Friday, February 21, 2014
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 was different in my 50+ years than it was when I was younger. In reading about the Over- 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.
Your estrogen levels may stay the same in your 50s, but you're losing muscle due to aging. That further SLOWS your metabolism, which is why belly fat continues to be an issue for women. As you lose bone mass, you become shorter. Because there's no place for your organs to go, your abdomen protrudes. As you shrink your BMI numbers change. At 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 if you are a woman.
After 50, thinking about doing cardio is easier than doing cardio. 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 to the amount of exercise I can do in a day.
For me losing and maintaining are all about managing calories. For me it really meant giving up sugar, refined-carbs, fried food, limiting red meat and really watching the amount of fat I eat. I have learned this over the last two years with a loss of 35 pounds using the SP nutrition tracker to follow a healthy eating plan. I make sure I eat enough calories every day.
I do splurge occasionally but I have been able to curb the sugar monster which has really helped me to get the weight off and keep the weight at maintenance. I also avoid FULL FAT DAIRY which allows me to eat foods I love just without the cheese and sour cream. Think tacos and spaghetti!
Now at 60+ I eat 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 I plan out my calories to splurge at one meal, I still have to eat small amounts (think Thanksgiving!! ). There are 408 calories in 1 cup of Lasagne with Meat, who eats only a serving of lasagne that fits into a cup?Sometimes I just eat what I want but try not to over eat. Then watch what I eat closely over the next 4 or 5 days until my weight is back in range.
So where does all this information leave me? A little down 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. But fitting into a size I like, having all of my health numbers looking good, being medicine free and feeling energetic at 66 is just GREAT.