Call it the Boomer Bulge, Middle Age Spread or for those in denial … love handles! The Battle of the Bulge may be one of the hardest fights of your life … get the gloves out (better yet your runners) because the fight is on!
It is all so confusing! Fat/NO Fat – Carbs/NO Carbs – Protein??? How much – meat? plant based? And the BIG question – is red wine good for you or not … and I don’t want to hear a maximum of 5 ounces a day for women! We always get the short end of the stick! Post baby pounds, period bloating, menopausal weight gain … not fair! I know men have their beer bellies but in most cases its due to beer! Kidding aside, middle age weight gain is not only less attractive, it’s simply not good for your health.
There are two kinds of fat – just fat (subcutaneous) or visceral fat, which accumulates around your organs and poses serious health risks like type-2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke. And yes, alcohol contributes to this kind of belly fat. Darn!
I’m always reading the latest research on diet and exercise but really, it always comes back to the basics … what you take in and what you put out. There are however differences in how our metabolism, hormones and muscles perform as we age, so I decided to seek some advice from the experts at evertrain lifestyles. Ottawa based evertrain works primarily with clients 50+ and co-owners and trainers, Julie and Andre, explain the main factors affecting weight gain in middle-age.
- Lean muscle loss. It is estimated that we lose on average 5lbs of lean mass (the kind of mass we want to keep) for every decade after 25. If you do the math that is 15lbs of lean mass by 55. If our weight were to stay exactly the same, that means we would have increased by 15lbs of fat.
- A decrease in metabolism. On average a 2-4% decrease in resting metabolic rate (RMR) each decade after 25. Although this doesn’t seem like much, it really adds up.
- Overestimating how well we eat/Underestimating our intake of indulgences or foods that generally don’t help us.
- Inactivity/sedentary lifestyles. Never before in history have humans sat down so often (i.e. TV, eating, work, driving, etc.).
- Hormonal changes (i.e. menopause, andropause).
- Inability to train intensely due to growing injury/mobility concerns.
- and more.
OK … so now we know we’re not just making this up … nature is against us! At the same time, there are things we can do to intervene. Julie and Andre have 3 suggestions that you can start implementing right away to fight the boomer bulge!
1. Eat lean protein and vegetables at every meal (focus on breakfast for even better results).
2. Drink calorie-free drinks.
3. Reduce/eliminate foods that your body doesn’t agree with.
Movement, cardio and resistance training are essential to not only losing the bulge, but staying mobile and pain free as we age. Evertrain has great advice on their blog and many programs to help busy boomers achieve their health and fitness goals.
My other nutrition and lifestyle faves are Blue Zones, inspired by the world’s longest living cultures and How Not to Die by Michael Greger M.D. I especially like his Daily Dozen downloadable app. It’s a really simple way to remind you what you need to eat everyday for optimal health.
There is definitely more to all of this than just looking good. As health advocate and author of Smart Aging for Women, Elizabeth Rigley reminds us, avoiding chronic illnesses as we age should be our number one concern.
Get in the ring and start the fight …. in the Battle of the Bulge, the only winner is you!
PS Don’t forget to register for the Ageing Gracefully Wellness Fair