How to Tame a Mid-Life Belly

How to Tame a Mid-Life Belly

An increase in fat around the waistline during our 40's is common even if there has been no change in your diet or lifestyle and can lead you to feeling frustrated that your previously successful weight-loss tactics are no longer effective.

However the good news is that our bodies undergo changes in hormone levels, muscle mass, etc. that require us to rethink our relationship with our diet, lifestyle, exercise and levels of stress.

Why does this happen in women? 

Declining oestrogen levels require the body to look elsewhere for oestrogen – namely fat cells, which produce a weak form of oestrogen.
The body tries to create a reserve of oestrogen in fat cells – and this reserve is mainly around the middle. 

 

Oestrogen and Insulin

Declining levels of oestrogen also slow down metabolic rate and insulin resistance may occur.
 
Menopausal women respond differently to glucose (sugar) and are at greater risk of becoming insulin resistant – insulin is the hormone that helps the body use glucose for energy.
 
This can then cause weight gain and increases the risk of type 2 diabetes.
 
Low oestrogen levels have also been shown to be associated with low vitamin D levels, which can increase fat storage.
As a woman transitions through menopause, the adrenal glands take over from the ovaries to produce a little oestrogen – however, as the adrenals also produce stress hormones – if a woman is dealing with a lot of stress in her life, the adrenals will shift to “survival mode” and away from producing oestrogen.
 
This encourages the body to store fat, especially around the middle and puts the brakes on any weight loss tactics.

 

Why does this happen in men?

Testosterone plays an important role in maintaining a healthy weight by helping to build muscle, speed up metabolism and maintain insulin sensitivity.
 
However, as men hit their 40s and testosterone levels start to decline, this encourages the body to store fat, especially around the middle and is associated with a higher risk of diabetes and heart disease.
Human Growth Hormone is another crucial hormone in men, which enters rapid decline as men enter their 40s causing a reduction in muscle mass.
Muscle tissue is the largest consumer of glucose (sugar) in the body, so the loss of muscle mass results in less glucose being used up and this excess is then converted into body fat and stored around the middle. 
The reduction in muscle mass also means that the body does not process carbohydrates efficiently, so eating too many sugary and starchy foods such as biscuits, cakes, sweets, pasta, potatoes, crisps etc triggers weight gain which is harder to shift.
Of course both men and women have these hormones in greater or lesser quantities and these levels also fluctuate based on gender and ethnicity.

The impact of poor sleep

High stress levels and disrupted sleep can add to the weight gain and insulin resistance.  

Research also shows that lack of sleep, will increase appetite and hunger hormones alter, making us more hungry and prone to cravings.

Loss of muscle mass

Muscle mass diminishes with age, whilst fat storage increases – losing muscle mass slows your metabolism, making it more challenging to maintain a healthy weight.
Low testosterone levels and poor thyroid function can also slow down metabolism, causing fatigue and making it harder to shift fat.

Here are our tips to help you tame unwanted weight gain:

  • Blood-sugar control is key (check out our book recommendations below to help you). Aim to reduce the amount of carbs you consume, especially rice, pasta, bread, cakes, alcohol and sugary foods. These peak sugar and encourage a sugar roller coaster.
  • Include protein with every meal and essential fatty acids (omega 3s).
  • Fasting overnight (12-14 hours) be aware of underlying health conditions that may mean fasting is not a safe option for you.
  • Regular and consistent exercise, especially resistance training to build muscle mass, resistance bands for example are portable and easy to use. Regular exercise snacks are better than weekly exercise bingeing!
  • Be aware of your stress levels as this will effect how your body metabolises food and nutrients,  daily de-stressing activities could be a 10 minute walk outside, 5 minutes of breathing, journalling, regular 2 minute cold showers.

 

Can Supplements help?

SAFFROSUN WITH B12– has been proven to promote restful sleep, balance the stress response and enhance energy levels.

 

Saffrosun with B12 

SAFFROSUN WITH MARINE MAGNESIUM - includes all the benefits of Saffron if your thyroid is sluggish, or are suffering from brain fog with added iodine,  vitamin D3 and will provide you with balanced energy.

 

Saffrosun with Marine Magnesium

 

Saffrosun with Marine Magnesium

BERGATONE – can help in your weight loss journey by binding to bad fats in the gut and prevent them being used in the body. Studies show that it can substantially reduce belly fat when taken for 3 months.

