How to Achieve Weight Loss
Annette Nay, Ph.D.
Copyright © 2004
I want to learn more about weight loss. I have been over weight my
entire life and I'm so sick of it. Yet I'm just under a BMI of 40
therefore I don't qualify for the gastric bypass surgery. It's so
depressing. For the past year, I have been trying to gain a few more
pounds in order to qualify for the surgery, but for some reason I'm
unsuccessful. I either want to loose about 85 lbs, or gain 15 more. What
do I do? I'm at a BMI of 39 and stuck. Please help.
If you haven’t read the articles on weight-loss below, I highly
suggest you do as they all play an important part in weight-loss. Just
click on the title below, to see the article.
Many people who cannot lose weight have found the basis of the
problem was a food allergy left untreated most of their life.
Also, see my article,
Untreated Allergies causes Many Illness, Autoimmune Diseases,
Hypothyroidism, Cancer and Ultimately, Death
Please try to loose the weight instead of going into surgery. I lost
a dear friend to this type of surgery, as well have many others. It is
dangerous and does not eliminate the problem. I know personally of the
struggles you have had. I have lost 140 pounds; the equivalent of two of
me. It took about a year and a lot of determination.
- I had open-faced sandwiches instead of having 2 slices of bread.
- I had small portions – as you stomach is supposed to be the size
of your fist balled up. Don’t put any more food in your stomach at a
time then that.
- When I felt hungry or had an over active appetite I told myself
I was thirsty and had a drink. If after five minutes I still felt
hungry I either had a good meal or a snack of fruit or veggies.
- I ate dinner around 6 PM so you do not go to bed on a full
stomach. The activity level needed to use up the food is at an ebb
during sleep, so the unused food goes into fat storage. You only
need enough food to support bodily functions through the night.
- I limited fat intake close to 2 T., which is what your body
needs to do its daily work. Never go less than 2 T. or your body
will not work properly.
- I never ate fruit packed in sugar. Raw fruit and vegetables are
always better for you.
- I cut out all processed sugar & sweets. I didn’t allow myself to
feel deprived about this. I told myself that this was what I really
wanted. Processed sugar and processed flour is your enemy. Both
cause the body's blood sugar to soar and cause depression as the
glut of sugar leaves the body leaving a glut of insulin to off set
the sugar. All excess sugar eaten no matter what kind of sugar it is
will be stored as fatty deposits at the end of the day. There is a
greater chance to overeat when eating processed flour and sugar than
with foods containing natural unprocessed sugar such as fruit,
vegetable, and natural unprocessed grains. Stopping processed sugar
usage will leave your body screaming for a sugar fix! Have a fruit!
This will stop the cravings. The first three days will be the worst.
After a week the sugar withdrawal should be completely gone and all
foods will taste sweeter.
- I did not use chemical sugar substitutes. These chemicals are
not good for your body and can cause cancer.
- Instead of using processed flour or rice, I started using brown
rice and whole wheat bread and flour. To get used to whole wheat,
substitute half of your white flour with ground whole wheat. After a
week or two, when your system tolerates the substitution, substitute
1/3 white to 2/3 wheat. If your system tolerates that then in a week
or two go to straight wheat. The brown rice and whole wheat gives
you more vitamins and minerals and has the least amount of waste and
calories, so you get more bang to your caloric intake.
- If the body does not get the protein it needs from the foods you
eat, then it begins to tear apart the body's muscle tissue. One of
these muscles is the heart. It is a must to eat meals with good
protein such as unprocessed grains combined with legumes for lunch
- Although unprocessed grains combined with legumes have many of
the vitamins and minerals your body needs, a daily vitamin and
mineral supplement is still needed. It is also important that if you
use a vitamin substitute that is the type that will disintegrate
before it passes through the body. Some people who rent port-potties
have reported finding vitamins with the name intact on the pills
after spraying away the human waste into the sewer system. Put your
vitamin in a cup of water overnight and see if it dissolves. If it
does not, get another brand that will. I have been where you are.
I learned the following important points:
- I thought food was my friend. It is not! I used food to cover up
all these problems, but food can only cover up the problems
momentarily. It does not solve these problems. Meanwhile, it is
creating worse problems. When you eat starches they turn to sugar.
