by Christine Farrell
It is a well known fact that as we age, our metabolic rate drops. We notice a steady increase in our midsections that we only saw previously in “older” people. We have to work a bit harder to build muscle and stay lean. We can no longer continue to eat like we did in our teens and keep our youthful physique, but we don’t have to give up on all of the fun either.
There are thousands of diet plans on the market as well as thousands of cleanses, supplements and exercise plans to help us find that youthful shape again. There are many that are excellent and actually work, but also many that play on our desire to stay lean and sexy. Be careful to not get caught up in thinking that there is a magic answer to weight loss because ,sadly, there isn’t.
It is important to remember that eating real food, not processed, is the first step. Our body does a great job of turning food into energy, but chemicals and additives are another story. Eating food that is as close to its natural state will lower your body’s toxic burden and help your metabolic rate. We shouldn’t need to be on a constant cleanse or detox if we eat right in the first place.
The old and boring story of consuming less calories than we expend each day still holds true. Food is fuel. We need it to power the engine that runs our systems. Move your body and give it the fuel to do so. We as humans have a never-ending battle with how we view food–it is love, it is entertainment, it is a reward, the list goes on. We need to remember that what we put in is what we get out in terms of health, energy and even mood. We need enough fuel to run our beautiful body like a fine race car, but no more!
There are certain medical conditions that can cause weight gain even with the best diet. Hypo (low) thyroid causes a lower metabolic rate and can cause weight gain. Insulin resistance, which is a precursor to diabetes, tends to be more common in menopausal women. Sleep or stress issues can affect our cortisol and cause weight gain. It is important to evaluate our diets, but if an underlying condition exists, it needs treatment in order to get to our healthy weight.
Life is meant to be enjoyed, but as my grandfather said at 92 years old, “everything in moderation.” Don’t feel the need to avoid “fattening” foods ALL the time. Have a taste and enjoy, just don’t eat the whole cake, pie, etc. Depriving ourselves leads to unhealthy eating and binging behaviors. Many nutritionists and trainers believe in a “cheat day” once a week. Eat healthy most days and indulge a bit one day if you feel the urge. Let go of the guilt associated with food and you will develop a better eating pattern as well as a better self-esteem.
Life is too short to not enjoy the finer culinary tastes out there, but also remember how good it feels to be healthy and lean. As with everything else in life, it’s all about the balance.
Christine Farrell MSN, FNP-C is a specialist in the area of hormonal imbalances in men and women and has been in practice in the area for over 17 years. She is an Associate Clinical Professor at University of California, Los Angeles and is also an alumnus of the University. Farrell belongs to the North American Menopause Society, The International Menopause Society, and the International Hormone Society. Her practice, Bio-Identical Wellness in Westlake Village, incorporates the use of bio-identical hormones, nutrition, supplements and lifestyle changes to promote wellness of both the physical and emotional aspects of health.