Blog: Life Fitness
Make peace with those extra pounds. . .
If we're normal, wisdom and a few extra pounds comes with age. The fact is that as we age, our bodies lose muscle and gain fat – after age 40 women on average lose 1/3 to ½ a pound of muscle each year while gaining about that amount in body fat (according to Tufts Unversity John Hancock Center for Physical Activity and Nutrition). That doesn't mean you can't keep those changes at bay with a healthy CLEAN diet and exercise. You can – but it won't be the same game you played in your 20's or 30's.
The first step is to accept that your top priority has to be YOU – keeping your health, energy, and life in balance. The second step is to accept that neither you as a person or your health is defined by a number on the scale. You don't measure how tall you are every day do you? So don't be a slave to the scale!
The one measurement you DO want to manage – since it's the one that will tell you if your weight is endangering your life – is "waist management." The waist-hip ratio is a good indicator of abdominal fat, which has the potential to lead to things like high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes and heart disease. You can calculate your waist-hip ratio by measuring the circumference of the waist just above the navel and divide by the hip circumference (measure around the hip at the widest part). There's a long term study out there of 44,600 female nurses that discovered having a waist-hip ratio of less than .88 was more important than weight for predicting health problems.
The third step is to take baby steps toward healthy lifestyle changes. If there's one mindset I wish I could change – especially for women – it's the all or nothing thinking about weight release. Severely cutting back on calories or going on diets that promise quick weight loss and that are way different from the way your normally eat just set you up for failure. First, if your body is deprived of food it will go into starvation mode and hang on to body mass – thereby slowing your metabolism.
It boils down to changing your relationship with food. LOSE the diet mentality – all it does is create guilt, frustration, and fear of food.
The other thing you have to do to defeat the weight gain with age thing is to move – a lot. Exercise is a known stress reducer too! The key is consistency – a little bit every day is better than a big chunk a couple of times a month. Combine at least 30 minutes of cardio at least 4 times a week with 30 minutes of resistance training at least twice a week.
Go easy on yourself. We all have days when we don't get to exercise or we eat the dreaded cheeseburger. Don't punish yourself – you're human!
But the most important change you can make – in my opinion – is to rethink the way you see yourself. Make looking in the mirror a positive experience! Write down 5-10 positive things about yourself and tape them to the bathroom mirror. Say them aloud while you look at yourself. Or find a photo of yourself that makes you pleased about how you look and put that up as a reminder of where you want to go. Most of us struggle with body image and looks when we enter midlife, but we need to be our own biggest fan. Once we see how gorgeous, strong and confident we are, everyone else will too!
posted on: 12/11/2009 2:26:49 PM by Robin Stephens
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Hello, I'm Robin Stephens -
your "M"power coach! The "M" stands for Mind -
because that's where all change begins!
I'm a professional organizer, certified
personal trainer and lifestyle management coach.
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