We live in an obesogenic environment!
What does this mean?
As we age, we tend to get fatter. We lose muscle; we lose bone; we gain fat. Life is tough. The trend is towards overweight. The die is cast.
Or is it?
We live, in the West, in a society that feeds us calories at every hand’s turn. Christmas, Valentines Day, Mother’s Day, Easter, Father’s Day, your Birthday, your sister’s Birthday, your friend’s Birthday……your dog’s birthday. They all come with cake, chocolate, cocktails. Endless opportunities present, every month of the year, to celebrate something with food and drink. We also soothe ourselves with food. We stress eat; we eat on the run and we stop off to re-fuel and find something utterly superfluous to need to fuel ourselves with too. Food is everywhere in our world. Food has never been cheaper & more readily available.
Today, we also fool ourselves a little
or, more accurately, are fooled by marketing magnets, into thinking that because food products are deemed ‘healthy’ we can eat them freely……….think protein balls; juices; smoothies; energy-drinks……….
Healthy or otherwise, foods come with calories. If you want to buck the trend towards overweight, as you reach the menopausal years, then you need to tune in very specifically to where you are getting your calorie needs met & to where they are sneaking in unwittingly!
The science of weight-loss never changes – not even at menopause. You eat too many calories, you gain weight. You eat fewer calories than needs, you lose weight. That’s it!
Plan your meals out every day. This becomes easy over the course of a few weeks. It becomes habitual. If you let your nourishment up to the gods – by not bringing your lunch to work, or having nothing in the house to prepare for dinner – then the gods will overfeed you sugary, salty, high-fat, high-taste, high-calories quick-fixes.
Yummy as they may seem in the moment, they can cost you highly.
The cost can amount to any or all of the following: overweight; high cholesterol; high blood pressure; low vitamin D; low Calcium; diabetes/pre-diabetes; low energy; cravings; constipation; bloatedness; poor skin, hair, nails……..and on and on.
While there is nothing wrong in looking forward to having a slice of your favourite chocolate cake on your birthday, or a cocktail or two on a friend’s birthday; what we need to do, if we are serious about our health & weight, is avoid the cheap, not so fabulous, office cake someone brings in on a whim..….just because. We need to raise the bar and look forward to the good stuff. Make each bite count. Celebrate the good days – let high-end; high-quality; high-taste yummy treat foods be part of that celebration, but not the full story. Because you are having cake for dessert, eat less carbs in your main meal. Because you are having cocktails, choose not to have dessert.
No one is going to get you in a head-lock & make you eat the cake you didn’t really fancy in the first place!
If anyone has an issue with you not partaking of their birthday treats, then the issue is theirs! Not yours.
Rise the bar when it comes to what treat foods you enjoy; how often you indulge in them & how much meaning you give them. Generally speaking, treat foods come with high fat, high sugar, high calorie costs. Have them as the carbs & fat in that meal. Enjoy them. They are just another food. Quantify them as such & you take away their power to derail your good habits for the day, weekend or indeed week.
There are lots of ways to celebrate the good stuff in life, other than food. Dance, hike, jump off something……..let food fuel your life……not be the main feature of any celebration. There’s so much more to life at this age!