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Posts Tagged ‘Muscle’

WebMD – Expert Q&A: Fighting Midlife Weight Gain

Posted by 4love2love on July 26, 2011

An interview with Pamela Peeke, MD
By Kathleen Doheny
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

First, you notice shopping for clothes isn’t as fun or simple as it used to be. Next comes the “muffin top” spilling over the jeans. Then the scale delivers dire news: You’re 10, 15, maybe 20 pounds beyond your “normal” weight.

Midlife weight gain is common. Many Americans gain a pound or so every year as they make their way through young adulthood, ending up fat and flabby at age 40 and beyond.

But it is not inevitable, says Pamela Peeke, MD, MPH, the author of the best-seller Fight FatAfter Forty. Peeke also serves as the chief medical correspondent for Discovery Health TV and often appears as a medical commentator on television news and talk shows.

Why do so many people gain weight in midlife?

Blame it on hormones in convergence with poor lifestyle choices, overeating, not exercising enough, and stress.

But hormones only account for about 2 to 5 pounds. The rest is the result of overeating, poor lifestyle choices — such as not exercising enough — and stress.

How can I not be one of those people who gains?

The keys are three: mind, mouth, muscle.

Use your mind to control stress. If you walk around and everything is stressful, you have a problem. You may respond to stress by making poorer lifestyle choices, such as not eating healthfully and not exercising enough.

Look at your nutrition — in terms of quality, quantity, and frequency of eating. You should eat often.

Quality is all about eating whole foods, fruits, and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein.

Processed foods are bad. Anything that comes in a family-size bag, turn in the opposite direction and run.

Quantity is where a lot of people fall. The majority are baffled by what a serving size should look like. When eating out, and in doubt, eat half of it or less.

Be accountable for calories. You need a general idea of how many calories you need. An average woman, not an athlete, in her 40s or 50s, needs about 1,500 to 1,600 calories a day, on average, if she is exercising. A middle-aged man, average height and not an athlete but exercising, needs about 1,800 to 2,000.

Muscle, of course, refers to the need to exercise and, of course, to weight train.

Should my goal weight increase when I hit midlife?

A better goal than focusing on scale weight is to keep track of body fat. The goals should be to decrease body fat and optimize bone strength.

For a man, a body fat percentage of 18% to 25% is not bad for 40-plus. For women 40-plus, 22% to 27% is not bad.

To get that body fat percentage, you need to have excellent fitness to maintain a good muscle base.

Also, a man should have a waist circumference below 40 inches and a woman below 35 inches.

I’m 40-plus, eating right, and exercising but not losing weight. Why do I have midlife weight gain?

If you have tailored your portion sizes to ones that are appropriate, look at the frequency of your eating. Eat every three or four hours. But not too late at night. The later you eat, the lighter you eat is a good rule.

Eat a balance of lean protein, fats, and carbs. Make the fat good fat, not palm oil or hydrogenated oil, but high-quality good fats [such as those in nuts]. The protein should be lean — a turkey burger or a veggie burger.

Most people have been doing the same exercise routine for years, and your body acclimates. Fat cells at 40 are reticent to give it up. Mix up the exercise routine. Exercise at least five times a week, and I mean cardio.

Add intensity. Add some level of weight training, and challenge yourself with the weights. [Getting professional instruction is advised if you’re a novice.] Weight train two or three times a week.

Building muscle gives you that metabolic edge, since muscle mass burns more calories than fat.

Does HRT cause midlife weight gain, is that the culprit?

You can’t blame the low doses of HRT in use today for midlife weight gain, at least not for any more than a few pounds. You do get a little more bloated on it, but it does not cause body fat accumulation. Overeating, not exercising, and stress do.

What’s up with this belly? I never ever had one before.

I call it the menopot. On a man, it’s the manopot.

Excess body fat occurring in the lower abdomen is associated with aging, after 40. This excess body fat in the normal range is usually only 2 to 5 pounds. And you do get a little pooch.

How can I lose this belly?

You minimize it by following the mind-mouth-muscle concepts.

But it’s probably unrealistic to expect a stomach as flat as your 20-something stomach.

Can I boost my metabolism?

Absolutely. You can optimize your metabolism throughout life relative to your age by maintaining the highest level of training you can, within the limits and constraints of your life.

If you lose muscle mass [by not exercising], obviously your metabolism is going to drop.

Of course strength or weight training is crucial.

What workout or workouts are best for midlife people?

Creative cardio. Burn 400 to 500 calories a day in cardio. On the elliptical, for instance, you can burn about 400 calories in about 35 minutes. Cross train as much as you can. Burn the 400 to 500 calories all at once or accrue it.

And don’t forget the weight training.

What’s your weakness? What’s the hardest part, for you, of staying on track and fighting flab after 40?

