twitter facebook stumble upon rss

Eat Less, Exercise More -- Gain Weight?

sign up for the momlogic newsletter Tweet This

Elizabeth Lyster: Everybody "knows" how to lose weight: diet and exercise, right? Well, what we eat and our activity levels do make a big difference in whether we achieve and maintain a healthy weight, size, and condition.

woman eating a small salad

However, human metabolism changes over our lifetimes. When we're young (teenage and adult in our 20s), relatively minor changes in diet and exercise can produce weight loss. When I was in high school, when my jeans felt too tight, I just stopped eating cookies for a couple of weeks, and that did the trick! As we get older, our metabolism slows down. This slow-down in metabolism is like a hill that gets steeper as it goes down. That is, your metabolism is slower in your 30s than in your 20s, and it gets even slower in your 40s, your 50s, and so on. There are three major mistakes that women make when trying to lose weight. Because of slowing metabolism, these mistakes are especially costly for women over 40.

Here are my Top Three Women's Weight-Loss Mistakes, not necessarily in order of importance:

1. NOT ENOUGH FOOD! How counterintuitive! These days, people are learning quickly about this mistake. All the "trainers-to-the-stars" are writing books promoting the importance of healthy snacking and eating five to six times per day.

Think of your metabolism like a furnace -- if you don't keep fuel in the furnace, the fire will die down and go out.

Here is the heart of why diets don't work -- when you don't eat enough, your metabolism goes into "save" mode. Human bodies are designed this way, to withstand and survive starvation conditions. Feeling hungry may mean you are in this kind of counter-productive metabolic state.

So, it's not your fault -- eating less in this way will not lead to weight loss!

2. TOO MUCH EXERCISE: Exercise is an essential part of maintaining long-term health and weight control. However, there is in fact such a thing as doing too much exercise, or exercising too intensely. Exercise is hormonally depleting, especially for women over 40.

If exercise is experienced as stressful, this can stress the adrenal glands. Adrenal glands make cortisol in response to stress. When there is too much cortisol release, the body goes into the "save" mode I mentioned earlier, and will retain weight, especially around the midsection. This is one of the most tricky subjects for me to discuss with my patients who are over 40, are healthy eaters, exercise intensely, and are frustrated by lack of weight loss or even weight gain despite all their efforts.

You have to exercise smarter, not harder. For example, exercise programs that include weight-lifting will build muscle mass, which in turn raises the overall metabolic rate. This makes a person burn more calories, even at rest! In other words, it's not just about burning calories by exercising harder. If your best efforts at weight loss are not working well, you may be over-exercising.

3. NOT ENOUGH SLEEP! When you understand the work done by the adrenal glands, it becomes clear why not getting enough sleep, or good enough sleep quality, can cause weight retention or weight gain.

We talked in the last section about excess cortisol release caused by stress. Cortisol is released when we are tired and don't rest -- it's what keeps tired women from falling asleep at the wheel while they are ignoring their fatigue and running around doing all the things they have to do every day. Perimenopause and menopause-related symptoms can also interfere with good sleep quality. Depression (which is not a "natural" part of menopause) can also disrupt sleep. Stressful life events, such as the loss of a loved one, also cause cortisol release (both by interfering with sleep and from the stress itself).

Chronic lack of sleep leads to cortisol release, which also leads to craving junk food -- all of which of course leads to weight gain. Because this kind of weight gain is mostly around the abdominal area, we feel "bloated" and uncomfortable.

Poor eating habits related to fatigue and stress make this a vicious cycle that prevents reaching and maintaining a healthy weight.

So, what everybody "knows" about how to lose weight leaves out some crucial information. These top three mistakes that people make in trying to lose weight are especially costly for women over 40. Yes, you have to eat well and keep fit, but you have to keep a balance, and you have to get enough rest!

Here's to your health!


next: Curse You!
326 comments so far | Post a comment now
cheapviagra3658 August 30, 2010, 8:41 AM

buy cheap viagra online here [url=http://www.buy-cheapest-viagra.co.uk/cheap-canadian-viagra/]buy cheap viagra in uk[/url] viagra cheap usa

Sunil September 1, 2010, 8:48 AM

I have really learnt a lot from your article - hope this will help ma a lot.

Sneha September 1, 2010, 8:55 AM

This article will go a long way in correcting the misconceptions of people regarding weight loss. Although it is always advisable to consult a weight loss consultant but atleast reading your article people will be on the right track.

http://www.getaflat-stomach.com/

web directory September 6, 2010, 1:51 AM

I love to learning more on this topic if possible, as you gain expertise, will you update your blog with more information?

Nancy September 8, 2010, 11:06 AM

Thanks for the great information. I have been on weight watchers for 9 weeks now and have lost consistently (26 pounds total)! I decided to incorporate running into my exercise routine over the past several weeks. I increased the intesity of running to 30 minutes, 2 times/day. Lo and behold, I see a weight gain this week.

Lia Bruhn September 10, 2010, 8:20 AM

This is the first site I read on my new Droid. I’m bookmarking for nostalga.

body weight workout programs September 17, 2010, 7:25 AM

Good post, thanks

Mari Falkowski September 20, 2010, 5:22 PM

Dieting is really hard! how come cant i lose the excess pounds? Any one got any ideas for simple excercise workouts?

Cole October 7, 2010, 11:33 PM

Thanks for the great info. Definatly plan to bookmark this article.

Online Consignment October 9, 2010, 8:47 AM

I have been surfing online more than three hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It’s pretty worth enough for me. In my opinion, if all webmasters and bloggers made good content as you did, the internet will be much more useful than ever before.

large dog collar October 11, 2010, 11:16 AM

I have been trying to eliminate weight for years and tried using each individual method and diet although nothing appears to work. Please suggest anything that works.

lose 40 pounds 14 days October 15, 2010, 12:00 AM

I’m having a hard time seeing your content with my cell phone. Maybe you should try to tweak this so I could look at your site? Thanks ;)

lose 20 pounds cuban missile crisis October 15, 2010, 10:04 AM

I’m having trouble seeing your website with internet explorer. Maybe you should try to solve this so I could read at your site? That’d be awesome ;)

Themes for Vista October 18, 2010, 11:40 AM

Thanks for sharing this helpful info!

Craig Navanjo October 19, 2010, 11:08 AM

Remarkable writeup. Were did you received all the information from

i want to lose 20 pounds in a month October 19, 2010, 7:43 PM

I’m having a problem viewing this site from my cell phone. Maybe you could alter the site and make it so I can view it from these devices. Thatd be awesome!

lose 20 pounds in a month diet October 19, 2010, 7:49 PM

I’m having trouble reading your content with my cell phone. Maybe you should try to solve this so I could read at your site? That’d be awesome ;)

diet plans to lose weight October 19, 2010, 7:49 PM

I’m having a hard time viewing this website from my iPhone. Maybe you could change the site and make it accessible from these kinds of devices. Thanks!

exercises to lose weight October 19, 2010, 8:06 PM

I’m having a hard time viewing this site from my iPhone. Maybe you could upgrade the site and make it so I can access it from these devices. Thatd be real cool!

quickest way to lose 10 pounds October 19, 2010, 8:08 PM

I’m having a hard time viewing this site from my iPhone. Maybe you could upgrade the site and make it accessible from my phone. Thatd be pretty nice!


Back to top >>
advertisement