Friday, July 31, 2015

Hi, I’m Kim…and I am an addict!

I like food in the morning.
I like food at night.
I even like food by candlelight.

Food is my addiction.
Food is my crutch.
Food is going to kill me because I eat way too much!

I eat food when I drive.
I eat food when I cry.
I’m sure I’ll want food even after I die!

Yes, my name is Kim, and I am a food addict!

Everything about my life is altered by my desire to eat.  And, if I could ask for one thing to change in my life, it would be to lose weight and be healthier.  That’s it!  It is completely within my control for this to happen, yet I continue to eat all of the wrong things. Why can’t I do what I need to do?

I have tried everything you could think of to lose weight.  I have tried the Atkin’s Diet.  I have tried low-fat diets.  I have tried counting calories.  I have tried Weight Watcher’s.  I have tried Jenny Craig.  I have even tried the Subway diet.  Every single one of these “diets” work, while I stick to them.  But, they never seem to stay in my life for more than a few weeks. 

I can’t help it! 

Ding Dongs and Ho Hos call to me.  They say things like, “You can have just one…it won’t hurt you.  You know you want to.”  And, then you look at the price, and they are always on sale 2 for $5.00…so you have to get 2 boxes.  Right?  It would be uneconomical…and a crime to buy only one box.  Then the very minute you eat that last scrumptious bite of chocolate, you swear you are never going to do it again!

And, on top of food calling to me from every direction, I am going through menopause!  I am hungry all of the time!  Ok, maybe I am not really hungry, but I crave food constantly.  When I wake up, the first thing I think about is what I am going to have for breakfast.  Then, I immediately turn my mind to lunch.  And, by the time I have had lunch my husband and I are usually emailing each other to discuss what we are going to have for dinner.  We talk about food like other couples talk about sex!  It is like we live to eat instead of eating to live!

This addiction to food plays a role in every aspect of my life too.  I am now on medication to keep my blood sugar regulated, and I am on medication to control my blood pressure too.  And, I should be on cholesterol medication, but I haven’t found one that doesn’t cause painful side effects.  But, the irony of this is if I lost weight, I could get off of all of this medication.  I could be free of the bondage fat causes in my life.  I could be that thinner healthier person I know I am meant to be.   She is in me.  I hear her every day.  I have even given her a name…”Charlize.”  (The name just sounds skinny.)  Charlize says things like, “Kim, don’t eat that Ho Ho.  You know it will go straight to your hips.”  Yeah, I hear her…then I usually stick the Ho Ho in my mouth to shut her up. 

But, it is time for Charilze to win the battle she has fought with me for many years.  It is time for me to listen to Charlize.  It is time for Charlize to wear those skinny jeans I run from as soon as I see them. It is time for Charlize to stop taking medication she does not need.  It is time for me to exercise more, like Charlize has told me to do for many years. 

 If I don’t get on the right path, I will be taking Charlize to meet our maker way before she or I want to.   

So, here is my plan…are you listening Charlize?  I actually have a plan.  A good friend of mine has recently lost a substantial amount of weight, and I asked how she accomplished this.  She said she cut out dairy, bread and potatoes.  She said she felt amazing…and she looks amazing!  The foods she cut out are like my staple foods, which is why I am not healthy.  So, it makes sense that by eliminating these starchy, carb and fat filled foods from my diet, I will get healthier. 

I think the key to this new way of eating (not a diet) being successful, is to plan ahead.  Planning, instead of eating on the run, and mostly from drive-thru windows (I hope my doctor is not reading this,) is critical.  I hope to plan my meals week to week, and buy the food ahead of time, so that I am prepared.

And, I need support! 

Is anyone else ready to take a journey to be healthier?  I plan to post any obstacles or accomplishments I obtain to our Menopausal Mom Facebook page.  I plan to weigh in every Monday and list either my loss or gains.  And, I would love to have you join me.  Even if you don’t need to lose weight, please participate!  Add encouraging words to others on this journey we will all be taking together. 

I also plan to report how my health is doing via my doctor’s reports too.  I want to be transparent about this because we tend to keep these things inside when we could be sharing our struggles together.

I want to free Charlize from my addiction, and if you too need release from a food addiction, come on board!

May your hot flashes be mild and your wrinkles even milder!

Friday, July 24, 2015

In Praise of the Man Bun

By Mary Meehan
Menopausal Mom of Kentucky
I'm the one called Granny Zombie

I was having lunch the other day with my unofficially adopted daughter who has more tattoos and piercings than I can count and a few in places I don't want to know about. 

