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Overweight and Over the Hill: Menopause and Weight Gain

Alexandra Williams, MA
menopause abs

Before & After Abs

Pretty depressing title, isn’t it? But that’s how I feel as 2014 settles in – overweight and over the hill. You know the very first line in Tone Loc’s “Wild Thing?” I’ll make it easy – he says, “Let’s Do It.” As 2014 settles in, I realize I need your help and encouragement to “do it” so I can reach my weight goal.

Right around Christmas, something that horrified me, and left me convinced I had some sort of abdominal tumor (face it, at 55 I do not consider pregnancy as an option; a killer tumor seems far more logical), was a weight gain of a pound a day ten days in a row. It’s true – I gained ten pounds in a ten day span (no tumor made itself known). The frustrating thing is that I was actually moving even more than usual. As a matter of fact, I got a Polar Loop and put up my December activity stats in my “Rethink Your Day” post. And this month I’ve kept a’movin.

Polar Loop Stats for Alexandra

Yes, I move a LOT.

So I don’t need to move MORE; I need to move DIFFERENTLY. This is me, the fitness expert, speaking to me, the frustrated menopausal exerciser. In case you think I’m a crazy eater, I’m not. This is a typical day’s intake (yes, I’ve started a food journal, as they DO work):

rye toast with butter
smoothie – kale, Greek yogurt, banana, almondmilk, flax, ice
hot chai
½ apricot hamentaschen

half an apricot hamentaschen

I only ate half!!!

yogurt with almonds
hummus with chia pita bread
white chocolate peanut butter

So I don’t need to eat DIFFERENTLY; I need to eat LESS, I guess. I am a vegetarian with no food allergies, so will not be doing any specific diets.

Those of you who follow me on Instagram know I’m quite the selfie addict. But right around the start of January one friend said my cleavage had increased, and one of my fitness students said my legs “had some meat on them.” In both cases, the comments were meant as compliments, but that is NOT how I took them. Ladies, if you like being told your legs have meat on them, please let me know in the comments, as I am not familiar with this being a desirable goal!!

So, yeah, I guess my selfies are showing those ten pounds. Can I blame aging? I’m quite a private person, but I tell ya, I need your encouragement. It’s super frustrating to know what to do, do it, then nada. zip. nichevo. niets. nichts. rien. nothing. My BMI  (according to the Polar Loop) is 25, which is average for my height and weight, yet doesn’t account for my age or muscular build. My VO2 max is 31, which is above average. Gotta get the BMI down, and the VO2 max up.

My goal for the next few months is to lose a safe two pounds a week, until I shed 10-15 pounds total. My health and strength are great; I’m just vain. I don’t want to have tight clothing. I don’t want to feel unattractive. I don’t want to compare my 2014 self to my my 2013 self. I just want to manage this stinkin’ food tumor! And be hawt and sexy. You know, the basics!

Please leave me your favorite:
* high intensity, low impact cardio move
* flexibility yoga pose
* multi-joint strength move

and each day I’ll incorporate your suggestions into my regimen. Time to shake things up, and by “things” I don’t mean my abs! In that area, I want more bakin’, less shakin’.

Do Some Shaking to Lose That Bakin'

Shake Your Bacon. Or is it Bake It & Shake It?

Stupid aging. Stupid slowing metabolism.

If you’re trying to lose weight, this post about the 5 Steps to Create Permanent Change might be helpful.





For more tips from pros who feel your pain, follow us on Google +Alexandra and +Kymberly; on Twitter – AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit; and Instagram – KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit.


About Fun and Fit

Get practical exercise advice, your fitness questions answered, and cutting edge health edu-tainment that is accessible and doable from long time fitness experts, Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA. We have taught on land, sea, and airwaves for 3 decades on 4 continents. From writing to speaking, emceeing to hosting a radio show, reviewing products to teaching classes, we believe that little steps turn into big paths. Move a little more than the day before. FitFluential Ambassadors and award-winners both online and off.

