So what exactly is the middle age spread, how does it affect us and most importantly can we do anything to avoid it?
We diet more than ever, but don’t loss any weight. Exercise as we always did, but feel flabby. When the sun comes out, we try on last summer’s shorts and skirts; they feel tight around the middle. If you are nodding your head in agreement you are probably in the over 40’s club.
We begin to lose muscle mass in our 30’s, although most of us only notice the difference from our 40’s onwards. As muscle mass diminishes so does our metabolic rate, which is the number of calories our body burns though out the day, whether we are active, resting or sleeping. Our metabolism slows down by 5% per decade, which may not seem like a lot, but it means we burn about 200 calories a day less at 45 than we did at 25. Do nothing differently and you will gain between eight and twelve pounds a year.
For many of us, this extra fat is stored around our middle, giving the unflattering label ‘middle age spread’ a double meaning. Abdominal fat is a health concern and not just a cosmetic one. Excess fat gain around the abdomen is called central obesity, where fat is deposited around the internal organs, and this is associated with an increased risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer.
That’s the bad news out of the way; now let’s avoid doing things that don’t work, and start doing the things that do work.
AVOID CRASH/FAD DIETS
Fad diets or crash diets are a short term solution to a long term problem. You will lose weight, but you are losing water weight, muscle weight as well as some fat. For more information on the negative results that this kind of dieting leads to read my blog http://veras5.com/fat-loss-this-is-how-i-started-and-it-still-works/
DON’T RELY ON THE BATHROOM SCALES
Scales that only record pounds can’t tell you what percentage of your body weight is lean, calorie-burning muscle and how much is puffy, sluggish fat. A woman who weights 130lbs and has 25% body fat will burn 200 more calories per day than a woman who weighs 130lbs and has 40% body fat. The same is true for men too.
I weigh heavier on the scales at 45 than I did at 35, but I have a better body shape, I am wearing the same size clothes and I am a much stronger person.
Use a measuring tape instead, and aim to decrease the inches around the waist, tummy and hips. Measure your relaxed and flexed arm and leg muscles, and aim to reduce the fat and increase the muscle size.
DON’T GIVE IN
We cannot control our age, but we can control how our body ages. Take control, fight the middle age spread every step of the way.
DO EAT MORE……..
earlier in the day less in the evening times. As we age we require fewer calories to sustain energy. Ensure that you are consuming the bulk of your daily calories early in the day and not just before bed time. We need food for energy, we need to maintain high levels of energy throughout the day, we don’t need to fill ourselves with food just before bed time. Eat at regular intervals, healthy meals throughout the day, and a small, light evening meal.
Stick to natural foods; avoid processed foods, cut back on sugar, alcohol and coffee. Maybe you don’t like this advice, I didn’t at first, but you know what I really didn’t like, having excess fat around my middle!
DO EXERCISE MORE
The best way to preserve muscle mass is by being physically active. Start with walking and include some core body strength training, like yoga or simply planking each day. As your fitness and strength increases, increase the time and intensity of your activity. The fundamental rule of fitness is ‘Always do a little more, than you did before’.
Try lots of different activities, you don’t know if you will enjoy something until you give it a try. I recently started boxing, and it has become my new favourite indoor activity.
Sleep affects our hormones which in turn affects our fat loss efforts. Ghrelin is the ‘Go’ hormone, the one that reminds us to eat. When we are sleep deprived we produce more Ghrelin. More Ghrelin means more reminders to eat, even when we are not hungry.
Leptin is the ‘Stop’ hormone; it tells us that we are full and satisfied. Less sleep leads to less Leptin. We are missing the messages to tell us that we have had enough to eat.
Less Sleep = More Ghrelin + Less Leptin = Fat Gain.
Develop a bed time routine for yourself, just like you may have done for your children.
We can do nothing differently and gain on average 10lbs per year, or we can take on a healthy lifestyle, loss the excess fat around the middle and maintain our desired body shape.Middle age cannot be avoided, middle age spread can.
If you enjoyed reading this blog post you can find many more of my articles right here on Vera’s 5 ( http://www.veras5.com ) I would really appreciate it if you share this article with a friend or a group of friends who you think might also find it helpful and informative, on Facebook and Twitter or any of the social media sites or platforms you use.
Please leave any comments or questions you may have and I will be happy to answer you.