Diet Keys For Women Over 40
Have you ever bounced out of bed in the morning ready to
take on the world, grab a paid of old jeans, and suddenly
your world stops as you realise with horror, they are tight
and uncomfortable? Yikes! That's only supposed to
happen in the evening....not first thing in the morning!!
Have they shrunk? Do they need ironing (i.e. stretching
out)? No. The reality is, you've changed and
didn't notice it...until now.
What is going on? If this hasn't happened to you, then this
article will help you keep on top of your weight as you pass
through life's decades. If you relate to the story
above and you are in your forties, read on for some
understanding about how to take charge of your body!
There are two keys to losing weight. First the conversion of
food to energy. Second, your body's use of that energy -
your metabolism. It's a simple equation. If you take in more
energy than required, you gain weight. If you take in less
energy than required, you lose weight.
If you body receives excess calories, it efficiently stores
them for later on in case they are needed when food is
scarce. Your body will store this extra energy source as
adipose tissue, that is - fat.
Anyone who has turned 45 will not be surprised to hear that
women's metabolism noticeably slows down around about that
time. It doesn't start at 45 but has been in progress for
about a decade, almost imperceptibly. However, after ten
years or so, you might wake up one morning and realise that
everything's starting to be different and if you were used
to dropping a few pounds by sheer will power and cutting
back on calories here and there, you might find that it
simply won't work the same way it used to!
What has been happening since around the age of 35 years, is
that your metabolism has been slowing in the order of 5
percent every decade. That will mean that if you weight the
same at 45 as you did at 35 and you still eat the same
calories, you might be gaining weight!
For many of us, myself included, the weight gain has been so
gradual that you don't notice it until you try on some of
your 'old jeans' and there is an ugly roll of fat dripping
over the waist! My daughter calls it the 'muffin-look'!
Many people naturally gain about 1/2 a kilo a year. This may
not seem much but after 10,15 or 20 years it adds up to a
lot and can make a significant impact on your health, not to
mention your self esteem.
Muscle is the Key
If you have ever joined with your male partner in a weight
loss programme you may have noticed that men are able to
lose weight more easily than women. Life seems cruel
sometimes. Men hold a metabolic edge over women because they
have more muscle, and muscles are the "workhorses" of the
Many women who felt slim at 35 years, still weighing the
same at 45 hnow consider themselves "fat". No it probably
isn't social conditioning. It is more likely to be the truth
and they are actually more "fat" than they used to be. The
scales are not the only answer to understanding what's going
on in your body.
Consider the case of Marilyn who weighed 63 kilos at age 35.
At that time, 23 percent of her body consisted of fat.
(Experts consider 23 to 33 percent body fat healthy for
women ages 40 to 59). Back then, 15 of Marilyn's 63 kilos
were fat. The rest--48 kilos--consisted of bone, muscle,
water, and internal organs.
By the time Marilyn reached age 48, her body fat had
increased from 23 percent to 30 percent, yet her weight had
remained the same. Her body now contains 20 kilos of fat, 5
more kilos of fat than at age 35. At the same time, Marilyn
had lost approximately 5 pounds of muscle.
When women gain fat and lose muscle, two things happen:
Fat isn't as dense as muscle, so any fat gained takes up
more space than muscle. Even if you haven't gained weight on
the scale, your body can appear larger, and your clothing
size may even increase.
Because muscle burns more calories than fat, your metabolism
slows and you burn fewer calories, which can contribute to
weight gain if you don't make adjustments in your calorie
consumption. Muscle burns up to 7 times more energy than
fat, so the effect on your metabolism can be quite
Marilyn has been extraordinarily careful about what she eats
and hasn't been able to lose weight - with good reason. The
amount of lean body mass you have is an important factor in
determining the rate at which you burn calories. If lean
body mass drops, metabolism drops.
Every pound of muscle a woman loses slashes the number of
calories she burns by as many as 30 calories a day. If she
loses 10 pounds of muscle over 3 decades, she could burn 300
fewer calories each day, or a whopping 2,100 fewer calories
By the time she celebrates her 55th birthday, she could have
lost as many as 15 pounds of muscle, and now burn 450 fewer
calories each and every day.
What this means for Marilyn--and other women in their
forties and fifties--is that maintaining muscle mass is
critical as the birthdays add up. Lean muscle matters
because there's so much of it.
Calorie-burning muscle accounts for approximately 40 percent
of the body mass of a normal-weight woman--that's 56 pounds
for a 140-pound woman like Marilyn--so it's a major factor
Here's some good news: Because muscle mass is linked
directly to metabolic rate, women can give their metabolic
engines a boost with weight training and other forms of
exercise that builds muscle. Second, with eating the right
sources of very lean protein you can encourage muscle
development as you exercise. Herbalife have developed a
programme of weight loss designed to assist women in their
forties and fifties with slowing metabolism. You can learn
how to burn calories, boost energy and block carbohydrate
cravings so that you stay in control and still have all the
energy you need to get through the day.
- The Weight Loss Health Editorial team.