Did Father Christmas aka Santa give you more than you wanted this year? Has your spare tyre gone a little cray-cray? If you’re over 45 then your middle will be attempting to expand, regardless of the festive season, owing to those extreme hormonals doing their wild circus acts indoors. Add that to your alcohol intake (menopausal women are the biggest culprits) being higher than it was in your earlies* (see reference below) and your flab is having a party, possibly even complete with a bouncy castle, blobbing around where your waist used to be.
It’s not pretty, it’s not clever and it’s certainly not healthy.
So what are you going to do about it?
Sadly, it’s not easy to shift. But it is possible. And the earlier you tackle it, the better you will feel. It’s that simple. It’s not difficult, if you can stay focussed on the end goal, and trust that these small changes will ALL help find that waist again.
1. It’s glaringly obvious, but stop eating so much.
Especially so much rubbish. Why put things into your mouth that aren’t going to achieve anything? I know, I know – because they taste nice and you’re craving them and and and….BUT, the more you eat processed meats for example which are full of salt (SALT both dehydrating and a big contributor to high blood pressure, strokes, heart disease, osteoporosis, stomach cancer, OBESITY, vascular dementia, diabetes, water retention….need I go on?) the more you will want. Salt is evil and addictive.
Get rid of it. You’ll have to exercise some will power initially – avoid processed foods; stop adding salt to your fresh food – and you will soon find that your cravings for salt will diminish: thus freeing up your will power to use in another department.
Sugar is equally as bad and in foods that you wouldn’t necessarily have thought of. Read this for more info.
Alcohol is full of sugar so do try and cut back there too, if you can.
Smoothies are also full of sugar if they’re too heavy with the fruit – be wary of these deceptive ‘health’ drinks.
Reduce your portion sizes. The healthier your diet, the easier this will be, as ’empty calories’, do more damage than good; they play havoc with your sugar levels, making you feel hungrier than before, within a very short space of time.
I highly recommend snacking on pumpkin seeds, as they stave off your hunger; they contain zinc which helps regulate your insulin levels, (part of what controls your hunger levels); they help decrease blood pressure, hot flashes, joint pains and other menopausal symptoms. 9 Amazing Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds
2. Stand up straight, hold it in and walk tall
Actually don’t just walk tall, WALK MORE. If you’re not doing more than 2000 steps a day, then up your step count somehow, this will definitely make a difference. Most phones have a pedometer on them somewhere; find it, or download a health app and start checking your step count. This will encourage you to walk more.
Every time you are walking, try to be conscious of your posture. Walk as tall as you can, remembering to push your shoulders down and back, and to hold your head high. Pull your tummy button in to meet your spine as often as you can remember to do so. Try not to slouch when you’re at your desk or at the dining table. The more often you pull yourself in, whether standing, walking or sitting, the closer you’re getting to burning calories and redefining that waist. All without going to the gym.
3. Drink more water.
It might sound so dumb to some of you, but yes, it does make a big difference. The more water you drink, the more hydrated you are and the better EVERYTHING works – including your circulation which is imperative for flushing out toxins and keeping the systems running smoothly.
Try drinking a large glass every time you get peckish, it will allay the hunger whilst also reminding you to drink more water. You’ll see an improvement in your skin as well.
4. Stretch and do some weights
I know this is now entering territory that some of you won’t want to go to, but if you can do these things too, then you’ll achieve your goal quicker. Getting into shape isn’t all about cardiovascular exercise. Menopausal women in particular should be doing some weights. Not only are weights one of the best things for toning the stomach, but they are crucial to keeping our bones strong which is imperative to avoid osteoporosis – an increasing problem in women aged 45+.
If you can’t get to a gym then start doing the plank – only one to two minutes every day – you’ll soon see the benefits.
Stretching is also great for helping the stomach recoil and get firmer. Yoga and pilates are brilliant for this. Find a class near you, it may help with your emotional well being too.
If you can’t implement all four of these tummy-changing suggestions, then at least try to implement one and you’ll begin to see a difference. But whatever you do, don’t tell yourself its impossible, because it isn’t.
You can GET WAISTED if you want to.
Let’s do this.
*From The Telegraph People between the ages of 45 and 65 are now more than twice as likely to drink alcohol every day of the week than the those in their late 20s, 30s and early 40s, figures from the Office for National Statistics show.
And although middle aged Britons have reduced their intake in the last seven years, they have done so at only half the rate of those in the younger generation.
Strikingly, the figures show that pensioners have barely cut back at all and on some measures actually increased their drinking over the same period.
Over 65s drink as regularly as students – although in smaller quantities.