Sugar goes straight into the blood and causes euphoria or a up in
mood. This is only temporary, as it passes away quickly. Meanwhile
the body sends a massive doses of insulin into the bloodstream to
bring the body back to its normal state. Insulin lasts 2 to 3 times
longer than the sugar does, in the blood. It is a depressant, which
alone, will cause you to feel sad and lethargic (tired). When most
people feel this way they eat foods with starch or sugar, which
gives them another upswing in mood and energy.
- Never overeat! If you are not sure if you are still hungry, then
take two more bites and quit. Give yourself permission to throw out
the leftovers or put them away for later.
- Never eat the children's leftovers.
- Never eat the last of the bowl stuff because it is there.
- Never piece on the food your fixing before the meal. If you
are hungry before you get the meal fixed, have a fruit or
- If you still feel hungry even though you just ate or the average
4 hours it takes for digestion to occur, hasn't transpired, then:
- You probably ate junk food with no nutritive value.
- The body has 2 ways of testing whether or not you are
- First, the stomach measures its emptiness.
- Second, the brain samples the blood to see if the
nutritive value is correct for the bodies needs.
- If you have just eaten yet you feel hungry then one of these
could be the problem:
- You gorged on junk food, yet the brain says you're
- You are lacking a vitamin or mineral and your body is
- Your body may be sending signals that it wants a drink
of water, only you have mistaken it for the hungry signal.
- If you cannot tell if you are hungry or not, get a drink of
- 8 to 12 cups of water daily aids in weight-reduction. It
flushes out fats.
- Exercise is not needed for weight-loss, although it accomplishes
additional weight-loss by causing the body to burn fats faster,
which gives you more energy. It also gives you a healthier,
long-lasting body by exercising muscles, especially that of the
heart. Exercise is suggested. To determine the best exercise for
you, see your doctor.
- Never exercise so hard that you cannot catch your breath
enough to carry on a conversation easily with out gasping for
- Fat needs air to burn. The body takes what it needs to
run the brain and other parts of the body. Left over oxygen
goes to fat burning.
- The adage, "no pain, no gain" does not apply here!
- In this way a brisk walk could be much better for fat
burning that jogging, if one is overdoing and using up all
the oxygen to just keep the body going.
- Exercise needs to continue for a long enough duration to
cause the body to burn fat.
- The body has a starch called glycogen which it has ready
to help give you when you need quick energy. Glycogen
continues to be injected into the blood steam for 30
minutes. At fifteen minutes the body is burning half
glycogen, half fat. It is after 30 minutes that total fat
- Many exercise programs stop at the 30 minute mark. It is
suggested that you continue aerobic exercise (exercise that
causes you to continuously breathe deeply) for 45 minutes.
- Those who are not in an exercise program or who's body is
not trained to be able to continue for 45 minutes of exercise,
need to work up to that point, if approved by your doctor.
- Do not overdo! Check your exertion rate. You know when
your body is screaming, "Stop!" and you know when it is
saying, "Okay, this is work, but I think I can do it."
- Remember to check if you can talk without gasping for air.
- Use swimming if you are unable to walk. Just don’t eat a lot
of food when you finish, because swimming makes you feel like
you are famished. Have a banana, apple or other fruit to gets
you blood sugar up.
- Also use resistive exercises, such as weight training or
isometrics. These build muscle and bone mass to support the muscle.
Muscle is needed to lose weight because it is in the muscle that fat
is burned. The more muscle you have the more fat you can burn.
- The brain is an energy hog and will help use up the sugar you
just ate from fruit or vegetables, even if it is just before you go
to bed. This because the brain is still working for about an hour
after you sleep replaying over and over again in your subconscious
mind the last thoughts you had before going to sleep. The
subconscious mind is the repository of the essence of who you think
you are. This is also where bad thoughts or self-doubts sit in wait
to trip you up. If you want the energy to be spent productively, you
could tell yourself: you like you, or that you can do make this
program work by_____ , or anything you would like to change in your
Reprogramming Subconscious Negative Thoughts
- Saturated fats such as butter and meat may be used sparingly, as
a condiment to add taste.
- Do not eat foods with empty calories or no nutritive value.
- Do not eat high fat foods. When fat is taken out of a recipe it
removes taste. To add taste more sugar is added. Unused sugar is
turned into fat. Processed sugar signals the body to make fat.
