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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Older Women and Weight Gain...is it inevitable?

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As I grow older I truly understand the battle women can face with losing weight and keeping it off.  It's not easy.  If you had great working out habits in your younger years you probably haven't had many problems after 35 but if working out wasn't a big thing to do like it wasn't for me...then you are fighting right along with me.

Most women DO gain weight as they age and the most profound weight in a woman's life is right before Menopause, or Perimenopause.  Here are some of the reasons.  

1.  Increased caloric intake.  Studies have shown that women eat more calories as their estrogen decreases and cravings for fats and sugars increase.  These foods (fats and sugars) tend to be less nutritious and lack protein and fiber.  

2.  Decreases in physical activity.   Unplanned or spur-of-the-moment physical activity often decreases even without our being aware of it.  This could also be a result of some of the symptoms of Menopause and Perimenopause which include fatigue, sleeplessness, depression or other mood changes in our behavior.  

3.  Decreased Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR).  Experts believe the decrease in estrogen can decrease our RMR by 40-70 calories a day and they can really add up if we don't combat them with more exercise.   

Don't fret older Naturals because all of that doesn't mean we can't lose the weight.  We just have to work at it a little differently than our younger counterparts.  Here are some ways to fight back!

1.  Becoming more active.  If you already exercise then add a little more to your cardio or even add some strenght training.  If you are not exercising then add some.  You don't have to hit the gym four or five times a week but walking more, hitting the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator or parking at the back of the parking lot all add more steps and more physical activity to your daily routine.  Basically, be more conscious of your physical activity.  

2.  Cutting back on the sugars and fats.  Eat less desserts, fried foods and sugary drinks.  Upping your water intake is always a great thing to do and cutting back on sodas and juices will also help.  Eating out less or choosing healthier options while eating out will aid in cutting back on those sugars and fats.  Don't forget eating smaller portions and not waiting until you are starving to eat.  That will only make you gravitate to the fattier foods.

3.   Monitor yourself.  Whether you keep a food journal or a workout journal (or both) monitoring what you do makes you more aware of your eating habits and physical activity.  Keeping track of how much water you drink is also a great idea so a water journal is a great key to proper hydration.  Don't forget there are tons of apps on our smartphones that will allow you to track whatever you want.

4.  Keep up your annual checkups with your doctors.  Get those mammograms, those Gynecological visits and your physicals.  They are necessary for keeping on top of your health.  Anytime you want to add physical activity you need to discuss any concerns with them.  Remember, all this information on the web is free but many providing information are not experts.  Your preventive care appointments are just as important, if not more, than your sick visits!

Going through Menopause and Perimenopause does not have to equal becoming fat.  Knowing what your body is going through and what you can do to combat it is essential in keeping your weight maintained or to lose a few pounds.  Don't forget the importance of taking care of yourself and that means reducing your stress as well.  

Always staying in the know and healthy Naturals,
Sabrina

Resources:
About.com - http://exercise.about.com/od/healthinjuries/a/menopauseandweightgain_2.htm
Blackdoctor.org. - http://blackdoctor.org/12943/how-to-lose-weight-after-menopause/
Blackdoctor.org. - http://blackdoctor.org/3877/top-diet-tips-of-slim-people/
Mayo Clinic - http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/menopause-weight-gain/HQ01076

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2 comments

  1. I think for me it was a conscious decision to change the road I was on. I looked in the mirror, didn't like at all what was looking back at me and decided that I had had enough. That was 5 years and 35 lbs ago. It can be hard but if it really matters (and for a long for me it didn't), it won't come off until a woman is ready, sick and tired. I just got so tired of my stomach sitting on my lap.

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    Replies
    1. LOL! Stomach sitting in your lap. I totally understand. Your mind has to want the body back in shape but if the mind ain't ready who cares what the mouth spouts off about what it plans on doing. I'm slowly getting to that point of being tired. Thanks for sharing.

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