If you have gained a bit of weight (or more) over the past few years and you feel like it is an inevitable part of aging, let me tell you this is untrue. If, no matter what diet you have tried, the stubborn pounds just won’t leave you, read on.
Old myths die hard. There is a ton of misinformation out there about weight loss and how to maintain a healthy weight.
I speak to so many women who are tired of extra pounds in their midsection, have low energy, and even lower confidence. They believe it’s just an inevitable part of aging. It’s frustrating to keep trying diets that leave you feeling exhausted, hungry, and are impossible to stick with long term. The idea of eating only grilled chicken and steamed broccoli does not make you want to start a new plan.
The truth is that the latest research shows that your metabolism does not actually change very much as you age. That’s good news because it means that we have control over our metabolism and the power to change our shapes, lose weight, maintain a healthy weight, and feel more energetic, healthier, and confident. Especially important for women over 60, here are a few ways to boost your metabolism – and they actually work.
When you are ready to lose weight, the first thing you might think is, “I have to eat less and exercise more. I should probably hop on the treadmill or start walking.” Most women have this thought process ingrained within them from years of misinformation that eating less and exercising more, specifically with cardio is the only way to lose weight.
You do not have to do long, arduous, cardio sessions to lose weight. In fact, those long sessions may be making your body hold onto fat, lose muscle, and leave you feeling no energy at all.
When you work out to build muscle (through strength and resistance training), your body has more lean muscle and less fat. When your body has more lean muscle, your metabolism works more efficiently, meaning your body will burn more calories even while at rest after your workouts.
Once we have passed 35, strength training becomes a MUST do instead of a should do (or something you are thinking about starting). Strength training helps to build lean muscle, reduce fat, protect your joints, build bone density, boost your brain health, mental health, sleep, and confidence.
Start with the key muscle groups such as your glutes, mid back, and hips for 8-15 reps of each exercise and 2-4 sets two to three times a week. Your strength training sessions should be with a weight that feels challenging for you by the end of the set. If you are doing the right movements for your body, you can get a great workout in just 20 minutes.
If you are new to strength training, there are safe exercises that are body friendly and so many options and modifications to keep you strong. In our virtual fitness programs, our team of top notch personal trainers give our members exercises that work for their body each workout. Give this quick exercise snack workout a try:
Remember the old myth: eat less and exercise more? Calorie restricting and counting calories alone will only lead to you feeling exhausted and hungry. It will be a struggle to continue with this plan because you are so tired it brings on more cravings. Your body is losing muscle and not fat if you are focusing on calorie restriction alone.
Protein is your body’s best friend, especially as a woman in mid-life. Be sure to get at least a third of your plate with protein at each meal or up to .75-1g of protein per pound of body weight. Getting enough protein will help you to feel more full, reduce cravings, and help to build muscle in your body, which ultimately will help you to stick with your healthy lifestyle and feel your best.
High protein foods include fish, chicken, beef, lentils, quinoa, eggs, hummus, low sugar greek yogurt, and nuts.
Reduce added sugars and fuel your body with lots of fruits and vegetables, protein, and complex carbohydrates. Check your labels because added sugars are hidden everywhere even in “healthy” foods.
Four grams is about a teaspoon. When you read your food labels on the back, which I suggest you do when picking out food in the store, imagine how many teaspoons of sugar are in that item and consider if it is worth it. Are you looking for a crash shortly after eating followed by more cravings or are you looking to feel full and satisfied?
Have you ever noticed that on days where you didn’t get enough sleep the night before or on stressful days you have more cravings? A lack of sleep boosts your hunger hormone (ghrelin) and decreases the hormone that helps you feel full (leptin). Your blood sugar levels also increase with a lack of sleep, increasing your risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
Try a calming nighttime routine to ensure you get 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Put away electronics and turn off the TV, keep to the same bedtime and wake time, do some deep breathing or meditation.
Try 3 cycles of 4-7-8 breathing. Breathe in for 4, hold it for 7, and breathe out slowly for 8. Keep evening snacks to light snacks such as fruit like cherries, grapes, or strawberries. Gentle stretching can be another way to ease your body into a good night’s sleep. Try these gentle stretches:
When you focus on the right exercise that builds muscle instead of taking it away, the right food that fuels your body, and good routines for sleep and stress management, you will find that your metabolism will improve, helping you to feel more energetic, stronger, and healthier.
What are you doing to boost your metabolism at this stage of your life? Have you started strength training? What kind of exercises do you do? How do you destress at the end of the day?
Join my free 5 Day Body Friendly Boost and Tone Challenge starting October 30th where you will receive daily workouts, a healthy and delicious recipe guide, and a daily motivation so that you can get rid of stubborn pounds to fit into your cute clothes again, feel confident in your body, and gain the strength and vitality to enjoy all of life’s adventures!