I actually think it's great if middle aged guys are taking up exercise, and cycling is a great way to keep fit, but they're not always pictures of health. I saw a fairly typical Mamil today, in a tasteful luminous yellow outfit, with skinny legs and arms but a very noticeable spare tyre stretching his lycra top!! The fact is that just cycling in it's own is not a complete exercise programme and it's important to incorporate other exercise such as weight training and full body exercise rather than thinking your daily bike ride is sufficient for keeping your body in top health.
If you've got a Mamil roll going on, it's not just time to mix up your exercise programme. It's also a sign that your diet and lifestyle are stressing your body out. Storing fat around the middle is a very strong sign that your body is producing too much cortisol, the hormone you produce when you're stressed. This encourages you to store weight near your organs to have ready energy reserves to deal with life endangering events. This is good if you're going to be eaten by a tiger, but in the long run dramatically increases the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
Here are my top diet tips for for losing the Mamil roll:
- Stop eating sugar (sucrose, glucose, table sugar, maple syrup) and caffeine - these are major stimulants for cortisol production. This includes avoiding all biscuits, cakes and chocolate.
- Eat something within 60 minutes of waking, this stops your cortisol levels going to high in the morning and then crashing later in the day. Something small like a piece of fruit is a good idea if you're not hungry that early
- Eat four three portions of fruit and four portions of veg every day. The nutrients in fruit and veg actually encourage fat burning
- Don't eat saturated fats with starchy carbohydrates. this means if you're eating any meat or cheese you can't eat any bread, pasta, rice or potatoes with them. Instead keep those meals low carb and just have veggies plus fruit for pudding. This really helps minimize the amount of these fats that your body stores
- Cut down on beer and yeasty foods such as bread, switch to dry wine or clear spirits and have muesli instead of toast for breakfast