the supermarket for fruit and veg so having to live off kebabs and chips from the place at the end of the road supplemented by some galaxies from the local newsagent. Two of the very few places still open and both owners probably planning a few weeks in a five star hotel in the Maldives once the weather passes.

But I cannot give up. You see – they are knocking my school down. And they are doing an open day in 3 weeks time for a last look round and loads of my old classmates that I haven’t seen for over 30 years are going. My pal from school asked me to go but I said No coz I feckin hated school. Plus I was pipecleaner skinny at school and now I am a blancmange. And I don’t want everyone saying – ‘oh look at her can you believe what a fat arse she has now?’ Or ‘feck how did she get pregnant at her age – HAS to be bloody twins, maybe even triplets’. But then the Facebook posts and groups started and FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) struck. Also, my pal who is in touch with loads of people from school emailed me a list of all the ones she knew who were fatter than me, and it was quite a big list. I got her to cut and paste some of their photos from Facebook just to makes sure she wan’t lying – and it’s true – a number do look rather chunky!. So now I am going. And I will just make sure I stand beside the Chunksters for photos coz that will make me look much slimmer than I am.

I have accepted that I won’t be skinny in 3 weeks. Indeed empirical evidence suggests I may be even fatter than I am now. But a new outfit may just make me look cool for school. So I decided yesterday when we were sent home from work due to the snow (hooray) to stop and find a trendy outfit. One like I saw this cool girl on the bus wear. Jeans….Big Biker Boots…. plain white top…..and a nice smart leather jacket….gorgeous tousled hair. I watched her in awe til I noticed she could see a reflection of me staring at her in the window and was looking a little concerned for her safety.

My usual outfit since hitting my menopausal years has been leggings and a flowery smock – bought usually from Asda as I to the shopping – or Sainsbury’s which is so much better since they stopped selling that Gok Wan shite). And I have to be honest – I have fallen into a bit of a rut in terms of making an effort. Not quite at the going to the Kebab shop in my pajamas stage – but starting to feel like I have gone the extra mile if I go to work with my hair down. (Always with a scrunchie inside my bag though in case I get the sweats and have to tie it up after blasting it dry under the hand driers in the toilet). But I truly believe this is not me. There is a cool girl like on the bus that is just screaming to get out. (Actually, it is possible there may be three of four of them).

Suffice to say I did not enjoy my shopping trip. Hot flushes are not good when you are trying clothes on and mortified that you may have to hand the clothes back all covered in sweat…. Stupid changing rooms where the curtains don’t shut properly and all the young and the beautiful can see your not so young and beautiful body as they walk past And the rooms are too bloody small – so your arse sticks out through the flimsy curtains as you bend to pull jeans on. Couple that with an irritable disposition and it all gets rather messy.

Shops need to cater more for the menopausal woman. Toilets in the shop for the continual need to pee isn’t much to ask. Maybe some nice tunes from the 80s instead of the utter shite that passes for music these days. A quota of sales assistants must be over 40 or above a size 16. Feckin sizes need to go up way higher than a 16 too. Those bottle things that spray cool evian water should be in each cubicle. And maybe a wine dispenser too. And some beds to take a short nap on when the exertions of taking clothes on and off combined with menopausal fatigue get too much. And maybe most importantly – a therapist within each changing area. There could be a button like in the posh shops that you press for another size, but this one is an urgent alert for that therapist to rush to the cubicle and support you as you sob at the loss of your tiny slim firm body that you never feckin appreciated at the time. It is true – you don’t know what you have til it is bloody gone.

I did get my biker boots but they are the wide fitting ones from Marks and Spencer and strictly speaking not really biker ones – but they have a big buckle on them so I don’t think anyone will be able to tell.

And I discovered pregnancy jeans!!!! They are great – perfect for the menopausal middle.

And a nice loose smock over the top covers that elasticated waist perfectly!

Spreadsheet is now readjusted – 50lbs WILL go by 1 March 2019 .

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