Category: Diet Tips

Age Related Weight Gain – UGH!

Age Related Weight Gain – UGH!

Why do we start gaining weight as we age?

I know we like to think that 40 is the new 20, but weight increase is common, almost universal, as we reach middle age. However, while it may be almost inevitable, it is not healthy. Many people continue to eat the same amount of calories as they did a decade ago, and without a few tweaks in calorie consumption, most of us will gain weight.

As we get older, we lose muscle tissue. The most common reason why we need to eat fewer calories as we get older, is because our muscle mass tends to decrease. Between the ages of 30 and 70 years, muscle tissue shrinks on average by about 30 per cent in most people. The reason for this is simple lack of exercise. The problem is, muscle requires more energy to sustain than fat does. So the less muscle we have, the fewer calories we need, and any extra calories (energy) we take in will be stored as fat. Hormonal changes may also slow down our metabolic rate and cause a drop in calorie needs.

How much weight do we gain with age?
The age-related reduction in muscle tissue leads to an average weight increase of about 5 pounds per decade for men or 3.5 pounds per decade for women. When you look at those numbers, they do not seem too threatening, but if you do the math it adds up. I would also bet that those numbers are on the low side. Think about all the people you went to high school or college with. How many are overweight, obese?

I think that most people would be surprised that the average weight gain is 5 pounds per decade. I can’t tell you how many times I hear someone lament about gaining weight with age. I think that most people have heard that everyone gains weight as they get older, so it is used as an excuse. Since “everyone is doing it”, people are not concerned when they put on 20 or 30 extra pounds instead of just 5.

If you are close to your desired weight, it’s easy to reduce mid-life weight gain. To minimize the risk of age related weight increase, all we need to do is eat about 50-100 fewer calories per day, or increase our calorie burning by about 50-100 calories a day. In the whole scheme of things, 50-100 calories is nothing. That is an easy change to make by cutting out one sugary drink per day, skip the butter every day, cut you portion to 2/3 cup instead of a whole cup. You will hardly miss those few extra calories. Check out these 50 ways to cut 100 calories per day.

 

Clean Out the Junk

Clean Out the Junk

When it comes to discipline and willpower, everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses. For many of us, trouble starts at parties, or when one of our well-meaning co-workers brings in donuts or homemade cookies. This article is not about how to have more willpower during these trouble times. That is for another day. This article is about taking charge of something you have complete control over.

YOUR HOME

There is only one rule to follow. Just one.

RULE #1: You’ve Got To Clean The Junk Out Of The House:
This is easier said than done, and I usually get an earful from my clients: “I have kids in the house” Or, “I can just learn to have a small portion and still enjoy myself.” Or, “my husband has to have his bag/box of ________fill in the blank.”

You have a choice. You can keep that junk food around, or you can make some changes and get a different result. The truth is you can have a house free of junk food even with kids in the house. You are in control of your home. Kids will eat what is there, and if you have healthy stuff… they eat healthy stuff. Why would you want your kids eating crap anyway?

Ever since I got rid of all the junk, we have one night a week when we go get a special treat. The kids value that treat way more than the Popsicle they used to eat every day after school. When there is junk in the house, overeating becomes VERY EASY. Almost effortless. You need to make it a little harder on yourself.

Discipline is key, and like I said before, we all have it and we all exhibit a great deal of it, but life is already hard at times and requires courage and discipline every day. Why make it even harder on yourself by having junk food around, all the time, at your fingertips? So that is the WHY, but more importantly is the HOW.

Eating actually makes a very deep groove in your brain. Sometimes it can be almost like a “math equation,” and your brain goes on automatic drive to make 1+2=3. If you always have a cup of coffee with a cinnamon roll,  just the scent of coffee will most likely make you pick up a cinnamon roll.

You need to make different equations in your brain. This is the new you, the one who takes different actions to get a new result. This doesn’t mean that I’m asking you to get tasteless celery and suffer through. Not even close. That is NOT sustainable, and it is not realistic to choke down stuff you don’t like.

This means finding healthy alternatives for your home that you DO LIKE. Maybe it’s raspberries or bananas. Maybe it’s tomato sprinkled with fresh basil and a little olive oil and lemon. A few things I love:
1. 0%fat Greek yogurt with frozen fruit, cinnamon, and Kashi
2. Costco mango salsa with carrots (instead of chips)
3. Quinoa in my pot roast instead of potatoes
4. Low fat Swiss cheese
5. Broccoli steamed and sprinkled with a little fresh parmesan and fresh lemon.

I know there are things out there that you like, and new things that you will try and end up enjoying. Don’t just start eliminating the junk without making new purchases and substitutions. You need to make new associations, too. If you’re trying to quit coffee, then “quit” something else you use to eat with it. Make new connections in your brain, a new “1+2=3.”

Last thing: Get rid of the junk food NOW. Don’t eat it away, throw it away… today.

