People in middle age are more prone to fat around their tummies and, although we can build our stomach muscles through crunches and other exercises, no-one will see them if they are hidden under a layer of flab!
In the UK almost one quarter of adults are obese and in the US it’s one third and those figures are set to rise if the pundits are to be believed; this means that there will be a corresponding increase in those illnesses that are associated with obesity such as high blood pressure, diabetes and certain types of cancer. Unfortunately, as we get older, it gets more difficult to keep the weight off, especially around the tummy area but there are things that you can do to keep yourself in super shape and reduce the risks.
Firstly, remember that your body is the most amazing machine in the universe and, to get the best out of it, you need to put good stuff in and the good stuff comes from nature and not from a laboratory (no offense to any scientists who may be reading!). For many years now artificial sugars have been added to many foodstuffs and, without realising it, people are consuming far more sugar than they used to and what does sugar do? Yep it piles on the pounds. So, is the answer to go for the ‘sugar free’ option? No.
Things like fizzy drinks which are advertised as ‘sugar free’ don’t contain any natural sugar but they do contain artificial versions which actually taste more sugary than the real thing and work on the body in the same way i.e they tell our body to store fat because they trigger the production of insulin. Instead try making your own juices using ingredients like cucumber, lemon juice and ginger – it tastes great and will help your body to burn fat without really adding any calories. Green tea will also boost your metabolism and help your body to break down fat (have a look at the science here).
Refined carbohydrates are also not going to help you trim down a spreading waist line; white bread and white pasta will give us a burst of energy but this burns out after a very short period which means that our blood sugar levels drop and then, more often than not, we have a sugar craving which we will want to satisfy with something sweet which means we end up consuming more sugar and we’re back to square one. Having more whole grains and therefore more fibre in your diet will make your body work far more efficiently and effectively.
Another mucked about with in a lab ingredient we have to think about is something called ‘trans fats’ otherwise known as hydrogenated vegetable oil which is used to make products stay fresher for longer. Thought to be a major contributing factor to obesity and related health problems in the US the Food and Drug Administration said that trans fats ‘could no longer be generally regarded as safe’. However they still crop up in many foods such as doughnuts, shop bought deserts, fast foods, chocolate biscuits and cream substitutes.
We need fats in our diets but we should be looking at naturally occurring polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats such as those found in nuts and avocados, olive and soybean oils.
If we are more sensible with our diets and look at eating natural foods that keep us fuller for longer, we also won’t be thinking about snacking during the day; one of the worst culprits when it comes to adding weight. It’s not uncommon for people to have a can of soda between meals and a chocolate bar as a mid-afternoon snack but these two items, on their own, can give you more than the daily recommended limit for sugar plus you’re taking in around 350 calories which will take you about an hour of fast paced walking to burn off!
It’s not easy to get a six pack but it’s really easy to get a family pack if you overload on sugary and starchy foods and don’t exercise enough.