Our associate, nutrition therapist Christine, gives us some simple hints to reflect our ageing state and family demands when it comes to taking care of ourselves and our loved ones.

If you eat a healthy diet and get plenty of exercise, staying slim should follow naturally – in theory.  In practice, different pitfalls at various stages of our lives can cause us to put on weight. Christine explains how to tackle the changes we face and how to stay in shape at any age.  


Slower Metabolism:

Every decade after the age of 20 our metabolism rate drops by around 50 – 70 calories each day.  Thanks to this slowing metabolism weight can creep on slowly and often without us even realising.  Part of the problem is we don’t downsize our diet or take more exercise to compensate.  We often compound the problem by eating more and moving less.

Tackle it by opting for a higher protein, higher-fibre foods which will satisfy you more.  This means you will be able to reduce the amount you eat over the day without feeling hungry.  High water content foods such as salads, vegetables are also great additions and should make up 50 – 60% of our plate.  These high water foods are filling, however contain fewer calories.

Lack of Sleep:

Sleeping less is normal as we get older, with most of us having an hour or more less shut-eye each night by the time we reach our 40s and 50s.  This is often a symptom of anxiety and stress.  Stress increases levels of cortisol and many studies show that lack of sleep increases hunger hormones, so we eat more.

Tackle it by exercising, eating a balanced diet, reducing stress and minimising ‘TV Time’ before bed.  If you are still not sleeping well after this then take a look at what you are drinking.  Caffeine hangs around for six to eight hours, so your 3pm espresso may be responsible for you tossing and turning at 11pm.

Muscle Loss:

It is estimated we lose up to 1% of our muscle mass each year after the age of 25, so by the time we hit our 50s, we may have lost up to a quarter of our muscle, resulting in a slower metabolism.  If we take in the same number of calories without burning them up, body fat increases.

Tackle it by doing some resistance exercise each day.  Gaining muscle mass and strength through regular resistance training will help your metabolism work more optimally allowing you to maintain your weight better.

Kids Come First:

Parents are often great at preparing nutritious meals for their children but not for themselves, instead grabbing unhealthy options on the run.  The same goes for exercise – parents stand on the sidelines watching the kids play, but forget about exercising themselves.

Tackle it by keeping a repertoire of recipes that take less than 20 minutes to make and planning your meals for the week will take the guess work out of your dinners every evening.  When making children’s lunches prepare the same healthy lunch for yourself.  Try to avoid cooking too many different meals in the evening, ideally everyone should be eating the same dinner.  Being in good health is vital to caring for and keep up with your kids.