As the old song says… Sometimes it’s hard to be a woman. We’re under constant pressure from our bosses, our friends, our families, our kids and society. We’re providers, protectors, lovers, life coaches, bosses and buddies. We’re all things to all people and we’re expected to bear it all with good grace and a smile… Oh, and if we could do it while looking completely flawless all the time that’d be great too! Is it any wonder that we find solace in the odd glass of white wine, the takeaway cheeseburger or that chocolate gateaux that the dog must have eaten in the middle of the night?
There are many aspects of modern living (as well as the inevitability of getting older) that lead us to drift further and further away from the pert and picture perfect version of us that we like to remember. A stressful lifestyle, the convenience of harmful processed foods and the excess of the Christmas season may all contribute to creating some body hang ups that you (along with every other woman) dread seeing when you look in the mirror. Fortunately, there’s always something you can do about…
Sure they’re an inevitable part of ageing, but wrinkles can also be exacerbated by excessive alcohol intake, using sunbeds, excessive caffeine intake, using perfumes and beauty products that contain alcohol and (of course) smoking! Kicking these in the teeth is the first step to younger looking skin. There’s no need to throw money at the problem with expensive lotions and serums either. A healthy diet is always the best defense against wrinkles. Load up on antioxidant rich berries that reduce the effects of sun damage, nuts and seeds that are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids which help your skin retain its moisture and chlorophyll packed green leafy veg to improve circulation to your skin.
What is cellulite? It’s a deformation of the subcutaneous fat under our skin that results in the dimpled “orange peel” look that so many of us know and despise. Unfortunately there is no single cause and there is no single solution. It’s caused when collagen bands in the subcutaneous layers of fat weaken but this can be exacerbated by hormones, weight gain and stress and simple genetics. What’s most frustrating about cellulite is how it seems so utterly impervious to exercise. Again, your recourse should be your diet. You should focus on foods that will reduce subcutaneous fat and strengthen collagen bonds while promoting healthy blood flow. Bananas, ginger root, cayenne peppers, chilli, pearl barley and rosemary are your friends here.
Love handles / muffin top
Along with many women’s other pet peeve, the mother’s apron, love handles are a mixture of subcutaneous fat (the fat beneath the skin) and visceral fat (the fat around our vital organs). They tend to be exacerbated by metabolic stress as well as excessive sugar intake. So if you’re first in line for the Krispy Kremes at work and you’re getting by on less than 6 hours’ sleep a night, something desperately needs to change. Cut sugar and other refined carbohydrates like white bread and pasta out of your life and increase your intake of fresh vegetables. Fruit is okay too but give fruit juices a wide berth. At the gym, the only way to shift visceral fat is by moving a lot and often. Thus High Intensity Interval training or an aggressive spin class will be your best friend here.