Weight gain is probably the number one complaint as you age. Although the true health risk is in the amount of body fat you have (See Evaluating Your Body Fat). There are many factors that can affect body weight including calories, portions, activity, hormones, and food choices. To maintain a health body weight, there is no magic pill or miracle diet. It takes work to be healthy. Eating correctly, detoxifying your body, healing your GI tract, exercising, stress management, anti-aging supplementation and hormone balance are all important as we age. So what can you do? Start to educate yourself and make small changes that you can live with for a lifetime! No quick fixes – permanent changes.
Calories: You’ve all been told in order to maintain your weight: calories IN must equal calories OUT. What you haven’t been told is that your metabolism can also age just like your skin and lose its elasticity to burn calories. In addition there are a number of factors including medications, thyroid conditions, hormones and lean body mass that can affect your metabolism. As we age our lean body mass decreases reducing the number of calories we need to maintain our body. Strength training is the best way to maintain your muscle mass as you age (See Tips to Boost your Metabolism). Medications, hormones and medical conditions can also interfere with your body’s metabolic processes. It is important to eliminate thyroid problems if you’re having difficulty losing weight and check your hormone balance. A Metabolic Profile to test your metabolic rate can give you a more specific calorie menu plan to stick to and more detail of your body composition. Keeping a diary and recording what you eat will help create an awareness – See our Diet Master Tracking App.
Portions: As muffin tops grew so did our waistline giving us a new type of “muffin top”. Many people who diet are often stunned by the “normal” portion of pasta (1/2 cup!!!). Restaurants have catered to our need for volume and value for money. See our article on “Portion Distortion”. Serving size can make a big difference in your weight loss results. The easiest way to determine serving size is to read the Nutrition Facts on food labels.
For example one serving equals:
5 Ritz – or 16 Wheat Thins – or 55 Goldfish crackers. If you like volume, choose the Goldfish.
|You add !!|
|Drink one whole cup instead of the serving size of 3/4 cup of orange juice for breakfast||
|One chocolate kiss purchased at the gas station when paying for your gas||
|Eating the remains of your toddler’s leftover macaroni and cheese from lunch||
|Two teaspoons creamer in your coffee and you have 3 cups a day||
|You eat a teaspoon a peanut butter while making the kids sandwich||
240 calories per day = 2 pounds per month = 24 pounds per year
You want to eat healthfully, and you’re choosing the right foods. Is that enough? Not quite. You also need to know how much to eat. After all, even too much of a good thing can result in extra calories and unwanted weight.
Activity: Your body is meant to move. Our sedentary lifestyle and jobs certainly lend themselves to decreasing the “Calories OUT” part of the equation. In addition, we are exposed to increased stress to add to our feeling of fatigue which makes us less likely to fit exercise in after or before work. Mental fatigue can be confused with physical fatigue – exercise can help relieve stress after a long days work. Exercise helps burn calories, increases muscle mass so you burn more calories at rest and improve the functioning of your health systems. The feeling of well-being resulting from regular exercise can give you more will-power to be healthy and eat right. Hands down – moving more improves health and quality of life as we age!!
Hormones: Hormones are the chemical messengers of your body. They affect many different processes including metabolism, growth, development, and mood and therefore play an important role in weight management. Release of too much insulin can cause the body to store fat – too little and you’re hungry and fatigued. Stress hormones, like cortisol block weight loss. An underproduction of thyroid hormone leads to a host of symptoms ranging from weight gain and fatigue to high cholesterol levels. Estrogen and progesterone levels can affect body weight especially around the waist, buttocks and thighs. Even neurotransmitter imbalances can lead to food cravings. Check with your health care practitioner to rule out; low thyroid function, adrenal fatigue, insulin resistance (pre-diabetes) and/or a hormone imbalance.
Food Choices: Although total calories consumed is important for weight management, it is essential to consider the nutrients and other healthful, and HARMFUL, properties of food and beverages when making food choices. Unfortunately, “frankenfoods” have taken over the grocery isles. Genetically altered foods, added chemicals, preservatives and colorings can all change the balance of your hormones and metabolic processes in your body. Julian Micheals, from “The Biggest Loser” fame, refers to these as endocrine disruptors. So why have we seen an increase in bipolar disorders, ADHD, obesity, diabetes etc? The point is … Not all calories are the same. Anything you put into your body (foods, drinks, medications, as well as exposure to environmental toxins) starts a cascade of events that can either enhance or hinder our health. So what should you do?
- Learn to read food labels. If the label has too many ingredients you can’t pronounce put it down!
- Avoid, limit or even eliminate processed foods whenever possible.
- Eat more whole foods like fruits and vegetables (and wash them well).
- Eat lean protein and try to incorporate legumes and nuts into you diet.
- Eat complex (whole grain) carbohydrates, avoid any thing “white” and try to learn about new grains like quinoa, spelt, millet etc.
- Eat health fats like olive oil, canola oil, nut oils, avacados and our new favorite coconut oil.
- Avoid excess sugar, fat and salt – check the labels.
Losing Weight – Where to begin…
- Understand what and how much you currently eat & drink. Keep a food diary, track your food intake and physical activity. Look for ways to cut back or make better choices.
- Find the right amount for you. Get a Metabolic Profile done to know how many calories to eat a day. Or try to cut 500 calories a day to lose one pound per week.
- Read food labels. Know the serving size, calories and especially the ingredients. Pick the item with the least ingredients. Stick with whole, simple and fresh!
- Make better choices. Compare products and pick the healthier, low calorie options, avoid processed foods, excess sugars, salt and fats.
Kick start your weight loss with a 6-Day Detox Kit or 28 Day Cleanse/Detoxification and feel the difference. This is not a bowel cleanse but a “metabolic” cleanse to help your body’s systems re-align and start working the way they were intended. You’ll feel the difference!
28-Day Adipose Focus Kit – Adipose tissue, body fat, or simply fat stores energy in the form of fat. It is necessary and helpful, however, too much fat leads to obesity. This supplement kit combines three professional dietary supplements into a targeted daily regimen designed to provide advanced nutrition for metabolic support. Support your body’s metabolism with essential nutrients including African Mango seed extract; a comprehensive formulation of L-Arabinose, white kidney bean extract and Panax notoginseng; and a full spectrum of appetite suppressing herbs & nutrients.
Try our Appecurb – contains key amino acids plus vitamins B6 and C that help convert amino acids into brain neurotransmitters involved in appetite control cravings for carbohydrates and alcohol, energy levels, and mood.
Check out the government’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans