I can’t believe it’s April already, it doesn’t seem that long ago since we were in the midst of winter, all wrapped up in winter clothes! Now spring is in the air, the days are drawing out, the birds are busy nesting and the blooming spring flowers are a nightmare for anyone who suffers with hay fever.
The warmer days are a sign that summer is not too far away, which also means that it is almost body bearing time! It won’t be long until it’s warm enough to hit the beach for a swim, which is always a nerve racking time. I dread trying on last years bikini for the first time and I, like many other people, dread exposing my body for all to see that very first time I venture out in a bikini. I only have myself to blame, as every winter I put on a couple of extra kilos – doesn’t everyone? – that I like to lose again for the summer. Those extra kilos may not be noticeable to anyone else other than myself, but they make me feel doughy, which when coupled with the fact I am permanently glow white in colour, is enough to make me squirm when I first bear my body to the world.
I am sure that I am not alone in my insecurities, there are probably many women and men who put on weight during the winter. For me I know that my weigh gain is mainly due to eating more in the winter. It’s not that I eat a lot of junk, we try to limit junk food and treats to Fridays only. But I know that my overall calorie intake increases and my running and cycling mileage decreases due to the weather, which when you do the maths works out to a higher calorie intake and a lower calorie expenditure, which means weight gain.
As I sit here typing I can feel a slight roll of belly resting on the top of my jeans and the words I have so often heard people say to me are running through my head…….” I was about your age when I started to get the middle age spread!”
I am a great believer that the word ‘diet’ should be banned when used in reference to weight loss. I hate the word, have never been on a diet in my life and never will. I have tried to teach my children to be aware of the fact that if we eat more than our body needs it will store the excess calories as fat, and if we continue to overeat we will eventually become overweight. If we don’t pay attention to that weight gain and do something about it before t gets out of hand, we are in danger of becoming obese, which really is not healthy.
I have also tried to instil in them that there is never any need to go on a ‘diet’ or to totally cut out any food group from what we eat; there is nothing wrong with eating junk food or drinking sugary drinks occasionally, which is why we try to limit them to our Junk Day Fridays, the one day of the week when we can eat whatever tickles our fancy and it works for us.
Even though I very much doubt that ‘middle age spread’ actually exists and I have always thought that the people who blame their weight gain on middle age are just using it as an excuse to eat more and move less. The problem I am finding is that as I am getting older I can’t help wondering if there is such a thing as ‘middle age spread’ and if there is, will I always be able to stay one step ahead of it? Will this be the summer when I can’t totally get rid of the kilos I have gained? If I can’t then who is to say that I won’t gain a kilo or two every winter and then in ten years from now be carrying an extra ten to twenty kilos in weight? Not a predicament I want to find myself in!
It is a fact that as we age our metabolism slows down, but that doesn’t mean that we have to except that we will gain weight, what it does mean though is that we must either start moving more, reduce our calorie intake or ideally do both.
If you are finding yourself carrying more weight than you are happy with, it is time to start doing something about it now. Don’t wait until tomorrow, next week or next month and don’t start looking for a miracle ‘diet’, they just don’t exist.
First start by taking a look at why you have gained weight, be honest now!
- Is it because you can’t help having second helpings?
- Do you miss meals in a bid to lose weight and find yourself snacking on unhealthy food like cake, biscuits and chocolate?
- Do you drink more juice or sugary drinks than you should?
- Are your portions too large?
- Do you end your days with a couple of wine to help you unwind?
- Do you snack whilst watching television in the evenings?
- Have you reduced the amount of exercise you do or even stopped altogether through life getting in the way, illness or injury?
- Are you getting enough sleep?
- Are you drinking enough water?
- Are you totally honest about the amount of food you eat?
Once you have established the cause of your weight gain, you can do something about it. It may not be easy, but it is always possible.
I know that my weight gain has been caused by me eating more than I need, coupled with a major reduction in exercise in March, which was due to a variety of reasons and I am fully aware that if I continue eating like I have been, I will not be at all happy revealing my body to the world this summer, so I am doing something about it now. I intend to be trim again for the summer!
For me this means eating less, I know I have been eating too many nuts – I love walnuts, cashew nuts and fresh almonds!, my dinner portions have been too large and I have been eating hot buttered toast far more regularly than I normally would – I blame Lidls for having opened their fresh bakery selling the most wonderful seeded breads!
It is also the time of year when I increase my running days. The lighter mornings mean I can get out for a run before taking the children to school on at least four days a week, I will also get on my bike more and try to do at least two sessions of strength training a week – more muscle increases metabolism. I also get out and walk the dogs most days.
Sundays are my exercise is optional days, if I want to go for a cycle I will, if not I won’t. I am a great believer in rest days and even if I weren’t I have learned to listen to my body, which as I have gotten older likes to remind me that rest days are important!
If you want to be trim this summer, don’t put it off, start doing something about getting that extra weight off now. Start moving more and eat less, it really is as simple as that! Set yourself some ground rules like:
- Never skip breakfast, you will only be tempted to snack more later.
- Get a good nights sleep, I know that when I am tired I definitely eat more for the energy!
- Drink no less than one and a half liters of water a day, two liters is even better if you can manage it.
- Eat more protein and less carbohydrates. Protein foods make us feel fuller for longer and are muscle building foods, whereas carbohydrates are energy/fuel foods so get used more quickly and if not needed the body stores excess carbs as fat.
- Eat more high fiber foods like salad stuff, fruit, vegetables, nuts, beans and whole grain foods as high fiber foods keep us feeling fuller for longer and in doing so help to curb those snack attacks!
- Start using a smaller plate, so that you have to have smaller portions.
Just by setting yourself some realistic ground rules and following them, you will lose weight, how quickly depends on you and how often you give into temptation. I recommend having what we call a junk day once a week, I look forward to ours and have found that I enjoy whatever constitutes as junk that day more than I would if I ate it freely.
How do you intend to get trim for summer? Feel free to share your tips below……
Copyright © 2014 Debbie Roberts
© 2014, Debbie. All rights reserved.