I recently did a Health and Fitness test for a lady in her 60s with fibromyalgia who was looking to lose inches from her waist measurement.
She did a healthy amount of walking everyday and played golf at least 3 times a week. Her BMI, at 19.6, is in the healthy category.
However, at 91.5cm (36 inches) her waist measurement did put her at high risk of developing cardiovascular and heart disease.
As part of my service I always analyse a client’s 7-day food diary. The food component of her diet was well balanced and portion sizes were good, however, there was a very big problem… Alcohol!! Below is what she reportedly drank in what she described as being a typical week.
Sun: 5 large glasses of red = 1070 cals 16.5 units (golf club social)
Mon: 2 glasses of red = 428 cals 6.6 units
Tues: 3 large glasses of red = 642 cals 9.9 units
Wed: 2 glasses of red = 428 cals 6.6 units
Thurs: 2 glasses of red = 428 cals 6.6. units
Fri: 1.5 bottles = 963 cals 15 units (meal at golf club)
Sat: 1 bottle = 642 cals 10 units (golf club social after round)
Government guidelines state we should consume no more than 14 units a week. My client was consuming 71.2 units – 5 times as much. To maintain her current weight and support her current activity levels this client should be consuming 1705 calories a day. She was consuming 4601 calories a week in alcohol alone – 2.7 days worth of calories!
Before I developed an exercise programme for her I set her a challenge. Try to go 1 month without alcohol. We discussed barriers, side-effects, alternatives and I gave her these motivators:
- Alcohol is a depressant – depression is already a symptom of fibromyalgia
- Alcohol disrupts sleep – poor sleep quality is already a symptom of fibromyalgia
- The liver will burn alcohol instead of fat when drinking – so fat gets stored
- Slender ladies tend to store fat around the midsection because they don’t have a large subcutaneous layer to store the fat around their hips, bum and thighs
- Hormone levels decline with age which leads to fat being stored around the middle for both men and women
- Sugars in alcohol help harmful bacteria and yeast thrive in the gut which can prevent essential nutrients from being absorbed.
In one month her waist measurement went down to 89cm. This immediately put her in the low risk category for developing cardiovascular and heart disease. It wasn’t easy…some days she reported extremely low energy and high irritability (I was certainly given a few choice words on more than one occasion) but we managed to get through it.
A couple of months on and she claims she feels better than she has in years and her fibromyalgia is playing up less and she sleeps so much better. She no longer drinks alcohol at home or in the midweek. She enjoys just one large glass of red wine Friday, Saturday and Sunday (approx.10 units of alcohol a week) at her golf club. Her waist is currently 84.5cm and that’s without any additional exercise programme.
It cost £20 for her full Health and Fitness Test with Nutritional Analysis with me. In 3 months with the right motivators, support and her own willpower she lost 6.5cm from her waist, significantly lowered her risk of heart and cardiovascular disease, feels more energised and now experiences less discomfort from her fibromyalgia symptoms. Bargain!