The first of a series of short blogs I’ll be writing, covering everything women need to be fit, healthy, happy and strong into their forties, fifties and beyond. This info will help any woman at any age, but for women age 40-60 there’s some specific points that will be really useful to follow.
The focus of this post – one of my favourite topics, food!
We all want to be fit, healthy, have lots of energy, feel great, right?
And this tends to become more important as we enter our forties and the (often) dreaded menopause looms on the horizon.
Your body can deal with most things during your twenties and thirties, but things start to change after that. You’ve got kids to deal with, parents to start looking after, a partner to try to find precious time to be with. And a social life to maintain. It’s tough!
Pounds creep on more easily, and nothing in the body seems to run as smoothly as it once did…
This is when many women realise it’s time to start placing more importance on looking after their body (though they often still struggle to find the time to do that).
If you find yourself getting ill a lot, regularly catching colds, your health is not 100%, or you are physically suffering in some way, your body is telling you something.
It’s asking for your attention.
We rush through life looking after everyone else first, and then we wonder why we have aches and pains, get bloated easily, struggle to lose weight and feel tired all the time.
To be able to look after your family and enjoy spending time with them, you need to take care of YOU.
Your digestive system absorbs everything you eat and turns it into the cells that make up your body.
If you eat better food, you go a long way towards getting a better body.
These are some very cool healthy meals my clients enjoyed last year ^^^
The food you eat becomes the building blocks for your hormones too.
I’ll talk more about hormones in a future blog, but as a woman, I’m sure you’re well aware of the effects hormones can have! If your body isn’t getting the nutrients it needs, imbalances occur, and that’s when mood, energy levels, libido, weight and general feelings of well-being can all start to go haywire.
This stuff is important at any age, but when you hit menopause (which on average begins around the age of 43-47) hormone levels change dramatically, so its more important than ever to make sure you have the right nutrition coming in to help balance things out.
What foods are most important?
Here are some fairly simple but very effective tips for women in their forties and fifties:
- Include protein in each meal
Protein is what your body uses to build itself and maintain muscle. As you get older your body will start to get rid of its muscle if you don’t use it and feed it. This means you get weaker and flabbier, and find it harder to lose weight (muscle burns calories, so losing muscle means you burn less calories throughout the day). We don’t want that!
Protein will also keep you feeling full for longer, as it takes your body more time and energy to digest than carbs or fat. Good sources of protein are:
- Lean meat
- Grass-fed beef
- Whey protein
- Greek yogurt
- Puy lentils
2. Eat healthy fats each day
With this one, you need to be aware of portion sizes, because foods containing fat are very calorie dense and can be easy to overeat. But getting healthy fats daily is beneficial at any age, and ESPECIALLY as your hormone levels start to change around the beginnings of menopause.
Fats play a huge part in making up your hormones, and also have a major role to play in heart health and reducing the risk of heart disease (which is the biggest killer of women in the UK).
I’ve listed suggested portion sizes of healthy fats below. Aim to include 1 – 3 of these options each day. 2 or 3 is better, but if you have a day that you know or suspect is quite high in calories, stick to 1 and aim for a healthier day tomorrow.
Healthy fats (and their portion sizes):
- Half an avocado
- 2 eggs
- 25g / thumb size portion of nuts (walnuts / almonds / brazil nuts are best)
- 25g / thumb size portion of seeds (pumpkin / sunflower / sesame / flaxseeds)
- 2-3 tsp coconut oil
- 2-3 tsp olive oil
- 2-3 tsp walnut / flax oil
- 1 palm size portion/approx. 140g of salmon / mackerel /anchovies
3. Get your green veggies in
All vegetables are important and super beneficial. But leafy greens provide added fibre, vitamins and minerals that can give the body just what it’s often struggling to get enough of right now.
Lightly cooked greens are better than raw, as it makes the nutrients more readily available for your body to extract and digest. Ideally, at dinner make half your plate full of vegetables, with the remaining room reserved for a palm sized portion of protein and a little bit of healthy fat (and, optional, perhaps a small amount of carbs like potato / sweet potato / quinoa / beans / pulses).
Best vegetable options are:
4. Hydrate – water water water!
Yes, water is not very exciting, and it can make you pee a lot, but is hugely helpful. It gives you more energy and allows your body to function better. You’ll have less aches and pains, feel less tired and be more likely to flush out bugs if you drink more water.
We know we need to drink it, but often we just don’t remember to do it enough.
2-3 litres per day is about what we need…
Here’s a few tips that might help you achieve that:
- Drink a glass of water as soon as you get up in the morning, before tea or anything else (could make it warm and add a squeeze of fresh lemon if you want to aid your digestion too)
- Drink a glass of water before or during each meal
- Have a 1.5 litre bottle of water on your desk that you need to get through at work each day
- Drink from a 500ml bottle of water and start the day with 6 elastic bands on it. Take one band off each time you refill the bottle, and aim to get all 6 off by the end of the day.
There’s more to come in future blogs, but these tips will get you started on the road to feelin
Can you tick these off in your day?
The BEST thing I can possibly advise is to plan in advance.
It’s a simple habit that can bring you huge success.
Plan out what you need for the week to get good breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks. Buy as much as you can in one big shop (at the weekend works best for most people) so you have it in the house ready for when the craziness of Monday to Friday begins.
Then, each day, have a think about what you need for the next day. What are you going to eat? Have you got regular protein, lots of veggies and some healthy fats in there?
Do you need to get anything out of the freezer, or check you have certain foods waiting in the fridge or cupboards? Will you need to factor in time to prepare meals, or can you do anything tonight to get it ready?
See how great you can make your day. How much good stuff can you fit in?
A lot of women focus on what they need to cut OUT of their diet to get healthy and lose weight. But if you focus on how much amazing nutrition you can get IN to your day, you’ll feel so much better and not even hungry for other things.
Check out this picture for a super healthy and delicious day from my client Caz:
That’s a key thing too – make sure you enjoy what you eat as much as possible. You deserve to eat well and enjoy it!
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And if you have any questions, feel free to message me at firstname.lastname@example.org