Here’s my advice on how to avoid the middle aged spread.
Have you noticed your increasing waist line as you’ve aged? Have you heard others talk about the middle aged spread? This is the thickening of your waistline through increased abdominal fat storage. Health conscious people can be frustrated to find that their middle keeps expanding even with exercise and the adoption of a lower fat diet.
You can avoid the middle aged spread by respecting how your body changes with age.
We know that our hormones change with age, for men as well as women. But its not just sex hormones, it applies to your insulin hormone too. This is natural and normal, we just need to respect it and adjust for it.
The single biggest cause of the middle aged spread is over consumption of carbs.
The younger you are the more insulin sensitive you are. This simply means that when you’re young you can eat a shed load of carbs (starch and sugar) and you only require a small amount of insulin to deal with the excess carbs. As we age, we gradually lose insulin sensitivity meaning that we need to release more and more insulin to deal with the same amount of carbs. This leads to increased fat storage which appears across the body and particularly around your middle. What’s more, eating too many carbs accelerates this loss of insulin sensitivity.
Have have you ever noticed how some young people can eat as much crap as they like and yet still remain bean-pole skinny? When you’re young you can get away with a lot; smoking, boozing and eating trashy food. As we age however, the body is less capable of mitigating your bad behaviour and it catches up with you.
But it’s okay, here’s what you can do about it…
Here’s how to avoid the middle aged spread…
Reduce carb consumption, immediately. I recommend starting by cutting your total carb intake in half every other day. Eat as usual on in-between days. After two weeks of practise, reduce your daily carb consumption by a further 10% per week until you are consuming between 50-125g per day, every day.
As I eluded to above, we each have different insulin sensitivities depending on age, but also our activity levels, the type of exercise we do and even the time of the month for both men and women, so experiment and find your carbohydrate sweet spot.
I strongly recommend increasing your healthy fat as you reduce the carbs.
This is not about starvation or restricting calories, it’s about fuelling your body appropriately. If you are a sports person, don’t worry that you won’t be able to perform, when done well, people notice increased endurance and power output with this method and people of all backgrounds typically notice improved mental function too.
During your personal experiment you’ll find your happy level somewhere between 50-125g of daily carbs. Your appetite will keep adjusting over time, naturally reducing your carbs a little each year thus avoiding the middle age spread. This will happen automatically.
Once you have fully adjusted, which can take from 3 months to a year, you will be able to trust your appetite like never before.
Keep your eyes peeled for a fascinating post coming up on appetite.