There are so many things in midlife that are positive. For instance, no more periods. What can be better than that? Slower hair growth, which means less leg and pit shaving. Hello, that’s pretty fantastic. No need for birth control because no more periods. So great to have sex on the kitchen table when the mood strikes, right? And, more importantly do any of us EVER do that? Side note, if you do, please leave a comment because inquiring minds want to know and live vicariously.
Back to topic.
There are also some things about midlife that frankly, suck. Let’s discuss the ‘midlife middle’. Is this the official name? Not necessarily. Sometimes it’s called the middle age spread, or the menopause bloat, but whatever you call it, it sucks. But it doesn’t have to be a part of midlife. Let’s talk about what we can do about the midlife middle.
What Causes the Midlife Middle
We can’t beat what we don’t understand. When a woman goes into midlife and specifically menopause, the hormones (or lack thereof) change your chemistry. But, it’s more than that can cause the dreaded middle. There are the obvious things such as too much wine and too little exercise, and the not so obvious things like a slower metabolism and lower muscle mass.
Here’s the good news. Men struggle with this too and it isn’t in your head. Your hormones really do make it more difficult to get rid of that middle as you age. As we age our hormone levels drop and so does our metabolism, which can cause us to gain weight at a 1 – 2 lb rate per year.
What We Can Do About It
Just because research says it’s so, doesn’t mean we have to lay down or stand up or even sit and take it. What can we do about the midlife middle? Lots.
- Change Your Eating Habits. This doesn’t mean you can’t indulge or even indulge often, but being mindful of what you eat will help. Also, don’t overindulge when you do indulge. It’s a known fact that eating several small meals a day is much better than eating one large one that is rich and filling. Our metabolism needs to be fired up in the morning and we need to quit firing it up around 8 pm every night. Especially as our metabolism has slowed down.
- Change What You Eat. Changing your eating habits is just half the battle. We also need to change what we eat. Consider replacing some of those foods that sit around your middle after you eat them with foods that help burn fat due to their dominance of oestrogen, the hormone we lose as we go through menopause. Add a glass of grapefruit juice every morning to your routine, eat more greens and increase your fiber intake and grab a handful of almonds for a snack. Try to avoid refined foods and cut down on your caffeine and alcohol.
- Exercises that Target the Midlife Middle. If you don’t exercise along with changing your diet, then you won’t be doing all that needs to be done. Some exercises that target the belly are crunches, twist crunches, side crunches, and vertical crunches. Walking, running, cycling, and swimming are also great exercises to burn the belly down. For more examples and to see how to do some of these exercises, Stylecraze has a great article.
- Plastic Surgery or Midlife Makeovers. If you’ve tried everything and have some extra funds in the bank, you can always go the route of a tummy tuck, liposuction or what they call a lower lift. Be sure if you do any of these you consult with board certified plastic surgeons who can provide references of other women who have had these surgeries performed on them already.
- Freeze the Fat Off. If plastic surgery is out of your budget and you have tried the diet and exercise route and you still have some pesky love handles, you can always go and have the fat frozen off. Typically called CoolSculpting, this procedure was approved by the FDA in 2010, but has now become all the rage. Basically, the machine crystallizes the fat and it melts away. It is permanent if you watch your diet and you exercise, it isn’t right for everyone, it takes multiple treatment to see a difference, and we do recommend you go to a professional for the treatments.
So, there you have it. I am going to give the diet and exercise a try. Right after I eat this snickers bar.