Scientists are learning that the calorie-burning, heat-generating brown fat that all babies are born with, that helps to keep the baby warm, reduces in activity as we age. This is likely to be a main reason why we put on weight as we age.
How to reduce this middle age spread? I like the 3-pronged approach:
One of the best ways to drop a couple of clothes sizes without too much effort is to make Intermittent Fasting a daily habit, otherwise known as scheduled eating. This switches your body into a fat burning mode, which is further magnified if you exercise before breaking your fast i.e. breakfast!
My favorite, most effortless way of Intermittent Fasting is to avoid eating at least 3 hours before going to bed and then skipping your normal breakfast time so that there is 16-18 hours between your last meal and breakfast.
Finally reduce or eliminate refined carbohydrates such as bread, pasta, even potatoes and swap for healthy fats such as avocado and soaked nuts (e.g. take a handful of almonds, soak overnight, drain and rinse) and increase your vegetable consumption. A great way to do this is to get into the habit of making green juices daily.
Researchers at Cambridge University were involved in a study following an impressively large group, 300,000 European men and women over a 12 years period. Their physical activity as well as their weight and obesity levels were recorded. One of the researchers, Prof Ekelund at Cambridge University concluded in early 2015, that “the greatest risk [of early death] was in those classed inactive”. Eliminating inactivity in Europe would cut mortality rates by nearly 7.5% but eliminating obesity would cut rates by just 3.6%. He says “20 minutes of physical activity every day is all that is needed to transform you health, a brisk walk!”
There is no getting away from it, we need to exercise, and keep moving if we want to be successful in shifting excess weight. Exercise may increase the activity of brown fat and even turn ‘bad’ white fat into brown fat.
For the last 30 or so years Debbie Rosas, founder of Nia, has been saying “through movement we find health”. If you can’t get to a Nia class…walk daily! Find a gym, a sport, a class that you love and do it or a combination at least twice a week, 3 times – even better!
It is well proven that lack of sleep is linked to obesity. So another way to reduce weight is to have proper sleep.
The level of the hormone melatonin, normally rises in the mid- to late evening, remains high for most of the night, and then drops in the early morning hours. Lack of sleep causes disturbance to your melatonin levels. Also exposure to light during the night messes with melatonin levels. So make sure you sleep in a dark room and keep to a regular sleep schedule most of the time.
With these tips there is no reason why you and I can’t stay slim and fit well into our 90’s!