Elizabeth Peyton-jones is a naturopath, food and health expert, and author of Eat Yourself Young and Cook Yourself Young (both Quadrille).
PUT YOURSELF FIRST Weight gain is common in middle age. Our oestrogen levels decline, thyroid levels fall, we might have more stress and poorer sleep, so higher cortisol levels also mean we metabolise slower. See this as an ideal time to tackle your diet. You’ve spent years nurturing others, eating what’s easiest for the family or what everyone else wanted. Now you may be cooking for fewer people, you can create a kitchen to nurture you.
‘Think healthy, not thin’
GIVE UP ONE OF FIVE THINGS... ...from groups we eat or drink too much of – sugar, gluten, dairy, meat and alcohol. If you give up one, you’ll feel and see a change.
FORGET SUPERFOODS There are thousands of great veg. Most of your plate should be colourful; and eat as wide a range of veg as you can.
EAT HERBS Think thyme, rosemary, mint, coriander. Don’t just sprinkle as a garnish. They help with digestion and metabolism, heal skin and strengthen cells. Use them as you do vegetables and throw handfuls into casseroles before serving, or drink them as tea.
FOCUS ON HEALTH, NOT THINNESS Extreme diets don’t work, as we can’t keep them up. Once you’re happy with a healthy diet and good exercise, your body will settle on its optimum weight.