Read below or listen to my story of how I lost the back fat and found comfort and support.
When I started the long journey through menopause, I was warned about hot flashes, mood swings and hairs on your chin that feel like tree stumps. But nobody told me about the insidious back fat that would over flow the top and bottom of my bra.
Then one day, I looked at my rear in the full-length mirror. Nice tush. But what was that bulge? Actually, more like small mountain ranges. Gross.
Okay, maybe I have put on a few pounds. But I’ve seen these spongy pouches on skinny women too.
I guess it’s part of the skin losing its elasticity and fat accumulating around our middles. But why was back fat not mentioned in any of those serious articles and books I read about menopause? Why did my well-endowed mother not tell me?
Allow me to set the record straight with the story of how I lost the back fat and found comfort and support.
Soon after I discovered the surprise fat, I tried buying a larger band size bra. A little better, but the fat still popped out—and under.
A couple friends suggested I go for a professional bra fitting. If I spent hundreds of dollars on a bra, they insisted, my problem would be solved. But as I noticed the pudge through their T-shirts, I decided no. Sounded like the skin vitalizing cream so expensive its active ingredient should be gold bullion. Or at least something that works. If only our problems could be solved by reckless spending.
My daughter, then a sales associate at Victoria’s Secret, insisted she understood my “soft tissue issues.” That’s what their young sales women are required to call back fat, even though I immediately thought about soft tissue injuries, hours in the emergency ward, unrelenting pain and months of rehab.
Mischosen words aside, Victoria’s Secret did understand that the hills are caused by the restrictive material most bra bands are made of. They squeeze you in, so the fat rushes to the nearest exit.
Because the material in the bands of the bras for ladies with soft tissues issues has more give, the rolls disappear. Almost.
Unfortunately, another mountain pops up. Because Victoria’s Secret mission is to make men look at your boobs, their bras treat breasts like Play-dough in need of colourful plastic moulds. Not just their cleavage-forcing feats of engineering, but their soft tissue liberators too.
This is bad, especially if you are a D cup like me. Or larger.
Because women of a certain age are not their target demographic, Victoria’s Secret does not realize that most of us are tired of men looking at our boobs. As the estrogen declines, we become more interested in getting men to listen. Or at least putting their dirty mug into the dishwasher.
Thinking this will detract from our thickening middle, many of us try to draw attention to our boobs. Like me on my 50th birthday, when I wore a low-cut top because my breasts were one of my few remaining cellulite-free zones. To get the desired effect, I wore a push-up Wonder bra. It made me feel like I was clamped into a mammogram vise. All evening.
Later I read that once the bust to waist ratio declines to a certain level, boobs lose their magical powers. So I went through all that torture for nothing.
A couple crones I know have decided to put comfort first and go without a bra. This is not a good look for me. I’ve known this ever since I first failed the pencil test I learned from Cosmo.
According to the late great Helen Gurley Brown, you simply place a pencil under a breast. If it doesn’t immediately clatter to the floor, you need a bra.
In my teen years, I often went bra-less. But as soon as I stopped passing the pencil test, I heeded my mother’s warning that my breasts would plummet to my waist if I carried on like that.
Having rejected the old squeeze-band contraptions and the new soft tissue specials, I was at a loss. I tried wearing my sports bra outside of the gym. But I didn’t like the uniboob look or feeling like a Chinese girl having her feet bound.
Then my life changed. Last week, as I was standing in the checkout line at Wal-Mart, I saw the Ahh bra. I vaguely recalled some subliminal message about comfort that I must have absorbed during my informercial cure attempts for menopause insomnia. Only $20. I gave it a try.
Ahh! I feel good and have no back fat. What’s more, I passed the pencil test.
With little moulding between cups, there is a semi-uniboob look. With most clothes, no one will notice. When I want to show off the girls, I’ll wear my Victoria’s Secret back fat liberator.
Case closed. Now all I have to do is pass on this wisdom to the next wave of menopausers. Or should I say menostoppers.
Our mothers should have warned us. But then they were imprisoned by the Playtex lift and separate. Oh my.
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