And, to my surprise and thanks to our lushy-locked Ginger waiter,  as we chatted over pizza we discovered our mutual admiration of a good Man Bun.

There is much to discuss.

Is the Man Bun just another Bieber flip? That was the hair don't that created spasmatic necks from excessive flippingin many a middle school boy. Is this Jared Leto-inspired trend like that  short-lived fad driven by a teen dream celeb? (To be honest there are still a few flippy hair Beliebers out there.)

Or is the Man Bun the mullet of the millennium? That business-in-the-front party-in-the-back travesty that seemingly infected the nation but especially took hold here in Kentucky where entire high school yearbooks of a certain vintage have an array of nothing but mullets.

Will, someday, folks look back at the Man Bun,  that luxurious, strategically messy disarray and ponder  "what on earth were they thinking" in the same way I am puzzled by the fact I ever wore shoulder pads?

I hope not. At lunch we came to the conclusion that maybe the allure of the Man Bun is some sort of primal draw....early man didn't exactly have Super Cuts. Maybe it is the confidence it takes to wear it well? Maybe, like women, shiny, healthy, abundant hair is a sign of fertility to which women are automatically wired to respond.

Or, maybe, it's just a little reckless and sexy.

But there are limitations. Not everyone can pull off a Man Bun and not all Man Buns are created equal.

We love you Channing.....but, no.

And there are some styles that show just a little too much effort.

Yes, because we Menopausal Moms have been doing our hair for decades, we know that the Man Bun is likely the result of careful conditioning and clipping. It probably has multiple dry runs before a mirror before it makes a public debut. Who knows? Those boys may be brushing their hair 100 times every night just like those girls in the 50s beach movies did at their sleep overs.

No, the perfect Man Bun is the follicle equivalent of "what, this old thing?" The key, as any woman who has tried to achieve a chic "bed head" look knows is to appear nonchalant no matter how much product you've used
Although some aging hippies may have long embraced a Man Bun it hasn't caught among Menopausal Men as much as among millennials. But don't despair older men. I'm pretty sure there are plenty of you out there who could pull it off.  

  • Shout out to our reader in Abzerbianjan! Menopausal is Universal!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

…til death do us part…hopefully

When we get married, we hope this union is meant to last until one of the two parties die. And, for 50% of the marriages out there (,) it does.  But, for the other 50%, sadly, it does not.
 I, personally, was married the first time for 10 years.  My first husband was a kind man, but my mother-in-law was…let's just say "difficult."  My husband was an only child, and she was very protective over him, and nothing I ever did was good enough.  She kind of dominated our lives, and I was miserable.  And, my husband would never say anything to her. 
I don't know if you have ever watched, "Everybody Loves Raymond," but I felt much like Debra did about Marie.  Debra loved Marie, but she preferred to love her from afar.  I remember one scene from this show that really hit home:

"Everybody Loves Raymond: Counseling (#7.2)" (2002)

Debra Barone: "Is it such a problem that I want my house to look clean?"
Marie Barone: "That's certainly valid. And Raymond, you of all people should know that if you want your house to look clean, Debra *needs* help."  
My house was never clean enough.  I never fed my children the right foods.  And, if she gave us $5.00 the entire family knew about it.  And, of course, the family would tell me.  After ten years, I couldn't take it anymore. 
Result: Divorce.

Currently, I have been married for 22 years (anniversary is July 18th.)  This marriage has come with many hurdles to cross too.  Communication, in my thought, has been the most challenging part for us.  If a disagreement occurs and the tone of communication gets loud, I prefer to go off by myself and calm down, so I can be rational at a later point.  My husband, on-the-other-hand, prefers to get it out in the moment.  He doesn't understand my need to be alone for a while, and I do not understand his need to get it out in the moment.  But, so far, so good...and the longer we are together, the better we seem to handle such situations.
But, we have also struggled through even more challenging situations; most recently it has involved trust issues.  And, most people would say if their spouse is talking innappropriately to someone of the opposite sex, they are completely at fault and it is grounds for a divorce. 

