Remember the days when you could eat whatever you wanted and still look great? You were always thin, and if your weight ever DID start creeping up, it was nothing a 3-day cleanse or switching to salad lunches for a week would not fix.
But then something happened: You turned 40, or 45, or 50. Or whatever age it was when the life of easy weight loss was left behind and you were thrown into this NEW life where everything seemed so much harder.
What happened?? Well, two things…
1) Your lifestyle caught up with you
2) Your hormones changed (but not like you think)
Let’s tackle each of these and then discuss what you can do to get BACK to the life you once had (well, not exactly, but we can make things a whole lot easier).
When your life catches up with you
When you were young, you did not realize it, but you were far more active than you are now. You were moving all the time, playing sports, playing with your friends, getting out and exploring, jumping rope, running, etc.
You were on the move. Life was simpler. As you got older, you eventually stopped moving as much, but the body does not change quickly…so all this movement had a lingering effect.
Your metabolism was still high and you could continue to eat what you wanted and got by with your minimal workout routine.
But, over time, more and more STUFF came up and your ability to move as much really started to lag.
So the weight crept up a little. And what did you do to address that? A quick-fix diet.
Which worked! But after you got those pesky 10 lbs. off, you went back to your old ways and the weight slowly crept back on.
So you dieted again…and it worked again, but maybe not quite as well or quickly as the first time.
And you continued this cycle for the next 10-20 years until finally, the dieting didn’t work any more...but what happened? Why did it used to work?
Does the body just stop working when it gets older?
People think that getting older is the CAUSE of a lot of things, but you would be better served by reframing “getting older” as “time passing.”
As time passes, you either do things that make you better or you do things that make you worse.
Dieting and inactivity make you worse. So, while it may SEEM that your age is causing the dieting to not work, it is actually the DIETING that is causing it to stop working.
Every time you diet (without strength training), you lose muscle mass. All the muscle mass that you had when you were young and active was what was keeping you lean even when you stopped moving as much.
As that muscle mass has faded over the years, your metabolism has been slowly decreasing, and with each passing year, you have less and less to help keep you lean.
And then come the hormone changes
Around the age of 50, both men AND women start experiencing hormone changes. Women have more symptoms as they go through menopause, but men also have a change in hormone levels.
This can be a tough time for a lot of people…but again, I want you to appreciate that the impact this time in your life has is directly related to what you have been doing over the last 30 years.
No one is doomed to drastic hormone imbalance and despair. But if you have not been eating quality foods and have not been exercising, then yes, this is going to be rough.
Your hormones are what control just about everything in your body, from the fat you store, to your hunger, to your mood, to your energy. So, when things get out of balance, there can be a lot of side effects.
What can you do about all of this? And if you are already going though these hormone changes and having a rough time, is there any hope?
Here are the 6 things you need to do to get your metabolism and your hormones working FOR you again, instead of against you:
1) Start strength training. Women especially need this because over the years, with diet after diet, women have a tendency to really diminish their muscle mass. I am not talking big bulky muscles…I mean lean, defined muscles.
2) Eat more protein. Most people are so undernourished when it comes to quality protein sources, and are missing out on the benefits that it can provide. Protein is responsible for rebuilding muscle and other tissues in your body, plus it helps keep you feeling full throughout the day!
3) Eat more fat. Now I did not say, “eat A LOT of fat,” just more than you probably are. The “low-fat” craze has left a lot of people hurting, especially when it comes to hormones. Fat, cholesterol, and protein are ALL important building blocks for producing the hormones you need to stay healthy and balanced.
4) Fix nutrient deficiencies. If you are low in any of your vitamins or minerals, you are really undercutting your hormone production, energy, and weight control…and I can GUARANTEE that you have at least 3 or 4 vitamins or minerals that are very low.
5) SLEEP. I know what you’re thinking…”But Colin, I CAN’T sleep!” Well, that may very well be because you are not exercising or eating correctly. The less you move, the harder it is to sleep.
The more processed food you eat, the harder it will be to sleep. If you don’t eat enough fat, or are low in things like magnesium, it will be hard to sleep. If you drink alcohol, it will be hard to sleep (not fall asleep, but stay asleep or get restful sleep).
Do not blame your sleep loss on “old age” because then it is not something you can control. There is ALWAYS something you can do to improve sleep!
6) Cut down on the booze. Not only does drinking negatively impact your sleep, it also kills your body’s ability to produce hormones AND makes it very hard to lose weight.
Every drink you have has a HUGE caloric impact on your body. I encourage you to do a little research on this for yourself, but the basic thing you should know is that for ever one calorie of ethanol, your body responds to it as if it were 4-5 calories.
That means that your 100-calorie glass of wine is more like 450 calories in your body! This is a rough way to end every day if you are a nightly drinker.
So why is it so difficult to lose those 10 pounds these days? Because your metabolism and hormones are not what they used to be!
The good news about this is that you can do something about it! You getting older is not the issue, WHAT you do day in and day out IS the issue. And you can control this.
Follow the six steps above and I promise you will start looking and feeling a whole lot better.
And if you do not know where to start with strength training, or how to do it without getting “bulky,” I would invite you to come learn about what we do at Mint Condition Fitness in Los Gatos and how one of our personal trainers can help guide you to success.
It is harder than it used to be, but if you follow the right steps, it doesn’t have to be.