eye health

Shift Your Middle Age Muffin Top

Middle Age and Weight Redistribution

Many things happen during middle age, and one of them is the redistribution of fat around the body.  Women may find that excess weight is sitting around the middle and adding to the very uncomfortable muffin top spillage over the top of jeans.

There are many reasons for this which we shall explore in this blog.  The fact is that fat held around the middle of the body is particularly detrimental to health and is a sign that the metabolism is not working as efficiently as it once did.

Illnesses and fat stored around the middle

Fat around the middle is known to increase the risk of many illnesses such as diabetes, strokes, heart disease high blood pressure and more.  It is also a fact that as people get older they may become less active and muscle mass begins to be lost.

Diet alone will not address this problem, it needs a multi level approach.

Your body is laying weight around the middle for a number of reasons:

1. Long term stress

2. Unhealthy lifestyle

3. Poor nutrition

4. Lack of exercise

5. Excessive alcohol consumption

6 Thyroid and adrenal issues


During periods of stress your body is pumping out adrenaline and cortisol due to the flight or fight response.   In caveman times this was necessary to respond to threats.  However the types of stress experienced today is completely different in comparison to that time.

Perhaps you are stressed at work, home, or while driving through traffic or another type of stress. Your body will respond accordingly.  Due to the release of these hormones and the fact that your body is not doing anything physical in response to the perceived threat, it will then  lay down fat deposits.

Cortisol and appetite

Once the perceived threat is over it is common for the cortisol levels to remain high and your appetite increases — not great if you are trying to control and manage your weight.

Raised cortisol affects wellbeing and moods, causing feelings of tension, anxiety and a feeling of irritability.

Many people who are stressed have a tendency to eat the wrong types of foods as a means of comforting themselves.  Sugary snacks, chocolate, crisps, wrong types of carbohydrates and fried fatty food is going to complicate matters even further. All that extra weight is likely to end up around the middle.



There are also those that eat less and lose their appetites in periods of stress.

In periods of prolonged stress the body is unable to keep up, the adrenals cease to work efficiently and energy levels drop significantly.  Your body is in stress overload.

The key is in staying tuned into your mind and body and not allowing stress to impact your life to the degree that your health begins to suffer.

Your body needs to know that there are no longer any perceived threats to allow it to begin to let go of the excess roll of fat that sits around the middle.

Menopause is also a time of stress for some women as they deal with hormonal fluctuations, mood swings, less energy, and all of the changes that menopause brings.  This is particularly challenging for  women in  corporate jobs trying to function productively while her body processes all of these changes mentioned above.

Men also do not escape the effects of hormonal changes in midlife and they begin to produce less and less testosterone. Men in middle age lose muscle mass if they are not exercising regularly and less muscle mass means less calories expenditure.

Another gland that impacts weight control is the thyroid gland in the neck.  The thyroid is responsible for metabolism and body temperature.  When there are high levels of cortisol as a result of stress the function of the thyroid may reduce.



What you can do

It is imperative to take control of eating habits and behaviour.  It is necessary to find a way of addressing comfort eating, or eating the wrong food groups for the wrong reasons.

Seven tips to take control of your weight

1. No more dieting, diets do not work

2. Let go of sugar and refined carbohydrates

3. Make sure you have a little protein at each meal

4. Let go of your morning coffee and caffeine drinks

5. Address your stress levels

6 Eliminate or reduce alcohol

7. Consider supplementation

8. Exercise regularly

Instead of leaving huge gaps in-between meals, eat little and often to keep the metabolism burning.  Don’t skip breakfast, your body has been fasting all night.

Caffeine is a stimulant

Be careful with caffeine.   It is a stimulant that causes your body to start the release of cortisol and eventually may mess up the way your body responds to the release of insulin.  Caffeine is also very addictive.

Alcohol is your enemy



Alcohol is also a stimulant which interferes with the absorption of nutrients and your sleep patterns.   It also causes your body to dehydrate which is stressful for the body.  Remember that the liver is a very busy organ.  When you drink alcohol you are overloading it and it may not be able to do its job efficiently or well.



This is a personal choice, but I have seen the many benefits of supplementation with my clients.  Study the benefits of chromium, magnesium, zinc, rhodiola rosea, and many other wonderful supplements.  Speak to your local health shop regarding recommendations and make an informed choice to take them or not.



Exercise consistently and choose exercise that you know you will enjoy.  This is important to stay motivated to continue.  Choosing weight bearing exercise is going to help to increase your muscle mass which is ideal particularly for the midlife years.