However, I will say this, marriage is a two-way street.  If this is happening in your relationship, take a good long look in the mirror and ask yourself if you had any part in this?  You may not have any blame.  But, I looked in the mirror, and quickly realized I most definitely had blame in my situation.  You see, my husband was talking through Facebook and text messages to a gal he knew in high school.  And yes, this is difficult for me to talk about, but at the same time, it is healing.
At first, I was really angry.  I realized he was chatting with her during family gatherings, Valentine's Day, and texting her just after texting me…or just before texting me.  Trust me, I made copies of every text message and Facebook message I could find.  I was a woman on a mission!  I wanted so much to hurt him the way he had hurt me, but that was not the answer.  Once I did my usual thing of going off to myself, calming down, and becoming more rational, I realized my husband and I had let our marriage go.  We weren't communicating.  We weren't making time for each other.  And, well, intimacy was a distant memory. 
Why was this happening?
When I began to answer this question, there was no way the fault was completely on my husband.  You see, my dad had passed away a few months earlier after a long illness.  I had injured my back and was dealing with pain every day, and I had lost a job.  It was a trying time for me, and instead of clinging tighter to my husband, I was unintentionally ignoring him and becoming absorbed with self-pity. 
But, as I read the messages my husband wrote to his old high school gal friend, I could hear lonliness in the messages.  Most of the time, they were just talking about random things.  Some of the texts were not appropriate, but he also told her he loved me very much.  I heard in these messages that he needed me as much as I needed him, and it took this horrible situation to reveal it.
My husband and I renewed our vows in church…where the words should have been spoken in the first place, and we decided to move forward.  We have forgiven each other…even though he still feels I had no blame in the situation.  I know, in fact, I had blame. 

Getting older creates new challenges in marriages.  You begin dealing with the care of aging parents, or the death of them, while trying to still be good parents to your children/adults living at home.  Your body is also aging and needs more attention, and your sleep patterns change.  The middle-age years can be stressful in so may ways, and this can add stress to your marriage.
Do I trust my husband?  Of course this situation hurt that trust, but I am working on this every day!  Deep in my heart, I believe this will never happen again.  But, I am human…and occasionally my mind wanders back to that dark place.  However, my husband is always willing to talk openly with me.  He doesn't say, "Aren't you ever going to let this die?"  He is always willing to talk with me about how I am feeling. 

That is the key…we talk.  We both make a strong effort to make time for each other; neither of us should ever feel lonely.  And, we decided if we do…we need to communicate that to each other…not keep it inside because it will manifest and rear its ugly head in some fashion. 

Result: 22 years of marriage (this Saturday) and still counting.

Marriage requires work on both parts.  If you are part of a relationship where you feel you must make all of the effort, LET IT GO!  Menopause is difficult enough! 
May your hot flashes be mild and your wrinkles even milder.
Kim York

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Bill Cosby: Charming figure or rapist? Answer: Yes

By Mary Meehan
Menopausal Mom of Kentucky
(I am the one who loves One Direction)

Is Bill Cosby the warm, charming father figure we all loved on the The Cosby Show or the heinous predator who drugged women and raped them. Here is the answer: Yes

It's not an either or proposition.

 It is possible, really almost likely, the genial, handsome, smart guy who seems concerned and invested in these women can do great and horrible damage.

Because bad guys, those who aren't just clubbing people over the head in a back alley, need to have the skills to charm. Ted Bundy had to be sly and convincing enough to get all those women in his car so he could kill them.
We cling to the idea that we can identify a sexual predator because it makes us feel safer. There is solace in the fact that we can see him or her at a distance and know instinctively to cross the street. In that way we are in control. It also allows us to cling, in places we would never own up to, that when something bad happens to a woman, well, she maybe should have just little bit more on her game.

Guess what? That's not the deal.

Sure there are the whack job, crack-a-doodles who you know better than to sit next to on the bus. But the mental illness that plagues them at that point is so far out of control it is spilling over into their everyday world in a way they can't contain. 

Bill Cosby, and many sexual predators, cloak their perversion in civility because it keeps them safe and gives them access to the what they want. Would any of those women have gone backstage or to his house or to hotel room if he hadn't played the perfect, concerned friend?

Here is another thing I want you to consider. How would this play out if a string of men, now lawyers and doctors and successful business people and respected fathers plus a few world renowned celebrities, came out and made accusations against a beloved, iconic female figure. Let's say Betty White. (Sorry Betty.) She drugged them and fondled them all without permission when they were young.

It's hard to imagine because that kind of narrative never plays out in our culture.

But first, there would be a wink-wink, nudge nudge attitude that at least those guys got some. As for Betty (Sorry Betty.) she would be vilified and ridiculed. There would be jokes about how she can't get a man without slipping them a little something to dull their senses. I imagine there would be a T-shirt.

