Midlife Metabolism Boost

In simple terms, metabolism is the chemical action of transforming nutrients in food into energy. Metabolism is a complex set of chemical reactions between enzymes in your cells and the food you eat. Your metabolism is responsible for using energy or storing that energy as fat cells for use later. Unfortunately, many of us tend to store more energy than we use, particularly after age 40, and you may notice that you can’t eat everything you used to eat without gaining weight. This is due in part to a slowing of the metabolic processes that convert food into energy. This can be due to natural slowing of your metabolism combined with less physical activity than when you were younger. There are ways you can stimulate your metabolism after age 40 to lose weight and maintain your weight.

Be selective about what you eat. It is likely you were able to eat cheeseburgers, French fries and ice cream when you were younger without worrying about gaining 10 pounds. After age 40, you have to be pickier about what you eat. There are foods you can eat that will help stimulate your metabolism without sacrificing the enjoyment of food. Cut back on the junk food and add more fruits and vegetables to your diet. You can get the carbohydrates and protein your body needs for energy and strong muscles and bones by eating a variety of fruits, vegetables, and lean meats. Replace highly processed foods, such as white flour and frozen dinners, with fresh, whole foods. Whole foods, or those foods that are unprocessed, make your digestive system work harder to digest and stimulate your metabolism. Your digestion will also improve with the addition of natural fiber, as well as help you to feel full so that you eat less.

Balance your diet by taking out foods that make you feel sluggish with foods that energize your body. Replace processed flour, sugars and other carbohydrates with natural foods that will boost your metabolism. Add green tea and water to replace sugary sodas. Switch potato chips and fatty dips with fresh vegetables and low-fat fresh dips, such as guacamole or low-fat sour cream-based dips. Cut out candy and replace it with sweet, fresh berries and fruits.

Exercise will also help to boost your metabolism. Any form of exercise is good for your body. Start slowly if you have been inactive for a long time and get a complete check-up from your doctor. When you receive the all-clear, start by walking or riding a bike for a few minutes each day. Increase the amount of time you spend exercising by 5 to 10 minutes each week until you are exercising at least 30 minute each day. Try some weight lifting or other strength training exercises to increase your muscle mass. Muscle requires more energy than other tissues. The more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism will be to provide nutrients to muscle tissue.

Simple changes that include substituting bad foods for good food and exercising will boost your metabolism and keep it working at a peak level throughout your life.

 

What Is Weight Loss Resistance and How You Can Overcome It

There are many components to learn when implementing a weight loss regimen. Weight loss resistance is one of the more frustrating ones. With a barrage of information coming at you every day, it is difficult at best to sometimes try to find the system that works for you.

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Sometimes when you do find that system, it is met with frustration and disappointment because you were not even aware that such a thing as weight loss resistance exists.

What Is Weight Loss Resistance?

Have you ever had the experience wherein you have carefully weighed, measured, and watched every bit of food you intake and began an exercise program only to find that your weight has not budged?

This could be due to a factor known as weight loss resistance, which is a situation where a possible metabolic imbalance exists. Several metabolic imbalances can contribute to weight loss resistance.

  • Thyroid conditions
  • Chronic stress which raises cortisol levels
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Digestive imbalance

These are to just name a few contributing possible factors to weight loss resistance. Moreover, some of these conditions are combined making weight loss even more difficult.

Things You Can Do About Weight Loss Resistance

Of course, the first and most important thing to do is to seek out the advice of a professional. Some individuals prefer the counsel of their primary care physician, while others seek out the advice and help of a wellness counselor or nutritionist.

A combination of professionals, however, seems to be the best bet when it comes to overcoming weight loss resistance. The tests that a primary care physician can perform will sometimes be sufficient to indicate which, if any, of the issues you are incurring are due to a medical condition.

A primary care physician can always refer you to a specialist in a particular field according to those test results. For many individuals combining a holistic approach along with a traditional approach provides for a win/win combination, as well.

For example, if your current weight loss condition is due to high cortisol levels due to chronic stress, seeking the aid of a wellness practitioner may be the best bet for you. Practices such as massage, yoga, or reiki may be the missing ingredient in your weight loss resistance.

Things such as eating raw, organic foods, getting enough hydration through green teas and plenty of water, and getting the proper rest are all exceptional ways to help yourself along the way in fighting against weight loss resistance.

