It’s the most common thing to happen at midlife, but it shouldn’t be!
Someone said to me a while back ‘weightgain is normal at midlife. Everyone gains weight’. And I believed her. So what happened? I gained weight. Lots of weight. To the point where every photograph I saw of myself made me cringe. Remember – what we believe will manifest. What we ‘expect’ turns up. I expected it, so it turned up! I avoided being in front of a camera whenever I could get away with it. My burgeoning ‘apple shape’ was not attractive at all and it was a sure sign of insulin resistance.
I used to be a Personal Stylist and taught women all about body shapes. I remember talking about pear shapes, columns, diamond, hourglass etc. Then when it came to the apple shape, I’d show my audience how I was the apple (big bust, big middle, thinner arms and legs) and explain ‘how to dress it’. We apple shapes would be a little restricted sometimes with our choice of shapes that would flatter. I’d also mention the apple shape is not necessarily healthy. Seriously – the apple shape is SO not healthy. That expansion under the bra right over the liver is dangerous. Cute name for a body shape – but not where I wanted to be. Pears and hourglasses, while in proportion are far more healthier and normal than apples.
I was a victim of the ‘old’ eating training.
Remember even as little as 10 years ago the world of dieting was all about low fat. We used to think that choosing ‘low fat’ breads, yoghurts, cheeses and drinking ‘diet’ sodas was the way to go. I’d start my day with two large ‘skinny’ flat whites, eat ‘low fat’ bread or cereal and then go power walking and wonder why my shape wasn’t changing.
I headed to Dr Michael Mosley’s talk about Diabetes here in Brisbane a little while ago, and the Official Diabetes guidelines for eating are STILL ‘Eat low fat, small amounts of vegetables or olive oil, bread, cereals, rice, pasta, noodles and eat regular small meals throughout the day’. Hospitals STILL serve for breakfast – orange juice, cereal, jelly and custard and white toast with margarine and jam. Thank God we’re being educated now on the way to eat to avoid inflammation, disease and chronic ageing.
Before – 2009 July – 2015
See? Apple – large bust, expanding over the liver and comparatively normal arm and leg shape. But when I changed my beliefs and my expectation, so too did the body.
I learned that this slow hardly noticeable weight gain is not a normal part of midlife – it’s a response to all the years of dietary and emotional habits, inflammation, too much sugar, comfort food, lack of movement, alcohol, regrets, sorrows, stress, poor sleep etc. It was an ‘expectation’ of midlife and late onset Diabetes was a real threat. We have to really rethink what we expect is normal or otherwise about ageing. The possibility of having a fabulous body, great skin, high energy levels along with strength and fitness is real. But at the time, seemed just out of reach for me.
What leads to anxiety in midlife?
Is it that we experience a level of anxiety and it leads to weightgain?
Is it the accompanying lack of sleep, flushes and night sweats that scramble our brain and emotions?
Or is the weightgain and the accompanying inflammation a contributory factor to anxiety?
Are antidepressants the answer?
I can guarantee one thing – Nutrition and mood are related. Our bodies hunger for the right nutrients to feed neurotransmitters and mitochondria. We need to have good quality omega 3’s, metal free fish oils, lots of olive oil, avocadoes, coconut oil and coenzyme Q10. When our diet lacks these essential fats, believe me life can be miserable.
Here’s a test you can do – feeling anxious? Go and make yourself a green smoothie with coconut water as well as the flesh from the coconut, avocado, ginger, turmeric and coconut oil. See how you feel 30 minutes later. Along with the smoothie take a quality fish oil and turmeric tablet. It’s highly anti-inflammatory and delivers much needed fat to the brain. Trust me, just try it.
Here’s another thought – before we can even think about weightloss, inflammation needs to be reduced. What’s going on in the liver and gut need to be addressed with the right nutrients and a changed up eating pattern. Weight can then adjust itself without that feeling of ‘dieting’. The last thing the body needs is the deprivation of nutrients or that feeling of hunger – we start to resent the ‘diet’ and will revert right back to old eating habits. Once inflammation is addressed FIRST and we start to simply feel better, our weight can start to normalise.
Here’s another recipe for you – LOADED with omega 3’s and healthy fats. It’s my Chia Seed Pudding and it’s fabulous. I’m not the kind of Nutrition Coach that will make you go hungry or not enjoy good food!!!
So you can understand, midlife symptoms do not have a quick fix. If it’s taken 40 or 50 something years to build up – It’s not just a matter of popping a pill and all will be well, there’s a whole lifestyle readjustment that needs to happen. What has taken that long to build, needs a renewed mindset and lifestyle changes with a lot of dedication to change it up.
I was reading an article in the NZ Journal of Natural Medicine about ‘The Forgotten Study’ regarding Antidepressants that quoted Prozac and Effexor to actually cause depression and suicidal thoughts as well as nausea, fatigue and dizziness. In the 2008 study it quotes ‘Antidepressants increase the risk of suicidal thinking and behaviour in short-term studies in children and adolescents with MDD and other psychiatric disorders.” The same article quotes that Alternative methods of treatment need to be tried first – like diet, lifestyle, exercise particularly, therapy, counselling etc. SOURCE: http://althealthworks.com/8603/antidepressants-do-not-work-the-forgotten-study-plus-what-actually-worksyelena/.
I needed to reassess my diet and cut out things that I knew were speeding up my aging process and making me sleep badly and react emotionally to things. I had to bring in more of the foods that served rather than comforted me. (There’s something to think about – the difference between comfort foods and foods that SERVE you. Comfort foods may temporarily give a feeling of satisfaction, but may not necessarily serve you) I used to love a couple of wines with dinner, only to soon wake up to the fact that not only did it make me lose all good intentions with diet, it created poor sleep – which in turn exacerbated the issue.
Go read this book!!!!
Another amazing book that hit me like a truck is “Younger Next Year for Women” by Chris Crowley and Henry S Lodge MD. Do yourself a favour and grab it. They pulled no punches about the ageing process and midlife weightgain. The authors made it very clear there are two roads when we’re over 40 – decay or growth. Decay seems to speed up with every passing year, so we need to be conscious of what we’re doing, eating, drinking and thinking. Our movement needs to crank up big time – Aerobically with weight training, flexibility and balance. If you hate exercise, you’ll hate these guys. I LOVED their message, even if it was delivered like a smack to the head.
And I’m serious about it. I’ve no desire to be dependent on anyone in my family or the medical system.
So – would you like to have a chat about a program that could also change YOUR life? Would you like to join our ‘Roll Back the Odometer 8 week program coming up early in 2017? It’s a fun, interactive, health focussed event that incorporate fabulous food, gentle but effective movement, mindset training, nutritional education and community. Email me on email@example.com or head to my Rolling Back the Odometer page at www.facebook.com/RollBackTheOdometer OR my Redefining Midlife business page at www.facebook.com/AnneNoonan and send me a message. If you’d like to book an obligation free 30 minute chat to see if it’s suited to you then let’s do it.