Thursday, September 19, 2013
What started me looking at the problem of age and persistent belly-fat was that I had targeted 157 as a good goal weight. The last time I was there I looked pretty good and fit into a size 12. Well I made it!!!! And I do fit into a Size 12 but there is a lot of belly fat hanging around which wasn’t there the last time.
On one Message board someone posted “Cardio, strength training, and eating well have gotten rid of most of my belly fat. AT BMI 25 I had a lot of belly fat. At BMI 20.4 I have very little.” I tried to figure out how much I would need to lose to reduce my BMI and this is what I found:
Past: 185 BMI = 30.8 Ate anything I wanted and just a little exercise (Size 16 a bit tight)
Now: 157 BMI = 23.7 Eat 1450-1550 calories, keep to 47 or less fat grams, moderate exercise 5 days, strength training 2 days (Size 12, tight around the waist)
Maybe: 150 BMI = 22.8 Eat 1350-1450 calories, keep fat grams under 45, increase cardio intensity, exercise every day, work up to heavier weights
I haven’t been at 150 for quite a while and although I believe that I can work down to it, the maintenance is going to be very difficult. Right now I am struggling with staying in my calorie range for 157 and finding a level of exercise I am going to do regularly from now on. Anything lower than 150 is just not worth it to me.
I have read through a lot of SP articles, blog and team/message posts and it is clear that the same rules for weight loss apply whether you're 30 or 60 -- reduce your calorie intake and increase your activity level. But in looking at the problem of my repeated weight gains between 50 and 60 it is clear that my body is different in my senior years than it was when I was younger. In reading about the after 50 woman, I found that as you age, your metabolism slows -- by up to 10 percent per decade after age 25. That means you may take in the same number of calories and exercise just as much as you did in your 30s, but the weight still creeps on.
Although your estrogen levels may be the same as they were in your 50s, you're still losing muscle due to aging. That further slows your metabolism, which is why belly fat continues to be an issue. As you lose bone mass, you become shorter. Because there's no place for your organs to go, your abdomen protrudes. What this means is that as you shrink your BMI numbers change. If you were 5’6” and 150 pounds your BMI is 24.2 in the normal range. If you have shrunk a little to 5” 5” and still 150 pounds, your BMI is now 25 in the overweight range. And since you have lost muscle that extra is in fat which is probably around your middle because you are a woman.
One article suggested that to avoid gaining weight, the rule of thumb is that for each decade past 40, you should consume about 100 fewer calories EACH DAY. That’s because metabolism—the rate at which your body burns calories—gradually slows down as you age. So it means that you need to fight the encroaching belly bulge by reducing your caloric intake even further and keep up your exercising. If you think walking to the mailbox is cardio, then you are in for a big surprise.
In another article it said that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is best at blasting belly fat. “Research has shown that women who did 20 minutes of HIIT 3 time a week burned more fat than women who exercised at a moderate pace for 40 minutes 3 times a week.” To do this you need to do work up to doing 25 minutes of HIIT 3 to 6 days a week. SP has a lot of articles on HIIT and it isn’t for sissies. (www.sparkpeople.com/resource/fitness_arti
Thinking about doing cardio is easier than doing cardio after 60. As I have aged, I find that I am not as flexible, it takes longer for me to recover from intense cardio, my joints ache a lot more and it is much easier to get hurt. So being active is great but there are limits.
As for reducing calories, it really means that you must give up sugar, all refined carbs, limit red meat and really watch the amount of fat you eat. And by age 60 I should be eating at the low end of my calorie range which is not a lot of food in a day and there is almost no room for fun food. Even if you plan out your calories to splurge at one meal, you still have to eat small amounts (think Thanksgiving!! ). There are 408 calories in 1 cup of Lasagna with Meat. Who eats only a serving of lasagna that fits into a cup? You can check on your favorite fun food.
One recommendation was when eating a Cobb salad (egg, blue cheese, bacon, dressing, maybe avocado) besides the lettuce and tomatoes only choose two items. It isn’t a Cobb salad at that point! But that is what it takes to reduce down the belly fat.