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Is Weight Training For You?

Maybe you watch people at the gym, huffing, puffing, grunting and sweating at the weight machines or free weights and think, “No way I want to do that!” You’re not sure you would benefit from lifting weights, especially since you have no desire to look like a body builder.

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You can benefit from lifting weights even if you do it only a couple of times each week. Weight training can help improve your muscle tone, build lean muscle mass and help you lose weight. No matter how old or young you are, weight training is good for you.

As we age, we lose muscle mass. Lost muscle will be replaced by flabby fat if you don’t do something to rebuild lost muscle. Muscle tissue requires more energy to function than other tissues, therefore it uses more calories. Your metabolism will increase slightly as you gain muscle and burn fat. Increased muscle mass also means your endurance will improve. You will be able to work your muscles harder for a longer period of time. Weight training stresses your muscles causing them to adapt, which makes them grow stronger.

Start with a weight that you can lift, but tires your muscles after 10 to 12 repetitions. Beginners should start with one set of 8 to 10 repetitions of any lifting exercise. You should be barely able to lift the weight on the last repetition.  When you can do 12 repetitions without fatigue, increase the weight by adding 2 to 5 pounds.

Learn proper lifting technique before you grab the dumbbells. A fitness trainer can help you learn the correct way to lift so that you enjoy the benefits of weight training while reducing your risk of injury. Don’t forget to warm-up before lifting. Do some light exercise, such as brisk walking or calisthenics.

Rest one full day between weight training workouts. Your muscles need at least one full day to repair and recover. You can work your core, legs and thighs one day, and then your arms, chest, shoulders and upper back on the next day. Your workout can be as long as you feel comfortable exercising. You can exercise for 15 minutes, 20 minutes or longer. Adjust your workout to suit your strength, overall level of fitness and your time schedule.

 

Fat-Fighting Foods

You’ve probably heard about green tea. Claims about the benefits of green tea range from helping you to sleep to increasing metabolism to helping improve your mood. There is a basis for the metabolism claim — catechins. Catechins is a plant chemical that boosts your metabolism. To enjoy the fat-fighting benefits of green tea, drink several cups of hot tea each day. Replace your regular soda or coffee with cream and sugar with a cup of hot green tea. You will enjoy the benefits of catechins metabolism boost while cutting out extra calories from sodas and coffee additives. Hot peppers contain a chemical called capsaicin, which briefly boosts your metabolism and curbs your appetite. You might eat less when you eat spicy foods.

Grapefruit does not have a magic ingredient despite the fad diet claims from a few years ago. Grapefruit does contain plenty of soluble fiber, which takes longer to digest and may help you feel fuller longer. Raw fruits and vegetables of all kinds help you feel fuller longer and are loaded with vitamins and minerals. Raw vegetables and fruits are generally low in calories, high in fiber and loaded with nutrients your body needs. Trade potato chips and other calorie loaded snack foods for a plate of raw vegetables.

Use spices in your foods to boost flavor without added calories. Cinnamon helps to curb your appetite and may stabilize your blood sugar. Stir some cinnamon into coffee, tea, yogurt and milk drinks.

Sensible Snacking

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Americans really enjoy their snack foods. Vending machines are located just about everywhere and contain sugary drinks, chocolate bars, salty chips and pretzels and candy snacks. Convenience stores and many grocery stores place the candy bars and small bags of chips close to the checkout line or beside the cash register where you will be tempted to make an impulse buy. These snacks can contribute hundreds of empty calories to your diet. According to the USDA snacks can amount to nearly 600 calories per day. Many people will consume a full meal’s worth of calories every day just by snacking. Eating between meals does not have to be a diet disaster. You can eat a healthy, nutritious snack between meals that can help boost your metabolism to aid in weight loss. The key to losing or maintaining your weight and still enjoy between-meal snacks is to snack sensibly.
If you get hungry between meals, you should eat a healthy snack so that you do not over-eat at mealtime.  Snacks that will curb your hunger without adding too many extra calories will contain fiber and protein.   Peanut butter on whole wheat crackers or on a stalk of celery will ease your hunger pangs and provide nutritional protein, carbohydrates and fiber to help you feel full. Raisins, walnuts, almonds, dried cherries and apricots or fresh fruits, such as apple slices, a pear, an orange or a handful of grapes are rich in nutrients, fiber and antioxidants. One-half cup of low-fat yogurt with fresh fruit, like blueberries, raspberries or strawberries, can help you feel less hungry while providing your body with important vitamins and calcium. 
Don’t keep a bowl of chips, pretzels, popcorn or candy on the table in the television room! Mindless snacking can add hundreds of calories to your diet and you won’t even realize how much you have eaten. Replace your high-calories television snacks with healthy alternatives like dried fruits, nuts, granola and fruits. Low-fat cheese and whole wheat crackers is a healthy alternative to popcorn and chips. Cut out the sodas when you snack. Drink a glass of water before your snack to help you feel full between meals. 

