The most common question I get asked from mid-life women is ‘how do I lose this belly fat?’ Having recently lost 7 inches off my waistline – yes nutrition is important (notice the word nutrition, not diet), in fact I’ve cut out gluten, but I’ve never counted calories. There are, however, 2 more important things other than nutrition to get to grips with before you start on cutting the calories.
When I get asked this question most folks expect me to say the standard – you need to eat fewer calories and exercise more, to reduce your belly fat.
But they’d be WRONG
It’s a big fat wrong.
And this is the biggest mistake that I see the majority of women making. This approach is acceptable when you’re in your 20’s or even 30’s, but once you hit your 40’s and into your 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, it’s just not going to cut it anymore, as you have another aspect to consider – the balancing of your hormones.
And, this is where it can get tricky.
Why Are We Not All Stick Thin?
Current research suggests that 95% of people losing weight regain it within a few months or years. 66% end up putting more weight back on. If that approach worked, we’d all be stick thin, and diet clubs wouldn’t exist. But they do, and that goes to show how misunderstood this whole weight loss approach is.
While we’re on the subject of slimming clubs – let’s also talk about diet trends, keto, fasting, high carb, vegan – the list goes on; it’s all very confusing. And what works for one might not work for the other, and the risk that you take it totally buggering (technical term there) up your metabolism and your hormonal system – two systems you don’t want to mess up.
The 2 Most Important Things to Decrease Your Waistline
So listen up, I will tell you two things that you need to do to start making sustainable weight reductions.
Are you ready….?
Deal with your stress – if I had a big arrow sign, this is the one that I’d be pointing at.
I mean, DEAL with your stress – not just having a bubble bath and scented candles every now and then, but understanding what’s the source of your stress and looking at meaningful ways of reducing it.
Stress can come from many different sources, here are the main ones;
-Physical Stress – this can be good; your body needs a certain amount of stress to adapt and grow strong. But overdoing it can contribute to immune suppression, increased injury, chronic fatigue and lots of other problematic things. Life is about balance. Bad posture is also a form of stress to your body.
–Chemical Stress – We are bombarded with chemicals in this modern world, from them being sprayed on our foods, the medicines we take, the cosmetics we put on our skin or bath in – so many things that ultimately end up in our liver.
– Electromagnetic Stress – We spend most of our days sitting in front of screens, on phones or watching tv – this is all a stressor to your body. Just have a think about how many of these things are recent additions into our lives – mobile phones are as recent as 20 years old.
-Psychic or Mental Stress – this is the one usually caused by taking too much on or other people. Always rushing to do things, looking after everyone else, no time for self, taking too much on – all these things contribute to ‘stinking thinking’ – where you focus on the things you don’t want in life, rather than the things you do want.
-Nutritional Stress – eating too few or too many calories, eating rubbish foods, eating highly processed foods.
-Thermal stress – working in too hot or too cold environments.
All of the above contribute to your potential fat gain or fat loss. Over the past year, I’ve been working on chemical stress and electromagnetic stress – the difference made to my belly measurement is enormous (in a good way! :D)
MOVE MORE – notice that I didn’t say exercise more.
There’s a subtle difference here. Moving more throughout the day will make much more of a difference to your waist measurement than sitting for 12 hours a day and doing 1 hour of intense exercise at night. It’s just not going to cut it.
Every hour on the hour you need to be moving, aim to get the ubiquitous 10,000 steps in a day – more if you can. But not just walking – carry your bags of shopping a bit further, walk up and downstairs, do sit to stand 10x every time you get up. Try to build as much movement into your day as possible.
Of course, your nutrition and hydration would be the following things to look at, but you can be eating the best diet and not moving a muscle, and you’ll still have a large waist measurement.
There you have it – stress management and moving more throughout the day are going to give you much greater returns on starving yourself and hammering yourself for one hour every night.
Sound like a plan? Let me know how you get on.
And, remember when I said that poor posture was a stressor to your body, well, I’ve got a fab new program starting up in September called ‘The Posture Project’, we’ll be looking a ways to improve your posture, reduce your aches and pains, and, make you feel fabulous. You can find out more and book a space here
See you at the mat!
Watch this space and get signed up for my weekly newsletter, because I’m going to be running another ‘Back to Balance’ program in September.
That photo is of me, I’m 48 years wise and had 2 kids – so you can get your abs back mid-life. There’s the proof – and this was taken after a weeks holiday eating rubbish 😀 (hence why my skin is looking a bit inflamed).