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43 Responses to Overweight and Over the Hill: Menopause and Weight Gain

  1. Tamara January 27, 2014 at 6:26 pm #

    Oh my gosh. You and I have the same tumour!
    And I too, know what to do to get rid of it…

    1) Kettlebell swings (I just learned how to do them properly)
    2) Pigeon pose (for opening up those tight hips from walking and step aerobics)
    3) Squat to bicep curl to overhead press (go slow and heavy and you’ll get your heart rate up as well as build some nice-to-look at muscle)

    Let’s do it together! xo
    Tamara recently posted..Ultimate Booty Workouts |How my approach to fitness helped me write a bookMy Profile

  2. Noreen Gardner January 27, 2014 at 7:06 pm #

    I’m with you, sister. I have a tumor too! I’m reading this as I eat a turkey hot dog (bunless) and banana for dinner after a good group workout class.
    Standing crunches, minimum of 50. (Hands behind head, then bring knee up to opposite elbow, repeat other side for a count of one)
    Child’s pose, reaching center, left, then right.
    or I love a runners stretch but can’t remember if that is actually yoga? :-)
    Walking lunges with bicep curl or shoulder fly.
    You are not alone and keep fighting the good fight! Don’t give up!
    Noreen from Colorado

  3. Jody - Fit at 56 January 27, 2014 at 7:14 pm #

    HUGS!!!!!!!!! Ummmmmmmmmmmm, you don’t really want to know what I do to get thru this crap do you??? ;) Honestly, I have written about this so much since it started & for those that had not got there yet – you later than me & Tamara not there yet, I have always said it is the hardest time in my life, that nobody will understand till you get there, that all the peeps writing comments will not get the real meaning of it till it happens to them, that people do not write the truth about how hard it is.. I know – I am a pain in the arse but this time of life change sucks… :) The weight gain, the face & hair & body changes – it is all very hard!

    For me, honest, I started to cut back on calories SLOWLY at 50ish.. I saw the changes & I already ate more calories for my age & height than most due to my workouts so I had room to do this but I did not like it. :) I have done this little by little even to now – making calorie & food change choices to find the best approach for me.

    As for workouts, well, you know how crazy I am! :)

    I am here is you want to talk! HUGS!
    Jody – Fit at 56 recently posted..Gratitude Monday & Just Breathe!My Profile

    • AlexandraFunFit January 27, 2014 at 8:09 pm #

      Thanks, Jody. I DO know how much effort you put forth, and I guess I have to get in the weight room a bit more. I don’t have the hair issues (except the grey), but definitely have the calorie issue I guess. It’s a fine line between menopausal eating changes and a stinkin’ eating disorder for those of us who must drastically adjust.
      AlexandraFunFit recently posted..What’s the Best, Most Accurate Pedometer?My Profile

      • Jody - Fit at 56 January 28, 2014 at 5:18 am #

        It is tough.. I still eat more food than some might think but a lot less than my 40’s for sure including the late 40’s. 50’s are tough on me – really lots of changes & so many in the foods – it might come down to making different choices for the foods.. I still have my healthy breads but I did swap out certain carbs for others, ate less, a bit more protein & crap like that… ;) I had to find what worked for me by making small changes one at a time so I knew what was working.
        Jody – Fit at 56 recently posted..Gratitude Monday & Just Breathe!My Profile

  4. Christine @ Oatmeal Bowl January 27, 2014 at 7:17 pm #

    I, at 41 am already experiencing that! I know that I don’t eat crazy. I’ve even tracked me eats. But I am still gaining. Running helped. but I’m not training for a marathon everyday! LOL. Looking forward to see what’s working for you.

    Now to go check out Tamara’s site… haven’t been there in a while. ;)
    Christine @ Oatmeal Bowl recently posted..Kale Salad with Blueberries & Balsamic MushroomsMy Profile

  5. GiGi Eats Celebrities January 27, 2014 at 8:27 pm #

    You make me want to get a Polar Heart Monitor or a Fit Bit! I keep getting everyone else Fit Bits, but I don’t get myself one?!?!?! Am I not good enough for a gift to myself? lol
    GiGi Eats Celebrities recently posted..Rachel Ray Better Watch Her BackMy Profile

  6. Debbie @ Live from La Quinta January 27, 2014 at 8:40 pm #

    Sister, I am with you! I’ve been so cocky and clueless until just recently, when I had a similar weight creep on. I would love to work with you as we both work to lose (I have about 10).

    For me, it is also eating less, adding some solid strength training (beyond my “strength” classes, they just don’t cut it) and yoga, because I love how yoga gets my body tight and toned.

    You know I’m a runner, which is where I usually get my high intensity workout, but I have moved to the elliptical in the past, doing two minutes on, two minutes off, working at a pretty high intensity 95% or so) during those ON minutes.

    I was doing some HIIT workouts and Tabata style classes last year, but I felt they took a toll on my body. It may be time to give up those burpees (gosh, and I love them so much!).

