What’s a woman to do?
Let’s say we’ve been eating horribly for quite a while and decide we’d better shape up, or we may not be around to enjoy everything we’ve worked so hard to attain all these years. We either run out and buy a gym membership, dash to the basement to use the treadmill that’s been gathering dust for over three years, or scour the internet to find a treadmill that’s been gathering dust in some other woman’s basement.
And, of course, we go on a strict “diet,” which means we either: A) Cut back our food intake so we’re eating practically nothing all day; B) Start the newest, greatest diet known to womankind, that every morning talk show has been touting.
If we actually have the discipline to keep exercising and eating like a bird, or sticking to the diet-of-the-moment, we probably will, indeed, shape up. We’ve done it so many times before, it’s a pretty safe bet we’ll be able to pull it off again. But will we be able to maintain a healthy weight this time? It’s another pretty safe bet we won’t. And so the next vicious cycle begins.
The Major Incentive to
Lose Weight After 50
My motivation was always the same when I dieted in my 20s, 30s or 40s: Thinner = sexier + cuter clothes + being attractive to handsome (and smart) men. Worked every time. It was pathetic, but true. Now, my main incentive to lose weight isn’t about men or cute clothes (although I do love both). It’s about my health! My health! My health!
I stopped smoking over 30 years ago because I wasn’t especially interested in increasing my odds of getting lung cancer. I stopped drinking seven years ago to preserve my liver and brain cells. Today, I want to do everything I can to avoid illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes. That means not just shedding fat, but eating “healthy foods,” in the right combinations, right amounts and at the right times.
You can be as thin as the proverbial rail, but if your daily diet consists of eating nothing but muffins and processed foods, you are probably going to do your body more harm than good.
One way to avoid eating poorly during the day, and to make absolutely sure you’re taking in the right balance of nutrients and protein, and with great flavor, is to keep a supply of Ensure’s Active High Protein nutrition shakes in your desk. Ensure has been addressing adult nutrition needs for over four decades, so I trust it.
“Every passing year our bodies continue to break down. In the aging process, free radicals accumulate and the inside of your body starts to, for a lack of a better term, rust,” writes Karen Raden, certified clinical nutritionist and registered dietician, in the book Beautiful Encore, by Ann Reizer. Just as a car needs the right fuel, regular checkups and maintenance, to avoid falling apart, our bodies need similar care. If we let our bodies build up too many free radicals, it can increase chronic inflammation inside our bodies and lead to certain diseases, including diabetes, fibromyalgia, and some cancers.
The theory today is that by eating more fresh fruits and vegetables (filled with antioxidants and phytonutrients); healthy, monounsaturated fats (nuts, seeds, avocados and olive oil), and less sugar and refined carbohydrates, we can reduce inflammation. Besides eating the right foods, it’s essential to maintain an ideal body weight. “When you carry more weight, you increase your susceptibility to chronic illness,” adds Vann Duke, with whom I’ve been religiously working out for the past five weeks. Performing intense, calorie-burning workouts will surely help support someone’s goal to lose weight, but “you need to get just as specific about your daily diet,” Vann explains.
Two Essential Facts
You Must Know
The first step is to determine how much weight you should lose, based on your percentage of body fat. “Too much body fat can be inflammatory and cause premature aging,” nutritionist Karen adds. “For most people, the higher our body fat percentage, the less healthy our body is. One simple way to determine if you are carrying too much fat is to use a simple calculation, called the body mass index (BMI), that is based on your height and weight,” says Karen. “If your BMI is not within the normal range, you may want to focus on strategies to reduce your weight and body fat.”
Once you’ve figured out your weight-loss goal, step two is to determine your basal metabolic rate (BMR), which is the number of calories you’d burn if you stayed in bed day. “Knowing your BMR, we use something called The Harris Benedict Equation to calculate your daily calorie needs based on your level of daily activity,” Vann explains.
So let’s say you’re 175 pounds, you’d need to eat 1,947 calories per day to maintain your current weight, according to The Harris Benedict Equation. To lose one pound per week (experts recommend weight loss at the rate of .5 to 2 pounds a week), you should consume about 1,372 calories a day, and you’ll reach your goal weight of 155 in about five months. If you reduce your calories and exercise, you’ll lose the weight faster.
When Vann talks about “dieting,” he doesn’t mean going on an “active diet, where you eliminate all carbs, for example. You know there’s no sustainability to that,” he says. “Instead, try to come up with a diet plan that works with your lifestyle.” Do you eat at restaurants a lot or prepare your own meals? Do you sit at a computer all day? Do you eat three meals a day or skip breakfast and lunch? If there a big time span between meals? How big are your portions?
Regardless of our individual lifestyles, Karen offers three sensible, weight-loss tips we should all follow:
- Don’t eat carbs alone. Pair them with a healthy fat or protein (an apple with cheese, for instance) to help balance your blood sugar so you’re not as hungry.
- Eat every three or four hours to prevent hunger. If you get hungry, you overeat and gain weight, pure and simple.
- Stop eating two hours before bedtime so your body has the time to heal while you sleep and forces it to use stored fat for fuel.
Pay attention to every single food that is going into your body to make sure you’re eating only the good stuff. “It helps to keep a daily food and exercise journal,” Vann says. “I like www.myfitnesspal.com because it makes it easier to log in your information and reports the exact calorie count for everything you could possibly consume. If you swear your schedule often won’t allow you to eat every three hours, keep one of Ensure’s new fat-free, Active Protein Drinks in your handbag or in your desk when you can’t. It’s refreshing, in delicious fruit flavors, low in cholesterol, and has 8 grams of protein and 20 essential vitamins and minerals, including A, D, E and K, to keep you strong on the inside.
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As part of this program, I received compensation for my time. Ensure believes that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Ensure’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines and
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