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Midlife Madonna and Child?

Midlife Madonna and Child?

Do you ever notice that young, new mothers—in their 20’s or 30’s—seem to be blissfully oblivious to their “plumplitude?”

Their faces and necks exude a milky pudginess over their gently stretched midriffs, somehow managing to convey the image of blessed maternal health, like Raphael’s Madonna and Child.

Then there’s the emotional knee-jerk reaction of fat-forgiveness from onlookers—after all, these women have earned the right to postpartum tent-wear, along with the benefit of plenty of time to restore their bodies to waif-like slenderness.

What’s more, it’s well known that, during the postpartum period, mom’s hormones are out of whack and she’s likely to be sleep deprived and suffering from baby blues.  All of these can suppress weight loss.

For young mothers, we feel compassion, admiration and tender regard.

But what about us?  We are the women who sallied forth into the pioneering waters of pregnancy after 40, thinking that being a self-made multi-tasker was the solution to all of God’s little challenges.

Until now, that is.

Now, we’re the ones who are discovering the tsunami wallop of post-partum middle-age spread has less to do with God the “father,” and more do with the “mother” you can’t fool.

Mother Nature.

As an older female friend recently confided in me: “Mother Nature packs quite a punch!”

I remember in my arrogant youth—a time when I could my fill my cheeks chipmunk-full of bonbons and still weigh a reed-like 120 lbs—thinking that “middle age spread” was an empty platitude invented to excuse women in their 40’s and 50’s from a tendency to banquet-binge.

Oh, how the mighty have fallen since then— right off the wall.

Sure, I’m Humpty Dumpty, alright. And not only am I humping my dumpy buttocks across the floor, but I’ve got the waistline to prove it.

Or, for something completely different, think of it as Mother Nature’s abominated inventions: the Godzilla of Postpartum meets the King Kong of Midlife—the clash of raging hormones that result in a fat-astrophe.

And before I talk about the cure, let me first illuminate you—in such a way that is going to send you screaming to the pantry in desperate need of some comfort food to put out the raging fire of fear—of the fat-facts of midlife.

Research has shown (http://today NULL.msnbc NULL.msn NULL.com/id/22328463) that American women gain between 4-6 pounds more, over period 5 years, than women who do not get pregnant, and a quarter of women will be at least 11lbs heavier a year after giving birth than before.

A disappearing waistline correlates directly with having had children. There’s more, of course, but I’ll let your imagination fester on it while King Kong weighs in.

In an excellent feature on hormones and middle age spread, the UK’s Daily Mail claims (http://www NULL.dailymail NULL.co NULL.uk/health/article-1177239/Fighting-mid-life-flab-We-reveal-hormonal-truth-middle-age-spread NULL.html) that weight gain is caused by hormonal imbalance, particularly too much estrogen which acts like a “fat magnet”, locking it around your midriff.

As we reach middle age, our progesterone levels drop more rapidly, resulting in “estrogen dominance” which can also adversely affect the thyroid, accellerating weight gain.

And the problem is further exacerbated by what are known as “xeno-estrogens”—chemicals found in the environment from pesticides, plastics and other materials—that lead to raised levels of estrogen in our food and water, which then become stored in our bodies.

Experts are quoted as saying that “estrogen dominance” is now reaching “epidemic” levels in western society and is directly related to rising obesity.

From an aerial view, that makes women who have children after 40, and who are now approaching menopause, sitting ducks for estrogen “fat magnets.”

How can we fend off the fat from postpartum middle age spread?

According to the Mail, it comes down to diet and hormone treatments.

We need to “avoid estrogen-stimulating foods” and increase our intake of foods that help to eliminate excess estrogen from our bodies.

So—in short—eat more cruciferous vegetables (eg. broccoli, kate, celery, cabbage, radish, beetroot, spring greens), increase citrus fruits (which detoxify estrogen), and insoluble fiber (which binds itself to extra estrogen).

Also, ground linseed and sesame seed, along with flaxseed oil, can create substances that bind to your body’s estrogen receptors, leading to weight loss.

Stay away from foods high in saturated fats (eg. bacon, sausages, pastries) and processed or refined sugars (eg. white sugar, flour or rice) which stimulate the release of insulin which, in turn, negatively affects hormone balance.

On a medicinal level, “bio-identical hormones”—which are naturally produced from plant sources—are believed to be identical to human hormones, and therefore produce less side effects than drugs or HRT.

Although they are available in the USA as over-the-counter creams, it would be wise to take medical and/or healthcare provider advice before thinking a little dab ‘ll do ya.

Let the battle of the bulge begin!

Notes for this blog:

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Links used for this blog:

Today: http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/22328463 (http://today NULL.msnbc NULL.msn NULL.com/id/22328463)

UK Daily Mail:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1177239/Fighting-mid-life-flab-We-reveal-hormonal-truth-middle-age-spread.html (http://www NULL.dailymail NULL.co NULL.uk/health/article-1177239/Fighting-mid-life-flab-We-reveal-hormonal-truth-middle-age-spread NULL.html)

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