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Dieting & exercise

Old age spread? Any solutions.

(39 Posts)
Grannyjacq1 Sun 20-Aug-23 11:37:04

Since I turned 70 last year, I have noticed that my middle area has expanded. I'm not overweight, have a healthy BMI (recent health check), eat healthily and exercise regularly - including weight and pilates classes. But, although my weight hasn't changed, clothes that used to fit me are now tight round the waist, and I find that I have to wear looser fitting clothes. Is this just something that I have to learn to live with (a bit frustrating as it will mean getting rid of some much loved dresses) and be thankful that I'm fit and healthy, or has anyone found a manageable solution that works?

Theexwife Sun 20-Aug-23 12:17:41

I am the same, it is a real problem because I don't have fat anywhere else dieting would leave the rest of my body as skin and bone.

I do sit-ups and plank to tighten the muscles in that area but it doesn’t really seem to be working, I hope somebody else has a solution.

Foxygloves Sun 20-Aug-23 12:42:33

I fear it is a fact of life. Our rib cages expand with pregnancy, our ligaments soften and dont hold us "up" the way they used to and sadly we are biologically programmed to deposit more fat around our middle.
Even thin people thicken round the middle -it's just that they may have further to go, especially if they are tall before it becomes noticeable!
(Dare I mention that even Meghan seems to have thickened round her middle while the rest of her is stick thin!)
Live with it, embrace your curves!

aggie Sun 20-Aug-23 12:46:49

Have you lost height ? I’ve lost wt , but clothes no looser ! But I’m definitely shorter so I guess that’s why

PamelaJ1 Sun 20-Aug-23 13:24:23

Me too but although I’m very active and play tennis regularly I don’t exercise any particular bit of me.
Time to get the slender tone belt out maybe?

M0nica Sun 20-Aug-23 14:14:23

As you age the cartilege disks between our vertebrae thin. Women can expect to drop an inch in height for every decade after 60.

Losing length in the spine means hips and rib cage are closer together so the distance skin has to go in and then out again between the two is limited. The result is a larger waist.

I am 80. It has happened to me int he last 5 years and I watched it happen to DS's MiL some years ago. She is 7 years my senior.

Redhead56 Sun 20-Aug-23 16:10:18

I am about to reach 67 soon I am active but noticed some of my favourite dresses are tight from the bust down. I have managed to undo seams darts etc with some success. I have bought Slim fast to see if I can drop a few inches.

Aveline Sun 20-Aug-23 16:58:01

Here's a solution. Not very comfortable but one must suffer to be beautiful!

hollysteers Sun 20-Aug-23 17:36:18

Same here. The only thing which helps me is Spanx or any control foundation garment, it doesn’t have to be Spanx, cheaper editions are good. It needs to be high waisted and end up under your bust.
They also help my bad back and give me a feeling of support.

foxie48 Sun 20-Aug-23 17:49:33

Sadly I think body type can make a difference. I'm short bodied with barely a gap between my bottom rib and my hip bone so any extra weight tends to make me more apple shaped as my hips are slim. My weight is pretty stable and I'm not really overweight so I just try to dress to highlight my good points rather than my thick waist and try to smile.

sunbar Mon 21-Aug-23 12:33:21

Yes. It's a fact of life. I am a gym rat and was once a fitness consultant. I used to have a 23" waist. Now it's about 29" but I have a "six-pack". Go figure that one.
I really don't care. It's the way it is. Make it an excuse to go out and buy new clothes!

VenusDeVillendorf Mon 21-Aug-23 13:17:51

Is it bloating?
Sometimes my tummy sticks out a bit if I eat broccoli and wheat.

I’ve found it slims down again if I follow a ketogenic diet with fewer than 20g carbohydrates.

Doing some yoga breathing also helps with Banda locks,
and Pilates is excellent for tightening up the seven layers of muscle within your abdomen.

Regular gym situps and planks won’t do any good at all.

Contact a Pilates instructor, or yoga teacher,
increase nuts, avocados, olive oil, and salmon and drop the carbs.

If you’ve no time for that and it all sounds like a bother, get a hulahoop, put on some dance music and swing your hips!

lizzypopbottle Mon 21-Aug-23 13:25:45

Grannyjacq1 I used to have what I optimistically described as a "boyish" figure i.e. no waist to speak of. I took up 5:2 fasting and along with weight loss, a waist appeared, which generally hovers between 29 and 30 inches. That's well less than half my height. (Waist to height ratio is highly significant for health.) Losing your waist could indicate visceral fat, which is the worst kind, wrapping around your internal organs!

Most calorie restriction diets, the only slimming diet that works, have you reducing calorie intake every day so you are hungry every day. That takes huge determination and may lead to failure or yoyo dieting, where muscle is lost but goes back on as fat. Intermittent fasting targets fat deposits but doesn't tend to deplete muscle.

