Healthy Food – Let Food be your Friend
It has been interesting to observe how my body changed when I “flourished” into my 40s. All of a sudden what I could get away with eating in my 20s and 30s no longer applied and I realised the importance of eating healthy food.
My body began to redistribute weight differently and a muffin top started to present itself over my jeans. As I sat in the bath contemplating this new part of myself, I knew that I needed to address and embrace new eating habits that were better suited to a midlife woman, and fluctuating hormones. A cavalier attitude with my diet was not cutting it at all. Perimenopause had arrived and menopause was knocking at the door.
There is much evidence to support the true fact that the amount of energy that we burn while resting, drops off by the age of 30 and then a further 7% each decade after that.
Common sense points to the fact that of course if we eat exactly the same in our 40s and beyond as we did in our 20s and 30s weight would start to creep on. Not eating healthy food was no longer an option. Have you noticed your waist bands getting tighter? your bra bulges increasing? It doesn’t happen overnight though it may seem that way when you finally notice these things.
Bottom line – you need fewer calories than you did when you were younger
With midlife comes other concerns and issues such as risk of heart disease, diabetes, that with increased cholesterol levels, sedentary lifestyles, poor eating choices is a recipe for disaster.
There is no need to feel deprived when you choose to eat healthy food there are many tasty substitutes out there for you. Don’t focus on the things you can’t eat, but on all of the things you can.
Eating healthier is easier than you think. How about adding some spinach to to your eggs, or enjoy raw carrots, cauliflower and celery with some hummus as a snack. Fill your plate with lots of roasted delicious veggies. Raw unsalted almonds and walnuts make a great snack too.
What is a Healthy Diet?
In the younger years you may have followed various different diets or ways of eating in a desire to “look good”, however this attitude shifts in the 40s and beyond towards a necessity to be healthy and look good.
But what is a healthy diet? What are you supposed to eat or indeed not eat in your midlife and beyond years? There is so much conflicting information out there now that no wonder you don’t know what to believe any longer.
One of the biggest gifts you can give yourself is to give up or at least restrict sugar in your diet. Did you know that sugar is eight times addictive as cocaine?
Giving up Sugar
When you go shopping, check the food labels and avoid any that have sugar in the first three ingredients. Giving up sugar may be difficult at first and you may experience cravings, however these generally disappear after a few weeks have passed. During this time please do not try to substitute your sugar intake by using artificial sweeteners, you may wish to try Xylitol or Stevia (made of plants).
Supplementation is important at this time in your life and there are many excellent supplements out there that may help you. Chat with your local health store and ask them to recommend the best supplements for you. Sugar also causes your blood glucose levels to rise sharply and then to crash which will leave you feeling drained and tired. Sugar certainly has negative effects on your overall wellbeing and impacts your life significantly.
Moving into Menopause
You may find that as you move into the menopause that hot flushes are making themselves known, generally at the most inconvenient times and it is no fun having a hot flush mid conversation at work or otherwise. There are certain food groups that trigger or worsen hot flushes and now is the time to remove these from your diet as they are over stimulating:
Don’t forget your bones! Eating good sources of protein that contains tryptophan is important. Include cottage cheese, turkey, legumes and oats. Tryptophan helps to make serotonin which is very helpful in controlling moods, appetite and sleep.
Healthy Food Groups
There are some food groups that are excellent for you at this time in your life, one of them being oats. Oats is good news for cholesterol and the heart as it contains beta-glucans that helps reduce the unwanted form of cholesterol. Having oats in the diet also protects against the build of plaque on artery walls. Are you ready to start eating your porridge now?
It has been concluded by researchers that eating just 3g of oats every day helps to reduce cholesterol by 5 to 10% and the risk of heart disease lowers. Great news for midlife.
Full of Omega 3 fats and great in helping to lower blood pressure, heart rate and reducing the risk of irregular heartbeats. Choose wild salmon, sardines, mackerel, tuna and herring. Be careful in your method of cooking as omega 3 fats are sensitive to high temperatures, so steam lightly or cook on a low temperature.
We have just scratched the surface of eating healthy food in your 40s and beyond. If you want to learn more then why not visit the Flourish Beyond 40 Guidance and Support page and shop where you are able to browse various ways of helping yourself back to health, and the options of joining the Flourish Beyond 40 Programme and Facebook community.
You may also like to read about weight and exercise in midlife and beyond and managing stress.