Wednesday, 07 September 2016 15:20

8 Ways We Sabotage Weight Loss

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Do you eat well most of the time, but just can’t seem to lose those stubborn pounds especially if you are over 50? It could be that you are not eating the right foods. From long experience I can tell you that it is difficult for many women to lose weight in the peri- and post-menopausal years, especially the peri-menopausal years, without some hormonal balancing.

Here are a few common issues you need to understand about your metabolism to start revving up your fat-burning furnace. 

Insulin resistance

Insulin resistance — also called syndrome X or metabolic syndrome— is so prevalent today that I assess nearly every woman who visits the clinic to determine her level of risk. Most are taken aback when they learn they either already have insulin resistance syndrome (or as I call it pre-pre-diabetic) or are well on their way to developing it.

Because insulin is one of the “major” hormones, it’s also difficult for your body to balance its “other” hormones (estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone among them) until your insulin metabolism is balanced first. To put it simply, if you have hot flashes and you are insulin resistant, it’s going to be nearly impossible to cure the hot flashes without first healing the insulin resistance. Cortisol (a stress hormone) is also a “major” hormone that can wreak havoc when trying to balance hormones.

Insulin resistance often accompanies the most common complaints I hear — fatigue and weight gain. As women approach menopause, they become increasingly intolerant of carbohydrates and find it easier to gain weight, especially around their waists. Afternoon blahs, sugar crashes, and carbohydrate cravings may all be early insulin resistance symptoms.

The good news is that you can heal insulin resistance.

1. NOT EATING ENOUGH DURING THE DAY

Not eating enough, especially not enough protein, during the day slows down your metabolism two ways. First, your body thinks it’s starving (or there's a famine), so it will slow down your calorie-burning capacity in order to “survive.” Second, you are likely to make up for low caloric intake in later on in the day, causing your body to hang on to the food through the night in preparation for another day of “starving.” Plain and simple — eat a low-carb breakfast and eat often — it will keep your engine revving on high!

2. NOT DRINKING ENOUGH FLUIDS 

Drinking water is one of the easiest ways to turn up your fat-burning capacity. I cannot say that drinking water alone will cause weight loss; however, if you are eating a perfect diet, but are dehydrated, you will lose less weight. When your body is dehydrated it cannot burn fat. Researchers estimate that over the course of a year, a person who increases his water consumption by 1.5 liters a day would burn an extra 17,400 calories, for a weight loss of approximately five pounds. So please, drink your water - and as an extra bonus, your hair and skin will shine!

3. ALL-OR-NOTHING DIETING

One of the biggest problems with “fad” and “crash” diets is that they usually provide a very low-calorie allowance. Not only will this cause your body to burn fewer calories, but it will also make you more likely to binge. A slower metabolism combined with an increased likelihood of binging spells disaster. So play it safe; find a well-balanced diet that does not overly restrict calories.

4. EATING TOO MUCH SUGAR

I often find that my clients are eating the right amount of calories for weight loss, but are not losing weight. The culprit is usually sugar and carbohydrates. Sugars and refined carbs have the exclusive ability to stop weight loss in its tracks. Think of this: Your body is burning fat (from your hips, maybe?), and all of a sudden it gets an influx of sugar. It will use the sugar as energy and promptly stop burning the fat. So really, cut the sugar and all junk and process foods from your diet – and yes that means bread, bagels, and pasta.

5. NOT WEIGHT-TRAINING

So many of my clients tell me about the hours they spend at the gym on the treadmill — thinking that this is the secret ingredient to burning more calories. Sadly, it just doesn’t work that way. Sure, you burn more calories by walking on the treadmill than by lying on the couch; however, without the proper amount of weight training, you will not increase your metabolism. Your resting metabolism is directly affected by how much muscle you have — so go on, build more muscle!

6. “EATING BACK” YOUR EXERCISE CALORIES

Many people want to know how many calories their exercise session burned. Usually, the reason they want this information is to quantify it in terms of food. In other words, they justify eating a candy bar or a protein shake since they already worked off those calories. However, this equation just doesn’t work. You’ll end up not losing weight, or you might even gain some weight.

7. DRINKING TOO MUCH ALCOHOL or FRUIT JUICES 

There is nothing wrong with a few cocktails per week, but too many will absolutely reduce your fat-burning ability. Not only does alcohol, and fruit juices (and sodas) provide a hefty dose of calories, but it also stops fat burning in its tracks (similar to sugar). Add in the side effect of the increased hunger you might feel while guzzling your Pinot Noir, and you’ve set yourself up for weight loss failure. 

8. SKIMPING ON PROTEIN

During the low-fat food craze of the late 1980s, we all became afraid of protein. It was associated with higher-fat diets and many trendy diets limited protein to 2 ounces per meal. This has a devastating consequence for weight loss, especially for women over 50. When you skimp on protein, your body has to burn its own muscle for fuel, resulting in decreased lean muscle mass. Less muscle means less calorie-burning action! Additionally, without adequate protein, you can’t build more muscle mass (to burn calories). And lastly, diets that are low in protein cause increased sugar and carbohydrate cravings. So eat your protein, often!

No matter how you slice it, your weight loss is determined by how well your hormones are balanced. A revved-up, balanced metabolism will produce more weight loss than a sluggish one. The good news is that you do have control over your fat-burning capacity!

Last modified on Wednesday, 07 September 2016 18:39
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