So yeah.  I turned 50 last August and times were bad.  Not “Natural Disaster” or “Permanently Scarred for Life” bad but menopausal, sad and depressed bad.  I’d gained the 50 menopause pounds (What?  Thats not a thing?) and I felt like my skin was starting to melt regardless of whatever expensive potions I’d been using.  This was strange for me because I am by nature a pretty happy person – and I don’t allow myself to feel bummed out for long.  And I had never let my weight skyrocket like it had – I’ve been pretty good about taking care of myself.  I taught aerobics in my 20’s – in the jazzersize days and I’m relatively careful about what I eat until the past few years.  But the past two years I felt completely out of control and by Christmas of 2014 I knew that it was going to require some real intensity to change the path of things if I was going to survive this phase of my life.  I never thought I would still be alive at 50 – but it was clear that if I was to grow old gracefully I needed to drag my dignity out of the ditch I was in.

In January I started going to the gym and almost immediately caught a really nasty cold that literally took my breath away for a few weeks.  By February I knew I had lost some momentum but I thought I’d head back to the gym and just see if I could rally on my own.  My husband suggested I try out a gym a friend of his owned and I immediately dismissed it as “a meat-head, bodybuilder boys gym” but his friend offered to let me just use the cardio room and assured me no one would try to trick me into doing any dead-lifts.  I was reluctant but I agreed and showed up on a Tuesday in some pretty ratty workout clothes I could still manage to get my fat ass into.  After 35 minutes of walking no where at 2.8 miles per hour I was a weak sweaty mess and my feet hurt.  I was whining before I even got out the door.  It took a good week before I was able to feel like I was going to survive this brutal 35 minutes – gradually increasing the elevation to burn an extra 25 calories than the day before and then 50 extra calories and then a hundred extra calories.  By the end of the first week I was burning 300 calories in 35 minutes and I felt pretty good about it.  The worst part was that I was sooooo bored.

The second week I found out that Netflix had released a new season of House of Cards almost a year before and I was really upset that I hadn’t seen it so I loaded the tablet in my gym bag and set it on top of the treadmill while I groaned my way through 35 minutes of cardio.  But alas!  The episode wasn’t over!  There was no possible way I could wait until tomorrow to see how Claire was going to manage Franks insatiable appetite for power!  So I ratcheted up the treadmill for another 25 minutes and huffed and puffed my way to the end of the episode.

And the proverbial tables turned.  I no longer could wait until the next morning when I could get back to the gym and watch another episode and I figured that while I was there I might as well get the most out f it as I could.  So I went faster and at higher elevations until I was easily burning 600 in 53 minutes.  And then it became a game where the burned calories became more important than the time I had left on the Netflix episodes.  When Claire and Frank closed out the season of House of Cards I watched 3 seasons of Luther.  Then a series about a crazy family and then the first season of Reign and a really cute series written and produced by Tina Fey.  Every day – seven days a week – I would head to the gym first thing in the morning and negotiate my performance to coincide with a random Netflix drama.  I am no longer bored while doing cardio.  I am on my 5th week adding in weight training 2 days a week and there have been a couple of days I have found myself at the gym twice in one day.  I’ve lost around 20 ponds but more importantly – I am regaining my swagger and I have more energy and enthusiasm for the day.

I talked with my Doctor and my Trainer about supplements to increase the effectiveness of all the work I’m putting in.  And in keeping with my tradition of non-traditional therapies – I wanted to know more about a particular hormone therapy called HGH.  I had worked at a day spa in Miami in the late 90’s when HGH was primarily something you could only find in Hollywood.  Human Growth Hormone is naturally produced by the pituitary gland and starts to decrease around age 25-30.  It was expensive back then and was hotly debated as to its effectiveness and – in truth – its safety.  As with anything – its not to be used indiscriminately and it should never be used to excess.  What is it supposed to do?  The benefits can vary from person to person and are pretty wide ranging.  An increase in lean muscle and a decrease in fat  is the leading effect but other benefits are better skin and increased energy.  I started a low dose HGH regimen on Friday and started noting that my mood was – shall I say – QUITE pleasant.  On Sunday my workout seemed to be easier so I increased the intensity.  And it doesn’t seem possible but I thought the skin on my face – particularly around my eyes – had a better texture.  This was confirmed when I caught my husband looking at me strangely and asked me if I was using different makeup.  I was not.

There is very little research posted online regarding women and HGH therapy.  The clinics I called to ask for more information started at around $1500 for a consultation and estimated it would cost around $1400 a month for a 5 on 2 off regimen.  This may sound expensive but in the late 90’s this same treatment started around $15000.  Most users notice improvements within a month.  Several noticed sooner but were not willing to commit that it was due to the HGH.  This type of therapy should really start a lot earlier than age 50 as anti-aging is not the same as reverse aging.  And its absolutely imperative NOT to overdo it.  The side effects of overdosing can be grotesque and they are irreversible.  Hormone testing for HGH can be done for around $300.  If you have a family history of cancer than my research indicates this is not for you.

I’ll be reporting my own progress in hopes that other women can benefit from this therapy if it is appropriate.