- Continuous, large quantities of processed sugar and saturated
fats are harmful to the body and change the chemical balance of the
thyroid and minimizes or stops the body from making serotonin which
results in depression. If these imbalances continue for long periods
of time the body may never recover its natural chemical balance.
- Eating healthful food, promotes a natural chemical balance.
Excessive processed sugar contain chemicals that produce a rise in
mood. This was the job of the endorphins. Over time, when the body
sees that there is excessive sugar continually, it tapers off or
even stops the production of endorphins so that mood is stabilized
somewhere near normal. The heavy consumption of process sugar needs
to stop. Given time, and good nutrition the body may be able to
jump-start the sites where theses natural chemicals are made.
- Even if the body cannot get these chemical sites into restart,
there is still medical hope and hope through prayer. With the use of
medicines or even if the body manufactures its own chemicals, it
takes one to two months to see a change. From the time that the
intake of sugar is halted until the time that the chemical site are
up to full capacity, the individual will experience depression. If
the natural sites have restarted making natural chemicals, taking an
antidepressant will shut down the natural sites again. Consult the
Lord as to what you should do! See:
How to Make Good Decisions.
(It could also be entitled: How
to Get Answers from God.)
- Antidepressants take three to four weeks before their effects
are felt, so it is a good idea to allow the body to try to do it
naturally. Things that stimulate the sites naturally into make
endorphins is exercise, singing, and laughter. Fresh fruit can also
give the body natural sugar to lift mood slightly.
- Since the body is content in eating healthy, continuous
weight-loss hinges on how an individual perceives the change in
eating habits. Yearning for bad, old eating habits is what causes
individuals to fail. Individuals should focus on what they can have
and how to spice it up or vary it, instead of dwelling on what they
- Dealing with social events can be a problem. Social eating is a
major part of many cultures. Healthful foods are seldom included as
part of social gatherings, although change is slowly occurring as
people become more health conscious. If your circles of friends are
not into vegetable trays, salads, or fresh fruit then suggest it for
the next social gathering. You will not only be helping yourself,
but them. When I know that social eating will be occurring at an
event, I bring my own food or a tray of my favorites. That way I
will not be deprived from eating or being social.
- The thyroid controls the feelings of hunger and satiation. One
of the problems of weight-gain is not knowing if your are hungry or
not. If you have eaten healthfully the thyroid should signal that
you are full or satiated. A normal meal containing sufficient
protein will usually take four hours to be digested before hunger
occurs. If the body signals that you are hungry within the four
hours, drink of water and pray for help. Eating lunch at noon and
dinner at 4 PM will work out just right. Hunger should occur about 8
P.M. At this time fruit or vegetables can be eaten about every hour
- When sugar is needed for recipes such as bread making use
sprouted wheat, honey, fructose, or a combination of them. Fructose
can be purchased in health food stores or in stores with health food
sections. Note that the heavy insinuating taste of honey is not
always wanted in a recipe.
- When substituting sprouted wheat for sugar use a 2 to 1 ratio.
For honey use a 1 to 1 ratio.
- Use salt or salt substitutes to bring out the sweetness in a
food. Then add sweetener.
- Use seasonings, without sugar, to spice up wheat, brown rice,
and salads. Excellent taste bud tantalizers are: lemon pepper, chili
powder, basil, oregano, onions, garlic, fresh tomatoes, spaghetti
sauce, liquid smoke, thyme, and curry. * Check the spaghetti sauce
for processed sugar.
- Cook up large batches of wheat and brown rice in advance,
zip-lock in freezer bags, and freeze so you have them readily
- Use frozen or canned vegetables when fresh ones are not
- A half cup of raw, uncooked nuts per day gives the body the
calcium it needs. Watch the amount of fat in the kind of nut you are
eating. Almonds have less fat than most nuts.
- Avocados and olives contain high levels of fat. Do not include
these in your diet unless it is being counted as the 2 tablespoons
of fat during your lunch or dinner.
- Many peanut butter has a lot of sugar added. Look for all
natural peanut butter. Many of the Costco's or Sam's carry Adam's
Peanut Butter. If not ask them to do so.
- Use romaine lettuce, spinach, or other leaf lettuce instead of
Iceberg head lettuce. Head lettuce has no vitamins; therefore it is
good for nothing but bulk and has to be delivered to the back door.
