We all know it can become incredibly difficult to control our weight during and after menopause. This is partly due to changes in our hormones around this time. As menopause approaches, our hormones often fluctuate wildly, leading to a whole host of problems: irregular periods, hot flashes, mood swings, changes in appetite, an increase in tummy fat and just general weight gain. The most concerning of these issues is an increase in visceral fat. This is the fat that lies deep in your abdominal area and increases your risk for health problems like heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
The hard truth is that your diet is going to play a very meaningful role in your ability to lose fat, build muscle and lead a long, healthy life. What I mean by diet here is your total calorie, protein, fat and carbohyrdate intake each day.
And it’s when you finally come to accept this fact of life that you begin to realize that you’re going to need to track your food intake for a very long time in some way to lose weight and maintain that weight loss.
Today when I came home from work the first thing I did was dump out a 2 liter bottle of Root Beer that was leftover from a Super Bowl party. I may be in good shape and pretty healthy, but I have almost no self-control when it comes to anything sweet and that's okay. I don't beat myself up for it or feel like a failure when I can't control myself around soda or ice cream or chocolate. I'm not trying to fight against my biology. Our body naturally craves fatty, sugary foods, so that's why those foods are definitely not welcome in my home.
Myths abound in the popular media about what you should and shouldn’t be doing in order to lose weight. Much of what we took for truth 20 or 30 years ago has been disproven by current research, but has yet to trickle down into the day to day advice we hear from people about how to lose weight. Below I’ve listed several common weight loss myths and why we can no longer (or never could) take them as truth.
Our environment, everything around us, plays a starring role in our healthy eating endeavors. However, it is rarely on our side when it comes to helping us make better choices. Imagine a common scenario - you set an intention to forgo dessert one evening when you’re out to eat with friends, but one look at the dessert menu and you can forget those good intentions.
Fortunately, there are ways we can hack our environment so that it’s easier to stick with our intentions, not overeat and ultimately reach our healthy eating goals.
Eating out can be a nightmare for anyone trying to lose weight. Portion sizes have been steadily increasing over the past 25 years. Fat, sugar and salt are added to meals at alarming rates. Just a casual walk down the street prompts you with hundreds of enticing food cues that can be difficult to turn down, especially if you’re hungry. This is the world we live in and something we will always have to deal with.
But this post is not all doom and gloom!
I’m sure everyone has heard the “out of sight, out of mind” concept applied to healthy eating before. The principle operating at the core of this idea is incredibly powerful. If you’re not taking advantage of this principle in any way you can, then it is more than likely working against you. Research has proven that we have limited resources of self-control available for use on a daily basis and the more often we exert self-control, the weaker it becomes. It fatigues, just like a muscle would after repeated use.
I approach weight loss from a background in psychology. I’m willing to bet that people need the most help with their thinking as it relates to eating and exercise.
Imagine a common scenario - you find a diet, cleanse or a meal plan online. You follow it strictly for the first week, somewhat less strict the next and then abandon it altogether the third. You were probably pretty successful at losing 10 pounds in a few weeks, but then what happens when you backslide into your old ways of eating? You gain the weight back and maybe some extra for good luck.
I’m going to spend a lot of time sharing everything I know about how to lose weight successfully and keep it off for the long-term. I practiced behavioral weight loss counseling at Drexel University in Philadelphia for several years. I've also had extensive personal experience losing weight and getting fit.
I’ve worked with hundreds of clients over the years. I’ve seen people succeed beyond their wildest dreams. I’ve also seen people fail. I want to share with you the differences I’ve noticed between these two groups because I want you to succeed too.
I’m going to teach you new ways to think about eating and exercise that will help you lose the weight you need to and keep it off for years and years to come. I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you why it is so important to lose weight and stay active, but I’m going take a minute to do so because it is just that critical.
The health benefits from losing even a modest amount of your body weight, think 5-10%, are tremendous. You significantly lower your risk for heart disease and stroke. You will lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk for osteoporosis. You will experience improved body image, energy levels, and sleep quality. Potentially you could even improve your sex drive. You will go through life with a decreased risk of death from all of those issues that accompany being overweight. Not to mention, you’ll save thousands of dollars on health care as you age. I could go on and on, but I won’t. I hope everyone can see how the benefits of weight loss are worth the cost of the hard work of actually losing weight.
Throughout these posts, I will provide my readers with up-to-date information about the best strategies for losing weight. You can rest assured that these are evidence-based suggestions. This means that for every claim I make on this blog, or during my coaching, you can find a significant body of research that supports these claims.
And not just a one-off study with a small sample size, but several, if not many, years of research proving that these strategies work or that they’re the best way we know of at the moment.
The great thing about research on obesity treatment is that some of the smartest minds are working on this pressing public health issue and they’re continually publishing new research. I rely on this research, specifically that of behavioral weight loss interventions, to inform what I tell all of you. I’m not sharing tips and tricks that I picked up on my own, that may have worked for me, but not for someone else. I’m sharing strategies that have been verified by randomized controlled trials proving their efficacy.
Reading this blog is just one step on the long road of weight loss. I hope you find valuable information in these posts that you can apply to your own life.