Some people have battles with their weight from very early in life, but some people start to feel their weight creeping up when they hit middle age. For those people in their 30s, the “middle-age spread” is certainly a sign that things are starting to slow down. The middle-aged spread, where fat accumulates around the abdomen and the buttocks in middle age, is something that affects women and men. As we get older, we lose muscle and our metabolism slows down, so beating that middle-aged spread is not just about hitting the gym, but about having a comprehensive approach to dealing with this problem that plagued so many. Here are a few things you need to focus on:
Increase Your Metabolism
Many people, upon discovering a middle-aged spread popped up overnight, will immediately go into panic mode and look for the nearest fat transfer or liposuction clinic, but we’ve got to remember that one of the biggest effects of getting older is our metabolism slowing down. If we have concerns with this on an aesthetic level, professionals can certainly help to remove that frustrating flab, but hitting the gym to increase our metabolism can help as well. The less muscle we have, the fewer calories we burn, but the opposite is also true: the more lean muscle we have, the more fat we are burning because lean muscle is active.
Strength training is an excellent way to lose the calories, and while cardiovascular activities work to burn calories during activity, they don’t have the same effect afterward. Strength training, especially when done intensely, can help to burn fat long after the exercise has been finished. The more muscle you have, the more calories your body will burn when you are resting. You can also increase your metabolism with the right foods, including spicy foods, and increase your protein intake. Caffeine is also something that can help to increase your metabolism.
As we get older, we could be more tired than we used to be. There are many reasons for this of course, but we must look at fixing our sleep if we are not doing it properly. Sleep is not necessarily about quantity, but about quality. It’s important to have the recommended 7 to 9 hours, but you need to listen to your body and ensure that the quality of your sleep is there. This is because the quality affects the two hormones that control our hunger and fullness: leptin and ghrelin. So when we start to skip out on sleep or we don’t do the right things in the run-up to bedtime, this is going to increase our ghrelin levels, which will stimulate our appetite, and as leptin is the signal to tell your brain you are full, this is a recipe for disaster, meaning you are constantly hungry and don’t feel satisfied as you would usually.
So many people struggle with sleep predominantly because they are using devices in the run-up to bedtime, which will “wake up” their brain. If you really want to have good quality sleep, you need to do the following:
- Have a good relaxing routine before you sleep.
- Stay off devices at least 30 minutes before bedtime.
- Sleep in a darkened room.
- Get some light in your eyes for at least 15 minutes after waking to stimulate your circadian rhythm.
Eating More Fiber
You might be surprised to find that eating food is on this list but fiber is such an important tool in helping us to lose weight. Foods high in fiber and just full of nutrients are usually lower in calories, so they can help us feel full without us reaching for more food. Fiber boosts your metabolism so your body can burn more calories, while also increasing that level of satiety.
Because if we eat the wrong foods in excess, such as high glycaemic carbohydrates, our bodies convert it to fat instantly if we’re not burning it off. As the body cannot digest fiber, it does not get stored the same way as carbohydrates. Carbohydrates go into our glycogen stores and when these glycogen stores are full, this is when they get transferred to the body in the form of visceral fat. But fiber takes up less space than carbs, so you can eat more.
Dehydration is one of those things that, surprisingly, are more common than we think. Sometimes we can confuse dehydration with hunger. If you are feeling hungry, the best piece of advice is to drink a glass of water first. Additionally, the symptoms of dehydration mimic hunger. When you are tired and hangry, you immediately reach for that sugar fix. Water, in combination with a high fiber diet, can help you be more regular so you lose more weight.
Hydration is one of those things that can be hard to pinpoint because there are so many resources out there telling you to drink 3 liters a day. While there are many hydration calculators out there, as a rule of thumb, if your urine is straw-colored, it’s very likely you are drinking enough. If your urine is clear, this is usually a sign you are drinking too much!
Reduce Your Stress Levels
Are you stressed? Aren’t we all! The stress hormone cortisol is actually linked to the accumulation of fat around the middle of our bodies. Stress is one of those epidemics that everybody is trying to curtail; it can affect your sleep and your life, but you may also feel stressed about trying to keep yourself slim! Having a solid stress reduction practice every single day could make a big difference. Relaxation activities like deep breathing, meditation, or yoga can go a long way to helping you feel better.
The middle-age spread is something that we all have to work with. Many people think that they have to sit back and let it take its course, but this is not the case. If you want to beat that middle-age spread, these are some of the things that you can start to “spread” throughout your life.