 

Bergatone

 

 

 

 

Books you may wish to read to support your weight loss journey:

MenuPause by Dr Anna Cabeca – gives 5 unique menu plans to break through menopause weight loss resistance

Glucose Revolution by Jessie Inchauspe – a great reference book on blood sugar control (check out @glucosegoddess on Instagram)

Why taking a natural probation would be beneficial

Why do I need a broad-spectrum probiotic?

Digestion and good gut health are governed by the gut microbiome (a community consisting of bacteria, yeast and fungi).
 
Keeping this community of bugs as abundant and diverse as possible is vitally important for optimal health.

When gut health is good, you’ll feel balanced – when it’s off, you may experience a variety of symptoms and this imbalance can also affect your emotional health, your immune system and skin health.
 

Signs you could benefit from taking a probiotic?

  • You’ve taken a course of antibiotics
  • You eat a lot of refined sugar
  • You’ve taken a course of antacid medfication
  • You experience bloating
  • You have a lot of gas
  • You suffer from loose stools/diarrhoea
  • You regularly get constipated
  • You have skin issues triggered by certain foods

 

 4 Facts about the Gut

 

50% of our stools are actually bacteria that have been living in your gut – therefore these bacteria need replacing everyday.

So how can we replace these wonderful hard working bugs?

  1. Plant-based fibre - helps our gut bugs thrive aim for ideally around 30g per day, ensuring vegetables and fruits of all the colours of the rainbow are included in a week.
  1. Fermented foods can boost the number of friendly bacteria in your gut, Kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, kombucha, pickles (in salty brine), tempeh, natto, unsweetened yoghurt
  1. Prebiotics : these are like fertiliser for our new and current gut flora and include:
  • Baobab fruit
  • Moringa leaf
  • Chicory root
  • Dandelion greens
  • Jerusalem artichoke
  • Garlic, Onions, Leeks
  • Asparagus
  • Bananas
  • Barley, Oats
  • Apples (with the skins)
  • Dark chocolate
  • Flaxseeds (also known as linseeds)
  • Potatoes/pasta that have been cooked the day before and left in the fridge overnight

Why taking a probiotic could help?

Taking a broad spectrum probiotic supplement can improve the number and diversity of the good gut bugs that help to keep your gut healthy. 

Our GUT LOVE is a great multi-strain probiotic that can be taken daily, containing 19 different strains of live bacteria to help replenish your gut flora with a variety of strains.
 
It also contains organic baobab, a naturally sourced prebiotic and slippery elm to make sure that it is easily absorbed by the gut lining.
There are a number of probiotics and prebiotics on the market so how do you choose an effective one - abundance and diversity are key so choose a probiotic/prebiotic combination that meets this criteria.
Gut Supplement checklist
Gut Questionnaire
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Natural Ways to Reduce a Hangover

Natural Ways to Reduce a Hangover

In my 20's and 30's, I resorted to taking Ibuprofen every time I suffered from a hangover with a pulsating headache.
 
Cheap and effective, but despite working with the team that discovered this anti-inflammatory I was oblivious to the potential damage this drug was doing to my gut and cardiovascular health. 
 
As an anti-inflammatory, Ibuprofen is very effective,  but its side effects include increasing cardiovascular risks and damaging the protective lining of the gut!  Plus it is only effective for up to 6 hours.
 
I then discovered that Turmeric, at the correct strength, has multiple anti-inflammatory benefits, works just as well as Ibuprofen or aspirin and actually improves gut health. 
 
The issue as it happens is our body's slow capacity to excrete the toxic alcohol metabolites from our body.
 
However, scientific research (ref 1,2,3)  has proven that curcuminoinds, the active compounds in Turmeric, are effective at removing both the cause and symptoms of a hangover.
 
Curcuminoids are also potent antioxidants. Alcohol consumption can cause oxidative stress that damages your cells, so an effective antioxidant is vital during a night of drinking.
 
So the perfect natural solutions for festive hangovers are taken BEFORE you go to sleep:
  • Natruflex Turmeric   -   1-2 capsules taken BEFORE you go to sleep and as and when required during the next day
  • Gut Love                   -  21 probiotics and 2 organic prebiotics. 1 capsule daily to settle the digestion and improve the excretion
  • Marine Magnesium  - 1 capsule at night for nerve and muscle function
 
Founder & Chief Pharmacist at The Naked Pharmacy

 Shop our Hangover Gift Box

 

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