We all know the old adage that it gets harder to lose weight as we age. Herman Pontzer author of “Burn” talks about how our metabolic rate stays pretty much the same between the ages of 20 and 60, after which it starts slowing down. His studies also show that menopause does not slow metabolism.
We simply pile on the pounds as we tend to consume more palatable foods in which the calories tend to pile high (think processed foods, refined sugars and fats).
So how can win this fight? Follow these 4 recommendations:
- Stick with low calorie density foods
The key to fat loss is to be in a caloric deficit, which means gradually reducing our calories by 10% over a period of 6 weeks. It’s not easy to over consume calories when you’re eating low calorie density foods. These are high volume foods packing little calories. Vegetables and fruits come at the top of the chart, followed by beans, grains and potatoes then comes meat, dairy and oils.
Stick with your favorites vegetables, saute them, broil them, steam and lightly dress them. Always fill half your plate with vegetables or a salad. This method will contribute to reduce your overall calorie intake without you having to actually count. The consumption of adequate amounts of vegetables and leafy greens and nutrient dense foods support our glands to help us reach a hormonal balance which a vital for successful weight loss.
2. Pick up those dumbbells
Now is the time to channel your inner Arnold Schwarzenegger. Developing the habit of weight training on a regular basis is your way out. The list of benefits of weight training for women over 40 (and younger) goes on and is a big factor in supporting women’s overall health. Besides improving our bone density, developing our muscle mass helps us burn calories when our bodies are not moving. Stick with two intensive sessions weekly, training those muscles as hard as you can and gradually increasing the weights you’re lifting. If you’re new to weight training, we recommend investing in a couple of sessions with a personal trainer who will help shape a program tailored for you and also correct your technic for the long run. Give it 6 weeks of dedication and you will start to see changes in your body composition. The fat will replaced by healthy muscle tissue to make you look slimmer and more toned.
3. Consume enough protein
This is to insure the success of the recommendation #2. Building muscles requires enough protein intake. Make sure you consume around 30g of protein with each meal. Think greek yogurt and fruits for breakfast, chickpea curry or lentil soup for lunch and nice portion of chicken or fish with those roasted veggies for diner.
4. Take walks with friends
This recommendation is a two in one: Taking walks help us manage our stress and control our cortisol levels to avoid weight gain. Walking can also be a mean to keep in touch with our fellow humans. We have seen time and again in different parts of the world, that people who live long healthy lives have a social activity and a sense of community. We are social creatures who thrive on human contact. Take walks with your friends or start a walking group in your neighborhood if your friends don’t live close. You can also develop groups for other fun activities that you like, like playing bingo or joining a book reading club. Boosting our mental wellness can only be a success factor in managing our weight and stop emotional eating that undermines some people’s success in staying lean.
The key is to be patient and to work on building long lasting habits through small everyday changes.