So where does all this information leave me? Really unhappy because it means that if I like being at my current weight I have to really watch what and how much I eat every single day and be committed to a regular (no excuses) exercise program. If I want to lose a little more belly fat, I have to eat even less and add in more minutes of cardio exercise.
I am very happy at having lost the weight and SP and the Sparklers have really made it possible. What I am now doing is exploring what I am willing to do to maintain and again SP really helps to think it through. So many other programs don’t really give you the tools you need to work out the problems of maintenance. So I am grateful for having lost the weight, feeling better, having more energy, being healthy and getting into a size I like. I just wish Mother Nature had thought this aging thing through a little better.
Saturday, August 17, 2013
I have gotten to a weight that I plan to stay at for a little while and have increased my exercise minutes. These cravings come over me like wanting a big fat cinnamon roll. Or the need to go out and find some lasagna to have as a snack. I have increased the amount of carbs I am eating because that seems to be what I am craving. So now I have planned more potatoes, pasta, rice and bread into my day. That seems to help, along with a little more protein. Trying to redirect those cravings to healthy foods.
Friday, August 16, 2013
Five years ago was the last time I saw any number below 160 on the scale. It has been reading 156.5 – 157 during the past week. 157 has been my goal weight and here it is. I should be ecstatic, bursting with pride, or at least doing a happy dance. Instead I went out to lunch and ate a fattening entrée, the whole thing, disregarding the high calorie count. Then a coffee get together at my house with a few of my friends in the neighborhood was an excuse to buy a large package of mini-scones, and proceed to eat quite a few of them. At least I recognized that I would eat all of the left overs and threw them in the trash.
I can see that maintaining a particular weight is all about VIGILANCE EVERY DAY. I have been reading some of the articles on maintenance and there is a lot of helpful advice but it really comes down to getting up each and every morning with the thought that VIGILANCE is the only way to keep the weight off. Losing weight and keeping it off is a time consuming life- long project.
Several things I read outside of Spark People really made me see that without VIGILANCE the weight will come back.
First important fact is …“And it gets harder to keep the pounds off as the years roll by…” Life gets busier, you add more activities, the stresses get harder to manage, many social occasions include eating, hard to find time to make healthy meals, and fat, sweet, salty foods taste really good. Broccoli is not as interesting. The life issues and aging process are not going to go away and the weight maintenance issue needs VIGILANCE.
Second idea I recognized was that the maintenance articles are all about the choices and plans that you need to make and do to keep the weight off. But I found that there are reasons why it may be difficult to keep off weight I’ve already lost and I really need to be VIGILANT in watching my choices. There are weight gaining traps. In just a few days of seeing that 157 number on my scale I am already taking action to nudge the scale number back up.
Trap 1: Eating Larger Portions
For the last year I have been being careful when I go out to eat in restaurants. Then I get to a target weight and I pig out on a large, heavily sauced plate of spaghetti. It wasn’t even a great choice at that restaurant, something inside snapped when I was looking at the menu. Then instead of buying the right amount of food for the number of people at the coffee get together, I bought way too much for all of us to eat. That gave me the excuse to eat 8 little scones.
Trap 2: Consuming Too Many Calories
“Your weight loss management includes watching your calorie intake. Eat only lean protein, fish, vegetables and fruits for meals. Avoid sugary cakes, cookies and high-calorie sodas. Also resist the urge to add butter and other condiments to your food.” You can see where I totally fell into this trap by using a coffee get together to justify buying scones. I never have anything like that in the house or even eat it outside of the house anymore. The day before I made a vegetable stew for dinner and used full-fat mascarpone cheese instead of low fat sour cream. At least there is no butter in the house to add to sauces I like to make.
Trap 3: Exercising Less Often
I HATE to exercise and can find any excuse to avoid it. You can see where this is going. Yesterday I canceled the morning walk because of the coffee get together. Later in the afternoon, I was cleaning out cupboards, moving boxes and clearing out some items from the garage. I justified not doing a video or taking a walk because I was being active. Although I was very active it wasn’t the same as doing a fitness video and it is easy to find excuses to avoid doing the exercise.
