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Saturday 7 January 2017

15 Health and diet tips from over-40s women like you

Banana and oranges representing healthy eating

It's the time of year when we're bombarded with diet articles, books and slimming DVDs from celebrities. Most of the diet methods contradict each other and there seems to be no agreement between health organisations and experts on what scientifically works best. Some experts are still saying that low fat is good. Others say sugar is the devil.
And in January there's also the general "New Year" hoo-ha around resolutions with people buying expensive gym memberships and only going  a few times.

How does all this diet and fitness "noise" affect us?  I spoke to five over-40s women to find out what they'll be doing differently, if anything, in 2017. There's a four-legged theme running through their exercise and they're all very savvy about eating good fats, their 5 helpings of fruit and vegetables a day, and avoiding sugar and other processed foods.

Kate Cooper, a former advertising executive and retailer, lives near Cannes in France. She ran her first marathon in London last year.

Image showing Kate Cooper
Kate Cooper 

This year, Kate will be running to maintain a general level of fitness. "I have been running distances of  4, 6, or 8 miles and would like to keep this up during 2017," she said. "On the days I don’t run I generally try to do a two mile hill walk."

Kate doesn't believe in crash diets and is a firm advocate of weighing yourself daily. "I find weight creeps on slowly so it will come off slowly if I tweak my regular food intake slightly.

"I weigh myself every day, so that at the first sign of weight change I can take action. I might have salad for dinner an extra few nights during the week or choose a lunch option that doesn’t include bread - fruit, soup or salad are good.  I also make sure I restrict the amount of protein to a few ounces, no more than four, of meat or fish. By choosing a strong cheese like Roquefort, which is full of flavour, I find 2ozs (/50gms)  is all I need on a salad."

Kate's top 3 tips for not putting on weight 

  1. Weigh yourself every day. Be sure to make a note of your measurements and weight at the start. I read once that you should maintain the weight you were in your mid 20’s for the rest of your life and that's what I aim for.
  2. Choose raw vegan meal options wherever possible. Not only are they lower in calories but they are also easy to digest and feel light on your stomach. Smoothies made from water and raw fruit are a delicious way of doing this at home. Try 1 banana, ¼ pineapple, ½ mango blitzed with 400ml of water and some ice cubes. 
  3. Practice delaying tactics if you feel hungry. Opt to eat after you have just done the ironing or cleaned the bathroom or taken the dog for a walk. The house gets cleaner and the dog is happier and you put off eating by distracting yourself.
Writer and magazine columnist Maddie Grigg, who lives in Dorset, is aiming to lose a few pounds in 2017. She said: "As a former skinny who was always a size 8 until I hit my late 30s, I would like to shed a few pounds. I had a small heart attack last summer as the Brexit results came through, so I need to increase my fitness. 

"I'll be walking more briskly and farther with the dog at the beginning and end of each day. I am also signing up to a private gym (oh, the horror!) with a swimming pool. I just need to improve my time management to make best use of my subscription."

Author and magazine columnist Maddie Grigg
Maddie Grigg 

She starts the day with hot water with lemon, honey and fresh ginger. Breakfast is porridge or Greek yoghurt with fresh fruit. For lunch Maddie has home made soup with no bread or salad with ham or egg. For dinner she has home-made mushroom risotto or stew with vegetables but no potatoes. At weekends she allows herself a glass of wine.

Maddie's 3 top tips: 

  1. Cut out bread
  2. Eat before 6.30pm
  3. Porridge for breakfast so I don’t feel hungry mid-morning.
Maddie's latest book, "Good Morning, Corfu" is available from Amazon. 

Blogger Samantha Blair from Fake Fabulous
Samantha Blair 

Blogger and scientist Samantha Blair, who lives in Scotland, is, like Kate,  another non-believer in diets. "They just promote self-loathing, obsession with food and misery. If I have put on a few pounds (I put on 6 over Christmas) I simply eat less and try to avoid eating too many crisps and biscuits.  I would never think that I could not eat something I wanted, or feel bad about it."

Samantha's fitness regime involves walking a dog  (seeing a theme develop?) and housework.

Samantha's 3 top tips:

  1. Food is not the enemy, it is one of life’s great pleasures… make friends with food.
  2. If you want it, eat it… just don’t eat a ton of it!
  3. Don’t drink fizzy juice. Full sugar or diet, it doesn’t matter, they are both so bad for you. The sugar filled drinks make you lay down fat (sugar is much worse for you than fat) and the non-sugar versions trick your body into thinking it’s getting sugar and messes up your insulin. 

PR professional Orietta Sutherberry
Orietta Sutherberry

PR professional Orietta Sutherberry, from Wiltshire, has a go-to regime when she needs to lose a few pounds and it's the wisdom of Elle McPherson's trainer, James Duigan. "I like his book Clean and Lean. The focus is on healthy, organic, fresh food avoiding sugar, caffeine, alcohol and processed food."

Orietta goes to the gym or yoga four times a week and for 2017 is considering adding a dance class plus some meditation.  

A typical day's eating for Orietta would be: scrambled eggs for breakfast; a salad for lunch with quinoa, tomatoes and avocado and an olive oil dressing;  an afternoon snack of two oatcakes with hummus or smoked salmon, and for dinner, oven baked salmon and roasted veg.

Orietta's 3 top tips:

  1. Regular exercise (2 or 3 times a week), 
  2. Good quality protein and veg and regular meals!
  3. No snacking in between meals

Sue Ali 

Sue Ali, owner of the UK's first Endermospa, situated in Buckhurst Hill, Essex, is a firm believer in eating little and often.  For her, five small meals a day works. Sue has a diet crammed full of monounsaturated fats: olive oil, nuts, salmon and avocado. She avoids caffeine and drinks water with cucumber or lemon. 

Sue's fitness schedule involves reformer Pilates and Power Plate for toning and muscle resistance. For 2017 she plans to do more HIT (high-intensity training) and also to take more time out for herself to enjoy treatments such as the ones she offers, and reading.

Sue's 3 top tips:

  1. Get active. Get more exercise to burn calories.
  2. Cut back on treats.
  3. Avoid food/drink where there are too many "hidden" calories from sugar, such as fizzy drinks and rice cakes.

Beauty Tips

I had to ask these five fabulous women for their beauty tips and resolutions too. For Samantha and Sue, it's all about the cuticles and hands.  Samantha is keen to try facial massage with coconut oil, and to look after her nails a little better with cuticles oil. 

Sue will be applying hand cream more often and has a hot recommendation which is The Chemistry Brand's HA3 hand hydrator, £6.99 from Boots. 

Kate recently went to a brow bar for the first time and is a convert. She said: "I discovered a product for making your eyelashes and eyebrows grow, Damone Roberts Brow Gain. I am definitely going to try it this year; along with regular visits to the brow bar to keep my brows in shape and tinted." 

Orietta is also trying out a product that claims to make eyelashes grow. "I'm trying a lash potion right now, to make eyelashes grow longer and thicker, and it works! Ramping up the exfoliation too and using serums both day and night."

Maddie has recently been introduced to MAC by her son's girlfriend and she's now thinking about experimenting a bit more. "Maybe this year I’ll go for a brighter lipstick and nail varnish but, first, I must have a manicure. I've never had one in my life, always thought it self-indulgent."

Have you any tips of your own you would like to add?

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