I can't imagine that as those numbers of men rose to 20 something that there would be the same sort of character gutting that is being aimed at these women. Would the men be called as calculating harpies out for money or revenge?

No because by definition harpies are women so that shows part of the problem. But that argument would fall flat because a man who obtained professional success must have done so on talent and skill and that gives him automatic standing in the world that isn't afforded to women no matter what they do.

Here is the final thing that makes me crazy. Some of these women have had trouble with drugs, alcohol or mental illness and depression and, Cosby's ever-narrowing line of defenders say, they should be discounted because of it.

Hmmm....being drugged, raped, toe sucked and dragged semi-conscious and stuffed into a cab by a trusted mentor and father figure. I don't know. That seems worthy of a little self-medication and PTSD.

I don't believe for an instant that 20 women spanning three decades have all colluded to ruin the legacy or career of Bill Cosby by telling disturbingly similar stories about how they were drugged, raped and sexually molested.
If you read the accounts, and there are many and everywhere, it seems Cosby had several go-to moves. Entice young actresses or models, feed them alcohol and mysterious pills. (So many pills you have to wonder, did he take his honorary "Dr" to mean MD? And, why exactly, did he have so much medicine on hand to relieve menstrual cramps?)

But there may be a real opportunity to talk about the reality of sexual violence. It happens. A few outliers are trolling the sidewalk in trench coats but many more are in board rooms and school committees and sets of television shows offering to give a young person a little free advice and a little attention to groom them.  Why do they take the chance? They believe they are entitled and they know if someone tells, no one will believe them.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Magic Mike XXL: Life Lessons

By Mary Meehan
Menopausal Mom

I'll admit it. The pretty boys in various stages of undress were part of the allure of the film but when it comes to Magic Mike XXL it is the life lessons I took with me from that theater that really matter

I know, you may be thinking: Mary, you went all Fifty Shades of Nay when that other movie came out selling sex to middle aged women. I didn't like how it was pitched as "ohh, how cute middle aged women like bondage". And I won't apologize for not being a fan of women getting tied up and smacked around. Really there was a part of me who was jealous of that woman with  the horrible British accent and little to no discernible writing ability was honored with creating "Mommy Porn". (Previously known as "Harlequin Romance")
That crazy hoopla took the weirdest turn when some super-eager marketer, who had, I can imagine, a very unusual relationship with his stuffed animals as a boy,  created an adorable bondage bear with accessories.

 But Magic Mike is different. Magic Mike XXL represents much of what is great about these United States. Yes, on the days before and after July 4th, 2015, when we collectively celebrate our independence and can-do spirit a group of brave, chiseled, actors dared to free themselves of their clothing. 
God Bless America.
 Full Disclosure: There were a lot of things I didn't like about the first Magic Mike. Heavily advertised as a joyful romp it was instead equal parts sexy time dancing and a labored attempt to shed light  on the exploitation   of male strippers. I don't know why the male stripper movie needed a social conscious. It would be like delving into eating disorders and the abuse of women in the fashion industry as a part of the Victoria's Secret "Fashion Show."
But when several critics said Magic Mike  XXL was THE movie of the summer I felt it was my duty to give those daring boys my $6.99. Plus, the movie theater had recliners.
So here are my life lessons.
Lesson 1:  Even a very handsome man with a giant penis, as portrayed in the movie by Joe Manganeillo, 
despairs that he will never find someone to love all of him.   
Lesson 2: When movie folks want to project a depth of character in a male himbo they put him in nerd specks. 

Just like "Scientist" Tara Reid in Alone in the Dark.

Oh, too, there were lessons of the benefits of bromance, and Carpe Diem, a dusting  of female empowerment and a critical lesson about never driving your artisanal Fro-Yo van with your eyes closed. But mostly, the actors seem to be having a very good time. Andie McDowell, especially, was having a blast as a beautiful, boozy belle.
And I can't forget Channing Tatum. He and the rest of the cast are unlikely to be getting any Oscar nods but he is charming and funny. I looked and looked for a picture that captured that winking good humor but couldn't find just the right one. So this one will have to do.

 You're Welcome. 
So, here is the biggest life lesson from Magic Mike XXL. Sometimes it OK to do something without a social message or a deep hidden meaning. The movie, much like this post, is an excuse to enjoy  some of God's best work If it is pretty boys daring to be bare so be it.

Look what God made! Good job God!

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 Menopause is Universal!