5:2 fasting also requires determination but, if carried out correctly, means you are hungry on two days a week rather than every day. Received wisdom suggests that women need 2000 calories per day but that's "the average woman"! We are all different! If you think about it, at 5'6" and a practising karate black belt, my calorie requirement is very different from my 4'10" friend! Look up TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure) so you are guided about calorie intake on your non-fasting days, then, why not give it a go? The fast diet website is a great resource.

dogsmother Mon 21-Aug-23 13:55:07

I agree with Venus, I seem to swell and grow around the centre if I eat bread and over do general carbs. I d however have a very healthy appetite and make up for a lack of these with a great deal of nuts, organic dates, avocados, and so on.

DonnaB5959 Mon 21-Aug-23 14:23:12

*NOT TO FRIGHTEN ANYONE ***. Please make sure your physician has checked you for ovarian cancer. It adds fluid to your middle. My mother in law had the same problem - dieted with no results, only - too late - did she find she should have been PERSISTENT with her health care provider. Just something to think about.

grandtanteJE65 Mon 21-Aug-23 16:16:06

If it is only your waist that has thickened, I would suggest you get hold of a hula-hop ring and try getting it to move in nice circles round your waist as we did when we were about nine or ten.

Sit-ups tone abdominal muscles but don't have much effect on the circumrence of our waists!

If you can stretch both arms above your head as if trying to touch the ceiling, then link them and bend as far sideways as you can first to the one side, then to the other.

Arm excersices for ballet dancers (porte de bras) done properly without raising your shoulders will trim the waist too. You can find good YouTube videos showing these.

spabbygirl Mon 21-Aug-23 16:19:52

I am the same and for years I was so skinny! But in my late 40s the pounds started to go on in the middle, I did do the 5:2 but now I eat things in their natural way, ie wholemeal bread, potatoes with skins, brown rice & cakes made from not white flour but a mix of wholemeal & almond meal & less sugar, mostly I eat meat/fish/veg/wholemeal bread & that helps me keen to a low carb count and feel full. I also have tablets from a company called Wild Dose for bloating, a mix of probiotics etc and they really help. I think the only place you get them from is & I find them very good, I really notice my bloating when I forget to take them for a few days.

Gundy Mon 21-Aug-23 17:02:07

As foxygloves said - learn to embrace it. I’ve had to. At our age there is little that we can do to substantially reverse things… unless you really work at exercising a lot, like everyday or at a gym.

My case, I fell off a couple of my stairs in my condo and fractured two lumbar in my spine. Automatically I lost two inches (in time), add losing another inch due to aging, so I went from 6ft 1in to 5ft 10in in about two yrs time. Sh!+ happens.

I didn’t mind losing the inches, but it did nothing to reduce my foot size. I was born with sz 10 feet. 🙄
USA Gundy

Skydancer Mon 21-Aug-23 17:16:54

Sadly we change shape as we age. My mother always told me that and I didn't believe her but now the evidence is before me...literally in front of me.

Hetty58 Mon 21-Aug-23 17:23:41

It's natural - so my 'solution' would be to wear different clothes - with nothing too tight around the waist. Do check your side and back view in the mirror (you'll need two).

We really do get to see some funny sights around here, I'm afraid, with women having the same haircuts and styles of dress they had when young.

win Mon 21-Aug-23 18:56:39

I am like exwife skinny all over but with a large waist and stomach.I cannot bear anything tight around my waist even a bra which is really not needed but evens me out hurts. I exercise daily but to no avail. I am in my late seventies

Vintagenonna Mon 21-Aug-23 19:02:46

Grannyjacq1 - are your clothes shrinking in the cupboard?

DH has that problem every January. What slid over his boyish waist and hips on 21st December has shrunk at least one size by January 6th.


Grannyjacq1 Mon 21-Aug-23 19:33:47

Thanks to all of you for your helpful and reassuring comments. You made me laugh (whale bone corsets! Aveline; clothes shrinking in the wardrobe, Vintagenonna) and made me realise that I just need to embrace my new shape (not too literally). I have been doing the 5:2 for a number of years, but it has turned into a very relaxed version, which basically means eating frugally and sensibly 2 days every week, with no 'treats'. I could definitely try to cut down on a few carbs (though love my porridge and muesli) and take up hula hooping again - I used to be very good at this, but thought it might be contributing to a back problem, so gave it up. And I loved the idea of just going out and buying new dresses - but not sure if budget will run to that at the moment. So thank you, gransnetters - it's good to know that I'm not the only one with this problem.

swampy1961 Mon 21-Aug-23 19:49:29

Are you on any medication that could cause you to retain fluid? Statins among a whole host of other medications can play havoc with our bodies as well as old age!!

Grannyjacq1 Mon 21-Aug-23 20:03:09

No - no medication apart from OTC hay-fever tablet and occasional asthma inhaler.