I hear so many women complain as they reach the middle part of their life they are finding it increasingly difficult to loose weight especially around the belly regions. It even has its own name ‘Middle Aged Spread’!
Many people believe that as they reach the middle years their metabolic rate slows down. However this is a myth. The weight gain has probably nothing, or very little to do with metabolic rate.
So what is going on?
“You are what you eat!” This includes not just the food and drink you put into your mouth, but also what you breathe in through your mouth and nose, or absorb through your skin.
One of the main reasons people struggle with their weight at any age is not eating the right sorts of food. If you eat a lot of processed foods and meals out, or takeaways high in trans fats and high fructose corn syrup, you are going to find it impossible to loose weight and it may even start to creep up.
Even eating what you would consider as a healthy diet can cause problems due to pesticides, herbicides, hormones and antibiotics that are in the food chain.
To increase yields, meat and milk products (depending where they are produced) contain growth hormones, steroids, antibiotics and various chemicals and pesticides. These are added to animal feed or injected into the animal. As they are not all eliminated they end up in our milk and meat and this then has an adverse effect on your hormones.
Growth hormones have been banned in animals within the European Union, but are still used in the USA and elsewhere. These growth hormones are often synthetic versions of oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone.
Your body is unable to process synthetic hormones, so your body protects itself by laying down fat to store them. The same happens within animals, so as you ingest their fat you are getting a high dose of the chemicals they have stored. This can be a major contributor to why some people are unable to lose weight. These synthetic hormones also upset your natural hormone balance. This can result in menopausal symptoms and an increased risk of hormone related diseases, such as endometriosis and cancer of the breast and ovaries.
Antibiotics are fed to animals to keep them healthy in a crowded environment, but also to make them fat. Residues of these antibiotics remain in the meat and dairy products. Antibiotics are nondiscriminatory, killing off healthy as well as unhealthy bacteria in all areas of your body, but most importantly in the gut. This is why a course of antibiotics can often give you diarrhoea. The smaller amounts from food are unlikely to cause diarrhoea but they are having an adverse effect on your gut’s bacteria, reducing diversity and the health of your gut. The bacteria in your gut influences how you absorb nutrients, burn off calories and stay lean.
Scientists have discovered lean people have more good, anti-obesity bacteria in their guts than people who are overweight. A study of British children showed that those who had received many courses of antibiotics were more overweight than those who had received none or very few courses.
Antibiotics are not just in food but also cleaning and skin care products and may be one of the reasons it is hard to lose those pounds or kilos. What is much scarier is their overuse, as this is increasing the danger of antibiotic resistant diseases such as MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus).
Just take some time to look at some of the labels on your foods and beauty and cleaning products. There will be many ingredients with names you can barely pronounce, let alone know what they actually are and do! Then there are those that aren’t mentioned on the label, such as flame-retardants on your clothing and home furnishings, as well as pesticides, herbicides and fungicides on your food and clothing made from natural materials. To protect you from these dangerous chemicals that it is unable to excrete the body stores them in fat.
Chronic stress is also a big contributor to not being able to loose weight as it causes hormone imbalances. In middle age due to menopause the likely hood of hormone imbalances increases and most women are addicted to stress without even realising it, it has just become ‘normal’! Be aware that many symptoms blamed on menopause are the same as for stress, including hot flushes.
So what can you do?
- Eat organic meat and dairy, which are hormone free and where antibiotics are only used when absolutely necessary to treat infection. Or know what your local farmer is using.
- Always have organic milk that is free from hormones and antibiotics.
- Eat organic fruit and vegetables as much as possible and when you can’t wash them in a vinegar solution
- Avoid antibacterial soaps and hand wipes. Good old soap and water is just as effective and much better for your long-term health and wellbeing.
- Avoid taking antibiotics except if absolutely necessary and make sure you complete the whole course.
- Switch your skin care and household cleaning products to ones that only contain natural ingredients you recognise.
- Take a good quality probiotic that contains a high variety of strains. This can increase the quantity and diversity of your vital gut bacteria, boosting your health and natural immunity.
- If you take supplements make sure they are from whole foods and not synthetic chemicals.
- Take regular exercise
- Reduce stress.
If you would like to hear more about food based supplements, a fabulous probiotic, or you want to discuss your health and weight issues in more detail. Contact me for a no obligation chat.