You want the elimination time spent on fat removal not waste
- Read labels. Check the ingredients to see if processed sugar has
been added in everything you eat. Check different brands. There was
a great difference in calories, fat- both saturated and unsaturated,
and process sugar in products, especially milk products. Reread
labels periodically to check the ingredients, sometimes they change.
- There are many reasons why a person retains weight. Some of
- Age and eating the wrong kinds of food is gummed up the
- Hyperthyroidism brought on by illness
- Being menopausal or perimenopausal
- Slow metabolism do to age, lack of exercise, types of oil
used in cooking
- Eating high fatty foods, a lot of empty calories usually
those foods high in sugar or starch, or cooked in grease/oil.
- Many drugs cause fat and/or water retention
- Ask your doctor if the drugs you are on cause weight retention.
- Ask your doctor what he suggests you should do to control your
- Have regular routine of aerobic exercise if possible.
- Follow my weight-loss diet (included below)
- Cut out processed white flour products and substitute wheat
- Use soybean, coconut, and olive oil to cook with instead of
- Protein = 30% of each meal from either poultry, soy products,
eggs, & fish
- Instead of eating to feel better, because of loss, boredom,
worry, procrastination, or sadness, use good coping
- Get the support and knowledge you need. Join
Overeaters Anonymous (OA).
It is free. Look in your phone book for the meeting nearest you.
- Last, but most importantly, use God as your weight-loss trainer.
Don't do this program without Him! Set goals with Him in the
morning, Talk to Him about good food ideas for lunch and dinner
during the day. At night evaluate how the day went and what can be
done to make things better for the next day as needed.
Here are other articles that may also be of
28 Small Changes That Will Make a Big Difference
By Melissa Sperl for
When you were little and first learned to tie your shoes, someone
taught you how to do it by breaking it down into smaller steps. First
tie a knot. Then make the loops. Now tie the bow.
Splitting any task up into stages helps it seem more manageable, and
gets you to goal quicker. The same goes for weight loss.
As you accomplish each "mini-goal," you'll feel like a winner. That
sense of accomplishment is great motivation for meeting more mini-goals,
and more, until suddenly you're at the weight you've always wanted.
"Making small changes one at a time is a great strategy," agrees
Howard Rankin, Ph. D., a South Carolina psychologist. "It's not
overwhelming, and it results in a slower, more steady weight loss."
Remember: When it comes to weight loss, slow and steady wins the race.
It's the pace that will help you get to your goal, then stay there.
Do Sweat the Small Stuff
A bunch of small changes add up to big results. Maybe cutting the
cream out of your coffee seems like a small feat to you. But once you've
got that down you can add another small feat, then another.
"Baby steps are the way to go," said one WeightWatchers.com user.
"Especially when you're just starting the plan. There seem to be so many
things to do, it's overwhelming. Little things become habits, and
eventually the whole process doesn't seem so overwhelming."
We asked people like you — on the WeightWatchers.com Message Boards
and in Meetings rooms — what small steps they've taken in order to see
their way toward their weight goals. This is what they said ...
... About Small Eating Changes
- Water, water, water, water. (Your skin will look great, too!)
- Order half portions at restaurants, or share a full portion with
somebody. Or ask for a "to-go" container when you order your food,
and pack up half the portion before you even start eating.
- Cut back on butter and mayo.
- Limit fried foods to once or twice per week.
- Use less or no sugar in your coffee or tea.
- Replace ground beef with "Boca" products or ground turkey.
Try at least one new food every week. If you're bored with what
you're eating, you're more likely to give up.
- Eat fresh, raw veggies with sandwiches instead of chips.
- Measure your portions until you're sure you know what a cup, a
half-cup, and a tablespoon look like. This will help you practice
portion control, an essential key to weight-loss success.
- Try not to drink high-calorie beverages.
- Dip your fork in a side of salad dressing before each bite,
instead of pouring it directly on your salad. You'll find that you
are satisfied with much less than you usually put on.
- Find healthy alternatives to all your favorite foods.
- If you don't really love it, don't eat it.
- Never eat out of a bag or box. Take out a measured/counted
quantity of food and put it in a bowl. This way, you know exactly
how much you're having.
- Always eat something for breakfast.
- Read food labels. Check serving sizes.
- Add vegetables to everything.
- Plan meals in advance; use that information to make out a
complete shopping list.
