Why is it that we, eh hem,
older wiser gals have a harder time losing weight? In part, you can thank certain hormones which, indeed make losing weight more difficult, but thankfully, not impossible. We just have to change our approach.
Years of yo-yo dieting including calorie restriction, low carb or even extreme cases of exercise can negatively impact your metabolic rate and hormone levels. Even with extreme and rapid weight loss, our hormones and ultimately our metabolism can suffer.
Admittedly, we talk about losing weight quite often…daily, weekly…but in this series, I want to approach the subject a bit differently and talk about fat loss and more specifically fat burning vs. fat storing.
Ask yourself these two questions:
- Is my body storing fat or burning it?
- Am I eating to lose fat or store fat?
For many of us in this generation, we grew up on lots of fried foods, eggs, bacon and biscuits. But as we grew older, we started hearing more and more how bacon and eggs were killing us and we should stop eating them immediately or you know, we could die at any given moment.
Fast forward to today when the world is suddenly promoting high meaty diets and bacon at every meal saying that fat is not really the killer at all! I know, right! It’s all so confusing! Now I could eat bacon at every meal, but that’s a totally different blog post.
More and more studies are now showing that fat may not necessarily be the enemy after all, but the true culprit of our fat storage, disease and rising obesity rates is sugar.
Now keep in mind that sugar isn’t necessarily inherently evil. It is after all our source of energy and necessary for our body to survive. Sugar also contains no fat which leaves you wondering why does it make you fat?!
- Too much sugar. When your liver’s storage capacity is full, that excess sugar is converted to fat and then needs a new home to reside and takes up residence in those unwanted places like your stomach, hips and thighs.
- Too much insulin. Again, insulin is not really a bad guy after all. He’s a major hormone and is needed for our body to live. When we consume too much sugar on a frequent regular basis, insulin is also released on a frequent, regular basis. These steady spikes in insulin shut down our body’s fat burning mode >> our metabolism, and again leaves too much sugar to be stored elsewhere in the body. Too much insulin also causes a release of extra cortisol which sets off a domino effect of other issues like increase in heart rate, stress, more fat storage, increase in blood sugar and more decrease in your metabolism.
When you can keep your blood sugar level (without drastic spikes) you’ll stay in the fat burning zone. But it’s when we eat high starchy food and even drinks and juices that could cause a sudden rise in our sugar and insulin. We are putting ourselves in the fat storage mode.
Here are a few ways you can stay out of the fat storage zone!
- Eat your protein first. While we are tempted to eat those yeast rolls first at the restaurant table, that bread is converting to sugar very quickly in the body, immediately causing a blood sugar spike and putting you in fat storage mode, regardless of the veggies, salad, and how “healthy” you eat afterward.
- Wait on having that orange juice before breakfast or that wine while cooking dinner. It’s the same principle: consuming sugar first, especially on an empty stomach immediately puts our body in the fat storage zone. PS: Have an orange instead — the fiber will slow down and block that fat-storing from happening! 😉
- Have a protein and fiber with every meal. Eating protein and fiber with your sugary foods will cause a delay in that breakdown of sugars and prevent that sudden sugar spike.
- Eat steady throughout the day. By eating nutrient-dense foods (proteins, vegetables, fiber and good fats), your blood sugar will remain steady, your energy level will remain just as steady and your metabolism will skyrocket.
- Exercise for fat loss. An effective way to burn fat is to build lean muscle. Muscle is your magic weight loss pill! Simply put, muscle fuels metabolism and the more you have, the higher your metabolism will be. Muscle burns more fat at rest than fatty tissue burns while working. So I strongly encourage you to add weight training to your cardio routine and I can almost guarantee that you’ll see a difference in your fat loss >> not so much weight loss but fat loss. Later in this series, I’ll share exactly why weight training is important for women over 40 and as a bonus, include a beginner workout, too.
While weight loss is important, having colon cancer when I was 29 and weighing less than 120 pounds, I learned the hard way that skinny people can be unhealthy too.
It’s not so much about weight loss anymore. I weigh more now than I did when I started my own journey to good health (after turning 40), but I have 10% less body fat than I did then too. My clothes fit better and more importantly, I feel better.
So don’t be misled by what society, social media and those scales say.
Eat for fat loss. Eat for your health. Eat to live.