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Can you bear to look? Too much chocolate playing havoc with your waistline?

Eaten too much chocolate imageArticle by Anne Elliott.

So how much chocolate did you end up consuming? Me too! In fact the week after Easter was even more dangerous than the week before.

Suddenly chocolate sponge cake with lashings of butter icing and topped with mini eggs was being sold off at £1 a time. Easter eggs 60p each, sugar frenzy. I’ve actually eaten so much that I couldn’t face another sweet thing. I can hear my body screaming for savoury and vitamins. I haven’t been listening to it over the last fortnight to my cost. My guts are bloated, I’m sluggish, my clothes are tight and I’ve got used to eating so much that I feel hungry every 60 minutes. The worst of it is I caught myself in the mirror today.

I avoid looking at myself in the mirror

I have noticed that if I’m going through a period of diet or exercise neglect, I also manage to avoid looking at myself in a mirror. In fact when I was fat, I managed to not look at myself for years. It is as if I didn’t want to have to confront my own weaknesses. So, I just didn’t look. Do you do it too? It’s a passive way of not accepting responsibility for your inaction. Out of sight is well out of mind. But if you can force yourself to do it it’s a great kick up the bum to get yourself in hand.

 Menopause forces bodily change

Body image is a fascinating area of study. Middle age is particularly interesting, because not only is menopause forcing bodily change, there is also a psycho drama going on. It is after all a transitional phase of life. In 2009 a study looked at middle aged women and found that their main concern was to lose weight rather than keep fit. Wallis Simpson’s view that you can never be too thin still seems to apply.

For me it’s not about being thin, its about being fit. They nearly always collide. I always persuade clients to get used to looking at themselves, but not in a judgemental negative way. It is good practice to look at yourself in an objective dispassionate way. See yourself the way the rest of the world does. If you can develop this separateness its easier to say, that bit looks good but that bit needs more work, its not great now but it will do. It’s a work in progress. So seize the moment, give yourself a look up and down. Make a note of both the good bits and the bits that need attention and decide to revisit yourself when you’ve done some exercise. Looking at yourself in a positive light. Accept your appearance as it is as a matter of fact and make a plan to improve it in the way you would strategize renovating a favourite environment.  Once you’ve got passed the initial shock and got over yourself you’ll be fine and will have built another tool into your motivation arsenal.

As to the expanded waistline I spied in the mirror today, OK, I won’t hide anymore. I’ll get up half an hour earlier tomorrow and do some exercise.

Photo credit: africa


ANNE ELLIOTT is 52. She has a Personal Training Practice that specialises in working with middle-aged clients and their associated health problems. She lectures in Sports Science at Middlesex University, is an ABAE boxing referee, is registered with REPS at Level 4 and is undertaking a Doctorate in exercise in middle age. Anne appears regularly in the media talking about her specialisation - exercise in middle age.

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