#45 Fat loss for over 40’s
As women we tend to focus more on what our diet is doing to our waistline than how it is impacting on our overall health.
I propose that we should be doing both.
Not just focusing on having a good body on the outside but also focusing on having a good body on the inside and a well fed brain.
We all know that we can eat well for heart health, diabetes and cancer prevention, but what about your brain health?
20% of your daily food intake goes to driving your brain, and it is especially affected by a poor diet. Think about how you crave certain foods and how you reach for caffeine or chocolate for energy and to improve your mood.
Every cell of who you are and how you think (your brain cells) comes from what you eat.
If you eat an apple your brain cells (and every cell in your body) are bathed in nutrients from that apple, if you eat junk your brain cells get bathed in junk!
Hormones do have an impact on fat loss and fat storage as we age. Up until menopause women are most likely to store fat around their hips and thighs,whereas men store their fat around the middle. But men have more muscle tissue and burn more calories than we do even at rest.
From puberty to menopause women have more fat than men.
EVEN IF THEY TAKE IN FEWER CALORIES by eating less.
Our bodies are programmed to store fat for pregnancy and breastfeeding. Our oestrogen reduces our ability to burn fat. This used to be a great advantage. When food was scarce we could save energy for pregnancy and lactation in our fat tissue.
As I often say your body doesn’t care how you look in a bikini, it just wants to make sure that you have fat stores in reserve for more babies. So, women of child bearing age are generally really good at storing fat and burning carbs for energy.
UNTIL you hit 40! When hormone levels start to change.
Then two things happen: our metabolisms slow down and our insulin levels start to go awry, this messes with our ability to burn carbs and results in that thickening around our waist (and weight gain) that we call middle aged spread.
This increase goes hand in hand with a greater risk of heart disease, diabetes and obesity.
The challenge is to keep your metabolic rate up (through strength training, hydration and regular meals containing protein and fibre) and a good supply of energy from foods that help to keep insulin related fat storage under control (low glycemic carbs, lean protein and good fats).
We tend to swing from one extreme diet to another, partly because nothing seems to work any more.
Celebrities and the media advocate the latest diet craze from fasting to keto. Hardly any of these diets adequately consider female physiology. One thing that we know is that extreme diets do not work in the end. Especially for women and especially for women over 40 because they go against every deep seated survival mechanism of female biology that is programmed into us.
These diets can actually damage us.
We need good quality fats to help our oestrogen production, but it is not a good idea to load up on butter and bacon!
Women don’t put excess dietary fat to good use, we are very good at turning it into a spare tyre!
Ketogenic diets for quick weight loss work on the principle that by avoiding carbs you force the body to burn more fat!
But our bodies and brains need all kinds of nutrients for health protein, carbs and fat included.
A diet that excludes one of these nutrients entirely is not going to be good for your overall long term health.
What you need is a combination of protein, “good” carbs and “good” fats.
So next week let’s look at exactly what good and bad carbs and fats are for women over 40 who want to keep their vitality, figures and health.
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