Dear Stefani, I am 65 years old and I would like to ask, what is your advice for post-menopausal women in regard to carbo-cycling? For the past 8 months I have practiced IF (fasting nearly daily, between 16 and 24 hours) combined with carbo-cycling (extremely low carbs for 3 or 4 days in a row followed by 1 day of carb reloading) to dramatically reduce my calorie intake while eating nutritious foods only. As a result, I have lost 70 pounds. Now that I am at a good weight and feeling well (I exercise daily), I would like to think I can use IF and carbo-cycling when necessary to avoid regaining weight. But I am concerned by the possibility that I may actually be undermining my body’s insulin sensitivity.
A new German study found that when you drink 17 ounces of water (about two glasses) within a certain time frame, your metabolic rate shoots up by about 30 percent. Using these results, they estimate that by increasing your current water intake by 1.5 liters a day, a person would burn an extra 17,400 calories a year, resulting in about a five-pound weight loss.
You did a good job of evaluating the programs and explaining how they were chosen, but I think the government guidelines are just wrong. Having half of our calories come from carbs doesn’t seem right to me. The only diets I’ve had any luck with are low-carb. In fact, if I consume more than about 130g of carbs per day, my blood sugar goes into the pre-diabetes range.
It can be harder to lose weight after menopause. In fact, many women gain an average of 5 pounds after menopause.5 Lower estrogen levels may play a role in weight gain after menopause. But weight gain may be caused by your metabolism slowing down as you age, less-healthful eating habits, and being less active. You also lose muscle mass as you age, so you use fewer calories.
HIIT stands for high intensity interval training, and it’s a great way to build muscle without spending hours in the gym. The idea is to go all out for a short period of time, followed by a slower pace that allows you to recover. Think of jogging or sprinting all out for 30 seconds, followed by a minute or two of rest, then repeat. Short bursts of high-intensity exercises keep your heart rate up while adding lean muscle. More muscle mass equals calories burned on a daily basis. Also, the more lean muscle you have, the higher your metabolism is.
This is what's known as insulin resistance. Basically, when your body doesn't respond well to insulin, it actually makes more of the stuff, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. And that can lead to fat storage, especially around the middle of your body. That's where protein comes into play: A diet high in protein may protect you against insulin resistance, says Aronne.
When you want to turn your diet around, don’t focus on the idea of restriction, Zeratsky says. Instead, think about the foods you can eat and how you can manage your hunger. “Eat foods that are more filling and have more water, like fruits and veggies, which will help your stomach respond to the weight to food,” she says. Plus, they’re low-cal and you still need that calorie deficit to drop belly fat.
Add a cup of low-fat milk, a part-skim mozzarella stick, or a half cup of low-sodium cottage cheese to breakfast, and you may have a belly-busting win. While lots of research links calcium with lower body weights, results from a 2014 study suggest that calcium-containing foods may reduce waist circumference in those genetically predisposed to carrying weight in their midsection.
In high school, my body didn’t seem to go through many changes. As far as exercise goes, I stuck with track and field and figure skating. I never exercised outside of whatever practice I was going to during the week. As far as nutrition goes, I had a lot of the same habits as middle school but developed quite a few new unhealthy habits. Once I could drive and spend late nights with friends, my nutrition was crap. I remember stopping at QT (the best gas station in existence) on the way to every shift to work and getting a drink and snack or candy. I remember meeting friends late at night at whatever fast food joint. I remember ice cream multiple days of week in the summer, snacking after school before dinner, and snacking again before bed. One positive choice I made as a high schooler was when I vowed never to eat fast food meat again (I had to read the book “Fast Food Nation” in an English class and was disgusted about the fast food meat industry and have never missed it since). As far as body image goes, again, I remember feeling overweight and embarrassed, but also being muscular because of figure skating. Again, like middle school, really solid and supportive friends surrounded me so I never felt isolated or disliked because of my weight. However, I would say in middle and high school I never felt confident in my body or loved the way I felt or looked.
"I use low-fat Greek yogurt in place of mayo in recipes, and it tastes great," says Krystal Sanders, who went from 185 pounds to 110 by coming up with healthy versions of her favorite restaurant foods. "It can also be used as a sour cream substitute." The possibilities are endless when it comes to this tasty staple, but you can start with these dessert recipes.
You may think you're vigilant about watching what you eat, but research shows that stolen bites and tastes can rack up a few hundred uncounted calories, which can put on pounds fast. Eating while distracted can cause mindless eating, too. When women who normally watched their portions had lunch in different situations, they ate 15% more (72 additional calories) while listening to a detective story, compared with when they ate alone and free of any distractions, found a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Carb crazy? Consider this: Refined carbohydrates, such as bread, potatoes and rice, create a surge in insulin that in turn drives down your resting metabolic rate, explains Aronne. "It's important to keep carbohydrates in your diet, but really focus on fruits, vegetables and whole grains, which have less of an effect on insulin levels," he explains. And when buying whole-grain breads and cereals, make sure the first ingredient listed is whole wheat, whole oat or cracked wheat.
Full Plate Living is a nonprofit dedicated to a simple mission: Encourage, educate, support, and inspire anyone who wants to live a healthier lifestyle. They don’t advocate for starving yourself, spending your life at the gym, or giving up the foods you love. They’re also not about fad diets or weight loss supplements. Instead, they offer practical, straightforward steps to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Visit the blog.