Eat for Energy

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Would you be surprised if someone told you to eat to lose weight? Your metabolism is the process by which your body converts the food you eat into energy. Your metabolic rate is the rate at which your body turns food into fuel. The metabolic rate is different for each person and generally slows down as you age. This is why some people get what is called “middle age spread” around the abdomen or hips. When the metabolic rate slows, but caloric intake does not decrease, you can gain weight. Depriving yourself of food is not the answer to maintaining a healthy weight. Your body needs food for energy and will slow your metabolic rate in response to a lack of energy. Starvation diets are not only dangerous, but counter-productive since the body responds to deprivation by slowing down metabolism. To maintain a healthy weight or to lose weight, keep your metabolic rate at peak efficiency by eating more often. 
When you eat food, your body responds by releasing hormones and enzymes that convert food to energy that can be used by your cells. If you wait too long between meals, the metabolism slows down. Skipping breakfast or lunch and then eating a large evening meal may cause your body to store more food as fat in order to compensate for the lack of food earlier in the day. Your body stores up fat for energy use. The problem is the body is storing more fat than you are using for energy. In order to avoid this cycle of starvation and weight gain and keep your metabolism functioning at peak efficiency, eat several small, high-fiber meals everyday. 
Eat a healthy, high-fiber breakfast, followed by a mid-morning snack. Fresh fruits, vegetables, yogurt and whole grain crackers are ideal choices. Don’t forget to eat lunch, and then enjoy a late-afternoon snack. Dinner should include foods from all the food groups. At least 1/2 of your plate should be filled with vegetables, fruits and grains. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to help your body digest food and remain hydrated. Green tea may also help to increase your metabolism because it contains an antioxidant called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which may help boost your body’s fuel burning power. 

Start the Day Off Right!

Eating a healthy breakfast every day can help jump-start your metabolism, help you feel energized and give your body the nutrition it needs to start a busy day. The best way to lose weight is to keep your body burning calories instead of storing fat, so make sure you begin your day by eating something nutritious to fire up your metabolism for the whole day. If you skip breakfast, you miss out on a prime opportunity to boost your body’s calorie burning engine. If you are not eating breakfast, you may not be getting  all the nutrients your body needs to remain healthy. 

Remember, you have not eaten anything while you were sleeping. After 7 or 8 hours of sleep, your body needs food. Breakfast is essential to replenish your nutrient stores and stave off hunger, which can cause you to over-eat at lunch. Fasting by skipping breakfast can also increase your body’s insulin, which results in fat storage. Hunger can also tempt you to eat donuts or candy, which may temporarily stave off hunger pangs because they are loaded with sugar, but contain practically no vitamins and minerals. Avoid fast food breakfast sandwiches. Most are loaded with sodium, sugars, chemical preservatives and fat. 
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You will feel more energetic during the whole day if you eat a healthy breakfast of high fiber, high protein and low-fat foods. Oatmeal, whole wheat cereals, fruits like bananas, blueberries and strawberries and yogurt are high fiber foods that contain fewer calories than a bagel or a muffin. Multi-grain and whole grain cereals with low-fat milk, some fresh fruit such as bananas or strawberries and a cup of orange juice is low in calories, but packed with nutrients and fiber. Whole-grain waffles with fruit and low-fat sweeteners, such as natural corn syrup, provide energy and taste great.

For more information, see:
WebMD, Lose Weight: Eat Breakfast, by Jeanie Lerche Davis, reviewed by Louise Chang, MD, 2010