The Realistic Victory

The Realistic Victory

You’ve been cutting carbs, lifting weights, and doing cardio till you are soaked. You’ve actually dropped two sizes. You feel fabulous. You look fit. Now if only you could lose those last five pounds…

Sound familiar? Welcome to the infamous Diet Plateau. After making a mountainous effort to exercise and eat right, you find your weight loss results have come to a halt. Diet plateaus are very real, usually occurring four weeks to two months into a diet.
I have a friend who I see about every six months. For the last three years, every time I see her she is complaining about losing that last five pounds. Talk about a diet plateau. We all know it doesn’t take three years to lose five pounds. She seems to be doing the right things, but just can’t seem to get those last few pounds off.

 

To lean down for my bodybuilding competition I lost around 20 pounds. This was not a sustainable weight, and it was purely for the competition. However, I did want to equalize at around a 10 pound net loss after the competition. I was able to keep my weight there for about five months, but then it started to creep up.

I have never been a fan of scales, and I even recommend that people put their scales away and just go by the fit of their clothes, and how they look and feel. When I was training, though, it was important to keep track of my weight loss and fat loss, so I started weighing myself every few days. This continued after my competition was over, and that is how I noticed this creep. I really couldn’t understand it. I was eating about the same as I had been eating the past five months, yet my weight was five pounds higher, and I couldn’t seem to get it off. I even bought a scale (for the first time in 30 years) because I thought that there MUST be something wrong with the scale at the gym. I know… a little obsessive.

A diet plateau can result from several factors. It may be a question of what, exactly, you’re losing. Seventy percent of the weight you lose in the first two to three weeks of a diet is water. By the end of the third week, water loss will account for only about twenty percent of weight loss. Once you begin burning body fat rather than merely shedding water, you have to work harder. Most people can lose a pound of water weight a week by cutting their daily intake by 200 to 300 calories. Losing a pound of fat a week requires cutting about 500 calories a day.

Beware though… consuming too few calories also can waylay weight loss. You need a certain amount of calories for everyday functioning. If you try to lose weight too quickly by radically reducing calories, your body will slow your metabolism to compensate, creating a weight-loss plateau.

Other ways that diets are unintentionally sabotaged include underestimating portions—essentially overeating without realizing it—and consuming hidden sources of calories, such as excess fat used in meal preparation. You also may not be working out at the right exercise intensity, thereby overestimating the calories you’re burning at the gym.

(Below are some tips to help with a plateau.) However, I have been considering some other things. As I really look at how much exercise I am doing, I realize that I have not decreased the amount of time or intensity. I also know in my heart of hearts that it is not realistic to do more exercise than I am already doing. I also took a look at my diet. I am averaging 1400 calories a day. That is sustainable for me. I do not feel deprived or hungry, but if I start to cut a few hundred calories, it is not realistic. I have decided that I have reached my ideal weight. My sustainable weight. Yes, I would like to be five pounds lighter, but it is not realistic, so I am okay with it. I think my friend has also reached her ideal weight, and she just needs to be okay with it.

Anyway, on to the tips…

Consume the Correct Number of Calories

Eat enough to maintain weight loss at a pace of one to two pounds per week. If you’re losing more than two pounds of body fat a week, some of that weight loss is coming from muscle. When you lose muscle mass, you slow down your metabolism.

The Calorie Need Calculator link and Activity Calorie Calculator link can help you to figure out the perfect number for you.

Exercise

Add some exercise. Do some form of extra aerobic exercise three to five days a week and strength training two to three times a week. Strength training maintains and/or increases muscle mass, helping boost your metabolism.

Start a Food Journal

Recording what you eat make you aware of extra calories. The numbers don’t lie and they can add up fast. That handful of Doritos will affect your body, even if it came from a bag on someone else’s desk.

Be Patient

Sometimes we need to allow the body a period of time to adjust, and then weight loss will resume.

The Bottom Line: Take time to congratulate yourself on having come this far. Then adjust your routine to carry you to weight-loss victory. But make sure that your victory is realistic and sustainable.

Keepin It Simple – 4 Easy Ways to Stay on Track in 2015

Keepin It Simple – 4 Easy Ways to Stay on Track in 2015

keep it simple

Happy New Year! and Happy New Year Resolutions! What will it be this year? Losing weight, gaining health, getting fit, building muscle, exercise more, eat less. Whatever your goals, one of the best strategies for success is  to Keep It Simple.

Here are my four favorite tips for any health and fitness related goals –

1.  Don’t Stress Out!  Stressing out about “how bad” you ate over the last 4 days, or how little you exercised is NOT going to help you lose the weight.  Nope, in fact, stress can make you hold onto more fat and pounds.  So stop it!  Move forward and don’t look back at what you did or didn’t do last week or weekend.

2.  Exercise with intensity!  Workout hard!  It doesn’t have to be long, it just needs to be intense.  And who wants to spend hours exercising anyway? I was so busy with kids this week, I only got 10-20 minute at the gym each day. I made sure my intensity was maxed out, and I feel like I got a good, all be it short, workout.

3.  Drink water like it’s your job!  Yes, down that water to flush out what you are retaining from any over-indulgent eating.  Salt, alcohol, and excess sugar can lead to a lot of bloat, so drink your water to flush it out! Who cares if you go to the bathroom 12 times a day?

