Post menopause I am struggling to control my waistline

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Dear Diana. Now that I have passed the menopause (I am 54 years old) I am struggling to control my waistline and now have a tummy that appears to protrude further than when I carried my first child.  I have tried cutting down on sweets and biscuits but somehow feel addicted to them and get quite miserable whenever I try to give them up.  Joan Browning, Sussex

Like you middle age spread appeared after my menopause, because like many Mums I’d become the family dustbin, eating the left overs and too many chocolate biscuits.  Easy to pile on the pounds, getting the pounds off took more determination!  I ate less of the 3 S’s – salt – sugar – saturated fat.  And I ate more of the of 3 F’s – fresh food – fish – fruit and veg.

To get back into shape I did this simple exercise (still do). Lie on your back, knees bent with feet hip width apart.  Pull in tummy muscles tilting your pelvis up (pelvic tilt) and push waist flat down into the floor.   Hold this position throughout the exercise. (Tip – help yourself to get started by hooking your feet under the bed or a heavy chair).     

Place hands on thighs; breathe out as you lift your head and shoulders up off floor to a count of 2.   Now breathe in and relax back down to a count of 2.   Start with 8 repetitions, but build up each day as your muscles get stronger.  Persevere till you can do 24 repetitions and that tum will be flat as a pancake in a month!

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