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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Clinging to Fat Part 3

This article I'm reading about the 4 stages of life when the body clings to fat has been helpful yet depressing. As I get older, I will have to work at keeping my weight down and pay attention to what I'm eating. When I started this new phase in my life, I decided to make it a change for the better - healthy living. With small changes in my lifestyle I should see my body trim down and become healthier. Right? Well, it's only been 19 days and I've lost 9 pounds and am beginning to see my stomach get a little smaller. These next 10 pounds will be hard - but I am willing and committed to see it through. I would like to see my waist again - better yet, just to SEE a waist would be wonderful! However, I am not going to snap back as quick as I once could since everything and anything you read out there says that as you get older, it gets harder to drop the pounds!

Weight Plateau #3: Hitting the Big 3-5. Once you hit your 30s your metabolism slows. No surprise there! How do they come up with these magic numbers anyway? (Like, when I was 35 and pregnant with #3, the medical community says - when you hit 35 - you have to have special tests when you're pregnant because you are now considered to be a higher risk for having a down syndrome baby)

So our metabolisms slow down which means that we're burning about 75 fewer calories a day than when we did at age 25. That adds up to 8 pounds a year (according to medical studies). For looking and feeling our best, the article says that we should gain no more than 11 pounds - for life - after age 18! HAAAAAA!!!!! How is THAT possible?

1. Cut what you eat by 25%. As I lose weight, I need to eat fewer calories in order to keep the scale moving down. The wonderful people at Calorie Count have set me up with fewer calories alright! 1300 calories per day seemed impossible, however the last 2 days I've only ended up with 900. I even ate out yesterday - at Subway - and I ate all day. When I get busy, though, I see that I tend to not eat as much and what I make to eat is healthy and filling....yet I only end up with 900, maybe 1,000 on a good day. I need to get more calories so my body doesn't think it's starving so I need to find ways to get more healthy foods into my busy days. These days it seems that I'm in the kitchen a LOT! Not for snacking, but for the preparation of meals and snacks. Eating healthy, I find, requires TIME! Time to work with fresh ingredients (not from a box with flakes and powders), time to chop, longer cooking times for entrees...I'm constantly cleaning up cutting boards, utensils, mixing bowls, etc.

2. Pump some iron. Fitness director Wayne Westcott says, "I see a lot of women in their 30s who come to me saying they can't shake those last stubborn pounds. Their biggest mistake is focusing on cardio and not spending any time lifting weights and building up muscle." Maintaining muscle mass (remember we lose it as we age) keeps the metabolism elevated but spending hours in the weight room is not needed. (Thank goodness!) Dr. Westcott did a study of 2,000 women who participated in a 2x a week workout (20 minutes of strength training and 20 minutes of aerobic exercise) and these women lost 4 pounds of fat but regained 3 pounds of muscle they'd lost during the aging process. One tip he shares is that it's OK to do one set but make sure the weight is heavy enough so that your muscles are fatigued to exhaustion after the 12th rep. I think the EA Sports Active for the Wii accomplishes this part quite well. The 6-week challenge I'm taking is set up with workouts that consist of aerobic activities, sports (boxing and squash so far), resistance bands to work muscles, crunches, and warm up and cool down stations. One day it may be more cardio and another day it may be more muscle training. And it's FUN!

One more tip I read and would like to share (for the women) - weigh yourself monthly.'s hard not to peek at the see if something has changed! But many people can get hung up on the numbers on the scale. Do you? I have. Did you know, our weight can fluctuate by about 5 pounds throughout the month because of diet and hormones. Do you ever get on the scale, see the numbers go up, then go on an eating binge? Well, it's suggested that we weigh ourselves monthly, on the 7th day of your menstrual cycle ( a week after your period starts) when you're least likely to have fluid retention.

Now, time to grab a glass of water and get moving! Get up and make it a great day!

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