4.  Just eat sensibly.  Eat your lean proteins, high fiber foods, fruits, veggies, and healthy fats.  It won’t take many days to see the changes.

Family Friendly Fit Tricks for Healthy Weight Management

Family Friendly Fit Tricks for Healthy Weight Management

fridge_pic-full[1]I love Google. I use it for almost everything, including health care, how to do whatever, recipes, shopping, and more. But Googling weight loss is like opening Pandora’s Box. There are way too many sites and supplements that are questionable at best, aimed at your pocket book rather than your waist line. Here are five family friendly fit tricks for healthy weight management.

1. Build a healthy home environment. It can be as simple as having a fruit bowl on the table, rather than a bin full of fruit tucked away at the bottom of the fridge. Keeping healthy food visible encourages kids (and adults) to grab and go when they are hungry and in a hurry. Keep cut up veggies, yogurt, or fruit salad front and center in the fridge. When a kid (or adults) opens the refrigerator to mindlessly search for snacks, the healthy option will catch their eye.

2. Purchase small portions and limited amounts of convenience food that is high in sugar and fat. Pre-portion any junky snacks in little ramekin cups, baggies, or mini cupcake liners, so there is no mindless eating from the bag of chips or cookie box. Store these items in the images[9]pantry on a higher shelf so they are less visible.

3. Make physical activity a routine, and make it fun. Take a walk or walk the dog after dinner to unwind. Get up during commercials while watching your favorite show and play catch with a Nerf ball, or strike up a game of balloon volleyball with your kids.

4. Eat meals around the table, at home as often as possible. Family meals offer kids a chance to see parents eating healthy. Show how to load the plate with a variety of vegetables and smaller portions of meat and carbs. Meat packs between 55-110 calories per ounce, so it’s easy to pack on the pounds when the portion shifts even a couple of ounces on a regular basis (especially as you age).

5. Praise yourself and your kids when you practice the skills and behaviors linked with healthy eating. Give high fives after those active commercial breaks. Notice when you and your kids have put in the effort to taste an unfamiliar food and choose healthy options over the junk.

 

Healthy Foods for Unhealthy Cravings

Healthy Foods for Unhealthy Cravings

0910-chocolate-potato-chip[1]I have always heard that a food craving is your body telling you that it’s lacking a certain nutrient. I came across an article in Medical Daily that not only explains what cravings mean, but also offers healthy alternatives.

Food cravings can seem strong enough to pick us up and send us straight to the refrigerator, drive through, or local grocery, going against our better judgment. Our hunger pangs can often lead us astray, forcing us to make unhealthy choices when it comes to satisfying our food cravings. While we may blame our sweet tooth or stress for these compulsive cravings like chocolate, or a bag of chips, our body may be longing for something we cannot buy at the grocery store. These intense cravings may be a signal that something is amiss in our bodies such as vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients we lack.

Since most of us in eat a fair amount of processed foods, and not enough whole, nutrient-rich foods, we actually can suffer from very mild malnutrition. This explains why we end up craving what our body is currently lacking.

For healthier food choices, it’s important to recognize what types of key nutrients we’re missing, and how to put ourselves back on a healthier path where we remain just as satisfied.

1. Swap Chocolate With Raw Nuts

Craving chocolate can mean our body is in need of magnesium. Chocolate provides up to 10 percent daily value of magnesium for 2 ounces (and a whopping 290 calories), actually making it a pretty good source of magnesium.  But our craving for chocolate may be a learned response instead of the body actually thinking it’s getting the best source of magnesium. Dieticians recommend eating raw nuts, as a better source, on a regular basis to make the craving go away.

2. Swap Coffee Or Tea With Hydrating Juice

The desire for coffee or tea is quite common, especially during the early hours of the morning. In the AM, after the body has been on an eight-hour fast of anything liquid or solid, we tend to be more dehydrated. This is due to our metabolic processes still running, and water being lost in the processes.

Starting the day with a hydrating juice such as watermelon juice, or diluted orange juice (half water and half OJ) can be a healthier alternative. Once you hydrate your cells you may find you don’t need a caffeine boost which can actually cause dehydration. A sliced orange or sliced grapefruit in the morning is also great for hydration, vitamin C, and fiber.

3. Premenstrual Cravings

A week before a woman’s menstrual cycle, she tends to crave random foods like chocolate, and those laden with saturated fats. These cravings hint that the body needs more zinc. The level of zinc in your system fluctuates depending on your estrogen levels. Therefore, zinc increases as estrogen rises, leading up to ovulation, and then drops right before ovulation and stays lower until the beginning of your next cycle.

Zinc deficiency has been linked to lower levels of the hormone leptin, which is responsible for regulating the body’s energy expenditure, fat storage, and appetite. Leptin communicates to the brain when it should feel full and stop eating. Insufficient leptin levels are believed to be the primary cause of food cravings and overeating. Good sources of zinc include red meats, seafood, leafy vegetables, and root vegetables.

Rather than cave to your food cravings, understand what your body really needs, and replace the junk with healthy substitutes! Now you know.

Eat This, Not That: 5 Healthier Substitutes For Unhealthy Food Cravings

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