Open Road © Lynette Sheppard

When you near the end of one journey, you begin another. So it is with my Most Excellent Menopause Weight Loss Adventure. I have embarked upon the first 3 week maintenance phase after losing the 16 pound turkey around my middle.

And so far, it is going pretty well. My energy level is still not back to pre-diet levels, but better with every passing day. They tell me this is perfectly normal.

I can eat anything except starches and sugars, so it’s pretty wide open. The most important thing to be aware of is to eat enough calories to reset metabolic rate to a more normal place.

Initially, I thought I’d have no problem eating enough. After all, this was what I planned and was ready for, wasn’t it? God knows, I’ve read these freaking books and my doctor’s instructions so many times I can quote whole sections verbatim.

Imagine my surprise then to find myself anxious and  a little afraid that eating normally would pack the pounds back on again. Intellectually, I know better. Emotionally, well that’s a different story.

So I did what any Menopause Goddess would do in such circumstances. I gave myself a good stern talking to. “Self,” I said. “Food is not your enemy. It’s life, sustenance, nourishment. EAT!”And I did. And I am. (I can be very persuasive at times.)

What has most intrigued me about the HCG diet, besides the science, is the metabolic reset that creator Dr. Simeons asserted as end result. God knows, with the advent of The Big M, my metabolism seemed to grind to a halt. The jury is still out as to whether that actually will happen or not; I promise to keep you all posted.

Here’s what I do know has reset. My taste buds. Eating without oil of any kind challenged me to use pure spices as flavoring. And my sensitivity to flavor is at an all time high. (By pure spices, I mean without any additives like sugar or MSG or other unpronounceable substances. Read the spice labels – you will be amazed. I bought garlic pepper without reading the label in the grocery store only to find it contained sugar.)

After this three weeks of maintenance, comes a three week period of adding good starches back into my diet, such as sprouted grain bread, organic potatoes, and brown rice. Sugar in moderation will be okay, but I’m not a big sugar person. Most important will be avoiding high fructose corn syrup (which they put in freaking everything) and meats with hormones and antibiotics.

Finally, the HCG diet is just one option or possibility for kickstarting metabolism and losing that midlife bulge. For example, my friend, Dee Adams of Minnie Pauz fame, has been walking and eating low carb – she’s lost weight and feels great. She also credits reporting to her many friends on Facebook with keeping her going. We might let ourselves down, but never our girlfriends.

Theresa Venus is trying new recipes from Cooking Light in addition to her daily workouts and pounds are coming off.

Lei Venus has taken to eating frequent tiny meals and has maintained her weight where she wants it.

My girlfriends, Bronwyn and Arlinka, have been visiting the gym 3 times a week and are in great shape. Bronwyn ran most of a marathon a couple of weeks ago. (She only planned to run half, but kept going when she hit her stride.)

There is no one right answer – no one perfect diet or exercise regimen that will work for all Menopause Goddesses
. The HCG diet seems to have worked for me. Only time will tell.