Because of long days and all my commitments, getting enough sleep. I remind myself: the poorer your sleep, the wider your girth.

Eating dinner not too late. Sometimes I am on a plane or a train, I don’t have the control I want over how late I eat. In general, do not eat dinner past 8:30. I like to eat right about 7.

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The Dreaded Weight Plateau: Tips to Get Over It

Posted by 4love2love on June 29, 2011

June 20, 2011

Amy Campbell

Last week we examined the typical reasons for those dreaded but all too real weight-loss plateaus (when you stop losing weight despite eating right and exercising regularly). They’re frustrating and discouraging, but they’re common (so at least you’re not alone!).

Luckily, if you’re in the midst of a plateau or if you ever have been stuck in one, chin up. There ARE things you can do to break that barrier and reach your weight goal. However, a word of caution: There’s no magic bullet for busting those plateaus, just as there’s no magic bullet for losing weight. You may need to try different approaches until you find what works…for you!

Nine Tips for Taking on (and Tripping up) the Plateau

1. Blast up your BMR… with food. Remember that BMR (basal metabolic rate) that we discussed last week? This is the rate at which your body burns calories to perform basic functions like breathing. You need to do everything in your power to give it a boost because it’s very likely turned a little sluggish at this point. A slowdown in your BMR happens because you’ve lost weight, particularly muscle weight. Here’s one way to jump-start it: make sure you’re eating enough (yes, that’s right!). If you’ve whittled your calorie intake down too much (less than 1600 calories for men, less than 1200 calories for women), you’ve probably gone too far. Your body has entered starvation mode, which means that it’s slowed everything down in an effort to preserve and conserve. Break the cycle and rev up your engines to get back on the calorie-burning bandwagon by eating more. If you need help, meet with a dietitian.

2. Dig out your pen and paper. Remember those days when your dietitian asked you to keep food records? If you’ve blocked that out of your memory, think about revisiting record keeping. Food record keeping can seem like a painful chore, but this process really does serve a purpose: By writing down everything that you eat and drink (and you need to be honest about it), you really can get a good picture of where things may have gone awry. Because let’s face it, sometimes weight loss slows down due to those sneaky little calories that seem to pile up when you’re not looking. Or, it may be that you let your emotions get the best of you and you deal with them by eating. You can uncover these things by keeping records, even for just a few days each week. (By the way, successful “losers” who are part of the National Weight Control Registry use record keeping as one of their tools for keeping the weight off.).

3. Figure out your food. By this, I mean, take a good hard look at what you’ve been eating. Food records will help you do this. Even if you refuse to keep records, it pays to focus on your food choices. Have you become too lenient with what you’re eating? In other words, are fatty or empty-calorie foods making their way back into your eating plan? They’re sneaky like that. What about your portions? When was the last time you actually weighed and measured your food? Are you SURE you’re only eating one cup of pasta? Dust off your meal plan or, if you don’t have one, get thyself to a dietitian, or consider joining a commercial weight-management program (such as Weight Watchers) or an online program to get back on the straight and narrow.

4. Ditch the dining out. You don’t have to forgo eating out altogether, but if you routinely eat lunch and dinner out, you’re pretty much guaranteed to consume far more calories than you realize…or need. Treat yourself to a meal out once a week and keep it at that.

5. Add resistance. In addition to scrutinizing your food intake, you have to take a hard look at your activity. Hitting the gym or walking is great, but your body needs to be pushed beyond its comfort zone. This doesn’t mean becoming a marathon runner, but if you’re doing the same old exercise routine day in and day out, you need to kick it up a notch. Particularly, you need to add strength training to your routine. This means using weights or resistance bands, or even using your own body weight as resistance. Remember that muscle burns calories, so you need to focus on building up your muscle mass.

6. Just do it…in intervals, that is. Interval training means changing up the intensity of your workout, not necessarily adding more time to your workout. To learn more about how to do this, speak with an exercise physiologist or a trainer at your local gym or Y. Read more about it here.

7. Drink water. There is some evidence that drinking water, especially cold water, can speed up your metabolism. And some people find that drinking water helps them curb their appetite.

8. De-stress. Some experts believe that constant stress affects metabolism by triggering the release of cortisol, a hormone that can lead to weight gain, among other things. Stress can also affect your food choices and interfere with being active. Deal with stress head-on by taking up yoga, practicing meditation or relaxation, or, if you need help, meeting with a mental health specialist.

9. Take a break. A prominent physician in the field of weight loss with whom I used to work always told his patients: “You first need to stop gaining weight before you can lose weight.” He also believed that it’s OK to maintain for a while. In other words, take a break, if you need it. Recharge and remotivate.

 

Re-posted from Amy Cambell’s blog

 

Copyright © 2011 R.A. Rapaport Publishing, Inc.

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