    I think a combination of regular strength training and cardio (which for me is running), combined with some yoga and some intervals once a week, plus eating less is a good plan. I’m in if you are!
    Debbie @ Live from La Quinta recently posted..The Week in Training: Rock & Roll Marathon Base TrainingMy Profile

  7. Lois Alter Mark January 27, 2014 at 8:48 pm #

    Ooh, I feel so much better that I’m not alone in this! (Sorry!) The only thing that has worked for me in years is starting Jazzercise. I know I won’t go to a gym — I won’t even go into my garage to do the elliptical — but I have been going regularly to class for months now because I like the music and I’ve seen real results. The fact that I’ve finally seen my Kardashian butt shrink even a little is like a miracle to me.
    Lois Alter Mark recently posted..miraval: my oasis in the tucson desertMy Profile

    • AlexandraFunFit January 27, 2014 at 9:06 pm #

      See now, I wouldn’t mind having some butt in the back! And I get it about not being alone in this. I feel better too, knowing we are frustrated together. Sounds odd, but you know what I mean. It’s so stinkin’ frustrating. And Jazzercise is really fun. As a group fitness person, I love to hear that you enjoy going to classes!
      AlexandraFunFit recently posted..What Can You Do to Be Happy This Year? Besides Eating TunaMy Profile

  8. Elle January 27, 2014 at 9:09 pm #

    I would cut out the processed food and alcohol FIRST and just eat freggies and lean meats and ff dairy till that 10 pounds decided to get up and leave me alone. And drink lots of water and green tea.

    Moves? Serious lifting 3 times per week for half an hour at least. HIIT cardio on the other day, preferably runing sprints.

    Good luck….

    • AlexandraFunFit January 27, 2014 at 9:12 pm #

      Thanks Elle. I don’t drink alcohol. I posed with a sample of beer the other day, but didn’t actually drink it, so I hope none of its kcals jumped into me!! Your advice sounds very helpful. I definitely need to get going with some green tea instead of my usual black with cream!!
      AlexandraFunFit recently posted..5 Tips for Working Out When You Don’t Want ToMy Profile

  9. Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table January 27, 2014 at 9:12 pm #

    I would LOVE for someone to tell me my legs have meat on them. LOL!

    Strength training may give you a good boost. Last Tuesday I posted a workout that keeps your HR up while incorporating strength. It’s adaptable – you could start with no weight, modify moves, and/or take rests between sets. Here’s the link:

    Also, timing what you eat when. Most of your carb intake should be right before and after a workout. That’s when your body can use them as fuel rather than just letting it sit.

    You can do it! Don’t be afraid to play with your diet and workouts. Your body will let you know after a few days if it’s working or not!
    Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table recently posted..Skinny Limits Juice Cleanse ReviewMy Profile

  10. Ericka @ The Sweet Life January 28, 2014 at 3:40 am #

    My favorite yoga pose is pigeon, just making yourself SINK into it breathing deeply until I can touch my head to the ground. It HURTS but man it does a great job in the end!
    Ericka @ The Sweet Life recently posted..Comment on I Joined a Gym & Day #1 of Core Power Challenge by RunToTheFinishMy Profile

  11. Pamela Hernandez January 28, 2014 at 5:16 am #

    It sneaks up on all of us. When my husband travels I have to hyper vigilant. His trips in the fall gave me a couple of extra pounds because I revert to old eating habits – eating out of boredom. I keep a food journal to keep me in line.

    I love kettlebell swings and kick boxing for low impact high intensity cardio.

    I know you’ve got this. :)
    Pamela Hernandez recently posted..Fit Myths That Need to Go: Eat Less to Break a PlateauMy Profile

  12. January 28, 2014 at 5:53 am #

    I’m there with you too. For me it seems like one weekend of bigger meals and I gain 5 pounds. Then it takes 3 weeks to get it off and then I have another big weekend. Sigh.

    For me it’s food. The extra handfulls of snacks here and there. They add up and they need to stop. recently posted..HillsMy Profile

    • AlexandraFunFit January 28, 2014 at 6:01 pm #

      I get you totally Carrie. That is some crummy math, isn’t it? 1 day to add a pound, but a week to get rid of it. I’m writing down all my food so that I don’t do the handful thing. Great suggestion to watch those handfuls. Thanks.
      AlexandraFunFit recently posted..What’s the Best, Most Accurate Pedometer?My Profile

  13. Amanda Fox January 28, 2014 at 6:22 am #

    My girlfriend and I (she’s 51, I’m 45) have just started incorporating some Olympic weightlifting moves into our routine. We are both very active already, but this was something new for the both of us. So squat cleans and clean and jerk, stuff like that. I can see a difference in my body and it’s only been about four months. The funny part is, I never intended to really make a change in the first place. It’s just happening. I’m getting leaner.

