Fit and Firm Forever

Fit and Firm Forever

Fit and Firm Forever

How to muscle out the midlife fat cell and stay in shape through menopauseand beyond.

First the bad news. Between the ages of 45 and 55 women gain, on average, five kilos - mostly around the middle - and it's hard to budge.

The cause? Muscle loss, slowing metabolism, dwindling levels of oestrogen - and 21stcentury lifestyles - all conspire to produce a midlife midriff crisis.

It's not just about vanity either. There are health issues to consider too -bulging waistlines are now linked to a greater risk of insulin resistance, diabetes. heart problems, cancer and Alzheimer's.

Now the good news. Fit and Firm Forever shows you how to banish bingo wings andjelly bellies. The key? Eating smarter and gaining more muscle. Exercise that targets muscle can offload fat, reshape your body and work from the inside to help prevent chronic disease.

In the book learn how to:
- eat to beat midlife kilo creep
- restyle your body
- make more time for fitness and overcome exercise blocks
- recognise hidden shape stealers like too little sleep and too much alcohol
- avoid weight loss rip offs
- set goals and stay motivated
-find new levels of energy and confidence

Paula Goodyer a Health writer, is a Walkley award-winning journalist and former health editor of Cleo magazine. She writes Chew on this, the healthy eating blog in the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age online and is the author of Bodyguard (ABC Books, 2003) and Kids and Drugs (Allen and Unwin, 1998). She lives in Sydney with her partner, photographer Rick Stevens.

Fit and Firm Forever
Published by Random House Australia
Author: Paula Goodyer
ISBN: 9781741665833
Price: $34.95

Interview with Paula Goodyer

Why did you decide to write this book?

Paula Goodyer : Because I think too many women have the attitude That once they reach menopause it's normal to be out of shape. Although research tells us that women typically stack on five kilos between 45 and 55, it's also clear from studies of women at midlife that this isn't inevitable and that women who are physically active are less likely to blow out around the waistline.

Is the book full of hints and tips? Can you provide us with any?

Paula Goodyer : Inactivity at midlife is not an option - exercise is the key to having a body that stays firm and youthful.

Instead of tinkering around the edges with anti-ageing remedies, I believe you're better off making time to include regular aerobic activities like walking, running, cycling or swimming, and some strength training. Ignore anyone who says strength training makes women bulk up - it's like a face lift for your body.

Besides improving your shape and fighting off a midriff crisis, strength training can fight the droopy posture that comes with age, while regular exercise works from the inside to help prevent many of the risk factors for chronic disease that can kick in at middle age - think high blood pressure, high cholesterol, insulin resistance and overweight.

What is your favourite healthy meal?

Paula Goodyer : All my favourite meals are healthy! But when there's a chill in the air, it's hard to go past a bowl of home made lentil and vegetable soup with a hunk of wholegrain bread and a salad of baby spinach, roast sweet potato and avocado.

What is the ideal amount of sleep?

Paula Goodyer : Ideally 7-8 hours a night. The effects of getting a good night's sleep on a regular basis flow on to so many areas of our lives: performance, mood, stress levels, health, weight - and the face you seen in the mirror each morning. With too little sleep it's hard to summon up the energy to exercise. It's also tempting to eat more - a number of studies now suggest that chronic lack of sleep raises levels one of the hormones that make you feel hungry - but lowers levels of a hormone that tells you that you've eaten enough.

Does being fit and firm provide you with more energy?

Paula Goodyer : Definitely. Physically, you get more done when you're fitter and stronger, while the oxygen boost to your brain helps you think better too. Walking and running can also declutter your mind, giving you good thinking time to problem solve, make plans - or just give your brain a break.