Today’s response to MURI’S 2020 CHALLENGE FOR NATIONAL POETRY MONTH.  Like the 2019 challenge, this consists of 13 prompts, one for each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday in April. They can be completed in any order.  If you are interested in participating, click on the above link for the prompts and posting guidelines.

Prompt #11 is “Write an acrostic poem using a word to describe your worst enemy.”

Menopause hit me like a ton of bricks.  Fat cells gathered for a family reunion in the space between my armpits and knees.  When the party was over, I couldn’t get them to leave so I let them hang around.  I fed them cheese manicotti and Pringles.  I encouraged them to be fruitful and multiply.  “Size doesn’t matter” became my mantra, along with its pants tag cousin “16 is the new 14.”  But those extra pounds caused a lot of old friends to turn on me.  Suddenly, everything felt tighter—elastic waistbands, t-shirts, armchairs, the space between my car and the garage wall, my chest when I walked a couple blocks with the dog.  There were more and more things to avoid—fitting rooms, swimsuits, photos that showed my chins, high school reunions, rickety lawn chairs, Spanx garments capable of suffocation or entrapment.

When I resolved to lose weight, the cosmos used every trick in the book to try and stop me.  NOOM proved too technologically challenging.  The local gym was pricey and required an extra pair of shoes, ones that had never set foot in the outside world.  Nine days after I joined, they shut down due to Coronavirus.  The same week, the nurse called with my lab results; I was to decrease my thyroid medication, which would make my mission even more difficult.  The grocery store ran out of low-fat mayo and multi-grain flatbread.  But the more the universe thwarted me, the more determined I became.  I counted calories, swore off snacking, and upped the daily dog walk to a mile.  I crocheted to keep my hands busy.  Over a period of six weeks, my afghan grew and I shrank.  Not so much that I’d blow away in a strong wind, but my enemy is not as formidable as he once was.  I’m on the road to victory!


Worrying about BP, diabetes, heart attacks
Every year, buying new jeans in a larger size
Insecurity, avoiding mirrors, dodging selfies
Going toe-to-toe with the fridge and losing
Hating the scale with its big black numbers
Trying to squeeeeze into a shrinking world

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  1. Chevvy April 22, 2020 / 2:01 am

    Ah Joan, you are hilarious. The battles that women have to wage.Well, you know what they say, when you fall, pick yourself up and start again. I like the last line, it is definitely a shrinking world in more ways than one.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan April 22, 2020 / 8:27 am

      Thanks, Chev. It’s not totally a women’s battle, though men tend to care less about extra weight. And I’m not aiming to lose half my body weight, just enough to be healthy, comfortable in most situations, and able to do what I want to do without getting short of breath or pulling a muscle. I guess we’re all squeezing into a shrinking world right now, with so much off-limits due to COVID. Stay tuned, more poems coming this week and next. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Chevvy April 22, 2020 / 1:19 pm

        I hear you and will check out your next post. Enjoy the rest of your day!


  2. Beth April 22, 2020 / 9:33 am

    You inspire me by putting poetry into a perspective I can relate to and appreciate; doable, relatable and fun! Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan April 22, 2020 / 10:58 am

      Glad you enjoyed it, Beth. I think poetry can (and should) be relatable, just one person’s take on normal, everyday things. I hope you’ll browse my earlier posts and stay tuned for the upcoming ones. 🙂


  3. Tippy Gnu April 22, 2020 / 9:54 am

    It’s a struggle. And unlike other addictions, we can’t swear completely off of food. Congratulations on the headway you’ve made.


    • Just Joan April 22, 2020 / 11:17 am

      It is, Tippy. I’ve changed my eating habits. Enjoying favorite foods in smaller portions. Using less mayo and coffee cream. Cutting back on bread and sweets. Avoiding empty calorie snack foods and noshing after 7 pm. I use a food scale and make myself keep a food log. I weigh in once a week. I’m getting there. It helps that we can’t go out to eat right now. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. murisopsis April 22, 2020 / 9:04 pm

    I know that monster! I have fought the battle and although I’m still fighting skirmishes I think the war has been won. I love the poem and the fact that your world is shrinking and your clothes getting bigger!! My husband loves me no matter my size but I love me when there is less of me to love!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan April 23, 2020 / 7:46 am

      This is my third time reining the monster in, and he gets bigger every time. Vigilance will be key when I finally get to where I want to be. In some ways, maintenance is harder. Where is the thrill in just staying the same? My hubby assures me he’s fine with whatever size I am, and that’s comforting. But I’m doing this for me, not him. 🙂


  5. LTodd April 23, 2020 / 3:18 pm

    Congrats on making progress even through the challenges.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan April 23, 2020 / 3:42 pm

      Thanks, LTodd. It’s been an uphill climb but I hit minus 15 lbs today. Woo hoo! Hope all is well on the road. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • LTodd April 23, 2020 / 6:13 pm

        We’re not on the road at this time, darn it. Staying at home until the restrictions are lifted.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. circumstance227 April 26, 2020 / 12:49 pm

    Been there, Joan. And mostly for the same reason – menopause. The thirty-five pounds have now come and gone and I’m back in my favorite jeans. I won’t admit to how I did it though – let’s just say I went on the “Moron’s Diet” . . . and don’t recommend it to anyone.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan April 26, 2020 / 1:10 pm

      I don’t have old “favorite” jeans; they went to Goodwill during my “size doesn’t matter” phase. Menopause brought some good changes–no more monthlies, birth control, or migraines. But it had some downsides too, like marked acceleration in graying hairs, low bone density, change in shape from normal to pear, and the most tenacious weight gain I’ve ever known. I won’t ask what the “Moron’s Diet” is. All you can eat from cans and packages in the cupboard that are past their expiration date? Like canned corned beef/cat food? 🙂


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