- Give food to guests to take home.
- Write down everything you eat and drink, without fail.
- Plan ahead for special occasions by accounting for
higher-calorie foods before you eat them.
10 Ways to Change Your Body Without Surgery
By Mike Bruno for
It's no secret that people are willing to go to amazing lengths all
in the name of "looking good." Some folks spend thousands and willingly
expose themselves to invasive surgery (liposuction) and botulism (Botox)
just so they can be happier with the person they see in the mirror every
Fortunately, you don't have to run to a plastic surgeon wielding your
credit card just to obtain a flatter tummy, a tighter butt or a brighter
smile. Here are 10 simple, inexpensive and relatively painless ways you
can improve your body without going under a knife.
- Start an abdominal routine. Take five minutes before your
morning shower to crank out two or three sets of 15 abdominal
crunches (knees bent). If you do them faithfully every other day,
you'll noticeably tighten up your midsection and improve your
- Use the stairs at your home or job (instead of taking the
elevator). "Taking the stairs strengthens all the major muscle
groups in your lower extremity. Hamstrings, gluts, quads and calves
are all going to reap that benefit," says Cedric Bryant, PhD, chief
exercise physiologist for the American Council on Exercise. As a
side bonus, you'll also burn a calorie for every 15 steps.
- Do lunges and wall slides before bed. Both exercises will help
firm your major lower-body muscle groups, such as gluts, quads and
hamstrings. Start with wall slides - stand with your back against
the wall and your feet 12 to 18 inches in front of you, then slide
down the wall until your thighs are parallel to the ground, and come
back up. Do two sets of 15. Finish with lunges - start by taking a
giant step forward with one leg, then lower into lunge position
until the knee on your opposite leg almost touches the ground. Make
sure the knee of your standing leg does not go out beyond your toe.
Push through the front heel to raise back up. Do two sets of 15 with
one leg, then two sets with the opposite leg.
- Use body-shaping undergarments. Only grandma’s wear girdles -
modern women wear "control-top" panties, nylons or tights. Of course
they serve exactly the same purpose, and are a great, inexpensive
way to instantly flatten your stomach and to smooth and shape your
- Try yoga. The ancient art of yoga burns calories (the Vinyasa
styles burn between 300 and 500 in a one-hour session) while
improving your overall flexibility and posture. "The benefits of
yoga are cumulative," said Tony Sanchez, director of the US Yoga
Association. "It's just a matter of time before the participant will
improve flexibility, strength, concentration, will power and
determination." Visit www.yogajournal.com for general info and
classes near you.
- Take a walking tour. Most cities conduct interesting weekend
walking tours focused on subjects like architecture, urban planning
and history. It's a great way to get some exercise, not to mention
learn a thing or two about the place you live. Call your local parks
department to learn about tours in your area.
- Drink plenty of water. At minimum, you should consume eight
8-ounce glasses of water or water-based beverages every day. If you
eat watery foods, you can get away with less. All fluids that are
non-alcoholic and caffeine-free count toward water intake, as do
foods such as fresh produce, yogurt and soup. "Dehydration can cause
fatigue, headaches, constipation and tooth decay, and it can prevent
us from burning as many calories per day as we would with adequate
fluids," said Cynthia Sass, RD, spokesperson for the American
Dietetic Association. "Being well hydrated helps our bodies function
optimally and improves our looks, including our skin."
- Only wear flat-front pants. Pleats are a no-no for so many
reasons, so put them in a box for your next Salvation Army drop-off.
Besides being a hopelessly unstylish relic of the 1980's, pleats
create unnecessary puffiness around your mid-section - not the best
area to draw attention to if you have something to hide.
- Splurge on a new haircut. What better way to focus attention
away from your figure and toward your bright smile than with a hip
new hairstyle? Talk to a stylist about cuts that complement your
face. There are also online makeover sites that will let you upload
your photo and try on new 'dos.
- Get a spray-on tan. The days of lying in a box soaking in
harmful ultra-violet rays are over. In addition to the 60-second
spray tan booths that had everyone in a tizzy last summer, you can
also go to a salon that offers aerosol spray tanning and let a
technician airbrush on a harmless tan solution complete with shaded
muscle contours. The process takes about a half hour (including
drying) and it's costlier than the spray booths, but you'll leave
looking bronzed, beautiful and buff.