    I also love skipping, and doing interval training like Tabatas.

    It’s crazy how a person’s metabolism just slows down at middle age. As for food, I eat less now. I just can’t eat as much as I used to. And I try really hard to stay away from sugar, or anything processed.

    Fighting the good fight right along with you. :)
    Amanda Fox recently posted..What To Do When Your House Is Semi-HauntedMy Profile

    • AlexandraFunFit January 28, 2014 at 6:04 pm #

      Do you mean skipping like what kids do? How fun for you to have a consistent workout buddy. Are both of you seeing a metabolic slowdown? Is hers more pronounced (since she’s 51)? Thanks for the ideas and encouragement. I think I should just come over and work out with you two!!
      AlexandraFunFit recently posted..Should You Burn Your Bread (not Your Bra) to Lose Belly Fat?My Profile

  14. Melissa Kirkham January 28, 2014 at 7:54 am #

    You, my dear, are one of the most awesome, self-confident people I know, so it is always a great reality check that we all end up in the boat of not loving the way our bodies are looking (or feeling). I know I don’t know what I don’t know since I just hit 40 last year, but was definitely feeling the changes and the weight gain the last quarter of the year.

    My two cents would be to up the protein each meal & cut back on the processed carbs. I’ve actually stopped most of my running and have been hitting the stair master – low impact and easy to get your heart rate going.

  15. Running Hutch January 28, 2014 at 10:47 am #

    Oh man. I sure hate the struggle but I love your honesty and call for help. It looks like you’ve gotten a lot of great ideas! I’m sure you’ll start making progress soon and get to where you want to be. I don’t know what others see when they see your selfies, but I see your amazing energy and spirit ALL THE TIME!
    Running Hutch recently posted..Food for Chinese New Year!My Profile

  16. Diane January 28, 2014 at 11:54 am #

    I have gone grain free and it changed my life. As a personal trainer for the past 30+ years I was shocked at weight gain! but more shocked by joint pain, eczema, IBS which I thought was just aging….then 1 year ago on a plane ride home I read the wheat belly ….. Wow!!!!! Weight loss was just an added benefit (10 pounds). I no longer have joint pain, no eczema, no IBS, more energy than I have had in 10 years. I usually see about 40 clients per week and I thought how can I keep this up and teach classes when I feel exhausted…now feel fabulous and I am going to be 55 in March. ( all these weird things started to happen to me about age 49….now I am back to the old me:))) or maybe I should say the new and improved me:)) gluten and grain free, no processed foods:) but still love red wine:)). Hehehe
    Diane recently posted..Naughty or Nice?: A Tale of Caffeine and DehydrationMy Profile

  17. Laura January 28, 2014 at 11:56 am #

    Alexandra, I am so sorry! That sucks! DID YOU GO TO THE DOC??

    I guess I better get OFF my butt and ON the ball!!!

    Keep me posted.
    Laura recently posted..What Can You Do to Be Happy This Year? Besides Eating TunaMy Profile

  18. TriGirl January 28, 2014 at 9:08 pm #

    The same thing happened to me too! What the heck?? It’s like since I started exercising a lot now I’m putting on weight!
    TriGirl recently posted..Pardon My French, but I Ran in *Bleeping* Paris!My Profile

  19. Shira February 3, 2014 at 7:17 am #

    Great post and I hear – and have often felt – your frustration. Sounds like you’ve got a great plan to deal with the “not tumor” and I’m glad you managed to include a shout otu to Tone Loc and hamantaschen (albeit my least favorite tradition pastry of my ancestors) in this post!
    Shira recently posted..Exercise tips to help survive a zombie-like snow apocalypseMy Profile

  20. Sandra Sallin February 7, 2014 at 5:15 pm #

    HELP!!!!! I’m in the same boat. I’m having the worst time trying to lose. How about that diet that is 2 days low calorie and 5 days what ever you want to eat? I also have a problem because of basal cell cancer surgery I can’t exercise. Really you need to put together a group of us to loose weight together or at least tips.
    Sandra Sallin recently posted..WOW! WE’VE BEEN MARRIED 53 YEARS AND IT JUST KEEPS GETTING BETTERMy Profile


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