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Middle age spread - aaargh!

(78 Posts)
Whattodowithit Wed 10-Jul-13 19:04:11

Does anyone have any ideas for exercises to shift it? I am 54, have had 3 children so have that roll of post pregnancy skin that never seemed to go, am certainly peri-menopausal and have noticed over the past year the roll(s) of fat around my middle are getting bigger and bigger hmm. I eat well and am lucky not to have a sweet tooth - salad is my favourite meal which I eat almost daily. I can't abide processed food and cook from scratch. I (fast) swim 40 lengths 4 times a week, I have dogs that need walking daily and I dance once a week, so I don't think 'not enough physical activity' or 'bad diet' is the problem. I would dance more but am slightly incapacitated at the moment because I currently have plantar fasciitis <ouch>. I have never set foot inside a gym and don't intend to start now... I have tried to look on t'internet for 'at home' exercises, but most of the sites seem to be to do with toning up your abs rather than the middle wobble below... Do any of you kind people have any recommendations, please?

Roshbegosh Wed 10-Jul-13 19:08:23

Well I would like to know too but you are a bit of a star with all that healthy diet and exercise. If you are like that around the middle I might have to shoot myself.

Whattodowithit Wed 10-Jul-13 19:19:59

Sorry - I didn't mean to come across as a complete prat! You did make me laugh! I know I don't have that much to whinge about apart from my wobbly middle. Shoot me too!


Roshbegosh Wed 10-Jul-13 19:21:53

Not a prat at all please, you sound lovely and I hope someone can help you deal with the pesky middle bit.

missbopeep Thu 11-Jul-13 08:41:16

Are you still having periods at 54? Just asking because if you are actually post meno then your metabolism slows down.

Okay- some ideas! You can't 'spot reduce' any part of your body, so you need to decide if the rolls are loose skin or fat- if they are growing then they are fat !

Hormonal changes mean that we put weight on around the middle rather than hips, thighs and generally all over.

I know this might sound really obvious but the likelihood is that you are simply eating too many calories. It's been shown that losing weight is more a combination of 80% food and 20% exercise- so all the exercise you do may not be enough to give you a calorie deficit to lose weight.

Have you thought about really measuring your calorific intake? Women's needs are around 1750-2000 a day, and you need to eat 500 fewer cals daily for a week to lose 1 pound.

You see although you like salads, you might be adding loads of cals in dressing, mayo, and fat if you eat ham or cheese salads, etc. Same goes for homemade food- it will be healthy, but your portion size may be a bit too big, or you may be cooking high calorie meals.

Do you drink? A small glass of wine can have up to 200 calories- same as 2 slices of bread.

Have you thought about signing up for something like weight watchers online? You can eat what you want as long as you plot the points and don't exceed your daily allowance.

sailorsgal Sat 27-Jul-13 16:52:58

ZUMBA. Fantastic for the midriff.

mumblechum1 Sat 27-Jul-13 16:55:55

Agree with Zumba. I do 3 hours a week and God you know you've exercised. I'm dripping with sweat by the end of the hour (sorry TMI) and am a trim size 10 now, having been a 14 a year ago.

The other thing I've done is go on the 5:2 diet which has helped a lot as well.

BIWI Sat 27-Jul-13 16:58:38

Sadly, missbopeep is right. Exercise alone will not sort this out for you.

If you're fat round your middle, you're fat. Sorry!

However, I could have written your post (minus the swimming and the dog-walking!) about 18 months ago. 52 years old, perimenopausal and two stones overweight, with most of it accumulated around my middle.

For me the answer was low carbing, along with getting more active (gym with a personal trainer twice a week, solus visits and then taking up running at the beginning of this year). You are already pretty active, so it really means that you have to focus on your diet.

You may not want to low carb - but you need to find something that works for you.

As for me - took me around 11 months but I finally shod two stones. I have maintained that (give or take the odd few pounds) since last November.

If you do want to consider low carbing, come and join us on Bootcamp here is the current chat thread

sailorsgal Sat 27-Jul-13 17:07:33

Well I am not giving up the wine so exercise is the only thing that works for me.

missbopeep Sun 28-Jul-13 09:50:53

Sailor- I don't want to be a party pooper and maybe your post about the wine is a bit tongue in cheek so apologies if I've picked it up wrongly......but apart from the calorific value of wine ( quite high) alcohol is one of the main factors in raising the risk and incidence of breast cancer. It contributes as much or more risk than HRT and alcohol and excess weight together carry more risk than HRT. I really hope this doesn't sound like a lecture, but I'm just passing on what my consultant tells me.

BIWI Sun 28-Jul-13 10:08:41

Just to give an example of the effort that it takes to burn calories - I have just done a 25 minute run. I ran 3.86km, at a speed of 9.2 kph. This burnt 301 calories.

missbopeep Sun 28-Jul-13 10:33:58

I think that's a very good point BIWI. I briskly walk a 3 mile circuit - mostly up and down hill in 40-45 mins- and thought it was using loads of energy but when I tracked it, it was under 200 cals; the same as 2 slices of bread, a couple of biscuits or a glass of wine maybe.