25 Little Tips for Big Weight Loss
By Karen Hammonds for WeightWatchers.com
- Good things come in small packages. Here's a trick for staying
satisfied without consuming large portions: Chop high-calorie foods
like cheese and chocolate into smaller pieces. It will seem like
you're getting more than you actually are.
- Don't give up dips. If you love creamy dips and sauces, don't
cut them out of your diet completely. Just use low-fat sour cream
and mayo instead of the full-fat stuff.
- Get water-wise. Make a habit of reaching for a glass of water
instead of a high-calorie snack. It will help your overall health as
well as your waistline. Add some zest with a twist of lemon or lime.
- Herb it up. Stock up your spice rack, and start growing a small
herb garden in your kitchen window. Spices and herbs add fantastic
flavor to foods without adding fat or calories.
- Slim down your soup. Make a big batch of soup and refrigerate it
before you eat it. As it cools, the fat will rise to the top. Skim
it off the surface for reduced fat content.
- Doggie-bag that dinner. At restaurants, ask the server to put
half your entrée in a doggie bag before bringing it to your table.
Putting the food away before you start your meal will help you
practice portion control.
- Listen to your cravings. If you're craving something sweet, eat
something sweet - just opt for a healthier nosh, like fruit, instead
of a high-calorie one. The same goes for crunchy cravings - for
example, try air-popped popcorn with soy sauce instead of high-fat
tortilla chips. It's just smart substitution!
- Ease your way into produce. If you're new to eating lots of
fruits and veggies, start slowly. Just add them to the foods you
already enjoy. Pile veggies on top of your sandwiches, or add fruit
to your cereal.
- Look for high-fat hints. Want an easy way to identify
high-calorie entrees? Keep an eye out for these words: au gratin,
parmigiana, tempura, alfredo, creamy and carbonara, and enjoy them
- Don't multitask while you eat. If you're working, reading or
watching TV while you eat, you won't be paying attention to what's
going into your mouth - and you won't be enjoying every bite. Every
time you sit down for a meal, sit down. Chew slowly and pay
attention to flavors and textures. You'll enjoy your food more and
- Taste something new. Broaden your food repertoire - you may find
you like more healthy foods than you knew. Try a new fruit or
vegetable (ever had jicama, plantain, bok choy, starfruit or
- Leave something on your plate at every meal. One bite of bagel,
half your sandwich, the bun from your burger. See if you feel
satisfied eating just a bit less.
- Get to know your portion sizes. It's easy to underestimate how
much you're eating. Don't just estimate things - make sure. Ask how
much is in a serving, read the fine print on labels, measure your
food. And learn portion equivalents: One serving of pasta, for
instance, should be around the size of a tennis ball.
- Make a healthy substitution. Learn to swap healthier foods for
their less-healthful counterparts. Find a substitution that works
for you: Use skim milk instead of whole milk; make up a batch of
brownie mix with applesauce instead of oil; try a whole-grain bread
instead of white.
- Bring lunch to work. Packing lunch will help you control your
portion sizes. It also provides a good alternative to restaurants
and fast-food joints, where making healthy choices every day can be
challenging (not to mention expensive).
- Have some dessert. You don't have to deny yourself all the time.
Have a treat that brings you pleasure, but this time enjoy it
guilt-free - be sure you're practicing portion control, and
compensate for your indulgence by exercising a little more or by
skipping your afternoon snack.
- Ask for what you need. Tell your mother-in-law you don't want
seconds. Ask your sweetie to stop bringing you chocolates.
- Speak up for the salad bar when your coworkers are picking a
restaurant for lunch. Whatever you need to do to succeed at weight
loss, ask for it. Make yourself a priority and assert yourself.
- Improve your treadmill technique. When walking on a treadmill,
don't grip the rails. It's fine to touch them for balance, but you
shouldn't have to hold on. If you do, that might be a signal you
should lower the intensity level.
- Simon says ... get fit. Here's an easy way to fit in exercise
with your kids: Buy a set of one-pound weights and play a round of
Simon Says — you do it with the weights, they do it without. They'll
- Make the most of your walks. If your walking routine has become
too easy, increase your effort by finding hills. Just be sure to
tackle them at the beginning of your walk, when you have energy to
- Shop 'til you drop ... pounds. Add a workout to your shopping
sessions by parking your car as far from the store as possible, to
get more walking in. And try walking up the escalator - getting to
your destination faster will be an added bonus.