Shopping List

You will find a free downloadable shopping list on the flourish beyond 40 website.  Avoid food that is labeled “diet or low fat”.  Avoid all artificial sweeteners.  Eat organic where possible.  Include more beans and pulses into your diet.  Drink plenty water each day to help flush the body of toxins.

If you enjoy spices in your food then enjoy including them in your cooking.  Include nuts, seeds and avocados.

There is a plethora of wonderful books and information that you can access to support your weight goals.

Now that you know the factors that are adding to weight gain around the middle, you can take proactive action to make changes to your health, wellness and lifestyle.  The good  news is that you are likely to let go of weight around the middle once you address the factors that are causing it.

Being able to manage stress levels and noticing when stress levels become too high is going to help you stay in control of your weight.  Make sure you use effective stress management techniques and strategies to support your goals of healthy weight  management.

If you enjoyed reading this blog you may enjoy reading the other blogs on the site.

Have a great stress free day!

Isobel McArthur – Founder of Flourish Beyond 40


Transformation in midlife – There is a positive side!

How many times have you heard the following in conversations, or caught yourself saying these statements? –

“I’m too old to (fill in the blank)”

“At my age I couldn’t possibly (fill in the blank)”

“People of my age don’t do that sort of thing”

What are your beliefs?

Some of the above may genuinely be true for one reason or another.  On many occasions these kind of statements are a sign of beliefs that have been taken on board about the aging process.  The beliefs you hold are not necessarily useful or helpful in how you handle the changes of getting older.

What is true is that we go through a transformation at midlife.  This transformation is physical, mental, emotional and for some spiritual.

The transformation of getting older

Every single person on the planet will go through the aging process.  Some people will choose to delay the process by undergoing  cosmetic surgery and enhancements.  While this may delay the visual effects of getting older, time will continue to march on regardless.





There is a positive side of the physical transformation that takes place in midlife.  You have a conscious choice of making more informed intelligent choices about your health due to having access to a vast array of information available.  Improved results follows positive action.

It is a true saying that true beauty lies within and never ages.  Inner beauty is also something that is reflected outwards. It is just as important to take care of the inside as much as the outside.

The positive side of midlife transformation is that there is a tendency to be more reflective.  There tends to be more clarity on what you don’t want and what you do. You also have the wisdom of age to say so assertively.

The wrinkles on your face are a sign of the life you have led. They reflect  all that you have experienced both good and bad.




Time passes quickly, and each day merges into another.   Before you know it you are into your 40s thinking “wow, that came around quick!”

What can we expect?

But what actually happens at midlife?  What can be expected?   How can you be prepared when it arrives; physically, mentally and emotionally?

There are certain changes that take place physically at midlife, both for men and women.  Some men go through the male version of menopause otherwise known as andropause.  Women go through menopause.

The arrival of menopause

Menopause generally does not arrive unannounced and is preceded by a phase called perimenopause at around age 35.  Menopause is the term that describes the phase of having no periods for 12 months or 24 months if a woman is under the age of 50.

It is imperative that healthy lifestyle choices and healthy eating habits are established early on well before perimenopause.

The positive side of midlife transformation is that unfortunately you are more likely to have witnessed and been emotionally touched by illness in family and friends.  This motivates change.

Loss and learning

Many of you will have lost loved ones.  This can increase  determination and motivation to take more responsibility for the health and wellness choices you make.

You may find you have more time on your hands to focus on your wellbeing particularly if children have left home or you are retired.

Start to reflect on some of the choices you are making.  Are these choices moving you towards good health for the future or away from?




If you choose to eat processed food and takeaways, your body will not get the nutrition that it needs to function optimally.   There are effects and consequences of making unhealthy lifestyle diet and lifestyle decisions.




Move your body

The body needs exercise.   It is great to see the promotion of devices that encourage you to be aware of how many steps you take a day along with a whole lot of other useful information.  These devices  help keep you on track of your exercise routine.

Your body was created to move, not to be sedentary and sit still in an office all day, or lie on a sofa all night.  Your joints and muscles all need movement and stretching to keep you strong, toned and flexible.




Muscle and bone mass decreases in your 30s onwards.  This is a great time for women to incorporate weights into their exercise regimen to encourage tone and muscle mass.

Not to forget the feel good rush of endorphins flowing around the body with exercise.

Going through midlife transformation can be a positive time that encourages you to make changes that you may have been putting off.  It is a time when you can no longer ignore the signs that your body gives you in terms of stiffness, aches, pains and weight gain.

Many people say that they get a “second wind” in midlife.  If you approach this time with a healthy attitude, and mind-set followed by the correct actions and lifestyle choices then midlife will likely be a lot more comfortable and easy for you.

Is it time for you to make some changes?  Why not start today?