By Alex May, March 31, 2008
You know you're on the wrong side of 35 once the crows' feet start marching across the face, grey spikes through the hair the waistline becomes like an ever-expanding set of elasticised pants that doesn't snap back.
Getting older often means getting fatter.
''Generally people put on an average of three kilos a year after 35, especially if they are an apple-shape and tend to put on fat around the abdomen,'' says weight loss and women's health expert, Dr Sandra Cabot.
''People don't exercise as much as they get older. They are busier and have more responsibilities so there is less time and more inclination to be eating the wrong foods.''
Age can slow your metabolic rate and less exercise can diminish muscle mass so your body's fat-burning capabilities aren't as effective as they were when you were in your twenties.
But that doesn't mean you can't fight fat.
''I find that it's more what people are eating than how much they are eating that is the problem,'' says Dr Cabot, a naturopath and author of Unlock the Secrets that Keep you Fat and The Liver Cleansing Diet.
Dr Cabot advocates a low-carbohydrate diet rich in raw foods to stimulate the body's fat-burning organs such as the liver and thyroid gland.
''If you work an office job five days a week and eat bread or cereal for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch and have rice or pasta for dinner then there is no doubt you will put on weight,'' she says.
''If you aim for at least 40 percent of your diet to be raw sprouts, nuts, fruit and veg you will avoid fatty liver and weight gain.''
Dr Cabot also advocates drinking freshly made vegetable juice each morning to ensure you get enough vitamins and minerals from your diet.
''A lot of people can't be bothered with the juicing, but it's good for your general health,'' she says.
''For weight loss though, it's much more important to be eating the raw foods because that will make you feel full and give you fibre.''
Fat-fighting tips for the over-35s
- Cut the carbs: aim to reduce the grain, starch or sugar-based foods you eat and stick to complex carbohydrates like brown rice and whole grains when you do have to eat them.
- Raw power: aim to fill your diet with raw foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and dairy which stimulate your liver and fat-fighting capabilities. Cabot recommends a diet with 40 percent raw foods.
- Get moving: the sedentary lifestyle of getting older is usually behind weight gain, so anything that keeps you moving and active is a good idea. Take the stairs instead of the lift, walk instead of drive and try to schedule short bursts of activity into your day.
- Try supplements: a slow thyroid or fatty liver can hamper the body's natural fat-burning capabilities, so Cabot recommends supplements to keep your body operating at peak efficiency. She suggests a daily liver tonic like Livertone or supplements like Selenium, Iodine or Vitamin E to stay on track.
- Resume legumes: beans, lentils and chick peas are perfect carb substitutes for those who get hungry without bread or grains to power them through. Add a small tin of legumes to salads for a full meal. ''Try to snack on nuts and seeds rather than biscuits to keep the carbs down,'' Dr Cabot says.