- Walk an extra 100 steps at work. Adding even a little extra
exercise to your daily routine can boost your weight loss. Today,
take the stairs instead of the elevator, or stroll down the hall to
talk to a co-worker instead of sending an e-mail or calling.
Destined to be fat?
Nine tips for handling midlife weight woes.
By Evelyn Tribole, R.D., from
We women are like fine wines: We just get better with age. Save for
one little detail: our weight -- which seems fated to skyrocket once we
hit that developmental milestone, menopause. According to the North
American Association for the Study of Obesity, obesity in women has
nearly doubled in the past two decades; it is a problem that researchers
say is particularly acute during
perimenopause, the three- to 10-year period preceding menopause. The
Women's Healthy Lifestyle Project, a five-year study of 585
perimenopausal women funded by the National Institutes of Health, found
that women who don't change their lifestyles gain an average of 5.2
pounds during that period.
But before you throw in the towel and submit to age-related weight
gain, consider this: Understanding the new set of rules governing your
body's changes can provide you with concrete ways to manage your weight.
Here's what is happening: As you age, your body stops ovulating and
produces less and less estrogen. Meanwhile, the hormone testosterone
(no, it's not just in men) remains at the same level. This increased
testosterone-to-estrogen ratio triggers the expansion of our waistlines,
since our fat distribution changes to be more like a man's, shifting
from our hips and buttocks to
our waists. (One bright note: Once this transition is completed,
half of all women find that their
thighs have actually decreased in size!)
As your waistline fills out, some weight gain is inevitable, although
the amount can range from two to 20 pounds. However, another key finding
of the Women's Healthy Lifestyle Project was that
women who engage in physical activity and adhere to
low-fat, reduced-calorie diet are very likely to either
maintain their weight or lose weight. The bottom line: Your hormones
don't have to have the last word -- you can keep off the weight. Here
are nine tactics for staying fit during perimenopause:
- Pump some iron. Lean body mass, which acts as a calorie-burning
machine, naturally decreases as you age.
Lifting weights two to three times a week can help you maintain
your muscle mass and keep your metabolism revved.
- Exercise your options. Your metabolism slows down 10% to 15%
during midlife, mainly due to decreased muscle mass. Aerobic,
cardiovascular exercise is crucial to minimizing the weight gain and
fat storage that would naturally result from this downshift.
bike, swim or
do an aerobics tape for at least one hour a day most days of the
- Eat right. Dieting -- defined as traditional low-calorie plans,
so-called fat-burning pills and fad diets, including
Atkins -- can actually worsen midlife weight gain. That's
because dieting increases the level of enzymes that tell your body
to store fat. To effectively manage your weight through food, craft
balanced diet of nutrient-rich foods and eat only when you are
- Cut quantities. As we age, our bodies need fewer calories. If
downsize the amount you eat at each meal, but increase the
number of meals you have each day, you'll find that you have more
energy and a more balanced mood. Aim to consume five or six small
meals each day, eating no more than three fistfuls of food each
- Seek satisfaction. With less estrogen in your body,
it's easier to overeat, since estrogen helps trigger the feeling
of being full. However, eating high-satiety (aka filling) foods,
including those high in protein (such as chicken, turkey, eggs,
fish, beans, tofu, nuts) and those
high in fiber (such as whole-grain cereals, dried beans,
whole-grain crackers, fruits, vegetables), help you feel satisfied
and stop you from overeating.
- Love lunch. It's a somewhat controversial concept, but some
experts recommend eating your biggest meal at lunch rather than
dinner to control weight gain.
- Limit alcohol. Since alcohol has been shown to increase
abdominal weight gain,
do not have more than one drink per day.
- Relax! Periods of stress cause increased storage of fat around
the abdomen -- and years of stress can actually disrupt your fat
cells' ability to make estrogen, causing them to expand in an effort
to compensate. The best thing you can do is not get too worked up
about impending weight gain (or anything else!) and find ways to
release stress -- through exercise,
journal-writing, therapy or conversations with friends.
- Look on the bright side! There is some good news: Once you've
completed the "change of life," your fat cells start to shrink and
produce less fat. While you will never have the metabolism you had
when you were 20, your weight will get somewhat easier to manage