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Midlife and Menopause

Personal Stories of Menopause and Midlife

debra "I made it my mantra to change my lifestyle."

Debra Walfield

I used to be a closet eater. I figured if no one was looking, I didn't eat it. Although I hid it well, I was 30 pounds overweight. I used to stay up late at night reading and eating junk food like chips -- I craved the salt -- and chocolate.

Then I found out I had prediabetes, which means my blood sugars were high and I was on my way to getting diabetes. Both my parents have diabetes so I know how serious it is. That was the incentive I needed to lose the weight. I volunteered to be in the Diabetes Prevention Program and was randomized to the lifestyles group. The program is great.  I received coaching about making diet and exercise changes and behavior modification. That and having a support network was key.

I made it my mantra to change my lifestyle. Changing my eating habits was the hardest part, but within a few months I met my goal of losing 11 pounds and over the next year took off the whole 30 pounds.

I changed my method of cooking and now eat more vegetarian style. I keep my portion sizes small. I don't deny myself, but if I have chocolate, I let it melt in my mouth and really taste it. I don't keep foods I used to binge on in the house anymore, like M&Ms. And walking regularly is as much for my emotional well-being as it is for my physical.

I no longer have prediabetes. But I have to keep trying to push the diabetes back. Menopause was a challenge to keep the weight off. And I just went through some stressful times and put some weight back on. But I'm committed -- and now I know I can put the brakes on the gain.

Excerpted from Our Bodies, Ourselves: Menopause, © 2006, Boston Women's Health Book Collective.

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