Life in General
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The Middle

If I was to describe the relationship I currently have with my body, I would say that we’re not on speaking terms.

This has only happened a few times in my life. Most of the time, we’re the best of friends. This time, there was no major falling out, no dramatic incident, no third-party indiscretion.

That said, there were some warning signs she wasn’t quite her usual self.

Since 2018, I have had three mammograms and two ultrasounds to check as many breast lumps that have thankfully turned out to be cysts or ‘normal tissue’. A couple of years ago I had a polyp removed from my uterus and last year I started taking oestrogen and progesterone to help with some peri-menopausal symptoms that were significantly reducing my quality of life. My point being, I know exactly what stage of life I am in and I have been doing my utmost to listen to my body and give her what she needs to stay strong and healthy.

Which is why I have been a little taken aback by her recent, and might I say unreasonable behaviour. It was all very stealth and secretive, which meant it took me a few months to work out what was going on; but there is absolutely no way my body can deny what she’s been up to, it’s in plain sight and I have half a wardrobe of evidence that proves her untoward actions.

The bitch has started storing fat all over my middle.

Now I am no hour glass. My waist is not much narrower than my hips. Front view and I am straight up and down. Side view I have what is affectionately called a “potbelly”. I made my peace with my shape a long time ago. I haven’t worn a crop top since I was 19 and I am OK with that.

Through the seasons of every year, my body adds and subtracts some kilos but always within acceptable parameters.

I have been pregnant twice, which of course changed my shape drastically. My middle stretched to accommodate my beautifully, big babies, and was left with slightly looser skin once the babies had vacated. Fair enough.

My whole life, I have loved sport and there has only been a handful of times in my life when I haven’t run, biked, lifted weights, been on a team or followed YouTube HIIT classes in my living room on a weekly basis.

My love of sport and the gift of a normal, athletically shaped body means that I have jeans in my wardrobe that I bought when I was 20 and until about four months ago, could still fit into them.

During the other times when I couldn’t fit my favourite jeans, there was a clear reason why not: I was carrying another human being, I had just given birth to a human being and was eating biscuits during three feeds a night, I was suffering from a bulging disc and it hurt to move, over the 12 days of Christmas I had consumed three tins of Quality Street.

My inability to wear half of my wardrobe could be explained by the in-out theory, I was putting more fuel in than I was putting out. Fair enough.

This is not the case right now. I am more measured in my eating and consistent in my exercising than I have ever been and I still have gone up a dress size!

Finally, coming to this realisation has left me livid. Bemused. Indignant. Lost. Upset. In despair. Honestly, I am so mad I can’t even look at her right now.

Everyone said that women of a certain age (the one I am in) would start to get bigger round the middle, but reaching 45 it seemed like my body was remaining true to her younger self. OK she was getting cysts and polyps, the odd hot flush, mood swings, foggy head. She was losing some hormones, so I gave her HRT and balance returned. And yes, since hitting 40 I had noticed exercise alone wasn’t keeping me within my preferred parameters of weight, so I had adjusted portion size and reduced the sugar intake. Again, a healthy balance was achieved.

But this, this is out of order! It’s literally clamped to my middle. I feel like only a life of celery sticks and Miso soup would get me back into my favourite Howies jeans and that’s no life at all.

I’m devastated to say it, but the myth is true ladies, mid-life will strap itself to your middle and it seems nothing you do will remove it.

The hardest part of all is I now have to buy a whole new wardrobe or it’s muffin tops and back boobs for the foreseeable future. I know we will have to reconcile at some point, but right now, we’re not friends.

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