I think it's helpful to know calories in/ out and understand that there has to be a 3500 deficit over a week to lose one pound. You can do this with the 5:2, or by reducing food daily, whatever works best.

sailorsgal Sun 28-Jul-13 17:06:03

I used to be a personal trainer and fitness fantastic. I now teach yoga and and do zumba 3x week. Also kettlebells and am wanting to run a marathon when I am 50 next year. As much as I enjoy being healthy I don't believe in denying myself anything as even healthy people die young. wine cheers

happyreindeer Sun 28-Jul-13 17:23:35

I am 50 and have terrible post hysterectomy hang from 2 years ago.I exercise 5 times a week(aqaucise)and eat healthily though I go mad for crisps at the weekend.I am losing weight but not really from around my abdomem /I have a small waist.. I think it will always be there tbh and just dress accordingly.

missbopeep Sun 28-Jul-13 18:56:52

I don't believe in denying myself anything as even healthy people die young.


Eh? If you are healthy then you don't die- unless you mean being run over by the proverbial bus.

So as long as you exercise, you don't believe in moderating your diet in any way , and disregard medical advice?

sailorsgal Sun 28-Jul-13 21:12:11

Of course you should moderate your diet but not to a point that you can't enjoy what you fancy now and again. I stay within the recommended guidelines but I don't want to stop having a glass of wine.
And I have had three friends get cancer even though they lived very healthy lifestyles.

missbopeep Sun 28-Jul-13 22:32:40

A healthy lifestyle can't always prevent all ill health inc cancer- it can just reduce the odds.
The reason I mentioned alcohol was many people forget the calories in it, and it does sometimes contribute to hot flushes.

sailorsgal Mon 29-Jul-13 12:17:39

You are right about the calories and red wine seemed to make the hot flushes worse. I took the menopace night which really helped.

googlenut Mon 29-Jul-13 20:45:41

I hate this weight gain thing - have never been overweight ever, had three children and a flat tummy. Have just turned 50 and over the last year I've started to get wobbly round my tummy. I'm still just over 8 stone but it is such a struggle to maintain (am only 5ft 3). I run a lot but am wondering if weight training will help - you lose muscle mass as you get older and that slows metabolism.

googlenut Mon 29-Jul-13 20:46:24

But am not giving up wine at the weekendssmile

Missbopeep Tue 30-Jul-13 10:01:26

Yes weight training should help because the more muscle you have the more calories the muscles use even when you are standing still smile

I have my own little regime which is a combo of squats, half push ups, dumb bell curls and lunges. I can't do weights as such ( nothing more than 2 kgs) as I had pelvic floor problems and a repair, but I use a DVD by an Oz physio which shows how to do the exercises safely.

BlogOnTheTyne Sat 10-Aug-13 13:16:34

I'm wondering what the evolutionary reason is for middle-aged spread, if anyone knows? Is there any biological advantage for an older woman retaining fat and water?

Is it because in primitive times, you'd be past your child-bearing age and useless to the tribe, except as a childminder/ veg. gatherer - and so you might get less food from the communal sharing in the tribe, than the hunters, children and child-bearing females? So your body would hold onto as much fat as possible to get you through very lean years before death?

It'd be interesting to know if that's the case, as it might help somewhat in accepting middle-aged spread.

I started a thread in Calorie-counting, recently, because I'm not losing any weight at all despite cutting down on what I eat and only eating 'healthy' foods (5ft 7in and weigh around 12 stone now, although I eat a lot less than when I was younger).

At 50, it feels as if my body has decided that this is the weight and shape I'm now going to be - plus some, every year - and nothing I do will stop it! I don't want to starve myself and I don't have time to do vigorous daily exercise. However, curbing my appetite has literally no effect at all, compared to when I was younger and so I think if I could just get my head around an evolutionary advantage to this, then that'd help.

I literally feel that if I ate nothing at all for days (not something I'd ever really do) that I'd still lose no weight and coudl survive - except for hunger! - for weeks!

I'm generally quite accepting that my body changes as I get older and have never been hung up on looks/being plump but I do like to understand things rationally. Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

Missbopeep Sat 10-Aug-13 16:15:49

No- it's old age and your metabolism slows down.

It's exactly the same for men.

I've recently lost 3lbs in around 10 days. I am not really overweight but my weight has crept up by about half a stone in the last 5 years and it's all round my waist.

I've really cut back on carbs- one portion once a day either at breakfast, lunch or dinner- and filled up on lean protein, veg and a tiny cube of cheese if I get hungry. I also have kept up the exercise which is a very quick 3mile walk over hills, 3-4 times a week.

BIWI Sat 10-Aug-13 20:32:00

I think this is why exercise becomes so important!

I'm almost 54 and through the menopause now. I've lost 2 stone over the last year and kept it off for 8 months now (and dropped another couple of pounds).

But I still have weight to lose, and it's all round my torso, which is interesting!

I do a lot of exercise - 1 session per week with a personal trainer, one or two trips to the gym on my own and two runs a week (I'm up to 25 minutes per run now).

I think the other thing that we probably have to accept is that we need fewer calories as we get older as well.

For me, I focus on a low carb diet. But I know that I also drink too much, which doesn't help!

Missbopeep Sat 10-Aug-13 20:42:41

I'm okay-ish with some exercise but need to do more resistance/weights because muscle burns more calories than fat. So by building muscle ( which you lose rapidly in middle age) your body can use up calories even when you are sitting and standing still.

I think people underestimate how you really do need to cut back on food quite considerably, especially carbs, alcohol and portion size.

I've always put weight on very easily as I am very small framed , so it's been a lifelong battle to stay trim, but now it's much harder to lose it- takes me 4 weeks to lose what I used to in 2.

Basically, I don't eat any cakes, biscuits, sweets or deserts etc etc except as a very rare treat, and as I am gluten free they tend to be home made anyway.

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