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 salads for lunch would not fix.
But then something happened: You turned “that age” where everything seems 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.
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. Then 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, you had more and more obligations and your ability to move as much really started to drag.
So the weight crept up a little. And what did you do? A quick-fix diet.
Which worked! But after you lost those pesky 10 pounds, 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 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 work before and not now?
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” to “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 itself 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.
Add to all this that each time you put back on weight, you are only adding fat. That means that the next time you diet, you have to work even harder to lose weight, because you have more fat to lose, and less muscle (metabolism) to help.
This causes a vicious cycle that eventually ends in your weight loss efforts getting stuck.
And then come the hormone changes
Around the age of 50, both women and men 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 degree of challenge is directly related to what you had been doing over the previous 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 and your energy.
When things get out of balance, there can be a lot of side effects.
So what can you do about all of this? And if you are already going through these hormone changes and are 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.
The 6 steps to lose 10 pounds (or more)
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.
By introducing a consistent strength training program, you can start rebuilding some of your lost muscle and boost your metabolism.
But strength training is not just about weight loss or muscle gain. It is also a key step in preventing osteoporosis, which is a real danger for women as they age.
Because of the hormone changes going in, women’s bone loss increases significantly after menopause. While you can take supplements to help support bone creation, if you are not also strength training, your bones will have no reason to build back up. It is the challenge of strength training that induces bone production, not the fact that you have a calcium supplement.
My recommendation is to strength train at least 2 times per week, if not 3. More than that is not needed for most people.
2) Eat more (quality) protein. Most people are undernourished when it comes to quality protein sources, and are missing out on the benefits that they can provide.
Protein is responsible for rebuilding muscle and other tissues in your body, plus it helps to keep you feeling full throughout the day!
Quality protein sources can include:
- Various types of seafood (shrimp, fish, etc.)
- Grass-fed beef or bison
- Pasture raised chickens
- Pasture raised eggs
- Organic protein powders
How do you know if you are getting enough? A simple way is to shoot for 1 gram per pound of body weight.
To be fair, you do not need to eat this much protein…but what I find is that if you shoot for this you will likely get 50%-75% of the way and will be much better off than you are right now.
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.
Quality sources of fat can include:
Coconut oil or grass-fed ghee for cooking Olive oil or avocado oil for dressing
Fats to avoid:
Corn, soy, canola, and vegetable oils
Now before you go and load up on fat everywhere, just remember, having some quality fat in your diet is very important.
But overloading on fat is not. So, an easy way to think about this is to look at the size of your thumb and use that as a guide.
If you are dressing a salad for yourself, 1-2 thumb sized portions should be sufficient.
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.
To help fix this there are two steps you need to take:
Step 1: Eat more veggies!
Vegetables are nature's multivitamin. They come packed with all types of goodness that your body needs to thrive. 5+ servings per day is a good goal to set. Not sure how to get this? Start by making lunch a big salad with all types of veggies, and then make sure you have a nice big serving of veggies with dinner. That should at least get you started!
Step 2: Take a muti-vitamin
Even with more veggies, there are still some vitamins and minerals that are hard to come by.
That is why you will want to find a high quality (pharmaceutical grade, third party tested) multi-vitamin.
Having a quality multi-vitamin will help round out any deficiencies and the increased veggie intake will actually help you process the vitamins that you get from the multi.
5) SLEEP. I know what you're thinking…“but that’s the problem. I CAN’T sleep!” I would just consider two things:
The less you move, the harder it is to sleep.
If you are not exercising regularly (2-3x per week of strength training plus 2-3x per week of lighter activity like hiking, walking, etc) then you are going to have a hard time sleeping. Your body was made to move and requires movement to function well.
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).
So please, 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 every 1 calorie of ethanol, your body responds to it as if it is 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 hard to lose those 10 pounds these days? Because your metabolism and hormones are not what they used to be!
The good news is that you can do something about this. You getting older is not the issue. What you do day in and day out is the issue. And you can control this.
So follow the 6 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.
I know it can feel daunting, but if you follow the right steps, it doesn’t have to be.
That is why I would like to invite you to check out our 28-Day Kickstart Program.
This is our holistic fitness program where you will get the exact exercises and diet you need to start feeling better, while having a coach to keep you accountable to your plan.
In this program you will get:
- Full fitness and goals assessment
- Personalized fitness coaching to teach you the exact exercises you need to safely and effectively move better and build stamina
- A simple meal plan to help you decrease inflammation
- 1-on-1 success coaching to help guide you as you work to change your diet, exercise, and lifestyle habits
You can move better, feel better, and finally lose those 10+ pounds, you just need a program that is right for you.
Click here to learn more and take back control of your health and fitness today!
Mint Condition Fitness empowers people to take control of their fitness and fully enjoy the life they have built.