by Liz Reid
Happy New Year and a warm welcome to 2023!
The changes that your body goes through, throughout your life is quite simply incredible. We are born, grow, develop and are flooded with hormones in our teens, transforming into adults. We thrive and flourish as adult life is sustained. Nature and our body clocks regulate our life time and we may even reproduce, creating little ones ourselves, with the circle and cycle of life continuing.
Being pregnant is wondrous and the body goes through incredible changes from the moment of conception, in preparing the body to carry the baby and so it’s possible to give birth! Mother Nature is so powerful and changes happen without you knowing or doing anything consciously. The adaptations just happen. Additional weight is put on, the pelvis expands, organs move over to make way for the enlarging womb and the body prepares to create milk. The whole process is quite amazing. The body goes through huge changes to accommodate pregnancy and help the mother post.
The body shape changes significantly during those gestational months and it is important to recognise that this is all normal! It can be a tough time mentally, adjusting to the rapid physical changes and then being a mother, well the body adjusts to be just that too. The womb and structure of the body has transformed to accommodate a baby and those changes which happen over 9 months, don’t necessarily undo in the next 9 months. It is usual to still have some ‘baby weight’ even a year or 3 later and having a ‘baby belly’ is a normal trophy of motherhood, which is something to be proud of and celebrate!
Hormones have a massive part to play, and it is important to recognise and accept this. As life progresses and our babies grow into toddlers, school children, teenagers and then adults, as a parent, this is an incredibly emotional time for us. Time passing is marked by their growth and development, which can be daunting. Suddenly it seems, they’re at the next stage of development and in the blink of an eye your 5 year-old is 15!
With the passing of time, our bodies start to encounter more change as we mature and start to age. Hairs become grey as they lose their colour, skin starts to lose its elasticity and our energy levels reduce. It is important to acknowledge this natural process but to work with and embrace it. You can truly blossom in your 40s, 50s, 60s and beyond, with some self-care and a little bit of self-love. It is important to have a balanced exercise routine by including cardio to look after your cardiovascular system, core strengthening and balance the mind and body with a slower, more focused form of exercise such as Pilates, swimming, Yoga or Tai Chi.
As we approach middle age, our measurements do increase, especially around the middle. There is an inevitability to this, which is normal, however, you do need to put in some effort in order to keep your middle in check and from expanding too much! As we progress through life, we just don’t need as many calories as we did in our 20s and 30s. Try to reduce sugary and salty snacks and be aware of how much food you eat which is high in carbohydrates. It’s not about cutting these foods out because having a balanced and enjoyable diet is crucial for a healthy body and mind but you need to focus on not eating these food groups to excess.
Too much consumption of fatty, red meat, salt and sugar in your late 40s and 50s is going to increase the size of your liver, which is an amazing organ in processing all we consume but those unwanted calories will be quickly converted into fats and stored in the body, as fat. Adipose fat gathers around the middle, increasing your waistline. It is so much harder to lose this type of belly fat in your 50s and 60s, due to the drop in hormones and disturbed sleep, so try to make the changes once you become aware of your growing middle!
Remember, big, long term benefits start with small changes, so perhaps start having just half sugar in your tea instead of one, enjoy unsalted nuts instead of peanuts, maybe have a couple of meat free days a week, get more sleep and give me a call to book your Pilates place, to kick start your health this New Year!
Elizabeth Reid Level III Pilates Instructor – Member of FitPro
BackCare Associate Professional Member
Proprietor, Core Factor Pilates