Trap 4: Not Drinking Enough Water
This is not a problem, although sometimes when I get busy I don’t drink as much as I should.
Trap 5: Too Busy
This is always an excuse I use to avoid exercising. It takes time to eat healthy and exercise every day. Sometimes it is hard to incorporate them when the demands pile up. It is easy to get off track one day and then find that it is weeks later and you haven’t been making great food choices and your walking shoes haven’t been outside in quite a while. Somehow I have to motivate myself to work in the exercise. This will be a big struggle but I find that if I don’t exercise my eating choices deteriorate rapidly.
Trap 6: Buying Unhealthy Food
Oh this is so easy to do. Walking in the grocery store is an exercise in will power especially if you don't have a plan before you go in. Obviously choosing sugary, fat foods is one of my problems since I succumbed to the mini-scones. I generally make my list but this time I did not have a thoughtful plan before I went to the store. This is something I can avoid by not being Hungary when I shop and writing down what I am going to buy before I go in. I am beginning to worry about the holidays that begin in October and all of the social gatherings involving food. Bringing hummus and celery gets old.
Trap 7: Not Getting Enough Sleep
This is not usually a problem, although I am more aware of nibbling if I wake up in the middle of the night. I have a few go to small low calorie choices which help me resist the urge to eat half of a peanut butter jar (something I have done in the past).
VIGILANCE is going to be my mantra. Also, over the next few months I am going to watch my motivations and feelings as I continue on the journey. Breaking bad habits and making new ones that will stick is going to take a lot of time.
Friday, August 09, 2013
There are foods that I do not eat because they cause me physical pain, such as thick steaks and cheesecakes. It is easy not to choose them under any circumstances because I suffer the next day. I believe that they are too high in saturated fats for me. Then there are foods I love and have a hard time doing any portion control such as pasta, brownies, chocolate or cookies.
In any form --cold, hot, red sauce, white sauce, no sauce, with vegetables, with meatâ€”pasta is my favorite food to eat and portion control goes out the window. So I donâ€™t make it and donâ€™t order it very often at restaurants. I have eaten a whole pan of brownies by myself out of the freezer. So I avoid brownies by never making them. Most brownies you buy in bakeries or stores donâ€™t taste really good to me, often too sweet so I can resist them.
The Spark program advocates moderation and figuring out how to bring in â€śproblem foodsâ€ť into your life. They say the studies show if you ban foods from your life the foods will cause problems and that you will not avoid them indefinitely. If there are no new strategies, then it may result in bingeing on all the foods youâ€™ve been denying yourself, undoing all your hard work in a single day. then those foods could cause you to over indulge and then gain weight back.
The Spark People also say â€śyou won't have to give up your favorite treats if you find ways to work them into your meal plans so they donâ€™t interfere with your health goals. Without the guilt and deprivation, youâ€™ll be able to break the pattern of cravings, emotional swings, and binges that defeats so many diets.â€ť The idea is that you develop new habits, make different choices, and trust your instinct to make better food decisions.
My cholesterol numbers have been rising over the past year so I have been attempting to follow the cholesterol food plan. I have lost weight but it stalled so I did a two week Focus and brought my weight down. This week I have been following the plan but I notice that I am slipping again. I realized that I eat too many foods with high fat calorie counts. Peanut butter, feta cheese, low fat cheese, olive oil, low fat sour cream and skim milk are good but not all of them all in one day. I had been holding the fat calories to around 40-45 the low end of my range. This week I have been eating about 60-70, the high end of my range.
For the next 4 days, I am going to go back to 40 calories of fat each day and meanwhile try to think how to make better decisions. Because I can see that I will need to do this for all my problem foods, the ones that I have a hard time saying no and have difficulty with portion control.
Get An Email Alert Each Time SUNNYBEACHGIRL Posts