Our columnist talks everything belly-related from bloating to gut feelings and why, at 54, a flat stomach involves work but not punishing yourself. Chocolate mousse for breakfast is involved...

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I turned 54 last week and I noticed by the time I was around 50, my lifestyle needed to be fine-tuned to achieve maximum wellness. I could no longer rely purely on genetics for my wellbeing. These days, I need to make a conscious effort to stay in optimum health. I need seven hours sleep, an alkaline diet to ensure a well-tuned body and good energy levels, an hour of exercise, to meditate and quiet reflection time. Less stress means less inflammation and less bloating in my case.

To help a flat stomach I use  WelleCo Nourishing Plant Protein  as my go-to snack. It’s formulated with plant-based nutrients including  prebiotics  and probiotics that are great for supporting digestion that encourages a healthy gut pH balance for less bloating and a flatter tummy.

Being active is important from a wellness point of view. Daily exercise has to be something I enjoy. It might be walking on the beach, paddle boarding, hiking, waterskiing, boxing or vinyasa yoga.

Sugar tends to put weight around the middle so the best exercise is to skip the sugar.I don't believe in forcing my body but discipline helps maintain consistency which is vital for the best wellness results. I don't do ab workouts per se but most sports activate the core. Sugar tends to put weight around the middle so the best exercise in my view is to skip the sugar.

Every now and then I do a health reset, just to mix things up and refocus on optimum health. For April, we’ve launched a worldwide 14 Day Reset with P.E Nation  with yoga poses and exercises to tone the stomach, as well as recipes and wellness tips.

MORE GLOSS: Elle Macpherson's reboot plan

This chocolate mousse is my go-to breakfast for an energy boost, lean body and flat stomach.

Like everybody, my body fluctuates regularly - and I dress accordingly! I think both woman and men can get obsessed by an ideal body image. For me, as long as I am nourishing and moving my body every day, I feel good mentally and physically.

I fly often and the dense pressure of the plane can cause havoc with my system, so I eat as little as possible during the flight and drink a lot of filtered water. Before boarding, I have two teaspoons of Super Elixir Greens , another serving halfway through the flight and again once landed. It’s great for strengthening my immune system, boosting my metabolic rate and keeping my energy levels up.

If I could give advice to any woman who is having a baby and worrying about their belly after the birth, it’s to take your time. I was not a good example after my first child because I was back to normal within three weeks. It was not a healthy way of doing it and I certainly didn’t do it for my second baby. I believe if you choose to breastfeed, the quality of the breast milk is very much dependent on the food you eat and a satisfied baby is much easier to cope with than one who’s hungry due to poor quality breast milk.

I believe in the gut-brain connection and trusting your gut, your instincts - this is key for me in business and life. From a physical perspective, learning from nutritionist Dr Simone Laubscher PhD about the importance of good gut health has transformed my life. She talks about 70 per cent of the body’s [mood-boosting neurotransmitter] serotonin residing in the gut, not the brain as previously thought. Because serotonin has a strong influence on the body’s mood, when it’s low it can cause starch cravings and mood swings. At WelleCo we take gut health seriously, which is why we packed our Nourishing Protein  with pre- and probiotics to improve it. It’s worked for me.

Love, Elle

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