As Halloween approaches I've decided that I don’t need to run out to the costume store. I already have a new costume.  My body is creating one for me right before my very eyes. What am I talking about? Shape-shifting.

Shape-shifting in mythology, folklore and modern fantasy like the TV series Fringe, is the ability of a being to physically transform into another form.  It is also a real phenomenon and my body is living proof.  

An article I recently read in the Mayo Clinic Weight Newsletter stated that weight gain takes place when body mass increases, whether as a result of fat deposits, additional muscle tissue, or excess fluid. However, weight gain associated with menopause typically involves increased amounts of fat around the abdomen. Yep I can totally relate!

Studies show on average women gain between 12 and 15 pounds between the ages of 45 and 55, the stage in life when menopause typically occurs. This extra weight generally does not evenly distribute itself. In other words a shape-shifting occurs. The weight tends to accumulate around the middle and women often notice the shape of their bodies changing from the sexy hour-glass to a more rounded contour. 

Read this next: My Midlife Reinvention

The fact is, muscle mass diminishes with age while fat increases. This loss decreases metabolism along with the hormonal changes that make mid-lifers more likely to gain belly fat and pounds on our hips and thighs. 

It’s true that losing muscle mass makes it more challenging to maintain a healthy weight. The fact of the matter is, if we eat as we always have and don't increase our physical activity, during midlife most of us will gain weight.

So what’s a girl to do?  

Listen to the authors of one of my favorite book Younger Next Year. Practice the healthy midlife-style habits of regular exercise, healthy eating, getting plenty of sleep and managing stress. Midlife transitions such as children leaving — or returning — home, divorce, the death of a spouse, retirement and other life altering events may be inevitable, but if we “get moving and quit eating crap” we can truly live strong, fit, and sexy – during midlife and beyond.

Mary Buchan RN has over 30 years of health and wellness experience. After helping a wide range of people over the years, she recently repurposed her Nurse's Cap as a Life Reinvention Coach, Speaker, and Author of the new book Over It – How to Live Above Your Circumstances and Beyond Yourself.  As a mid-lifer with an empty nest, she blogs about self-discovery, relationships, reinvention, and healthy living.   Visit